Progress in N. Ireland peace talks
Posted: 02 Nov 2006 @ 00:00
THE LEADER of Ulster’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the Revd Dr Ian
Paisley, was due to visit Dublin for the first time formally for political
talks yesterday. This is being interpreted as a thawing of relations between
the party and the government of the Republic.
Since outstripping David Trimble’s Ulster Unionist Party at the assembly
elections to become the largest political party representing the Protestant
voice in the province, the DUP’s deputy leader, Peter Robinson, has been
interpreted as taking a more pragmatic line in negotiations between the party
and the Republicans under Sinn Féin.
After the failure of both governments and all the main parties in Northern
Ireland to agree at Leeds Castle on restarting the Assembly, Dr Paisley
promised that he would not abandon the talks. This has given hope to his
historic opponents, as well as to Tony Blair and the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern.
Both have impressed on the DUP their belief that the Leeds Castle talks have
provided a basis for the IRA finally to put the remainder of its arms "beyond
It was understood that, during the historic meeting in the government
buildings in Dublin, Mr Ahern would also stress the need for a genuine and
stable commitment to power-sharing.