Saturday 18 November 2017

Culture of blame means goodwill of Good Friday gone

First Minister Ian Paisley and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness smile after being sworn in as ministers of the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2007. Photo: PA
First Minister Ian Paisley and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness smile after being sworn in as ministers of the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2007. Photo: PA

Alex Kane

On paper, on that cold, snowy morning in April 1998, the Good Friday Agreement looked like a good thing: the sort of thing that would deliver peace and a new era to Northern Ireland.

The British and Irish governments had underwritten it, and a new set of relationships and institutions had been established between Belfast and Dublin.

At the centre of the agreement were an Assembly and Executive, which would ensure - through mandatory coalition between the key elements of unionism and nationalism - that the North's political parties would govern in the "joint interests of everyone".

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