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Even murders can't get in way of peace process

Published 24/08/2015

Ten years ago this year, Northern Ireland and its 'peace' process were under serious pressure. Between bank robberies and murders, the people of Ulster went to the polls.

The Democratic Unionist Party quashed the Ulster Unionist Party and Sinn Fein/IRA maintained and strengthened their lead over the SDLP. There was no likelihood of a 'deal', no likelihood of devolution (ever) being restored.

Fast forward to the present, and in the space of four months, two high-profile former IRA members have been gunned down in mafia-style executions on the streets of Belfast.

So, what's the difference? What has changed?

Well, 10 years ago the very idea of scandal broke international boundaries, with presidents and prime ministers being interested in this little place, for fear of the collapse of a very fragile 'peace' process.

Yet today, despite the seriousness of some of the headlines, peace remains (unless you live in the Short Strand or Markets area) and Stormont remains stable and in one piece.

Has the 'peace' process bedded down? Or are these issues now just accepted as the 'norm'?

Or, maybe, given the seriousness of these issues, are Peter and Martin, like an old married couple, ignoring the elephant in the room for fear of their marriage ending in tears and financial hardship?

Unionist

South Belfast

Belfast Telegraph

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