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.