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Voice of America, 98-05-23

Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Voice of America <gopher://gopher.voa.gov>


CONTENTS

  • [01] NORTHERN IRELAND VOTE (L) BY ANDRE DE NESNERA (BELFAST)
  • [02] IRELAND VOTE COUNT (LONG) BY GIL BUTLER (DUBLIN)

  • [01] NORTHERN IRELAND VOTE (L) BY ANDRE DE NESNERA (BELFAST)

    DATE=5/23/98
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-232698
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A VAST MAJORITY OF VOTERS IN NORTHERN IRELAND HAVE ENDORSED THE POLITICAL AGREEMENT GIVING THEM MORE SAY IN RUNNING THEIR OWN AFFAIRS. V-O-A'S ANDRE DE NESNERA REPORTS FROM BELFAST.

    TEXT: THE VOTE IN FAVOR OF THE AGREEMENT WAS OVERWHELMING: 71 PERCENT OF THOSE CASTING BALLOTS IN FRIDAY'S REFERENDUM SAID "YES" -- 29 PERCENT SAID "NO." AND 81 PERCENT OF THE ELIGIBLE VOTERS IN NORTHERN IRELAND CAST BALLOTS IN THE REFERENDUM -- A RECORD.

    THE RESOUNDING "YES" VOTE MEANS A MAJORITY OF PRO-IRISH CATHOLICS AND A MAJORITY OF PRO-BRITISH UNIONISTS FAVORED THE AGREEMENT. THE NEXT PHASE NOW IS TO IMPLEMENT PROVISIONS OF THE ACCORD BEGINNING WITH ELECTIONS NEXT MONTH FOR A NEW NORTHERN IRELAND ASSEMBLY.

    THE CLEAR WINNER IN THIS REFERENDUM IS DAVID TRIMBLE, LEADER OF THE LARGEST PARTY IN NORTHERN IRELAND, THE PRO-BRITISH "ULSTER UNIONISTS." WHILE PRO-NATIONALISTS WERE CLEARLY IN FAVOR OF THE ACCORD, UNIONISTS WERE DIVIDED -- AND MANY OF THEM UNDECIDED UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE -- AS TO THE MERITS OF THE AGREEMENT. AND TO GET A MAJORITY OF THEM BEHIND THE ACCORD, A LARGE "YES" VOTE WAS NEEDED. MR. TRIMBLE TOLD REPORTERS THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.

    // TRIMBLE ACT //

    IT'S A VERY CLEAR, VERY CLEAR RESULT, A CONVINCING RESULT. WE WANTED IT TO BE CLEAR. WE WANTED A RESULT THAT NO ONE COULD QUESTION, AND I DON'T SEE HOW ANYONE CAN POSSIBLY QUESTION THIS.

    //END ACT//

    THOSE WHO HAVE SUFFERED A DEFEAT IN THIS REFERENDUM ARE UNDOUBTEDLY THE POLITICAL PARTIES WHO HAVE URGED VOTERS TO REJECT THE SO-CALLED "GOOD FRIDAY ACCORD." CHIEF AMONG THEM IS THE HARDLINE DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST PARTY LED BY IAN PAISLEY.

    SPEAKING TO REPORTERS AFTER THE VOTE WAS ANNOUNCED, HE SAID HIS PARTY WILL FIELD CANDIDATES FOR THE NEW ASSEMBLY IN ORDER TO REPRESENT HIS CONSTITUENCY WHICH WAS AGAINST THE ACCORD.

    ///PAISLEY ACT///

    I'LL BE THERE TO DO MY BEST TO SERVE YOU, AND TO GET YOU ANYTHING THAT CAN BE GOT FOR THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY. I'M GOING INTO THE ASSEMBLY TO SAVE THIS COUNTRY FOR THE UNION.

    ///END ACT///

    EXPERTS SAY WHAT IS REMARKABLE ABOUT THIS WHOLE CAMPAIGN, WHICH LED TO THE OVERWHELMING "YES" VOTE IN FAVOR OF THE ACCORD, WAS THAT THE AGREEMENT WAS ENDORSED BY A WIDE SPECTRUM OF POLITICAL PARTIES HERE -- FROM SINN FEIN, THE POLITICAL WING OF THE IRISH REPUBLICAN ARMY, TO THE PROGRESSIVE UNIONIST PARTY, WHICH HAS CLOSE TIES TO PRO-BRITISH PARAMILITARY GROUPS.

    GEOFF MARTIN IS THE EDITOR OF THE PRO-BRITISH DAILY "THE BELFAST NEWS LETTER." HE SAYS IT WAS INTERESTING TO WATCH VARIOUS LEADERS REPRESENTING A WIDE POLITICAL SPECTRUM TRYING TO SELL THE ACCORD TO THEIR CONSTITUENCIES.

    ///MARTIN ACT//

    I MUST SAY THE MAGIC OF THIS AGREEMENT AND THE STRENGTH OF IT IS THAT IT DOES UNDERPIN THE UNION FOR UNIONISTS UNLESS A MAJORITY OF PEOPLE HERE DECIDE OTHERWISE. BUT THAT VERY FACT ALSO LEAVES THE DOOR OPEN TO A UNITED IRELAND IF, AT SOME STAGE IN THE FUTURE, THE PEOPLE OF NORTHERN IRELAND DECIDE TO JOIN IN A UNITED IRELAND, THEN THE AGREEMENT LEAVES THAT DOOR OPEN FOR THEM.

    // END ACT //

    MANY PEOPLE SAY NOW THAT THE AGREEMENT HAS BEEN ENDORSED BY THE MAJORITY OF VOTERS HERE, IT IS TIME TO PUT IN PLACE THE POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS WHICH WILL HOPEFULLY GUARANTEE A BRIGHTER -- AND MORE PEACEFUL -- FUTURE FOR THE BRITISH PROVINCE. (SIGNED)
    NEB/ADEN/DW/JO
    23-May-98 1:15 PM EDT (1715 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [02] IRELAND VOTE COUNT (LONG) BY GIL BUTLER (DUBLIN)

    DATE=5/23/98
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-232703
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: AS EXPECTED, THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND HAS SHOWN OVERWHELMING SUPPORT FOR THE NORTHERN IRELAND AGREEMENT IN A REFERENDUM. IRISH VOTERS APPROVED A CHANGE IN THE CONSTITUTION TO ABANDON CLAIMS TO THE TERRITORY OF NORTHERN IRELAND -- UNLESS THE PEOPLE CONSENT TO IT. IT WAS A CRUCIAL REQUIREMENT FOR THE PEACE AGREEMENT. V-O-A'S GIL BUTLER HAS MORE FROM DUBLIN.

    TEXT:

    /// GREENE ACT ///

    MAJORITY OF VOTES IN FAVOR OF THE PROPOSAL: ONE MILLION, 356 THOUSAND 835. (APPLAUSE)

    /// END ACT ///

    PETER GREENE, THE CHIEF REFERENDUM OFFICER FOR THE IRELAND VOTE, READ OUT THE FIGURES. MORE THAN 94 PERCENT OF THE VOTERS HAD APPROVED THE AGREEMENT. ONLY A LITTLE OVER FIVE PER CENT OPPOSED IT. IT WAS A MASSIVE SHOW OF SUPPORT. GIVEN THAT OVERWHELMING SUPPORT FOR THE ACCORD, WHICH SETS UP A POWER SHARING ASSEMBLY TO GOVERN NORTHERN IRELAND, IRISH PRIME MINISTER BERTIE AHERN URGED OPPONENTS OF THE PLAN TO ACCEPT THE VERDICT AT THE POLLS.

    THERE ARE FEARS DISSIDENT PROTESTANTS MIGHT TRY TO PREVENT THE NEW ASSEMBLY FROM FUNCTIONING.

    MR. AHERN ALSO HAD A CAUTIONARY WORD FOR THE ARMED FACTIONS.

    /// AHERN ACT ///

    TO THOSE WHO WOULD CONTEMPLATE ENGAGING IN VIOLENT OPPOSITION TO THIS AGREEMENT AND WHAT IT REPRESENTS. I WOULD SAY TO THEM: 'FORGET IT.' THE PEOPLE ON WHOSE BEHALF YOU CLAIM TO ACT, HAVE SPOKEN. YOUR WAYS ARE THE WAYS OF THE PAST. YOU SHOULD DESIST. IF YOU CANNOT JOIN US IN THE NEW ENTERPRISE THAT OFFERS THE ONLY TRUE PARTNERSHIP AND RECONCILIATION AMONGST THE PEOPLE OF THIS ISLAND, THEN DESIST AND RETURN TO THE OBSCURITY YOU DESERVE.

    /// END ACT ///

    LIKE MANY IRISH MEN AND WOMEN, THE PRIME MINISTER SAW THE AGREEMENT AND THE SUPPORT SHOWN FOR IT AS HOPE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.

    /// AHERN ACT ///

    AND BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE'S ENDORSEMENT -- BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE'S MASSIVE ENDORSEMENT OF THE GOOD FRIDAY AGREEMENT, WHAT WE DO WE DO IN THE NAME OF THE PEOPLE AND THE NAME OF THOSE FOR WHOM THEY HAVE SPOKEN, THE NEW GENERATIONS WHO WILL FIND WHAT THEY HAVE ALWAYS DESERVED: AN ISLAND AND A PEOPLE AT PEACE.

    /// END ACT ///

    THERE ARE NUMEROUS HURDLES AHEAD. A VOTE IN LATE JUNE FOR SEATS IN THE NEW ASSEMBLY MAY SHOW HOW CONCERTED OPPOSITION TO THE NEW GOVERNMENT WILL BE AMONG PROTESTANT UNIONISTS. AND WHAT IS CALLED THE "MARCHING SEASON" IS APPROACHING -- A TIME WHEN PROTESTANTS CELEBRATE A CENTURIES OLD VICTORY OVER THE IRISH CATHOLICS. IN THE PAST, THAT HAS BEEN A TENSE TIME IN NORTHERN IRELAND.(SIGNED)
    NEB/MGB/JO
    23-May-98 3:32 PM EDT (1932 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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