Pretty powerful stuff this politics! Eight weeks of it and the UUP are running scared. It looks as if they've discovered that they can't quite stomach real democracy. But because of the overwhelming support of the people of this island for the peace process they can't do a 1974 on it - although it looks as if they still have the same problem with power sharing that they had then. So they've been chipping away at the Agreement and it's disappointing how ready the British government is to provide the chisel.
other disappointment is the difficulty that the British government and many others have with reading and comprehension because either (a) they haven't read the Good Friday Agreement and (b) they don't understand it. If they had, they would realise that Sinn Féin are not the ones in default. As for Trimble's understanding of what was agreed in the Mitchell review, it's basically not worth the paper it's unwritten on.
I think that the reality of what true Irish self-determination means is finally starting to dawn on Trimble & Co and what we're witnessing is the last string of a dying wasp.
Máire Ní Mhuircheartaigh,
This is democracy?
To use a well-worn cliché `the vast majority of people on both sides of the border' voted for the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. Where does it say that David Trimble is the arbiter of the decommissioning issue?
So much for British democracy and so much for the efficacy of politics.
The current debate on decommissioning reminds me of the conservatives' position on whether or not President Clinton did or did not have ``sex'' with Monica.
In short, most conservatives were adamant that his behaviour constituted ``sex'' even while accepting that the physical relationship had not been consummated. It seems, however, they are equally adamant that decommissioning cannot be said to have taken place or to be underway without actual consummation, ie. the destruction of weapons. Clearly in the case of decommissioning, ``foreplay'' does not count.
James W O'Sullivan
Ireland has never been a rich or powerful nation and yet, her influence on my own has been rich and powerful. The Irish came to our shores in a mixture of hope and agony, and indeed no people did more to spark and defend the cause of American independence than the exiled of Ireland. And so it is that our two nations, divided by distance, remain forever united by blood and by history.
February has brought one of the darkest hours in Irish history. Britain's Northern Secretary Peter Mandelson has moved to suspend the Good Friday Agreement, eclipsing Ireland's democratic will.
The British government, under threat from the Ulster Unionists to collapse the newly formed Northern Ireland executive, will regain control. The UUP strategy - a ruse, calling for the premature surrender of IRA weapons - has always been aimed at preventing Catholics and nationalists from obtaining equitable status and avoiding the risk that a truly democratic Northern Ireland would inevitably elect to sever bloody cords.
Democracy is revolution won without violence. This was the soul of the Good Friday peace accord. Where there was a brief light in Ireland's future, a new darkness prevails.