It would seem that British Irish relationships are in very good shape indeed. One has to wonder why there isn’t more excitement about this – old enemies stand together to remember a crisis in which they butted heads a century ago and they stand as friends who look like they have resolved the old tensions, at least some of them. Could this be a case of a miracle before our eyes but there are none so blind as those who will not see? Or is it more a case of Northern Ireland again dropped just below the radar, slightly out of sight and perhaps choosing to stay behind in the shadows? Are things as good on this small patch on the North East corner of the Island as they are on the Dublin/London axis? Perhaps if they were as good we would be paying more heed to momentous events such as the opening of an exhibition to mark the centenary of the Third Home Rule Bill. We are told a couple of very interesting things – let us not miss them:
1. The two men, that is Enda Kenny & Owen Patterson, were meeting to agree a joint statement of co-operation over the next 10 years, and
2. The two governments have agreed to work together in a variety of areas – including Europe, the economy and NI.
The significance of these statements should not be understated – but they will be. At the same time the two men recognise, however, that there are disagreements between them, notably on the investigation of the murder of Pat Finucane. On the one hand history can be faced and on the other hand there are still raw wounds. Nigel Dodds response shows that as he kicks off about the attitude of the Republics government to HMG regarding the Finucane Inquiry. http://www.nigeldodds.co.uk/MainNewsArticles.asp?ArticleNewsID=320
It began so well, shaking hands and nodding heads and smiling faces. It might even be said that the ‘two men’ embodied a real challenge to the people of Northern Ireland. But then …. nothing changes. Why bother trying? Locally we are let off the hook all over again.