Asked recently to pick just one great memory from my time with Tony in Downing Street, I went for the coming together of the Good Friday agreement that laid the foundations for peace in Northern Ireland. It was magical. A lot of that was about the collection of personalities from across politics that came together to make history – and Martin McGuinness was a big part of the success it became.
Those early talks with Sinn Féin after Labour came to power in 1997 were a risk for both sides. It was a risk for Labour politically, but it was in many ways a bigger risk for Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams.
Read more The Guardian
Just days after Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party lost their veto power over same-sex marriage, another MLA has vowed to help them block it.
Assembly elections were held last week in Northern Ireland after the collapse of the previous government, with the anti-gay marriage DUP losing ground to Sinn Féin.
The DUP, which lost nearly all of its hefty majority, had previously used peace process powers known as ‘petitions of concern’ to block same-sex marriage.
Hopes of progress were raised over the weekend when the DUP won just 28 seats – two short of the 30 needed to pass a petition of concern by themselves.
However, it’s far from plain sailing, and unionists from two other parties, the Ulster Unionist Party and Traditional Unionist Voice, have vowed to prop up the DUP on the issue.
Source: · PinkNews
It’s not a question of watching the wrong, Scottish, pot boil. The almost complete absence of reports in yesterday’s London-based “national” newspapers on the Northern Ireland election shows the capital is barely aware of what’s going on across the Irish Sea now the bombs aren’t going off.
England is clearly fed up with Scotland, dispatching a schoolmarmish Theresa May to inform the Scottish National Party that “politics is not a game”. Quite right: it is the pursuit of long-term objectives by whatever means are available in a democracy — just ask Nigel Farage.
Yet there is now a distinct possibility that the people of the six counties of Ulster could jump the queue to be the first out of the United Kingdom. In the EU referendum, 55.8% voted to remain.
Couldn’t a Celtic Euro-belt around nationalist England, comprising Scotland and all of the island of Ireland, keep everybody happy one day — except perhaps for a hostage Wales?
Source: The Times & The Sunday Times
Green Party leader in Northern Ireland Steven Agnew said DUP leader Arlene Foster’s claims that she would like to see the petition of concern scrapped has left him hopeful of a change in the law for marriage equality.
A petition of concern – a mechanism introduced as part of the Good Friday Agreement to help protect minority rights in the Northern Ireland Assembly – was used by them in 2015 to stop votes on same-sex marriage being passed.
A majority of MLA’s voted in favour of same-sex marriage, but the motion was blocked by the DUP when it deployed the petition.
Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where gay marriage is not legal.