Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness present united front on US trip

 

Mingling with Irish Americans in a tiny penthouse garden area at the top of Fitzpatrick's Manhattan hotel, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness were among friends and believers.

Duncan Niederauer from the New York Stock Exchange has just been given a CBE for his contribution in bringing hundreds of jobs to Belfast. He acknowledged it has been a difficult summer for Northern Ireland, but put that down as a short-term blip against a pattern of long-term progress.

Mr Niederauer wasn't exercised about the first and deputy first minister's Maze peace centre dispute, arguing that New Yorkers are well used to their own politicians falling out from time to time.

The wealthy philanthropist Loretta Brennan Glucksmann is retiring as chair of the American Ireland Fund.

She went so far as to praise the chemistry between Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness and to predict they will lead Northern Ireland on to better times.

So is the summer falling out between Stormont's top two sorted? Don't believe it.

The deputy first minister has very deliberately avoided a slanging match, but under the surface he's still seething about the DUP leader's decision to put the peace centre on hold.

With existing and potential investors to be sweet talked, both Messrs Robinson and McGuinness are mature enough to show unity and get on with their joint sales pitch.

Not only that, neither leader wants to appear negative ahead of next week's Haass talks in Belfast.

Despite this temporary New York truce, keep a watch on two fronts.

Will Sinn Féin block any economic development on the wider Maze site unless and until the peace centre project is revived?

And will the row spill out into any other policy areas (welfare reform?) requiring co-operation between Stormont's two biggest parties?

 
Mark Devenport Article written by Mark Devenport Mark Devenport Political editor, Northern Ireland

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    Comment number 1.

    Martin Mc Guinness has consistently shown himself to be a real statesman and true leader throughout the peace process. No matter what hurdles or threats are thrown from whatever side, and when many despair of unionist intransigence, bigotry and reluctance to compromise, he provides strong leadership no matter what the issue. If unionism could produce a similar strong leader,we could go a long way.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 2.

    Mark - good, short piece, illustrating the cap in hand politics that NI is now famous for. Throw them a few bucks and maybe they'll stop killing each other. Whether it be the block grant or NY philanthropists, interestingly, I'd guess, few on the Unionist side of the fence, NI is a basket case of scroungers. Lets hunt up the EU for a few euro's for a reconciliation centre at the Maze. Sure why not

  • rate this
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    Comment number 3.

    We are a defunct nation, from our politicans and bureaucrats through to the many bigots who can't help themselves from having a pop at any and all opportunities. I agree we are seen as the poor relations always with our hand out. However I can't agree with the proposition that our DFM is a statesman for he is as bad as the rest of them, politicans on all sides.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 4.

    It can't be that the vast majority of people I speak to are lying when they tell me that they don't want to return to violence. Non appear to support the dissident movements who appear intent on escalating the threat and acts of violence. So why are they continuing down this path? Are these just renegades or are they under the control of the old regime, either way its very worrying!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    Usual nonsense from "chris london". Martin Mcguinness has consistently offered the hand of friendship to unionist/loyalist communities.He has met with victims of IRA violence, secured funding for deprived protestant communities. He has stated that he has no problem with those in the 6 counties who describe themselves as British.Yet not one Unionist leader has reached out to nationalist/republicans

 

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