Northern Ireland peace and power of diplomacy – The Yorkshire Post says
Simply unthinkable when the TV bulletins were dominated by daily atrocities, and intractability of political leaders before the Major government made a breakthrough in the early 1990s, this is borne out by official records, published today, that shed new light on Anglo-Irish relations.
They reveal that Prince Charles abandoned a proposed visit to the Republic of Ireland in the summer of 1996 amid concerns about his personal safety, and how one of the most important meetings of Mr Blair’s entire premiership came in its infancy when he met Bertie Ahern, Ireland’s then Taoiseach.
This was summed up by a briefing note written by Robin Cook, the then Foreign Secretary, who reassured the PM: “Ahern is a pragmatist. He has spoken privately to our Ambassador and in public of the possibility of developing a new era in UK/Irish relations. Better so-called ‘East/West’ relations have intrinsic value and will improve the climate for our exchanges with the Irish over Northern Ireland.”
Just one of many fascinating new vignettes to emerge today, they reiterate the importance of Boris Johnson maintaining good relations with Micheál Martin, his current counterpart, and that diplomacy matters more than ever. For, although peace in Northern Ireland is now widely embraced by all communities, it can not yet be taken for granted.