Interesting report in today’s Irish News about comments from the Fianna Fail leader, Micheal Martin and the UUP leader, Mike Nesbitt.
The paper reports comments from Nesbitt last week saying he was provided with assurances that the Irish government “would respect the principle of the three-stranded approach”.
“However, the other two strands involve north-south and east-west relations and clearly you cannot consider those matters without input from the Irish government,” the UUP leader said.
However, speaking at the Fianna Fail commemoration at Bodenstown on Sunday, the Fianna Fail leader, Michael Martin, criticised the UUPs attitude and the alledged commitment given by the Taoiseach;
At every point of previous talks we respected the primary role of the Northern parties in reaching agreements concerning arrangements in the assembly and executive — but we never agreed to be completely excluded from discussions.
“The agreement was between the parties, but the Irish government had a legitimate and positive role to play,” he said.
Martin argues that the Irish government are a “full guarantor” of the Good Friday Agreement and should not be relegated to the role of “some interested onlooker.” He believes that the Unionist parties know that there is no hidden agenda from Dublin and that the accepted principle of consent is a protection for them.
The Fianna Fail leader called on Enda Kenny to make a statement outlining what assurances he gave, alongside a commitment that his government was a “full and active” participant in all elements of the process.
Full report in today’s Irish News…
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs