Belfast Telegraph

Friday 24 October 2014

DUP have put themselves before the country

So the deal has become clear. Sinn Fein have their date for Policing and Justice, they have resurrected the Irish Language Act, all-Ireland parliamentary body (some might say the Council of Ireland) and the All-Ireland Civic Forum. Not a bad day's work for Gerry Adams and his negotiators.

On the other hand, Peter Robinson and the DUP have got a working party on parades (some would say 'yet another' working party on parades) and little else.

They seemed, at one stage, to have wanted the Parades Commission scrapped, the full-time Police Reserve maintained and a solution for the Presbyterian Mutual Society, but that all seems to have disappeared in the face of a feared election which the DUP were going to lose.

While Peter Robinson may think this is a good deal, the reality is that from a weakened position - mainly due to his personal circumstances - it was the only deal Peter Robinson could get and it's a bad one.

All the ghosts of St Andrews that the DUP had successfully buried have been resurrected and Sinn Fein have yet again managed to progress their agenda while unionism is left trying to cover its embarrassment with spin and nonsense.

Over the next few weeks the DUP media machine will no doubt seek to spin this document and the promised consultation will be the usual smoke and mirrors.

When the detail of this latest agreement has been examined, most unionists will conclude that the DUP - and particularly the DUP MLAs - have put self before party and country. What's new?

MATT NELSON

Millisle, Co Down

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