DUP leader Ian Paisley and Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness–two political polar opposites– took office at Stormont today (as First Minister and Deputy First Minister, respectively), marking the first time ever that all of the main nationalist and unionist political parties have agreed to share power together. Direct rule by London ended as of midnight last night.
Speaking from Stormont, McGuinness said, “What we’re going to see today is one of the mightiest leaps forward that this process has seen in almost 15 years.” Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said today is “another significant landmark in the process of
transforming life on this island. Today is a good day for Ireland. I want to thank and
commend everyone who worked to achieve this.”
And I suppose I should include this quote from Paisley, “In politics as in life, it is a truism that no one can ever have 100 per cent of what they desire. They must make a verdict when they believe they have achieved enough to move things forward,” Dr Paisley said.
I’ll not include the comment about the nationalist community endorsing policing, despite the “hostility” that that community has shown for policing for decades. I suppose he wouldn’t be Paisley if he didn’t stick that last bit in there.
In any case, many in the nationalist community see this as another step forward to a united Ireland…