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The Irish government and the implementation of the Agreement : a political perspective ; an observer's perspective
2005, Ahern, Dermot, Collins, Stephen
A political perspective: The Good Friday Agreement continues to play a central role in providing a level playing pitch for the future governance of Northern Ireland. The Agreement itself was unique in being endorsed by the people of the whole island. Following the Northern Bank raid in December 2004, though, the Irish government has taken the view that the continuing existence of IRA paramilitarism constitutes the greatest obstacle to full implementation of the agreement. The debate within the Provisional movement on this subject is to be welcomed, but paramilitarism must be ended definitively. One remarkable sign of progress has been the increasing acceptance of the Police Service of Northern Ireland by nationalists, marked at an early stage by a courageous decision by the SDLP to serve on the Policing Board, a lead that should be followed by Sinn Féin as soon as possible. It will then be appropriate for the DUP, which now holds the political leadership of unionism, to reciprocate by embracing partnership politics and the reinstallation of devolution. Only the definitive end of paramilitarism and stable and inclusive politics in Northern Ireland will provide a conclusive outcome.