Blair speech: Northern press reactions

The Irish News says that whilst it is clear that the IRA has no intentions of going back to war “…as long as the IRA operates in its present twilight zone, it will always have the potential to cause huge damage to our political structures” and gives the British PM a seal of approval:

“…Blair remains focussed on the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, which still in every respect represents the best hope for all sections of the community.”

The Belfast Newsletter believes the speech puts the ball at the feet of the IRA:

“…the Prime Minister’s words have heaped considerable pressure on militant republicans and their political representatives. How they will respond is anyone’s guess but, in every corner of the country, unionists are making it abundantly clear that half-measures will not suffice.”

The Belfast Telegraph picks up on the double edge of the Blair challenge:

“Is the “not an inch” mentality in some parts of the unionist community to remain forever? What if the IRA does rise to Mr Blair’s challenge as we believe they have no option but to do? Will all strands of unionism accept that the price of peace is partnership and equality?”

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