Aubade

Henry has the crispest line of the late night reports cautiously peering at light at the end of the tunnel.

The two leaders presented Northern Ireland’s political parties with a position paper promising devolution of policing and justice powers by 4 May. They also offered unionists changes in how controversial parades are ruled on. The plan is similar to how marches are dealt with in Derry, where the issue has been largely resolved. The prime minister enlisted the help of Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, in his attempt to secure a deal between Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist party, Downing Street confirmed.

Hopefully Eamonn will burst forth when he’s thawed out. Chris Donelly’s irritation with hacks reading the runes from smiles is understandable but heartless. You try standing around for hours in the freezing cold and you’d pontificate on a mirage. On the “Derry model” he’s right about the reverse demographic of a (sadly too) overwhelmingly nationalist city. But is that really the point? The essence of it is surely simple in concept and requires application in detail. And details is what so many of our guys abhor, preferring windy posturing. An agreed framework for parades handling has still to emerge. Lower Ormeau and the rest are flashpoints that go back to square one every year, are they not? Interim solutions only. The principle of negotiation, so often shunned by unionists, is surely the key to tackling Chris’s lugubrious list. Isn’t that what we’re seeing at last at Hillsborough?

  • Pete Baker

    More speculation.

    Tell us when there is something to discuss.

  • Keithbelfast

    How about a nice space post to keep us occupied pete.

  • heamaisbharney

    Ho hum, ho hum. The kids are still in their tantrums.

  • Dewi

    Aubade eh

    Larkin

  • FitzjamesHorse

    I cant quite understand why Derry is sadly too overwhelmingly nationalist.
    Its hardly sad that Crossmaglen is too overwhelmingly nationalist. Or Bushmills too overwhelmingly unionist.
    Or Cultra too overwhelmingly conservative.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Brian

    Forgive me my heartless jibe bur you hacks, current and former, are surely thick-skinned enough to survive such ribbing…

    I doubt very much if people in the lower Ormeau/ Clifton Park Avenue and elsewhere regard the current practice of rerouted parades as being the ‘interim’ solution.

    In many ways that remark highlights the problem as, clearly for many unionists, a ‘final’ or ‘lasting’ solution must involve loyalists getting to march where they want, albeit subject to minor modifications.

    As we’ve seen in Wootton Bassett, that assumption is not shared in Britain, and it is extremely unlikely that a ban on any proposed republican march through the centre of, sadly, too unionist towns like Carrickfergus or Newtownards would be viewed as an unsatisfactorily ‘interim’ solution.

    The ‘Derry’ model is not the answer to the parading dispute on its own as unionism, in its own heartlands, must be asked how it will take reciprocal steps to accomodate the explicitly political and cultural expression of Irish nationalism.

    Asking those questions- and getting answers- is surely more likely to deliver lasting solutions as it involves asking unionist communities to display the type of tolerance Loyal Orders repreatedly ask of their nationalist neighbours.

  • aquifer

    The law on parades should establish a ‘bare bones’ right to demonstrate somewhere near where you wanted to in the first place, but give more to demonstrators who have demonstrated a good faith attempt to achieve a negotiated resolution.

    i.e. Something as of right, but more by negotiation.

  • Chris Donnelly

    aquifer

    Does that include potential republican marches in loyalist areas, perhaps even areas like the Brownstown or Corcrain estates in Portadown?

  • Brian Walker

    Chris, I think you’re confusing process with outcome. Some framework is needed. The deadlock over parades is ostensibly focused on the process, whereas what they really care about is the the outcome. That has to be unpacked. I absolutely accept ther’e a wider context.

    “The ‘Derry’ model is not the answer to the parading dispute on its own as unionism, in its own heartlands, must be asked how it will take reciprocal steps to accomodate the explicitly political and cultural expression of Irish nationalism.”

    I would add that it’s desirable to reduce the clamour of identity politics, though unfortunately this won’t happen in the present climate.

    Pete, it’s a bit more than speculation. It’s briefing with a couple of nuggets tossed to an anxious populace. Sorry if I use a hack’s reflex to keep the pot bubbling with the story so far..

  • Chris Donnelly

    Brian

    ‘Reducing the clamour of identity politics’ will involve a genuine desire to accept the equal legitimacy of those identity issues, else we will keep on coming back to the same issues.

    I’m interested in working towards a decisive process of resolution.

  • tpaine1789

    This is like “déjà vu” all over again. The Northern Ireland situation will not begin to be resolved until the voters have a financial stake in the possible outcomes. As long as both sides in a sectarian situation can hurl insults or even bombs at each other and have somebody else (e.g. the British taxpayer) pick up the tab they will continue to act like dependent children.
    Surely the two governments can devise a solution giving some degree of fiscal autonomy and responsibility to Northern Ireland whereby local taxpayers feel the pain of dysfunctional government through higher taxes and also the benefit of lower taxes and more jobs for effective government.
    If some radical change is not made Northern Ireland will continue to limp along from crisis to crisis with each sectarian group having the luxury of throwing the toys out of the pram and waiting for Santa Claus to keep them happy.
    Surely the lesson of the last 80 years is that a military or terrorist solution has not worked and also an artificial sectarian structured parliament with no financial power or responsibility has not worked. In all peaceful democratic societies the biggest power government has is to raise or lower taxes and increase or reduce spending. Why not give the Northern Ireland Assembly some financial clout (and responsibility) and see how the voters might then interact in their own vested interest.

  • aquifer

    “Does that include potential republican marches in loyalist areas, perhaps even areas like the Brownstown or Corcrain estates in Portadown?”

    Same rules must apply to all.

    Is your band any good?