his clever little intervention in the debate about
IRA disbanding, William Hay MLA and member of the
DUP may in time become known as Slick Willie.
Playing what on the surface might be read as a reasonable
role in the current impasse that has resulted in the
suspension of the Stormont institutions, William Hay
suggested that his party might well consider working
with Sinn Fein at some time in the future. He added,
however, that the Sinn Fein party would have to make
some adjustments to its constituency. In short, the
party would have to be seen to distance itself from
the Provisional IRA.
a leading member of Ian Paisleys Democratic
Unionist Party would suggest that his party could
ever envisage working with Gerry Adams and Martin
McGuinness in the administration of Northern Ireland
is a new and unprecedented development. Such a proposal
would have been unimaginable only a short few months
back. Now it seems that the diehards of the DUP are
mellowing. Or does it? Perhaps not because in reality
the shrewd little intervention by Mr Hay puts the
Sinn Fein party leadership under ever greater strain.
their meeting with British Prime Minister Blair in
London, the Sinn Fein leadership will now be told
quite bluntly that they are the chief cause of the
difficulty in Northern Ireland. It will be pointed
out to the Sinn Fein president and his deputy that
at this point in time even the DUP appears to be willing
to bend over backwards to accommodate an arrangement
in Belfast. They will be told that the IRA alone stands
in the way of a return of the Institutions.
those who reflect on the nature of right-wing Northern
Irish Unionism, it will be clear that the DUP is unlikely
to have undergone a significant change of heart. This
latest gesture is at best an attempt at
mischief making but it will never the less put additional
pressure on Sinn Fein to further conform to the template
created by the Establishment.
is a rare example of DUP finesse. Who has put them
up to it, one might well ask.
This article also appears in Fourthwrite and is carried
here with permission from the author.
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