Agreement between the main protagonists to sit together in a new assembly has happened.... today!
I can only hope that this is the start of something which men of violence will find difficult to disrupt the longer it continues.
I'm willing to be corrected, but unless my memory is way off, the last notional Prime Minister of N.I. was the late Brian Falkner who on the break-up of the Assembly in March 1972, stomped out of Stormont and when a Beeb reporter asked him "What happened Sir" replied - "Ask that demon priest in there!"
Mercifully, economic circumstances have changed so much in favour of Eire, that perhaps there is no longer any stomach left for political upheval once more.
Even when (as a Catholic)I was patrolling the Streets and Fields out there I was convinced he was more of a bigot than any other person in the whole 6 counties.
Members of the I.R.A. have scrawled the slogan on walls and shouted it out in British courts: (even at me) "Our day will come." I have hope for the future, as even in the 80's the young people we spoke to on both sides had a notion for peace but a fear of the Gunmen. Maybe 'Their Day Has Come'.
The visit before last I made to Belfast I stayed in a B&B and the lady who was born and bred in Belfast said to me in a discussion about the troubles " at one time, whether you were with the Loyalist or the Republican paramilitaries you maybe had a cause, now it's just drugs, vice and making money that the IRA, UVF etc are interested in and that there is more trouble with factions moving in on one anothers territory as opposed to the original toubles"
This came through repeatedly when speaking to most of the ordinary people of Belfast, the extremist are now more gangsters than fighting for a cause is the impression I got.
Ranger - you are 100% correct, the worst of the blackmailers and extortionists amongst other things are the UDA and this is how the wonderful UK idiot government recognises them! click here Mid you, that pales into insignificence compared to the local folklore ( and more reputable sources ) that suggest that the Northern Bank £26M raid was a contrived "pension fund" for the IRA sponsored by a certain UK based individual who had a vested interest in "solving" the Irish situation before retiring!
It is the Gangster-terrorist--racketeering-drug dealers that still need to be dealt with. On a daily basis I see these people, who haven't worked a day in their lives, driving 4x4's, draped in jewelery, own big houses and have several holidays a year. Then round the other corner you see youths doing drugs, beating people up and robbing to fund their habits.