Anglo-Irish anti-climax

THE UNVEILING under the full blare of publicity of the New framework for agreement came as something of an anti-climax this week.

It is of course, as both the British and Irish governments have made clear, merely a discussion document, but it is very likely to provide the basis for a future settlement.

Both countries are to renounce their claims to permanent sovereignty over the Six Counties - Ireland through a change in its constitution, and Britain through repealing the 1920 Government of Ireland Act. As expected, a new assembly is proposed for Northern Ireland, and cross-border quangos to run services which span the border are to be set up.

The imperialists have clearly learnt much from the South African ‘peace process’ - bending over backwards to appear as accommodating as possible to all the major players in order to keep them in the game, even if that means changing the rules as it proceeds.

The most troublesome players up to now have been the mainstream unionist parties. James Molyneaux for the Official Unionists called the document “a major part of the problem instead of a basis for solution”, while Ian Paisley said it was a declaration of war on the union.

This ‘hard-line opposition’ appeared to bear no relationship to the feelings of most loyalists. Just half a dozen supporters demonstrated outside Hillsborough Castle, where John Major and the Irish premier John Bruton met.

The Irish ‘peace process’ will continue to edge forward with imperialism firmly in control. Consequently what is for certain, is that the settlement will not meet the needs of workers in the Six Counties.

Alan Fox