Unusually for Gerry Adams, he announced where he was going to vote. Duly a large group of journos showed up. When Slugger arrived Bairbre de Bruin was giving an interview in French with AFP. When Gerry they joined up and proceeded to the count speaking for the most part in Irish. Bairbre did most of the talking.Afterwards Adams put some emphasis on the party’s aspiration of achieving a united Ireland, but emphasised that “democracy would be a good idea of the whole island of Ireland but that the first criterion is for everyone to accept the will of the people in this election”.
He was asked how long his ‘initiative’ would take, but he refused to be drawn. “Having made the call it is not in our interests to let it go lukewarm or cold. We want the IRA to come back with a positive answer, no matter how long it takes.”
In conversation with one senior party source afterwards, it seems the strategy over this next undefined period the party will attempt to deal with three key outstanding issues: dealing with the IRA; getting buy-in from the DUP; and ensuring that transition to locally and democratically accountable policing in Northern Irelandt takes place in a timely fashion.
He noted too that the DUP had proven themselves committed negotiators, who were prepared to negotiate up to, through and even past a deal. In contrast to the moderate parties to the Belfast Agreement, who seemed to have given up on tying down detail and simply gone their own ways after the major deal had been brokered.
It’s possible that the deal breaking photos before Christmas, were simply a case of Sinn Fein ‘testing’ the resolve, nerve and committment of the DUP. In which case, in the wake of this election, we may see considerably more play in this game yet!