Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Northern Ireland - a new beginning

I'm just watching the speechifying at Stormont; I heard Ian Paisley make a very good, firm and conciliatory speech a few moments ago. Currently Martin McGuinness is making his speech, equally firm - but equally conciliatory and positive. This is such a startling thing to be able to write in relation to Northern Ireland and in relation to these two men in particular.


BBC picture


Earlier I watched the four men (Paisley, McGuinness, Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern) sit down in First Minister Paisley's office to have tea together; the chemistry between all four seemed pretty good and for the first few minutes we were able to listen to their small-talk (until, I suspect, it was remembered that the microphones were 'live' and they were switched off) which seemed to be conducted in a very friendly manner.

This is the first time in the past almost four decades that one has grounds for hoping that Northern Ireland may have a genuinely peaceful future - I hope very sincerely that it all works out. It will cost us, as UK tax-payers, some more money - but if it works it will be money well spent.

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