WRITING in today’s Indo, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern says that “[t]he forms of transparency that are proposed in the Governments’ proposals have nothing to do with surrender or humiliation”. While republicans have said they will not accept “humiliation”, it is clear that Ahern feels somewhat humiliated himself after taking so much flak for backing the release of Garda McCabe’s killers.
“Sinn Fein and the DUP have sought to constructively face up to the responsibilities placed upon them by their enhanced leadership mandates. While the form and nature of engagement over the last year was slow and, at times, frustrating, the fact of the matter is that we are now on the brink of an accommodation that would have been regarded as impossible a few years ago. The earlier risk-taking of those in leadership positions in 1998, and afterwards, greatly contributed to the opportunity we have today to forge an irreversible accommodation between unionism and nationalism.
“A core recommendation of the Mitchell report on decommissioning in January, 1996 was that the process should “suggest neither victory nor defeat” and the modalities of decommissioning should not require any party to be seen to surrender.
“This wise counsel of Senator Mitchell remains equally valid today. It should be a guide to us all at this time. The forms of transparency that are proposed in the Governments’ proposals have nothing to do with surrender or humiliation.
“Certainty and clarity are two-way streets. They apply equally to partnership politics as they do to the process of arms decommissioning. In the context of an agreement, I welcome the prospect of DUP commitment to constructive partnership in Northern Ireland and to meeting their commitments in each Strand of the Agreement, and in every other respect. I acknowledge too the support of Sinn Fein, which Gerry Adams has confirmed to me, for the political aspects of the Governments’ proposals.”