The ceasefire broke down because people on the Republican side are impatient. Nothing had happened. They were frustrated.
I hope there will be another ceasefire and genuine all-party talks, and I hope the British government expedites matters — by actually listening to the recommendations when they bring in people like Mitchell to make recommendations, and by talking to all parties.
It appears that Gerry Adams is having a very hard time to keep the various groups together in the Republican movement. The British government must realise that, and they must help him. I think Adams was sincere in what he was doing with the ceasefire.
I don’t know that there is any one way out from the impasse in Northern Ireland. I find it very hard to see one. I think it has to be a solution that comes from within Ireland, and from the communities in Ireland, but that’s not easy.
From having lived in Dublin and Belfast, I see there is such a strong class element to it, and if people could recognise that dimension to it, and build on that, on common interests, that could help.
But the situation is very polarised. Trimble is a hard-liner. Paisley is a hard-liner. People on the nationalist side have never really tried to understand the Protestants’ situation. The British, too, if you look right back to Gladstone, have always underestimated the Protestants.
A federal framework? It does make sense. If you look within the wider context of Europe, it makes perfect sense. But, once again, the solution has to come from within Ireland.
Christine Kinealy is author of a study of the Irish Famine of the 1840s, This Great Calamity [Gill and Macmillan]. It was reviewed in Workers’ Liberty, October 1995.