It’s worth noting Vernon Coaker’s intervention, which is a reminder to both sets of ‘leaders’ in Northern Ireland of the basis of the Belfast Agreement back in 1998:
“I can’t help but think that to overcome the setbacks, we almost need to establish first principles again, the sort that were enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement.
“Nationalists and republicans need to show that they accept Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom while the majority of people who live there want it to be. That’s what they signed up for.
“It doesn’t mean they have to like it, or stop working for a change to it. But they have got to respect it, and the Britishness of their neighbours who want it to continue.
“And unionists and loyalists need to show that they acknowledge that Northern Ireland is Irish too.
“It must be shared between everyone. That’s what they signed up for. It doesn’t diminish their place in the United Kingdom, or mean they have to stop supporting the Union. But they must respect the equal status and legitimacy of their neighbours’ Irishness.”
Ah, but that would require compromise in government… something which is, as yet, more conspicuous in the letter of the agreement than in the (in)actions of the power-sharing Executive…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty