SF is still playing catch-up on the rest with peace process
Published 20/05/2015 | 02:30
It was once said of the Palestinians that they never missed an opportunity of missing an opportunity.
It was a perhaps glib but often accurate way of describing those missed chances in the Middle Eastern peace process, although in more recent years it could as easily be applied to the Israelis.
We have had our own missed opportunities in the Irish peace process. None more so than the way that Sinn Féin accepted the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 and yet 25 years earlier in 1973, they and their IRA army rejected the ground-breaking Sunningdale Agreement which created a cross-party agreement, involving the two Governments, which was very similar to what emerged with the Good Friday deal. Sunningdale created a power-sharing Stormont arrangement not unlike what we have today, and it even had a Council of Ireland aspect to cater for a 'United Ireland' future - so why did the IRA reject it? Why did we have to endure another 20 years of violence? No wonder the Good Friday process was caustically described as "Sunningdale for Slow Learners"!