Ulster gets its first Speaker

LORD ALDERDICE was last night appointed as Speaker of the new Northern Ireland Assembly, just hours after he resigned as leader of the cross-community Alliance Party.

Troops ready for Ulster flare-up

ONE THOUSAND extra troops are being drafted in to Northern Ireland amid concerns of disturbances at "Drumcree 4" - next Sunday's proposed Orange march along the Catholic Garvaghy Road in Portadown, Co Armagh.

Ulster results deal blow to Trimble

THE PROSPECT of success for the entire Irish peace process has been endangered by a critical fall in support for David Trimble's Ulster Unionist Party in the elections for the new assembly.

Trimble eclipsed by voters eager for change

THE ELECTION has produced a result which will be regarded by many as unwelcome and dangerous, threatening difficult battles ahead in an assembly supposed to help create a new Northern Ireland.

How angry is this man? Today we'll find out

For many Unionists, Ulster's new deal is a bad deal - and in today's assembly elections, they will vote for hardliners like Denis Watson. By Nicole Veash

At last, Mr Trimble has a Big Idea to sell to Ulster

This course is fraught with dangers - Unionism is confused and his own party is a shambles

Blair in Ulster plea to Tories

TONY BLAIR yesterday made a direct appeal to the Tories to maintain their bipartisan support for the Northern Ireland peace deal as ministers sought to head-off a vote against the Bill to allow the early release of terrorist prisoners in the Commons today.

There may be great changes in store for Tony Blair's ministers

SUPPOSE Tony Blair suddenly woke up one morning, did a Boris Yeltsin, and sacked his entire Cabinet. He would lose some brilliantly talented individuals, starting with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He would be uncaging some big and extremely troublesome beasts, allowing them to roam freely in the wild of the backbenches with goodness knows what consequences. But he could still a form a plausible administration.

The odd couple

David McKittrick on how some people will vote for both Adams and Trimble

Trimble challenges Adams on IRA arms

THE arms decommissioning issue moved back to centre-stage yesterday as Northern Ireland parties began positioning themselves for the 25 June elections to a new Belfast assembly.

Prayers for peace have been answered

Ireland has spoken. David McKittrick takes stock of a momentous shift in the political landscape

Leading article: Give politicians a chance, too

IT IS easy to be cynical about our politicians, especially in a week when one former Cabinet minister has been charged with perjury and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. But, as we wait for the results of yesterdays' referendums, we should consider the achievement of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement. John Major and Tony Blair had no need to get involved in trying to solve a problem which had ruined the careers of politicians going back at least as far as Pitt the Younger, forced to resign when the King refused to allow Roman Catholic emancipation.

No surrender to settlement in heartland of the hard-liners

THERE IS little welcome for the peace settlement at Portadown, the unyielding heartland of Ulster Protestantism. Instead, the mood among many is one of fatalism and anger. The Loyalist cause has been, they say, casually tossed away in the interest of political expediency.

Seeking consent in Northern Ireland: Now for the referendum, when the people's voice will be heard

THE DEMOCRATIC architecture of Belfast, and, in particular, the monumental, in your face, Stormont parliament building looking magisterially down on Carson's statue, is among the most imposing in the world. But it has never lived up to its physical pretensions. Until direct rule, it was for Catholics a hated sectarian symbol of post-partition Unionist ascendancy. And since direct rule - with the exception of a few tantalising months after the abortive Sunningdale agreement - it has been an empty shell, mocking the lack of living democratic politics in Northern Ireland. The lights were on, but no one was at home.

Ulster after the peace deal: Much can go wrong, but more looks right

Here's what could go wrong. Northern Ireland is not a particularly stable society, and its equilibrium has in the past all too easily been disturbed by a mix of political attacks, street protests and terrorist violence.
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