» Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Northern Ireland

Asked for further information on the Prime Minister’s talks with Bertie Ahern this evening, the PMOS said that where we were today was different from where we were yesterday. What had changed was that Gerry Adams had unequivocally said that if someone was a victim of crime in Northern Ireland, they should now go to the police. That was a significant advance by any terms in the history of Northern Ireland. What we now had to do, and the Taoiseach and the Prime Minister would have to consider this, was reach a decision on going ahead with the elections on the basis that those elections would be to a power sharing executive being set up by 26th March, with everyone in that executive fully supporting the police. The PMOS said that we were significantly further forward as a result of the clarity and lack of equivocation in Mr Adams’ statement.

Asked when would we be making a decision about when to go ahead with the elections, the PMOS said that we could decide to go ahead with the election, but if at any point, it became clear that it was not going to result in a power sharing executive, then we did not have to go ahead with it. The sole basis on which we were going forward was that the result would be a power sharing executive in which everyone supported the police, and that that would be in place by 26th March.

Asked if there had been any assurances from Dr. Paisley that Sinn Fein had done enough to satisfy the DUP, the PMOS replied that Dr. Paisley would speak for himself. He had publicly acknowledged that there had been some progress, and he had also said that of course, they wanted to see words translated into action, and that was true of us as well. What we should not deny in any way was the significance just of the Ard Fheis decision, but also of what Gerry Adams had said yesterday.

Put that the timescale seemed tight, as there was less than one month to settle, the PMOS replied that everybody had been fully aware of the timescale that was involved. We had February, then the elections, and up to 26th March. People had been aware throughout of the basis of which we were moving forward. If people thought that that basis was not achievable, then they should say so, but so far, they have not.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Search for related news

1 Comment »

  1. This is the background to the politics which Gerry and Martin and Tony and Peter would like to forget. No chance.


    Comment by Norm — 30 Jan 2007 on 10:24 pm | Link

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