Bertie Ahern: Everyone needs to take a deep breath - North badly needs cooling-off period or this crisis will spiral
The new year has started bleakly for Northern Ireland and now everyone needs to take a deep breath before things start to spiral out of control. It is important also to remember the progress that has been made, the dividend that peace has brought, and ask is this all really worth putting at risk?
Last year was a good one for employment and the economy in Northern Ireland. The number of people in work finally returned to the level it was at prior to the global financial crisis. At the same time, people in Northern Ireland are being paid more, as wages rose in real terms for the second year in a row.
The gathering storms of Brexit were, however, always going to provide a challenge. Theresa May's new year interview could only be interpreted as signalling a 'hard Brexit', which does not augur well for Northern Ireland and its efforts to attract investment.