Regardess of all the often elegantly spun opinion attempting to blae one side or the other, the current Mexican stand off between Sinn Fein and the DUP is neatly encapsulated by Barney Rowan’s report for the BBC:
“The IRA is not going to sign on any dotted line until it is sure about the outcome of the political negotiations, and the DUP is not going to give its verdict on the British-Irish government paper until there is “certainty” about the IRA intentions”.
Ominously, he also writes:
“There is nothing to suggest that the governments wrote their proposals based on firm promises from republicans. So were they written more out of hope than expectation?”
If this is the case, the two parties may decide they can each afford to let the deal break this time; and let the governments take the blame. If so, what odds for 2006?