Peace on a precipice
AFTER promising soundings that the restoration of the Stormont Assembly was imminent, it came as a devastating blow yesterday when DUP leader Arlene Foster said her party could not accept the proposals for an Irish Language Act. And that she then said that she would ask the Westminster government to set a budget for Northern Ireland and assume control of essential services.
Her predecessors on the unionist side, and Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, worked tirelessly to bring powersharing to the North, and Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill clearly believed that a deal had been done.
That it was so casually dismissed by Ms Foster was a shocking reminder of the sort of intransigence we thought unionism had finally eschewed. We must hope she comes to her senses. The hard-won cooperation between the main parties cannot be let slip through our fingers so easily. No one wants a return to the bad old days. Everyone must get round the table once more and come to an agreement before fatal damage is done to the peace process and to the fragile harmony on this island.