Handshakes Come Later

Amazing day in Northern Ireland.  And it really does have the look of something which is going to last this time.  I still don’t really understand it.  I could see it coming – particularly around the time of the elections in March when it was clear that the whole atmosphere of politics had changed.  And suddenly the politicians who were mouthing what were yesterday’s conventional statements about not being ready to trust yet ….. were beginning to look like carry-overs from another age.

Two things fascinate me about it.  One is that there is no particular reason why it should all have happened now and not in 1000 years time.  So what does that tell me?  Maybe that if there is hatchet-burying to be done, then it might as well be done now.  Or maybe that there is an inevitability about the need to make peace, regardless of how unpromising the circumstances.  I think it also tells us that, if you can engender optimism and confidence, then almost anything is possible.


  1. Maybe they are just tired of the decades of misery, and see the prosperity of the Republic you have witnessed. It’s worth a note in the PDA for annual rejoicing though. Ribble Factory do Holidates, a program for the PDA which adds religious and secular holidays! Find a trial version etc on Google. There is a UK version that still includes Scotland!:-)

  2. Why couldn’t it have happened forty years ago and saved 3,000 lives? Paisley obstructed the progress of O’Neill and Faulkner and helped precipitate the years of misery. Sadly, I think his accommodation of the new arrangements has more to do with the need to fulfil personal ambition than with a change of heart. Interestingly, I heard last autumn that the Free Presbyterian Church is in sharp decline and is now riven by factionalism.

  3. As an Englishman who has never stepped foot in N Ireland, yesterday’s events seemed to have passed in a kind of dream.

    Did I hear Ian ‘Never, never, never’ Paisley share a platform with Martin ‘I haven’t done anything that I’m ashamed of’ McGuiness?

    Did I really hear someone denounce Paisley as being a fraud?

    I guess we can only hope it holds together. From here it seems unlikely, but then miracles happen.

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