Edwin Poots using language of the past

Posted By: October 15, 2015


Irish News Editorial(Belfast). Friday,  October 9,  2015 
Anyone watching Edwin Poots’s “stench” outburst on Wednesday night will surely wonder how on earth we can build a society based on equality and respect in the midst of such a poisonous political atmosphere.

It was perhaps not just what the former health minister said but the way in which he said it. There was so much anger and loathing on his face it may well have shocked people watching the Nolan Live programme, unused to seasoned politicians losing control in such a way.

Of course, there will be those saying that it is no surprise that a senior DUP figure feels he has to “hold his nose” when dealing with Sinn Fein, but that it quite different from hearing it on live television.

It has to be acknowledged that thousands of people have suffered as a result of decades of conflict and victims of the IRA are absolutely entitled to feel distaste at the presence in government of those who took part in the campaign of violence which cost many lives.

However, it also has to be accepted that many victims support the inclusion of former paramilitaries in the political process, understanding that it is a necessary step towards a peaceful future.

It was interesting that on the same night that Edwin Poots was engaging in the language of the past, Martin McGuinness made a speech predicting a positive outcome for the talks and praising the work of the executive in delivering measures including lower student fees, free prescriptions and lower rates bills.

Whether this speech is paving the way for a shift in Sinn Fein’s stance on welfare reform remains to be seen.

But ultimately the parties will have to find a way through this impasse and a way of working together for the benefit of all.