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Time for cool heads at Stormont

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 31/08/2015

First Minister Peter Robinson
First Minister Peter Robinson

The First Minister Peter Robinson has returned from his well-earned holiday - and it would seem that he is coming back not a moment too soon - to help chart a way forward.

In recent days there has been much talk on all sides about the fall-out following the murder of the prominent republican Kevin McGuigan, and the UUP has already decided to leave the government.

As we noted last week, however, the Stormont parties must go the extra mile to save our hard-won devolution, and we must allow the police to pursue McGuigan's murderers.

Mr Robinson states in our exclusive article today that this is a time for cool heads, clear thinking and steely resolve. This is a view with which this newspaper totally concurs.

The First Minister also launches a strong attack on the UUP, and not without justification. Many other people are questioning the wisdom of the UUP move at this crucial time.

The UUP have taken a stand but, ironically, without endangering the Assembly, in which they have only one minister. In reality they are now very much outside the power-blocs of Stormont politics, and it is hard not to argue with the First Minister's assertion that this is not the time to leave the battlefield. This is also a time to reflect carefully on what has been achieved by Stormont devolution.

In today's paper we carry the stories of four young people who were born in the same year as the IRA ceasefire, and happily they are showing how they can retain their own cultural identities and also make friends across the divide.

Northern Ireland is so different from the world in which the older generations grew up. Today there is a lively multicultural and arts scene which was absent years ago.

Belfast has been packed for the Mela Festival, for the Tennents Vital concerts and for the birthday celebrations of Sir Van Morrison.

There are still many questions to be asked of the paramilitaries on both sides, and people everywhere still wish for faster progress.

However, we must not lose sight of how far we have travelled, and the huge change for the better in our daily lives. There is still much to be done, especially on growing our economy, but this is not the first crisis we have faced, having overcome so many others.

This is the time for political leaders on all sides to work hard and to find a way through.

Belfast Telegraph

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