Blair speech: a key note?

Tony Blair gave what may have been the keynote speech of the final stage of the Northern Ireland peace process yesterday. We’ve blogged the highlights here: He began by reminding his audience of the reasons for establishing the Agreement in the first place. He went on to outline the problems the process had run into more…

Blair speech: more press reaction

The Irish Independent has taken Blair’s word as a sign that the IRA must disband. The Irish Times quoted an insider in the Dublin government: “It was a good speech. He was saying it’s about deeds, not words anymore. And he was right: there has to be movement now, and it has to be substantial. more…

Blair speech: Completion

This may be the sound bite that outlasts the rest when the time and the place of this speech are long forgotten. Blair calls for decisive action: It’s time for acts of completion. We will do our best to carry on implementing the Agreement in any event. But, should real change occur, we can implement more…

Blair speech: doubt amongst parties

Noel McAdam suggests that yesterday’s speech from Tony Blair has caused serious unease amongst parties right across the board. Whilst a strongly negative reaction might have been expected from Sinn Fein, it is more surprising to hear this from Assembly man Billy Armstrong of the UUP: “He had his opportunity last week to remove Sinn more…

Blair speech: the deal

He continued: “…in return for equality and justice – in politics, policing, in acceptance of nationalist identity – all parties were to commit exclusively to peace. And for unionism, the right of the people of Northern Ireland to remain part of the UK so long as a majority want to, was enshrined. Indeed, provided, in more…

Blair speech: Northern press reactions

The Irish News says that whilst it is clear that the IRA has no intentions of going back to war “…as long as the IRA operates in its present twilight zone, it will always have the potential to cause huge damage to our political structures” and gives the British PM a seal of approval: “…Blair more…

Blair speech: The benefits

The focus changes to the political and economic benefits the Agreement has brought: “…there is still violence, but at a far, far reduced rate – in 1972, 470 people died. This year, so far, ten. Ten too many, but let us recognise the progress made. The transformation in the economy has been enormous: unemployment at more…

John Reid: strongman?

A useful, if slightly lengthy biography of the Secretary of State by writer Kevin Toolis in the Guardian last March. He concludes: “Is Dr John Reid a nice person? I doubt it. In fact, I’m glad he’s not. Reid is an old-fashioned, straightforward devious political operator: you know where you stand with him. Reid might more…

Blair speech: opponents of peace

Blair goes on to outline the fierce opposition the Agreement has faced from a number of otherwise unlikely bedfellows: “…the malignant whisperings of those opposed to the process, always pointing out its faults, never aiding its strengths; and the evil violence from dissidents, from so-called loyalists, designed to re-ignite sectarian hatred to convulse such progress more…

The party may not be everything

A small but growing theme of discussion in NI has centred around the possible re-alignment of politics. According to Toby Harnden, operating to purely party interests may not be the most effective means of achieving a United Ireland. He digs up a 1990 quotation from Gerry Adams: “Adams mused about a ‘gradualist scenario with Dublin more…

Other blogging on NI

Terence McMenamin has been writing reams of good copy on Northern Ireland and the Nice referendum over the last week, unnoticed by the Letter. Natalie Solent mentions our Bloody Sunday report from yesterday. British Spin has an extract from the Blair speech. Update: Paul Dunne casts a sceptical eye over the Blair speech. Brendan O’Neill more…

Blair speech: the problems

In his speech at Belfast Harbour Authority Blair went on to outline some of the difficult issues thrown up in the process: “Prisoner release was there in black and white in the Agreement. But who could not understand the anguish of the families of the victims of terrorism when they saw their dearest ones’ murderers more…

Thanks to Irish in Britain

Letter Slugger O’Toole has it’s first syndication. The Irish in Britain site has added the top five posts from the Letter to its front page. Again many thanks! If you would like to do the same for your own website, just click on the EML button at the top of the page and you’ll find more…

IRA disarmament: Rubicon crossed?

Rosie Cowan believes the ball is in the Sinn Fein court. It is not going to be easy for them to play, but that it may be the logical destination for the generations old organisation: “No one should under-estimate the monumental scale of the concept of disbanding the IRA for republicans: decommissioning was a huge more…

Bloody Sunday: witness breaks ranks

“A soldier giving evidence at the Bloody Sunday inquiry said today that two of his colleagues had a ”game plan” for the 1972 shootings.” More at UTV. And The Times, and The Irish Independent.

Blair speech: an invited audience

Suzanne Breen in the Irish Times (courtesy of Newshound): “It was an invited, staunchly pro-Agreement audience from the business and community sector who assembled in the opulent surroundings of the Harbour Commissioners’ offices. There would be no heckling here. There wasn’t a dissident republican or DUP member in sight.”

Blair speech: reason for the Agreement

Tony Blair’s speech yesterday was long and detailed. He has clearly learned much from Clinton’s thorough-going research and sensitivity to multiple audiences. Rather than giving you the whole speech at once, we’ll look at different aspects of the speech throughout the day. First, he reminds the audience of the reasons for the putting together the more…

Getting beyond the crisis?

There has been pressure from the media in the last few days on the IRA to make the next move in the peace process. Tony Blair in Belfast today told ‘No camp’ loyalists that there was no other game but that laid out by the Belfast Agreement, but reserved his most direct message for the more…

Policing drama; the reality

The Irish News editorialises on the murder of Joseph O’Connor, a leading member of the dissident republican group, the Real IRA two years ago. It gives two main reasons for serious concern: “One was the strong belief held both by detectives and the victim’s family – and fully reported at the time by this newspaper more…