Category: Archive

DUP praises Bush during U.S. visit

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

However, the Democratic Unionist Party, which is seen as hardline by many Irish nationalists, also expressed doubt that Northern Ireland’s Executive can be resurrected anytime soon.
DUP MP Gregory Campbell spoke to the Echo last Thursday, the same day that the prime ministers of Ireland and Britain announced a November deadline for the full re-establishment of devolved government in the North.
While Campbell said the DUP was “for the most part content” with the announcement, which will bring the Stormont Assembly back into being, he also suggested that unionists were unlikely to be convinced about the Republican Movement’s bona fides by the November deadline:
“Assurances of good behavior have been given before and breached, ” Campbell said. “So in our community a cynic would say, ‘why would you believe them this time?
“From our perspective, the best way to establish that is the passage of time. For it to happen in seven months is going to be very difficult.”
But Campbell did not entirely close the door on the possibility of progress by November:
“Let’s see what happens, ” he said. “If there is no activity between now and then, that would be a lot better than where we are now.”
Campbell contrasted the attitude of the current administration to Ireland with that of the Clinton administration. He said that the early years of the Clinton presidency were marked by “bad vibes” towards unionism.
Campbell, who had come to New York after meetings in Washington, D.C. with leading politicians including Senators Edward Kennedy and Hillary Rodham Clinton, added that, “We were getting doors open this time, whereas we would have needed a sledgehammer to get in through those doors ten years ago.”
Campbell acknowledged that in the past unionists had been largely suspicious of American involvement in Northern Ireland affairs. He added that he thought this had lessened somewhat, and would be reduced further by American economic investment:
“Everyone in Northern Ireland wants American economic involvement,” he said.
“And it’s not a one-way street. I think American companies can benefit, and have benefited, from being in Northern Ireland.
“But unionists want that sort of American involvement, as opposed to what in the 70s and 80s was perceived to be a political involvement with America – and Irish America in particular — saying the unionists are the baddies, we need to get the Brits out of Ireland.
“That fed the paranoia among some sections of the unionist community that all Americans wanted was to bash unionism and bash the Brits,” he said.

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