Eric Waugh expresses a view which may be the key to understanding the fundamental departure between Catholic and Protestants over the Belfast Agreement:
“It is that the difficulties over the Agreement arise largely because our two peoples have different cultural ideas of the nature of truth.”
This seems to fly in the face of many of the original hopes that prompted the inspirational writer and academic Declan Kiberd to write these lines only weeks after the Agreement was signed:
“The Belfast Agreement offers a postcolonial version of overlapping identities of a kind for which no legal language yet exists. It sees identity as open rather than fixed, a process rather than a conclusion. It leaves behind concepts of sovereignty and nationhood, yet it will in effect be a working constitution for the next two decades. A common bond uniting all on the island who voted for it will be fidelity to the document, which will probably override their actual relation to their respective sovereign powers.”
What, if anything, went wrong?