interesting listening to the talking heads on radio, and newspaper columnists wishing good riddance to Ian Paisley in the last few weeks. none of this perspective was provided about ten months ago when the famous handshake occurred between the dup leader & bertie ahern. respected northern commentator ed molony in his just published book outlines how the northern settlement was only finally achieved when paisley & his sinn fein counterparts had vanquished the dup & the sdlp respectively, by their own obstructionism. albert reynolds, hardly someone known to prick the balloon of the established peace process story ( particularly when praising his own contribution ) commented in the wake of paisley's retirement, that he had been informed long ago that paisley wouldn't agree to a settlement until he was top dog himself.
if the above seems like carping criticism, ( and a part of my conflicted soul thinks it is ) perspective in regard to what happened in the north in the last 15 years may be important for this reason; namely that part of the ammunition used by fianna fail to disregard the events at the mahon tribunal is to put the taoiseach front and centre in the settlement. this amongst other things disregards that nearly seven years after the belfast agreement, the ira was still robbing banks and mudering robert mccarthny, which the two governments were toothless in the face of, only for the republican movement to be brought to heel by the dup.
on a related issue bertie, in his wonderful way of bigging up himself out of the side of his mouth, recently opined that it was easier to deal with the tribunal now than it would have been when he was spending 40/50 hours a week on the north. it seems extraordinary that a prime minister can devote so much time to one issue that isn't war directly involving his own electorate, but it also brings into view the issue of delegation. vincent browne recently reflected on how successful sean lemass was in running the country, only working an 8.30 - 5.00 day.