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ireland, irish, ulster, belfast, northern ireland, british, loyalist, nationalist, republican, unionist

No more excuses

(Editorial, Irelandclick.com)

Opponents of equality are swiftly running out of road as they scramble desperately for more excuses to keep Sinn Féin out of government.

The International Monitoring Commission (IMC), that pet of government, may throw the know-nothings a lifeline this week with risible claims that the IRA is still active. As the letters pages in this paper testify, and as the dogs in the street know, the IRA has stuck to the very letter of its instruction to its volunteers to engage in no activity whatsoever.

That's the case no matter how many big wigs are trotted out to tell the public otherwise.

But it's not only the IMC which can put a spanner in the works in the period ahead. The SDLP, sadly, has now got itself embroiled in talks with unionists about alternatives to the Good Friday Agreement. It's understandable that the SDLP, smarting from losing top dog position to Sinn Féin, would want to dream up a system which gives them more clout than their democratic mandate allows. However, it's a foolish path to take for if unionists think they can get a workable arrangement at Stormont without full Sinn Féin involvement and total powersharing as envisaged by the Good Friday deal, they'll jump at it.

The lesson throughout all the reforms introduced since the Good Friday Agreement is that unionists will always oppose meaningful change. It's only when that change is imposed on them that they accept new realities. That was the case in Belfast City Hall where they said they could never do business with Sinn Féin but then took their medicine when the courts told them to like it or lump it. It was the same with one-man-one-vote and the disbandment of the B-Specials, not to mention reform of the RUC, the release of prisoners and fair employment legislation. It would be a blunder of monumental proportions for the SDLP to pander to the DUP by giving them a way out of the Good Friday Agreement.

January 26, 2006

This article appeared first on the Irelandclick.com web site on January 23, 2006.