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Big two politically distanced... but they need each other

Jon Tonge


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Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill

Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill

PA

Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill

It was all going so well. The New Decade New Approach deal was holding up. The Covid crisis had brought some unity. Health Minister Robin Swann won widespread praise.

The DUP, UUP, Sinn Fein and the SDLP cooperated across the divide to consolidate devolved government. Four embeddings - and then a funeral.

Sinn Fein's New Death New Approach to social distancing was always likely to produce a heated response after months of sacrifices by others. And now there is the risk we end up looking back at January to June 2020 as another brief golden age of devolution.