Peace on a precipice

Irish Daily Mail - - News -

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.

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