An Irish Examiner report carries what appear to be contradictory briefings by the Irish Government yesterday.
We have Taoiseach Bertie Ahern claiming that “he had not been aware that Dermot Ahern was giving last week’s interview and stressed he would have answered the question differently” while, at the same time, the Examiner reports that “The comments last week by the Minister for Foreign Affairs were this weekend described by reliable sources [also reported in the Sunday Independent] as part of an agreed ‘sequencing’ that emerged from last month’s talks in Leeds Castle. It is one of a number ‘confidence-building’ measure to allay the concerns of republicans about the political consequences of total IRA disbandment.”
Now, either Dermot Ahern is complying with ‘confidence-building’ measures that the Taoiseach doesn’t know about (unlikely) or Bertie’s being more than economical with the truth.
It does fit a pattern, though, of ongoing secret deals and statements by the two Governments on what may happen. The problem is these deals and statements have been designed to achieve one thing only – providing political cover for the DUP and SF.
So, while the rest of us stand at the sidelines watching the charade of scene-setting statements, which mean nothing without a context that we are being denied knowledge of, the question remains – what deal? and, by the way, do we still have political correspondents in the media here?