In his wonderful autobiography A Shared Home Place the late Seamus Mallon warned that if, after a narrow vote, a united Ireland was imposed on those averse to the idea that “we would be doing to them what they did to us”.
Just over two years ago, when Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster said it would be a mistake to allow the local crocodiles to hope that their well-honed appetites might be satisfied because, no matter how much they were given to eat, they would want more she revealed far more than she intended.
I am sure no-one, and not least the Deputy First Minister, wants to go down in history as the organ grinder’s monkey and, for that reason, I found it astonishing that Martin McGuinness reversed Sinn Fein policy and announced without consultation of any kind that he would agree to shrinking the structures of the Northern Assembly.
IT’S easy to be snide about RTÉ’s Ireland’s Greatest Figures: far too many people born in the 1970s, a blank as far as the world of science is concerned, very few people who have actually made any money, no one of an identifiably unionist persuasion, and so on.
THE North was in a virtual political vacuum throughout 1977, as there was no single recognised political leader within either the Nationalist or Unionist communities. The Dublin government had a twin policy designed primarily to ensure the British protected the rights of the minority in the North and encouraged agreement on a power-sharing basis.