21 April 2007

Paisley, McGuiness and cricket

On Thursday Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness sent a joint invitation has been sent to the Irish World Cup cricket team asking them to attend a reception at Parliament Buildings to mark their success in the Caribbean. Mr Paisley will become Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Mr McGuinness is set to take over as Deputy First Minister in May.

In the letter to the Irish World Cup cricket team Mr Paisley described their success as "a marvellous achievement". "I warmly congratulate the team and pay particular tribute to the Northern Ireland players and their manager, Ulsterman, Roy Torrens," he said. "They have put local cricket on the map. Qualifying for the tournament itself was tremendous, but making the Super Eight stage was nothing short of remarkable.”

Ireland provided some of the biggest shocks of the tournament by beating Test playing nations Pakistan and Bangladesh. Their achievements saw the side reach full one-day international status. Mr McGuinness , (surprisingly) an avid cricket fan,echoed Mr Paisley's praise.

An editorial in yesterday’s Irish Independent reminds us that even couple of months ago a joint communique of any sort would have been unthinkable. Perhaps the next step WILL be for Mr Paisley to throw in the sliothar (the ball used in hurling) on All Ireland Final day in Croke Park!

I have never had time for ether Paisley or McGuiness. I would much rather have seen neither of them taking the First Minister and Deputy posts but the people of Northern Ireland made their choice. However, I have been astonished at the way they appear to have resolved huge differences and gotten down to the business or government. As for the Irish cricket team success, perhaps it was even more unthinkable than Paisley and McGuiness working together. Hold on, Martin McGuiness an avid cricket fan. I would never had guessed that!

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