Shinners’ shuttle diplomacy, as fundamentalists back fundamentals…

AFTER his meeting with Sinn Fein today, the Taoiseach admitted that changes to the Agreement would have to be made to enable process. The SF team flew to London afterwards, with everyone seemingly in agreement that changes to the GFA are possible, so long as they are not ‘fundamentals’.And with troop levels set to be slashed by Christmas (by which time decommissioning may no longer be an issue), and IRA movement expected very soon, elements of a choreographed deal appear to be falling into place, unless someone scuppers it… and don’t count your chickens yet that Sinn Fein have accepted that proposed changes to the GFA are not ‘fundamental’. The shuttle flight from Dublin to London may not be the best of omens, but Adams could be playing hardball.

Another statement today that was possibly made out of concern about internal competition was when DUP Deputy Peter Robinson revealed what he understands the Agreement’s ‘fundamental principles’ are, which he has said are not incompatible with his party’s ‘Devolution Now’ proposals:

“The fundamentals of the Belfast Agreement, as defined by the Secretary of State (Paul Murphy) in his letter, were the commitment to exclusively peaceful and democratic means; the guarantee that there will be no constitutional change without consent and the requirement for cross-community participation in devolved government,” the East Belfast MP told PA News.

This is almost identical to the principles listed in my recent analysis piece, as stated by the Prime Minister almost four years ago.