Joseph O’Malley concludes that with the DUP and Sinn Fein riding towards a victory, there is little prospect of any release from the deadlock in the short term:
One party, the DUP, has opposed the Agreement throughout, and vowed to replace it, at least until Ian Paisley first scented the whiff of power, following the UUP’s electoral setback in 2003.By December, the DUP was only a photograph awayfrom office.
The other party, Sinn Fein, has defaulted on its obligations to make the Agreement work, through the intransigence of its paramilitary wing, the IRA. And since 1998, neither the Northern Ireland Assembly, nor the power-sharing executive, has operated for any sustained period.
The most likely election result will be a triumph of the extremes, which will leave the Irish and British governments to inherit a political mess: a mess partly of their own making, given how ineptly Dublin and London have managed the accord.