Thursday, March 16, 2006


Thursday Thoughts: Getting on with it

Aherns et to meet Dubya St Patrick's Day is almost upon us and one of the things synonymous with the day is the attempts by the US administration to help the peace process in Ireland along.

Yes while Ireland gives the US a big bowl of plants, the US traditionally gives us a big kick up the arse and this year is no exception. Apparently the message George W. Bush will give to the parties in NI is "get on with it".

I think that opinion accurately reflects the views held by the Irish and British governments but I don't think Bertie Ahern or Tony Blair are in a position to come out and tell the parties that, as much as they'd like to.

I am interested in the general theme in Washington tomorrow for St Patrick's Day. With the IRA pretty much out of the political equation at this stage, they are a card that the unionists can no longer play. With that being the case, it's not really surprising then that Dr Paisley has declined an invitation to meet with the US President. He knows he'd simply get a grilling.

There is encouragement to be had over British Secretary of State Peter Hain's message to Paisley in the British House of Commons earlier in the week:

"If you are asking me to bar a very important part of the Northern Ireland political constituency from representation in the Assembly or a power sharing government, then I can’t agree with you on that.

"We have got to make progress.

"Your party needs to talk to the other parties and I would say at some point, sooner or later, your party needs to talk to Sinn Féin since they are the second largest party in Northern Ireland."

Hopefully the pussyfooting around Paisley and Co. is now coming to an end. It has to.

The message from the Bush administration to the two governments should be to move things forward. Don't let the intransigence of the DUP stifle progress any longer. Proceed with implementing the outstanding provisions in the Good Friday Agreement if Paisley refuses to deal.

Let's get on with it!


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