Tony Blair is determined to find a way through this current crisis. But don’t hold your breath!
They must be worried about something. Premature re-unification perhaps?
Roy Greenslade in the Guardian throws the light back on the Loyalist paramilitaries, and asks why the attention seems to be exclusively on the IRA: “…the loyalist mayhem continues under the noses of police, because the IRA remains the bogeyman for the security forces – police special branch, army and MI5 – known in republican terminology as the securocrats.” On the Stormont: “If either Sinn Fein or the IRA has spied on the government, they have done so either for … Read more
But only after the IRA disarm: “…the British government has to consider telling Northern Ireland’s politicians that if they aren’t going to exercise their responsibility to make power-sharing work they must face the electoral consequences of their actions at the polls. In other words, instead of immediately going back to direct rule from London, Tony Blair and John Reid should first try a democratic answer to the crisis.” “SUCH a prospect would concentrate the minds of those occupying the middle … Read more
Once again in the Irish News (it may prove to be worth the next month’s subscription), Brian Feeney declares that we should forget about trying to make the Assembly work and jump to strand three of the Agreement, the part that makes provision for the British – Irish Council and the British – Irish Intergovernmental Conference. “…the Stormont assembly is not the agreement. Theres a lot more to it. In fact the British-Irish Intergovernmental Council (BIIC) of strand three is … Read more
In the subscription only Irish News, Martin McGuinness is certain that ‘the war is over’: “Anybody who is a serious student of this process over the course of the last number of years can not come but to any other conclusion that a central strategy of what some unionist paramilitaries is at is to drag the IRA back to war. Now as a republican leader… I am very pleased that the IRA has not fallen into that trap. I think … Read more
Though there has been some confusion previously as to what the current status is of the two DUP ministers is exactly; all appears to be clear now (we think). The front page of last night’s Belfast Telegraph, tells us definatively that the DUP quits the Executive, on Friday. Noel MCAdam reports: Leader Ian Paisley said their pull-out came after David Trimble had rejected a joint initiative. “Amid disgruntlement in the anti-Agreement camp, the DUP changed tack to “maximise pressure” on … Read more
The philosopher and Cambridge professor Ludwig Wittgenstein once said: “Don’t get involved in partial problems, but always take flight to where there is a free view over the whole great problem, even if this view is still not a clear one.” In the midst of the chaos that Northern Ireland has been plunged into in the last few weeks it’s especially hard to find such a settled vantage point, but Malachi O’Doherty does come reasonably close. On Monday he gave … Read more
First from a Fenian, who expresses natural scepticism over the week’s events. And thanks to Emily (and definately not a Fenian) who, womanfully if relunctantly, took on the role of NI pundit of the day! And for the picture at it’s most complex and concise, our man way out west – Kieran Healy.
There are clearly two views on how much time there is to get a short term resolution. Thanks again to Newshound!
Rosie Cowan captures something of the emotional relief of Unionists in this article. Something that is shared by pro and anti agreement alike, possibly based on the moral incongruity of having to work with people whose clear intention is to work as democrats (Sinn Fein), but whose military arsenal has made it increasingly difficult to countenance the shared future that most people in the North of Ireland desperately crave!
As if echoing the trouble on the hill at Stormont, other stories did no better in lightening the tone of the news from Northern Ireland. Shipbuilding, an industry that once boasted more than 30,000 jobs, is about to leave Belfast for good. Street trouble has broken out in North and East Belfast. And fears that the Loyalist feud could threaten up to 20 families.
Back at last! James Murray Brown says that suspension of the devolved adminstration is the most likely result of the political flux of the last few weeks. Though the DUP have finally announced that they are pulling out of the executive today, there is not likely to be a definitive outcome until Thursday when Tony Blair meets with Adams. So why all the fuss over the raid on Friday? The documents seized on Friday included the names of all prison … Read more
Hugh Orde gives a personal apology to Sinn Fein for the raid on Friday.
Contrary to our earlier report, the DUP appear to have walked back in again. At 2 O’Clock this afternoon, Peter Robinson of the DUP addressed the Assembly in his official capacity as Minister for Regional Development. Update: Here’s the answer: “DUP leader, Dr Ian Paisley, has pre-empted a move to have assembly business suspended for an emergency debate on recent events by announcing he had lodged a letter with the Speaker of the Assembly, Lord Alderdice. The letter states that … Read more
The BBC has a useful and bang up to the minute timeline of the Belfast Agreement, ominously entitled Northern Ireland: 1998 – 2002.
This piece by Anthony McIntyre, was written about a week ago, but raises issues that are very pertainent to the current crisis. He outlines the ‘double stalemate’ situation both communities find themselves in: “…the nationalist electorate want Sinn Fein in government regardless of unionist concerns. And who are the unionists to tell that electorate otherwise? Do they expect a double veto, firstly over the constitutional question – which they have already – and also over the form in which partition … Read more
To a slightly depressed Kieran Healy, mildly exhausted British Spin and time-pressed Shamrockshire Eagle for their mentions of the Letter.
Just to lighten the political fare on offer in reams and reams from Stormon today; a story about Hollywood’s tendency to put non-Irish actors in Irish roles. I particularly liked this line describing Tom Hanks’ inability to take on such a role: “Hanks, who does not seem to have a nasty bone in his body, simply cannot convey the ability of the clannish, vindictive Irish-American male to transform one’s closest friend into one’s worst enemy.” Thanks to Tim Blair for … Read more