Preview of the still unnegotiated 'deal'

Mark Devenport has an outline of the government’s proposals.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Other sections of the Governments’ paper are expected to reveal:

    An IRA commitment not to engage in activity that might endanger a new agreement.

    That the DUP would operate and participate in new arrangements.

    That the IICD was told by IRA representatives that the IRA would have photos and materiel involved [in decommissioning] taken by the IICD [photographer] in the presence of independent observers. These photos were to be shown by the IICD to the two governments and parties at the time of the final report on IRA decommissioning and were to be published at the time of the Executive’s establishment.

    [These are not direct quotes, but I hope to be able to confirm this later today.]

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    What no paragraph on the DUPs’ promise to their electorate to negotiate a new deal.

    What no paragraph on the DUPs’ promise to bury the GFA.

    It is no wonder these people opted out of the GFA negotiations, it is evident that they are not very good. Far better to brey at the moon than be capable of fighting their corner.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    There is. Annex E.

    Not in your words, of course.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    The IICD para on photos would have read:

    “[T]he IRA representative has told us that the IRA will have photographs of the weapons and materiel involved taken by the IICD, in the presence of the independent observers. These photographs will be shown by the IICD to the two Governments and the parties at the time of the final report on IRA decommissioning and will be published at the time the Executive is established.
    ——————————————–

    If the paper had been accepted, Annex C (IRA statement) would have read:

    “This [agreement] creates the conditions for the IRA to move into a new mode that reflects its determination to see the transition to a totally peaceful society brought to a successful conclusion. Consistent with this and recognising the need to uphold and not to endanger anyone’s personal rights and safety, all IRA volunteers have been given specific instructions not to engage in any activity which might thereby endanger the new agreement.”

    [Interesting, those last two words…]

    “We have also made it clear that the IRA leadership will, in this new context, conclude the process to completely and verifiably put all its arms beyond use. Accordingly the IRA leadership has agreed with the IICD to complete this process in a way which further enhances public confidence and to conclude this by the end of December.”

    Part of the DUP statement would have said:

    “The settlement, if fulfilled in its entirety, can deal definitively and conclusively wih the issues of IRA weapons and all its paramilitary weapons and all its paramilitary and other illegal activity. It will be in this setting that the DUP will engage with and work, in an inclusive manner.

    “Following confirmation in reports from the IMC and IICD, that IRA paramilitary activity of all kinds has ended we will operate and participate, in all the new arrangements. This is consistent with our mandate. In this context we intend to work together in constructive partnership with all parties in the Assembly, for the benefit of the whole community in Northern Ireland.”

    I expect the NIO will publish the paper online later today. Since the institutional arrangements were all agreed, I won’t bother typing from that section.

  • George

    Photographs would be taken but only to be published after the Assembly was up and running.

    Should be interesting to see how this as the main reason for no deal runs with the NI voters.

  • Henry94

    Besides the photographs is a single person in the north objecting to any other part of the deal?

    100% agreement because peoples atavistic sectarian reactions can be channelled into a meaningless row about photographs. When that is solved nobody will have leg to stand on against the Agreement.

    I wonder are we all being taken for a country walk around the town.

  • davidbrew

    Gonzo has picked up on the phrase “new agreement”.

    Adams said the Shinners accepted the political aspects of the package.

    So Adams-the undisputed king of semantics -clearly accepts it’s about a new agreement.
    The 2 governments who drafted it accept its about a new agreement.
    The Ulster Unionists will either have to accept it’s about a new Agreement or reject it in favour of the poorer version they negotiated (no surprises about which option they’ll choose)

    Cue Willow spluttering into his tea as he types the hackneyed old “respray” metaphor. How will he get round

    BTW Willow why not just come out and admit you’re Trevor Ringland ? it’s not like everyone hasn’t guessed.

  • Henry94

    BTW Willow why not just come out and admit you’re Trevor Ringland ? it’s not like everyone hasn’t guessed.

    Not really into rugby, so I don’t know many players, but I imagine David Humphries would be one. Neil McMillan. Most of the Ulster players are from NI.

    Posted by: willowfield at December 5, 2004 03:59 PM

    Now I don’t know what to believe.

  • George

    All this talk of a new agreement. What are the new parts of this new agreement that the DUP has managed to wring from the two governments and SF?

    I can’t think of anything that has been delivered to the DUP as part of a new agreement> Maybe some DUPer can outline them.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Seamus Mc Kee was of Radio Ulster was quite insistent when questioning Blair about the DUP willing to share government within the boudaries of the GFA. Blair was quite adamant that this was the case. There is no new agreement. The DUP were unable to keep the promises they made to their electorate.

  • Moderate Unionist

    david brew
    Sorry, but I think you will have trouble convincing people that the DUP have negoitiated a new deal (and I am surprised that you of all people would quote Gerry Adams as an authority).

    The agreement isn’t new, what is new is that the DUP are prepared to sign up to it.

  • George

    I get the feeling this all looks like the IRA will decommission in the next 18 months either way. It just won’t happen at the DUP’s behest.

    Gerry Adams:
    “Is all of what has been achieved, including by the DUP, going to be lost because of this absolutist and unreasonable and, in my view, unachievable demand?”

    I can see it happening in 2005 or early 2006 regardless of whether Stormont gets up and running. It will have to be a gesture that somehow permits FF to get away with the release of the killers of Garda McCabe and allows SF to go into government in a future Dail.

    In other words, winding up the army, followed by clear acceptance of Dail Eireann as the legitimate parliament of the Irish people and the President as the head of the legitimate armed forces.

    They’ll probably hammer out the deal with Bertie because in the end the IRA answer only to the Irish people and unionism has said time and again it is simply British.

    Tony will almost certainly throw in a bit of demilitarisation to ease the pain.

  • cg

    “They’ll probably hammer out the deal with Bertie because in the end the IRA answer only to the Irish people and unionism has said time and again it is simply British.”

    While I believe the call for photographs to be shown, at the behest of the DUP, was an attempt to humiliate republicans, I don’t agree with your analysis on Unionism.

    Unionists should be welcomed into the Irish family as they are an integral part of the Irish family. Just because a few unionists refuse to accept their Irish identity doesn’t mean it should be denied to unionism.

  • George

    cg,
    I pointed out what the overwhelming majority of unionism considers itself to be, namely simply British.

    This in no way denies a unionist’s right to be whatever he/she wants to be, including simply British, Irish or Klingon, as long as they have a democratic mandate to continue partition and they treat Irish citizens in their jurisdiction equally and with full respect.

    I’d be interested in knowing whether you believe decommissioning could still happen to the satisfaction of the Irish people without the photos necessary for the DUP’s Stormont?

    I also would like to know whether you think this gesture will happen before the next Dail election so SF can go into it saying it accepts the 28th Dail as the legitimate parliament of Ireland and that the Chief of Staff of Oglaigh na hEireann is President McAleese.

    Or will they remain members of the 2nd Dail club for a few more years?

  • Ciarán Irvine

    I think you’re right George. When you look at it, this business off Northern MPs being allowed Dáil speaking rights can be done anyway by Dáil legislation – I don’t think there’s anything in Bunreacht na hÉireann that would require a referendum on this point. So the recognition of the Dáil by SF can be done as part of that. And the decommissioning will certainly follow. I’d put an election in early 2006 under the current constituency boundaries (they’re going to need serious revisions in late 2006 after the census because of the constitutional requirements on TD/population ratios), following a giveaway budget this time next year. The first SSIAs will start maturing in April, so the election should be around June/July.

    And afterwards? Hung Dáil most likely. FF/PD coalition won’t have the numbers, but neither will a FG/Lab/Green rainbow, and if Rabbitte is still in charge of Labour that leaves us with

    a) A minority FF administration propped up by unofficial arrangements with Independents and SF or

    b) a full FF/SF coalition UNLESS

    c) Howlin deposes Rabbitte in the immediate aftermath of the results and enters a FF/Lab coalition.

    So it’s in SFs interest to tidy this up well before April 2006.

  • alex s

    the reason why David Brewster insists that the proposals represent a new agreement is that to admit the obvious, i.e. they are no more than the GFA with minor tweaks would be to admit that the DUPes have played him and all the UUP rebels as fools and that the DUPes opposition was simply policital posturing, PARTY BEFORE COUNTRY as usual

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    DUP claims that what they’ve got is a new agreement are, to me, similar to SF’s claims back at the time the GFA was signed that the document would pave the way to a united Ireland. It’s untrue, but if delusion helps them sell a sensible compromise to their supporters who am I to stop them ?

    Reading the government document I see a series of further concessions to republicans which the DUP were at the point of agreeing to if the necessary photographs had been produced. To me it’s the GFA with a few tweaks, not a completely new, fairer deal.

  • George

    Ciarán,
    I have always been of the position that decomissioning is something the IRA needs and wants to do to begin a Pan-Irish Republican alliance involving the majority of the electorate on this island rather than any need to keep this Stormont mularki up and running.

    The Northern Assembly is just a sideshow to the main event, namely the move by SF to finally accept Dáil Éireann and constitutional republicanism as the main method to end partition.

    In order to do this, the arms and the army have to go. Stating the obvious but it’s unconstitutional.

    Anyway on your points.
    A) FF minority. Can’t see it happening.
    We’ll see an FG, Lab and PD coalition ahead of this. The PD’s can say it’s to keep SF out.

    B) a full FF/SF coalition.
    That would want to be some act of decomissioning and Gerry himself will have to go and see the widow McCabe. Also, SF will have to put forward what exactly it would ask for in such a coalition. At the moment, nobody really knows.

    C) I know a few Labour people and they never liked Rabitte. I also think they completely messed up with Michael D. and the presidential.

    It could be an interesting outside bet but if Labour do badly, it would probably mean another four or five years of FF/PD.

  • cg

    “I’d be interested in knowing whether you believe decommissioning could still happen to the satisfaction of the Irish people without the photos necessary for the DUP’s Stormont?”

    Yes I do.
    Some one said to me today, Paisley believes in God and heaven yet he has never seen pictures, therefore how does he know it to be true? 😉

  • Impractical Observer

    The guns will go when having them about is more damaging than getting rid of them. For SF I suspect this point will be the next Dail election. Simple as that.

    Brewster,

    What’s the difference between this deal and the GFA then? Its not immediately apparent to me, please, please enlighten us all.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    One of the outstanding issues at the moment is the Policing project. SF are in a position to bargain on transparency on this issue. If the DUP et al still demand transparency around arms then the British in good faith should hand over files in their possession regarding collusion and controversial killings regarding the RUC.

    Nationalists will then be able to identify those responsible for the murder of their neighbours. There are a number of senior officers in the PSNI who were senior officers in the RUC while these killings took place. Once identified these people can be rooted out and thus facilitate the acceptance of policing by the majority of nationalists. This will of course happen in tandem with the IRA allowing photos of decommissioning to be produced.

  • John East Belfast

    davidbrew

    “BTW Willow why not just come out and admit you’re Trevor Ringland ? it’s not like everyone hasn’t guessed.”

    Obviously, unlike some of his peers, Trevor is involved in a successful law practice and wouldn’t have sufficient non billable hours to devote the kind of time that Willowfield so effectively does. I have to assume Willowfield is either retired or a student ?

  • Henry94

    cg

    Just because a few unionists refuse to accept their Irish identity doesn’t mean it should be denied to unionism.

    Accepting unionists as Irish is not accepting them at all. You have to accept them as British and accept the total validity of a British identity on the island.

  • willowfield

    DB

    Adams said the Shinners accepted the political aspects of the package. So Adams-the undisputed king of semantics -clearly accepts it’s about a new agreement.

    ???? How does that leap of logic work? The reason Adams accepts them is precisely because they are such minor amendments to the Agreement as to render the Agreement intact.

    The 2 governments who drafted it accept its about a new agreement. The Ulster Unionists will either have to accept it’s about a new Agreement or reject it in favour of the poorer version they negotiated (no surprises about which option they’ll choose)

    You might desperately try to claim that a few minor amendments means there is a “new” Agreement, but any one with half a wit will see that 99% of the Agreement remains in place, and that 99% includes the bits that the DUP complained most bitterly about!

    So much for the DUP’s tough negotiation skills: Robinson’s vaunted experience as a junior estate agent didn’t turn out to be much use in the end.

    Not only has the DUP bought the Agreement – this new document makes no changes to the early release scheme, the reforms to the RUC/PSNI, criminal justice review, the “equality agenda”, the Human Rights Commission, Gaelic language provisions, the ROI constitution, and deals only with a few amendments to the rules of the Assembly and north-south bodies (which remain) – but they conceded the release of the McCabe killers and NI MPs going to the Dáil (although dishonestly managed to avoid having these included in the document).

    And they signed up for the prospect of Provos in charge of policing and justice, despite the scare tactics of the last election campaign when they campaigned as the party who would stop Gerry Kelly becoming Minister of Justice.

    Jeez, they could at least have got rid of the Civic Forum!

    I’ve rarely been so underwhelmed.

  • stephen nicholl

    not only did they not get rid of the civic forum they made it into an all-ireland civic forum.

    way to go lads

  • stephen nicholl

    or just thinking do we now have two.

    listened to Dermot Ahern this morning saying how much else there was but that they hadn’t published all the details.