Tuesday 1 June 2010

All-island or all-Ireland?

Elaine Byrne spoils an otherwise interesting article in today's Irish Times by making an unrelated and unnecessarily political point in the last line.

But the overall content of her article is positive. She argues that civic society is quietly creating an 'all-island' approach, in areas like sport and trade, and that it is time that politics caught up.

Byrne is particularly positive about Martin McGuinness, who, as the Stormont institutions bed in, is growing in stature. As she points out, he is increasingly demonstrating a spirit of true republicanism:
In the same breath as his call to commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising, McGuinness noted that “it is equally right to recognise the sacrifice of those who fought in the first World War” because, he believed, “the experiences of republicans, nationalists, unionists and all others form part of our collective memory. They are part of who we are, as a nation, and as a community.”
She notes that the recent Westminster election showed that "instead of looking to the United Kingdom for political direction, a majority of unionists now seek to determine their own future within the context of a Northern Assembly that is beginning to bed down", and that Martin McGuinness's attempts at reconciliation are aimed at reassuring them that, in the case of him becoming First Minister next year, the sky will not fall.

The article notes the improvement in north-south co-operation between the two justice ministers, and that even DUP Finance Minister Sammy Wilson acknowledges that infrastructure investment and economic growth are intrinsically linked between North and South, necessitating an all-island, if not (yet) an all-Ireland approach.

Small steps, to be sure – but steps in the right direction.


hoboroad said...


Anonymous said...

Good post.

I think Marty is doing a great job and is becoming a true statesman and is doing more for a united Ireland now than was managed during the troubles.

Longest journey starts with the smallest steps.