Fintan O’Toole argues in the Irish Times (subs needed) that the peace process is actually going very well.
Starting with a letter an IT reader sent to the paper three weeks after voting for Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald in last June’s European election, where he claimed he was “duped” as his vote was out of recognition of SF’s efforts in the peace process but immediately saw “they haven’t changed at all”, O’Toole goes on to say this wasn’t surprising as
“we had entered an Orwellian world where the way to support peace and democracy was to be nice to those who had most blood on their hands. Lies were creative ambiguity … most of us, to a degree, allowed ourselves to lose our moral bearings.”
O’Toole goes on to say that now we have left our holiday in “Wonderland” the consensus appears to be that the peace process is in trouble.
“Actually, though, the peace process is going very well. It has moved forward, at last, to a point that should have been reached long ago. The journey has passed through a boggy swamp of strategic evasion and reached the hard ground of clarity. The mechanical side of the process – the institutional deal-making – may be going nowhere, but the more important fundamental side – the shifting of perceptions – is making real progress…
…Ten years ago, a photograph of Gerry Adams surrounded by men and women in military uniforms with black berets and sunglasses would hardly have been worth printing. Now, the photographs of the Sinn Fein president at an IRA commemoration in Strabane last weekend scream out the remarkable fact that a would-be Taoiseach still hangs round with a private army. Slowly but surely, a sense of normality has been regained.”