It seems where McDowell leads, Adams follows. Though to be fair to Adams and Sinn Fein they have been holding talks with a range of people in Protestant civil society since long before Minister McDowell called Republicans back to the founding principles of the 1790s. However this looks like a first (albeit rhetorical) strike to widen the ambit of the Sinn Fein project to include ordinary Northern Irish Protestants and move away from the Defenderism is sometimes accused of by its critics in the past.
…let us begin by reassuring unionists that we are not in the business of coercing them into a united Ireland. Instead as we seek to build a shared space in which we can move forward we all must appreciate that, as some northern Protestants have said to me, ‘the wise man builds his house upon the rock’. In this case that means a meaningful, working partnership between nationalists and republicans, unionists and loyalists. I believe there is a huge opportunity to fulfil the historic destiny of our people by uniting orange and green in unity and justice and on the basis of equality.”
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty