Category: Archive

Reid replaced as North secretary

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Reid has been made chairperson of the British Labor Party and Murphy has taken his place as new negotiations between the British government and the republican movement started in earnest this week with the Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams, responding to British and Unionist calls for IRA disbandment.
Regarded as a dull but able politician, Murphy conducted much of the detailed negotiations before the Good Friday agreement was signed and has committed himself to implementing it in full.
Reid said he had enjoyed his stay in Ireland for the last two years, and that it was “a terrible, terrible wrench” to be leaving.
Adams, calling Reid’s tenure a “dismal failure,” went on to give his awaited “considered response” to a meeting of Sinn Fein elected councilors, TDs, MPs and assembly members in County Monaghan.
“The difficulties within unionism have been severely exacerbated by the ongoing focus on alleged IRA activities,” Adams said. “Mr. Blair’s speech last week, understandably, was portrayed in the media as no more than a call for the IRA to disband. He is bound to understand why that has angered republicans.
“I do believe the logic of the peace process puts all of us in a different place. I want to see an end to all of the armed groups on this island. That has to be the aim of every thinking republican.
“So if you ask me do I envisage a future without the IRA? The answer is obvious. The answer is yes. And who can influence the IRA most? The British government — the unionists — the Irish government and us as well of course.”
The Ulster Unionist leader, David Trimble, gave the Adams speech a cautious welcome, repeating that words alone would not be enough to get him back into a power-sharing government with Sinn Fein.
The UUP assemblyman for South Belfast, Michael McGimpsey, a close Trimble aide, rubbished Sinn Fein’s assertions that the implementation of the agreement would lead to the eventual removal of the IRA.
“It is fatuous to now suggest that maybe, perhaps, possibly, even ‘eventually’ the IRA will now get down to the business of disappearing for good,” McGimpsey sakid. “This is a back to front analysis. The IRA, a long with their fellow terrorists in the loyalist community should have disappeared a long time ago.”
Meanwhile, loyalists have issued a warning to the British and Irish governments that if there were any move to enhance Dublin’s say over the affairs of Northern Ireland in the wake of the suspension of devolution, it would impact severely on their support for the peace process.
The self-styled Ulster Political Research Group, which provides “political analysis” for the UDA said that while it still supported the peace process, it was “diametrically opposed” to the Agreement.
On Reid’s departure, Adams said the former Northern secretary had failed to grasp the imperative of the current situation and he suspended the institutions three times.”
Adams was also skeptical of Murphy’s chances of making a difference. “We don’t want to see any British secretary of state here at all,” he said. “None of them who come in from London can do a better job than the people who live here.”
Hard-line unionists also welcomed Reid’s departure. But DUP security spokesman Ian Paisley Jr. said: “I think this is very much a sign that direct rule from Westminster is being firmly bedded in. I also suspect it’s a sign that there may not be assembly elections next year.”
Murphy served as deputy to Mo Mowlam and had been tipped to take over in 1999. But he was instead appointed Welsh secretary, a job he held until this week.
Reg Empey, a senior member of the Ulster Unionist Party, claimed Reid’s departure was no great shock following the latest crisis. “Paul Murphy will be a safe pair of hands and I know he’s somebody who’s committed to devolution,” he said.
In Dublin, the minister for Foreign Affairs, Brian Cowen, said Reid would be missed. “During his nearly two years in office as secretary of state, John has applied his considerable political talents, his formidable intellect and his enviable communication skills to significantly advancing the peace process in Northern Ireland.”

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