Belfast Telegraph

Can Good Friday Agreement compare to the Easter Rising?

By Liam Clarke

Was the Belfast Agreement the equivalent of the Easter Rising? Sinn Fein didn't sign it initially, though they opted for a Yes vote in the referendums.

A week ago, though, Martin McGuinness was talking it up. "In constitutional terms, whereas the rising marked the beginning of the end of the empire, as people knew it, it is my belief the Good Friday Agreement marked the end of the Union, as we know it."

History will judge whether he was right, but there was an obvious political motive for saying it as he prepares to meet the Queen.

Now McGuinness wants to do away with the Secretary of State, as the last British minister in the province.

In fact, the Secretary of State is likely to be around for some time - and not just to pick up the pieces if friends fall out at Stormont.

Owen Paterson also represents David Cameron here and speaks for us in Cabinet.

Besides, he is point man on national security, taxation, constitutional and electoral law and broadcasting issues.

That situation won't alter without DUP agreement and a sea change in public opinion.

A cynic might think it a cost-free demand in the run-up to 2016 - the likely date of the next Assembly election, as well as the centenary of the Easter Rising.


From Belfast Telegraph