Talks "in difficulties" Part 1,394

ACCORDING to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern: “We can`t go on indefinitely but we`re not at the stage of calling it just yet. We made a lot of progress in a lot of weeks but not enough. Where we are at, it`s ongoing work, and it`s quite difficult, we`re trying to make progress and it`s true to say we are in some difficult areas.”

How sadly predictable.

  • Robert Keogh

    RTE reports Because the DUP will not hold face to face discussions with Sinn
    Féin, officials have shuttled between the two parties.

    And the DUP claims it doesn’t negotiate with SF….

  • Davros

    It’s a method that has worked in other parts of the world. Would people rather that there was NO contact between the two largest parties in NI ?

  • Robert Keogh


    cheap pot shots aside. After Leeds Castle the DUP said the deal couldn’t be done because they had an electoral mandate to acheive some procedural reform of the assembly. That their moral/ethical position demanded they depart not one jot nor tittle from the electoral platform. A deal that would have seen the IRA decommission and go away was rejected on that basis.

    The same electoral platform claimed they would never negotiate with SF while the IRA was in existence. How is talking to functionary A who then steps into the next room and steps into the adjacent room, repeats what has been said and then returns with a response different from negotiating with SF?

    That the DUP can engage in such legerdemain only replenishes the wells of nationalist/republican distrust. The DUP should have the balls to engage SF directly to bring this peace process to a conclusion. They have violated their electoral platform for ineffective negotiations.

  • Davros

    The DUP have painted themselves in a corner in exactly the same way that SF have painted themselves in a corner over Westminster.

  • Robert Keogh

    How have SF painted themselves into a corner over westminster?

  • aquifer

    Why wouldn’t the DUP Sinn Fein Punch and Judy show go on and on. Great being centre stage, and the BBC aren’t auditioning for new electoral characters.


  • Davros

    Robert – the world marvels (and dissident republicans sneer ) at how they can go to Westminster, Use Westminster facilities and take the Queens Westminster Shilling while claiming they are sticking to their mandate and principles – sound Familiar ? That’s what the DUP say 🙂

  • Robert Keogh

    Davros – I see what you’re saying (or at least quoting). I think the assertion is incorrect because the sole sticking point is the oath of allegiance to the british monarch.

    Personally, I would have no problem with SF doing what FF did back in the 30s – stating that they did not believe the oath they were required to take to gain office – hell I’d even go as far as to say all they have to do is cross their fingers behind their backs as they take the oath. I think SF could really push their agenda by entering westminster and working the system. That’s why you’ll never see legislation forcing them to take the oath or forfeit their seat.

    At the end of the day the DUP and dissident republicans are going to call SF names no matter what, I wouldn’t let that dissuade me from pursuing my agenda. I think SF milking the westminster system for all they can is simply smart politics. Doing anything else is cutting your nose off to spite your face.

  • D’Oracle

    How do you guys know this is about anything ?!

    I marvel that not alone Gonzo but several other well-practiced bloggers above seem to see this bertie-babble as being somehow meaningful ; seems like just anonther conflation of the semi-sentences and word jumbles so typical our beloved national leader.
    Frankly I havnt the foggiest idea what this is meant to be about.

  • Davros

    Robert, in an age of Gesture Politics , My answer would be for the DUP to enter talks directly with SF once the SF MPs had taken their place in WEstminster. Simultaneous abandonment of problematic
    principles that mean that neither side could claim a moral victory.

  • ulsterman

    We will never talk to the SF until the capitulation of the IRA. And then only after a year of their thuggery ending.

    The new Ulster Protestant leadership will defend this part of Her Majestys fiefdom from the Pope, Dublin and the evil Republicans.

    The DUP puts nationalist scum on notice. The nationalists might have ensnared David Trimble, turning him into a Papist but the DUP will not falter.

    Ulster now, in the future and always.

    We are on the march,

    God Save The Queen.

  • Moderate Unionist

    God Save the People of Northern Ireland

  • lib2016

    How quickly we forget that the UUP used precisely the same method of ‘not’ negotiating with Sinn Fein right up until the GFA. Nothing wrong with that precedent as far as I can see since it got the job done in the end.

    As for Sinn Fein taking their seats at Westminster? Whatever for? As an small Irish minority party their influence would be minimal, as unionists should know. Sinn Fein make much more of an impact standing outside the tent…….!

  • Davros

    lib- gestures are all. I know unionists who regard that they won’t take their seats as just as much a snub to our community as they regard the DUP refusing to talk to them as a snub to their community.

  • lib2016

    It’s my personal belief that part of the Sinn Fein strategy is to show that nationalists HAVE a Plan B which is to concentrate on the all-Irish solution. If even unionists can’t be bothered to back a functioning Stormont why should nationalists?

    The Peace Process has worked because it is genuine and the offer of a separate NI entity is a genuine one. That does not mean that its the only game in town.

    If Bertie is right in his assessment that no agreement now means nothing will happen until 2006 then unionists will be trying to deal from an even more weakened position than they are currently, and in the context of Sinn Fein heading for further advances in the South.

  • lib2016

    PS And I don’t think the sort of anglocentric unionists you describe are ever likely to be in favor of being friends with SF. Most unionists seem to despise Westminster even more than nationalists do. Its the neglected ranks of those turned off by orthodox unionist politics who are going to make the difference in the future.

  • George

    The one mistake I see the DUP and UUP both making is that they have negotiated from a position that Irish nationalism actually wants a deal above all costs.

    Strand 1 would be the least important part of the GFA for nationalism as a whole.
    Dublin can do without a second parliament on this island and SF couldn’t care less unless there are votes in it.

    Unionism has to make democracy in NI work because a large strand of nationalism, north and south, would be quite content to sit there and say “told you it was a failed entity, incapable of reform”.

  • barnshee


    An even larger strand of unionism will be delighted if the whole sorry mess disappears up its own orifice and direct rule continues until the millenium

  • George

    Nobody happier than Sinn Fein with Direct Rule.

    The Dail is the only parliament that matters to SF on this island now.

    Direct Rule will bring a closer alignment of parties on an all-Ireland basis because there will be no meaningful elections north of the border.
    It’s only a matter of time before the SDLP links up with a party south of the border to stay in existence.
    Then it gets interesting.

    In the meantime, unionism can have its NIO if it keeps the troops quiet.

  • abucs

    I agree George.

    If direct rule proceeds, Sinn Fein will complain like hell in public but will see the advantage in private. They will concentrate all their energies on cross-border bodies, nationalist controlled local councils and look to be part of the ROI government and negotiate directly with the British govenment. Unionism will be severely depleted of their options.

    A strong stable Northern Ireland means a Northern Ireland with it’s own parliament. And that parliament will have to be based on power sharing.
    It is in Unionism’s best interests to make this work.