A one-off opportunity

That’s how Tony Blair described the statement from the IRA that both Governments are insisting on waiting for. That’s a one-off opportunity.. with a credibility threshold.. hmmm..

And if the opportunity is missed? Or the threshold ducked?

Will the Irish and British Governments continue with the current [and past?] strategy as described by Secretary of State for NI [and Wales – Ed] Peter Hain in an article in The Times –

But if you are going finally to crack the end of the process that culminated and then went beyond the Good Friday Agreement, these are the two parties[DUP and SF] that can most effectively deliver if they choose to do so.[added emphasis]

And if they choose not to? Is there a Plan B? Or will the Irish and British governments continue to replay the scene indefinitely?

  • slug9987

    Words, words, words
    I’m so sick of words
    I get words all day through
    First from him now from you
    Is that all you blighters can do?

    Sing me no song, read me no rhyme
    Don’t waste my time, show me
    Don’t talk of June, don’t talk of fall
    Don’t talk at all, show me

    Never do I ever want to hear another word
    There isn’t one I haven’t heard
    Here we are together in what ought to be a dream
    Say one more word and I’ll scream!

  • peteb

    An unusual choice of lyrics, slug..

    But perhaps we should be grateful you left the other verses out.. 😉

  • slug9987


    Aren’t you already preparing the sick bag for this “historic” statement?

  • Friendly Fire

    Tony Blair…………….. words fail me.

  • peteb


    It’s certainly true that the ‘hype over history’ approach is all too familiar.. especially when combined with the secretive meetings that have taken place and the lack of transparency in general.

    Mark Devenport used an important phrase earlier today [possibly paraphrased here] – This is a statement that needs to be able to sell itself.

  • DerryTerry

    I think we are all arriving at the stage where it is put up or shut up time. There is no point in any IRA statement unless it breaks the mould and actually lives up to all the hype.

    I would think Republicans are well aware of this fact and it is part of their ongoing discussions.

    But the IRA are not the only obstacle and Republicans will likely need more than a “passing on of the obligation” to make the leap. Movement needs to happen and if Unionists want a decontamination period the two governments need to get their fingers out.

    Full implementation of Patten, fast tracking of demil and speaking rights in the Dail would be a good start.

  • Alan McDonald

    The direct Balir quote from the BBC article is:

    Mr Blair said the group must recognise this as a “one off opportunity”.

    He said if the IRA passed the “credibility threshold”, the obligation would pass to unionists to drop their objections to power-sharing.

    It seems to me that Blair is saying he will determine if the threshold has been met and not the DUP. Then he will tell Hain to call the Assembly which will fail to elect an executive causing another round of Assembly elections.

    I say all this based on my observation that Northern Ireland has no true elections (where people actually work the jobs they are elected to) only beauty contests.

  • peteb


    I will just indicate, although it doesn’t necessarily alter your point, that the text of the BBC report which the link points to has been heavily edited since the original post went up.

  • Alan McDonald


    I recognize that some of the text I quoted was NOT spoken by Blair. Is there a video/audio/transcript of his remarks anywhere?

    On the face of it, it seems he is giving himself the option of interpreting the IRA statement as he sees fit.

  • peteb


    Added the relevant question and answer and the link to the transcript. I’ve highlighted the [long] sentence with both phrases. But he seems to be saying any statement needs to be able to convince unioninsts.

  • Alan McDonald


    Thanks for the speedy update! You guys are spoiling me. It’s not easy to get the news without the spin.

    When I was watching the US network news about today’s Supreme Court rulings on the 10 Commandments, I was yelling questions at the screen that the stupid reporters forgot to ask. Fortunately, I could get on the Internet and read the opinions for myself.

  • peteb

    We’re not done yet, Alan 🙂

    There was a later joint statement and press conference, with PM Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern – referred to in the question above.. when there’s a suitably full statement and transcript available online I’ll add it.

  • martin

    “Simple lessons cut most deep.
    This lesson in our hearts we keep:
    The milder forms of violence,
    Earn nothing but polite neglect.

    England,the way to your respect
    Is via murderous force,it seems;

    You push us to your own extremes.
    You condescend to hear us speak
    Only when we slap your cheek.

    And yet we lack the last technique:
    We rap for order with a gun,
    The issues simplify to one.


    Thomas Kinsella–Ninth ghost in Butchers Dozen

  • tomasmaguire


    Excellent wee post there, very infornative and sits well with me, just goggled Kinsella … a real treat.

    Go raibh míle maith agat

  • barnshee

    “there are just a few million between us, but we will sort that out some other time.”
    A FEW MILLION !!! of other peoples money -what a slimy toe rag, of course it may be the company he keeps