Friday, March 31, 2006


New deadline set for NI Assembly - hooray!

Restore the institutions! You're probably wondering why I've included a picture of the very luscious Elisha Cuthbert for this post. Well, it's a post concerning a deadline set by the two governments to restore the North's assembly so I didn't want any of you to fall asleep.

According to Dublin and London, November 24th is the new final deadline. Hmm.

Assembly members are to be called to Stormont on 15 May for a six-week period to try to form an executive.

An emergency bill is also expected to be put through Westminster to change some of the Stormont rules. (Change them in what way?)

BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport said the assembly would break for summer before being recalled in September for 12 weeks until the end of November.

He also said the political parties have been told the British and Irish governments are considering holding more talks at a stately home during the summer recess to deal with the DUP outstanding problems.

Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern outlined the strategy:

"We have made it quite clear as far as we are concerned that the Good Friday Agreement will be implemented in full.

"Ultimately we wish the politicians in Northern Ireland to be the authors of their own destiny."

The nationalist parties have expressed concern however. Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness stated his party is "more than willing to go into government with Ian Paisley and his party but we are not going into limbo with him," while SDLP leader Mark Durkan said his party wanted "all the institutions restored with full powers and the parties put into a live situation, not shadow boxing in a shadow assembly."

What I found most interesting, not to mention telling, were the comments made by Alliance leader David Ford who said it was important that the two governments stayed engaged and did not leave it to NI's politicians:

"The key issue is that the two governments build on issues like a shared future and stop just managing division."

It shows how farcical politics in the North have become when one of the party leaders up there is stressing how disastrous things would be if the parties were left to themselves.

Ultimately however, if they won't work together then there can be only one other fair alternative - Joint Authority. The two governments should work together and implement the outstanding features of the Good Friday Agreement if Paisley won't play ball.

We must see progress made and soon. If the DUP still won't budge by November then I imagine not even nude photos of the lovely Elsiha Cuthbert would revive their interest in NI. That would mean then only one other realistic option for the people of NI - rule from Dublin and London.


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