Blair speech: the problems

In his speech at Belfast Harbour Authority Blair went on to outline some of the difficult issues thrown up in the process:

“Prisoner release was there in black and white in the Agreement. But who could not understand the anguish of the families of the victims of terrorism when they saw their dearest ones’ murderers given a rapturous welcome as they were released? Or those who were prepared to die in the cause of a united Ireland who saw their representatives take their place in a partitionist Assembly?

“Or as the changes bit in the policing of Northern Ireland, as the RUC gave way to the PSNI, who could not sympathise with the feelings of the former officers and their widows who felt they were stigmatised when all they did was to stand up for law and order against the perpetrators of organised violence?

“Or as the dissident republicans started their campaign to disrupt the process by a return to the bomb and bullet, who could not imagine the anger of those republicans working for peace, when the security measures of the British Government appeared to bear down on them, who supported the process, not on those who detested it?”

Also, the reasons for the Agreement.

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