won’t happen this year, nor next, nor realistically for many years..

There’s no way of knowing whether Vincent Browne has voted in our poll.. but if his opinion piece in yesterday’s Sunday Business Post is anything to go by, his vote would be for “Later”. He opens with a prediction on the players themselves, and on the prospects of a ‘settlement’ –

No reinstatement of the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement, no agreement on policing, continuing involvement by paramilitaries in criminality and sporadic violence.

But in the long run it won’t matter, for the trajectory of events in the North was set more than 12 years ago. Ultimately, there will be an accommodation, if not communal reconciliation – or rather conciliation.

Tony Blair will be long gone from the political scene. Bertie Ahern may still be around, but that says little about any timeframe, for he may be around as Taoiseach for another decade or so, even if he doesn’t want to be. Ian Paisley will hardly be around and we can’t say about Gerry Adams because some day, one of his former – or even present – comrades may conclude he has subverted the struggle for Irish freedom.

It would be preferable if there were a ‘settlement’ this year – a reinstatement of the power-sharing institutions and the all-Ireland bodies, acceptance by Sinn Fein of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), an end to exiling, intelligence-gathering and criminality. But it won’t happen this year, nor next, nor realistically for many years – for two reasons.

His reasoning can be read here