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NPR's Weekend Edition (Sunday)
Broadcast 13/02/2000, Story 12

In northern ireland the optimism has been from just two months ago when a new government including both protestants and catholics was installed british secretary for northern ireland peter mendelson suspended that government friday the mold has sidetracked the peace process and has prompted a return to a familiar harsh rhetoric to the political climate n. p. r.'s julie mccarthy is in belfast good morning doing the warning area just just serious is the damage to the peace process by the events of the past week

Well gerry adams says this is a disaster but i it doesn't really look that way but it doesn't look terminal on your even the way this thing fell apart represents the kind of sea change in the way business is done in northern ireland gerry adams is picking up the phone and talking to david trimble whatever he wanted to

Martin mcguinness is going to seed the unionist leader of the pacific its immediate access to peter mendelson the northern ireland secretary and

Everybody has access to the white house downing street dublin

And they adopt as a source of optimism to an end and the fact that things could have been worse because assembly is suspended its in cold storage is frozen it's it's not destroyed and it can be revived and even for all of his tough talk about how the i. r. a. needed to specify a time a place that message for turning in its arms

The unionist leader david trimble said he was optimistic that this power sharing executive would eventually be re established infection face martin mcguinness saying the good friday peace agreement is the only game in town and they're not gonna walk away from it

This is maturing dynamic here that politics and compromise half replaced violence as a means to settle disputes and and i don't think you're gonna see much backsliding from that dynamic no one expects the cease fire to break in addition you can about the i. r. a. coming forward with his plan to disarm that even the head of the decommissioning body says could just do the trick

So yes there are bruised feelings feelings of betrayal

But now everybody's got a vested interest in in the peace process and it finds people closer to the table and talking to no wonder too far from it

But julia took a lot of hard work to get this government in place and others suspended and you know people are talking the atmosphere is still pretty polarized about these issues it is harder to get it going again

Well you that that is true you're right there are certainly of the

Are there too much time drags on is the political recriminations don't diminish that don't die down the process could unravel there's talks now looks quite possibly in the i. r. a. over decommissioning which if it is not a voluntary they regard as surrender

But you know liane no one is turning their backs and say we refuse to try to get this assembly back up and running

Now the unionists feel they've got to clear the year they want no more ambiguity about i. r. a. disarming there's a clock ticking for the process to be completed by the two thousand and that's always been the internal party dilemma for the unionists

You know who sympathies are with britain and and despite that it's wait here for thirty years that david trimble needed something to show his party's like guns that were the conditions and that's driving his statements when he says uh things like i don't see how the republicans meeting she insane could engender public confidence unless they don't clearly with decommissioning

And for gerry adams he needs to keep his community on board and moving forward even

Even with our sitting in the assembly now they've lost that power for the moment

Nice to make sure that they don't lose the momentum altogether

But gerry adams was was coming under attack for not producing the i. r. a. on a platter and justice his credibility was starting to slip

And washington and in dublin work

Giving them a hard time the i. r. a. comes forward so the gymnastics for gerry adams now seem to be to make sure his party doesn't lose face

In the process and they feel that the suspension of the assembly is is is uh more trickery to keep them sidelines

Do you think the suspension was a bit premature well you know what's interesting here is a billiard shot on that there was a deadline looming but it had been created by it

By david trimble

But in taking his unionist party and the government last november with something deep

This is rank and file that there would be a revolt on continued participation in this power sharing cabinet this month and you feel the pledge with a promise to step down from the leadership of that assembly

If the i. r. a. had not begun to disarm his letters of resignation were posted in twelve february yesterday that he resigned the entire assembly would have come crashing down to enter peter mendelson the northern ireland secretary who calculates look it's better just to keep disassembly on hold to freeze it and that way we can revive it

And in the process they also have lost rubles resignation the moderate man in belfast from london and so what are they doing the opposite to suspend the assembly you can argue that they perhaps didn't take on board the i. r. a. proposition the way they wanted to but they have all they had that the audience is that they needed to do a p. s.

So now larry they just keeps talking right that's

Since the irish and british ministers economy

Within days to work out of shape of a review and look at the political bruises that a bit of uh inflicted upon coming ashore cooling off period for bringing up baby a matter of days

And everybody be seated in the recharge their batteries and then they're gonna get back in the

A mom you know the gerry adams says just require stamina and calm in the face of provocations so called in the face of the storm northern ireland will as usual move one step forward and two steps forward one step back and this might be one and a half suspect that they'll be but they'll be back on track

N. p. r.'s julie mccarthy in belfast northern ireland thanks a lot to say union

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