Thursday 18 January 2018

Peace process needs constant attention or we'll very quickly be back to the bad old days

Gerry Adams at a press conference on his release. Reuters
Gerry Adams at a press conference on his release. Reuters
Eamon Delaney

Eamon Delaney

Now that the dust has settled on the Gerry Adams arrest and a file is being prepared for the Northern DPP, it is worth standing back and reflecting on a bigger aspect of the case. And this is the dangerous disengagement of the Irish Government – and British government – from the Northern Ireland situation.

It took until yesterday for the Government, through Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, to issue a proper statement calling for calm and for both sides to stand back. Up until then, we had doorstep remarks and media sound-bites, including from the Taoiseach, but these seemed to be more about criticising Sinn Fein than shoring up the always fragile process and showing statesmanship.

This is understandable. Sinn Fein is riding high in the polls, and the fact that Adams' denials seemed to have caught up with him was too good an opportunity to miss for all of our political establishment.

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