“Mr. Blair’s speech last week, understandably, was portrayed in the media as no more than a call for the IRA to disband. He is bound to understand why that has angered republicans. But it was a serious and detailed speech and I said at the time that it deserved a considered response. And having looked at it carefully I do see some positive elements.
“Mr. Blair recognised that Catholics had been treated in the north as second class citizens. I agree. He said that the overwhelming majority of people want the institutions to remain in place. I agree. He said that the time for transition had come to an end. There was a need for acts of completion. I agree. He said that the British government thought the Good Friday Agreement should be implemented in one fell swoop, instead of a concession to one side here and a concession to the other there. I agree.”