24 January 2010

Crisis Talks In Northern Ireland

The saga of power-sharing in Northern Ireland continues. According to the Guardian, Gordon Brown (British Prime Minister) and Brian Cowan (Taoiseach of the Irish Republic) will be meeting at Downing Street tomorrow to talk about the Northern Ireland Assembly.

As usual, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein are trading barbs. The DUP claims that Sinn Fein is missing meetings. Sinn Fein responds that the DUP does not approach talks openly, arriving with preconditions. Swirling around in the midst of it all is the parades issue, the annual march by members of the Orange Order through Catholic neighborhoods to celebrate historical triumphs such as the Siege of Derry and the Battle of the Boyne. The marches never cease to irritate Catholics.

Symbols have long been an issue in Northern Ireland. In the past several years, efforts were made to curb the problem. The government demanded that curb stones go unpainted, that flags be pulled down in neighborhoods. Stay tuned.

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