Tick Tock..

RTÉ reports Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, has taken his turn with the big stick [more “unhelpful spin from some elements in Dublin”? – see comment 4, Ed]. Speaking to the British-Irish Association at Oxford University, and citing “a peaceful marching season, a stable security environment, provisional IRA decommissioning and signs of positive movement in loyalism”, Dermot Ahern checked his watch and warned that “the alternative to devolution in November would not be the shelving of the Good Friday Agreement but its fullest possible implementation with enhanced North South co-operation.” Signs of positive movement in loyalism? Maybe.. but only with public reassurances on the nature of that joint-stewardship.. oh, and don’t mention policing.. natch. Update International Herald Tribune has much more detail of the speeches More In the Irish Times Gerry Moriarty has quotes from Dermot Ahern’s speech[subs req]In those additional details, from the IHT report, are quotes from the speech, at the same event, by the DUP’s Gregory Campbell, who reportedly “said in his prepared remarks that Protestants would not cooperate with Sinn Fein until it ends its decades-old hostility to the Northern Ireland police. If that meant missing the deadline for months or even years, so be it

He noted that Britain’s secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Peter Hain, could well be moved from his post in the next British Cabinet reshuffle, an event likely when Prime Minister Tony Blair steps down.

“It is a total misreading of the history of the DUP to imagine that, having endured a terrorist war for 40 years in Northern Ireland, we are likely to be swayed by the threats of a secretary of state who may not even be around in a few months’ time,” Campbell said.

“I am under absolutely no pressure from my constituents to move before the time is right,” said Campbell, who listed his party’s conditions for agreement.

“From Sinn Fein and the IRA we require total (weapons) decommissioning, a complete end to paramilitary activity, a complete end to criminal activity, and an acceptance of and support for the rule of law,” he said.

And, Interestingly, the IHT report states that..

Ahern did not specify what the two governments would do in event of continued deadlock.

Further Update The Irish Times has quotes from Dermot Ahern’s speech

“The Taoiseach and Prime Minister Blair have made clear their intentions. If, by November 24th, a power-sharing Executive has not been formed, the two governments will bring forward partnership arrangements to ensure that the Good Friday agreement is actively developed across all its functions,” he added.

“As part of that they have also made clear their commitment to a step-change in North-South co-operation and action for the benefit of all,” he told the BIA, which is attended by British and Irish politicians and officials, academics, community representatives, clergy, journalists and others with an interest in the peace process.

“We are agreed on this and we are prepared to give practical expression to it. Of course, in the absence of devolved institutions, this will be less than everyone would wish. In a sense there will be no winners from this outcome. We will all lose, but none more so than the political parties in Northern Ireland,” Mr Ahern said.

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  • Hidden Gem

    “…but its fullest possible implementation with enhanced North South co-operation..>”

    By enhanced does he mean, as a result of pushing ahead with the full implementation of the GFA regarding North-South cooperation or is he being wilfully provocative by hinting at the possibility of greater N-S cooperation above and beyond the GFA? If the latter is the case then this may actually serve as a disincentive to the Shinners and make the Duppers dig their heals in.

  • Pete Baker

    Hidden Gem

    The IHT report states that “Ahern did not specify what the two governments would do in event of continued deadlock.”

    RTÉ unhelpfully spinning?

  • Hidden Gem

    I suspect this is a warning shot across the bow, directed straight at the DUP. Such tactics haven’t worked in the past with either SF or DUP and I don’t see this time being any different; each being as stubborn as the proverbial mule. The difficulties of legislating on an almost as hoc basis seem difficult to conceive and implausible too but, given the audience being addressed, the ambiguity in Dermot Ahern’s language is only to be expected I suppose.

  • Pete Baker

    Well, the only caution I’d add to that interpretation, HG, is that the quotes in the original post come from the RTÉ report… not the actual speech by Dermot Ahern..

  • Rory

    Ahern said in a text of his speech to British and Irish lawmakers.

    My tired eyes read this as “lawnmakers and I thought “Oh, Jeez, not that lot being first to be reassured yet again”.

  • Pete Baker

    What you meant to quote, Rory.. was..

    At the British Irish Association, a regular gathering of lawmakers interested in Northern Ireland, Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said in prepared remarks that both the British and Irish governments would enforce their threat to give up on power-sharing if the two sides didn’t strike a deal by Nov. 24

    And your point, given RTÉ’s apparent mis-reporting of the event, is?

  • Rory

    Not RTE’s misreporting, Pete,but as I said in my post, my misreading and my point, if any, was simply where that misreading, by my tired eyes, allowed my tired mind to wander. Just thought I’d share my imperfections with you.

    Now I’ve shown you mine perhaps you’ll show me yours.

  • Rory

    Hello! My posts seem to have disappeared although Pete’s response to my first post is above.

    I notice that my name and e-mail details now have to be manually entered as well. Can anyone explain the problem, please?

  • Rory

    Whoops! Now they are back again. Sweet mystery divine.

    Still do not have name and e-mail on automatic though.

  • Hidden Gem

    I fully accept your point Pete. Not knowing much about individual RTE hacks, I’ll leave that for others who are better placed and informed to comment on. I do know that, when questioned about the creeping bias appearing in submitted reports, one journalist here in the North admitted that the content in the brown envelope can become just too big to refuse. I would not be surprised if RTE were being a little disingenuous with it’s reporting here; especially given it’s links to government. as a PSB.

  • Nic

    Garret Fitzgerald in the Irish Times last week did a piece on how the numbers aren’t likely to add up at the next election and that FF can only be returned to power with SF help. And that Bertie is as usual being duplicitous and disingenuous by pretending to rule out accepting their support when in fact he knows darned well he’s in bed with them.

    Of course you don’t want to make a speech at Oxford giving the game away too soon, but you can let a SF-FF sleeper in RTE misinterpret your speech for the benefit of the faithful back home…

    Has there been a rebuttal/correction from Kildare Street that would discredit that conspiracy theory?

  • Pete Baker

    Gerry Moriarty was there and quotes Dermot Ahern’s actual speech.. see update.

  • Dave


    Your argument is rubbish. The Taoiseach said he would lead his party into opposition rather than enter govt with SF.

    As SF falters in the south we can expect to see more of this spin – that somehow a vote for SF is relavent to government.

    Interesting that in todays Irish Times Adams says they can get 10 seats in the 26 counties – a year ago O Caollain said they were aiming for 15. And then Daily Ireland shuts because noone buys it!

    In this context your spin in understandable – its still rubbish though. Its just not in FFs interest to go into Govt with SF – it would lose them half their support.

  • Crataegus


    FF + Labour

    It is that simple. There is absolutely no opening for SF that I see.