Gregory Campbell just fell off a chair somewhere as Peter Robinson heaped praise on the improving relationship with the Irish government today.
He told his audience
By focusing on outcomes we have found a way to work together in all of our interests.
He continued arguing that what were once controversial issues were now normal (skirting over the fact that his predecessor was one of the people who made those issues controverisal)
In many ways, it is remarkable that what was once the most thorny of issues is now almost entirely uncontroversial
Then he praised recent turn around in the Irish economy
It would have been difficult to imagine a few years ago that such substantial improvement could have been made in such a timeframe. Both of us have much more to do, but I am convinced we can look forward to much brighter days.
The truth is that only by working together – North and South, East and West, and in the public and private sectors – will we guarantee a better future for all of our people
It will be interesting to see if Robinson maintains this stance over the next year as some of his colleagues have made much more critical statements of the Irish governments over the past few weeks. Since partition progress on the North-Slouth file has always been dependent on political stability-if tensions in the DUP rise don’t be surprised if a speech calling for a re-evaluation of the relationship begin to emerge.
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs