“Like in the aftermath of a Stalinist putsch..”

The lack of candour had been predicted, but in today’s Irish Times [and on yesterday’s Talkback – Ed] Davy Adams notes the lack of statemanship in the speeches by Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness on Tuesday – “Thank God for Ahern and Blair” then..[subs req]From Davy Adams [subs req]

My latest silent prayer of thanks for Blair and Ahern was sparked by their speeches on Tuesday. They brought some decorum when it was most needed. Like in the aftermath of a Stalinist putsch where people and events are just written out of history, in their first official pronouncements as First and Deputy First Ministers neither Ian Paisley nor Martin McGuinness thought fit to give credit to anyone who had gone before them.

They didn’t even bother to invite the likes of Séamus Mallon and our two Nobel Peace Prize-winners, David Trimble and John Hume, along to the Stormont ceremony. (Hume was only there courtesy of the SDLP.)

By contrast, the two premiers spread praise far and wide and were careful to give credit to political friend and foe alike. In the middle of an election campaign, Ahern rose above his own personal and party-political interests to name-check, among many others, the likes of Liz O’Donnell of the PDs, Dick Spring of Labour and John Bruton of Fine Gael.

By their magnanimity, both he and Blair inadvertently reminded us of what separates the statesman from the local politician.

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  • “They didn’t even bother to invite the likes of Séamus Mallon and our two Nobel Peace Prize-winners, David Trimble and John Hume, along to the Stormont ceremony. (Hume was only there courtesy of the SDLP.)”

    I think it would have reminded the world and the people of Northern Ireland that the DUP and Sinn Fein are just carrying on from where they left off i.e. running with the GFA and working its institutions.

    Therefore, not really a fair-deal or getting it right and not so much ‘delivering’ either, because this has already been done by those said men before them, who have had there day in the media now the power hungry want their slice too.

    Séamus Mallow is a good guy. That’s why he wasn’t there.

  • Ian

    The leader in the Daily Telegraph had a dig about the fact that John Major wasn’t invited (he was “churlishly snubbed and left off the guest list for yesterday’s ceremonials”).

  • Ian

    Although I seem to remember reading that his opposite number of the time, Albert Reynolds, was there. Can someone confirm that?

  • The reason Paisley and McGuinness didn’t namecheck their previous counterparts in the SDLP and UUP is that it would have been tantamount to acknowledging the fact that the postion the DUP and SF are in now is the same as that where the UUs and SDLP were a decade ago- nay, three decades ago.

    Let’s face it, fudge and fiasco have delayed for years the operation of the institutions which were created under the Good Friday Agreement- while it may suit the DUP and SF to ignore this fact, the truth remains that Tuesday’s events were not so much a cause for celebration, but rather a reason to reflect upon the questions- what was it all about? Why did people die? Why did groups hold on to weapons? Why would politicans not share power with their rivals for so long? No amount of spin can excuse the fact that those basking in self-admiration were amongst the greatest obstacles to progress here for many, many years.

  • Marty

    Have just read the full article. Some very interesting points in it much too big to copy here. The stuff on Bertie and how he has brought Tone’s dream closer than any other republican leader is excellent.

  • Mick Fealty

    Davy’s stuff usually comes out on The Blanket at the weekend.

  • the fact that the postion the DUP and SF are in now is the same as that where the UUs and SDLP were a decade ago- nay, three decades ago.

    Sunningdale for slow learners. That’s why they had the people signing in Makaton.

  • Whatever Next

    I do wish people would drop this absurd trope that the current dispensation is ‘Sunningdale for slow learners’: it’s not. Way back then murderer McGuinness was on the scene too, but Sunningdale specifically precluded terrorists from government. ‘Sunningdale for slow learners’ is the emptiest cliche on the go at the moment – illuminating nothing, but contributing only to Norn Iron’s already copious smugheap.

  • Token Dissent

    Excellent points by Davy Adams. Paisley’s speech was especially self-centred and historically deceitful.

    I have found it interesting that in all the recent documentaries reviewing The Process, it has been Mallon who(even more than Trimble) has highlighted the morally vacuous nature of Blair’s role and the broader agenda of both governments.

    Whatever Next – your point about paramilitaries being outside of government in 1974 is valid, but you must accept that the fundamentals for the current settlement were in place 33 years ago.

    It also has to be clarified that it isn’t correct to say the UUP was, as a whole, pro-Sunningdale. Unionists like Dermot Nesbitt were pro, but many like John Taylor were anti.