In light of the recently published analysis of the active US role in The Process here, and as the short tour of US financial and political circles continues, the reported comments of the Northern Ireland Executive’s First Minister, Ian Paisley, in the Irish Times today are very intriguing. [subs req]
“Mr Bush is a down-to-earth man. Mr Blair was the great actor. He was a perfect actor and not a good negotiator because of that. Because the negotiations I was in wasn’t acting, it was a matter of life and death. So the president talked to me quite often. In fact, I said once to Blair, does the president tell you what I say about you? No, he says, he doesn’t. What have you said? So I told him something of what I said about him. He was absolutely shocked,” he recalled.
More from the Irish Times report
The North’s First Minister Ian Paisley has spoken of US president George Bush’s role in encouraging him to make the deal that led to powersharing with Sinn Féin earlier this year.
Dr Paisley, who will visit the White House with Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness tomorrow, told The Irish Times that, having visited the White House before, he was relaxed about tomorrow’s event.
“I’ve been in the White House before. It means very little to me. I’m not impressed very much by political figures. I suppose I’m a kind of unbeliever in that respect,” he said.
“Mr Bush spoke to me regularly during the negotiations I was having with his friend, the ex-prime minister Mr Blair.”
Dr Paisley said that the president’s calls were sometimes effective, not least because of the difference in personality between Mr Bush and Mr Blair.
And, also intriguingly
At a small gathering at the New York home of the American Ireland Fund’s Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Dr Paisley spoke about why he had made the decision to share power with Sinn Féin. The First Minister said that “before the end of my days on this earth” he wanted to leave a legacy of peace.
“There are many mysteries in life about the causes of wars and rumours of wars. But one thing we do know is that we will not be here forever,” he said.