YOU can't help feeling a certain sympathy for the Democratic Unionist Party for having to issue a statement shortly before 7am last Thursday, declaring they were "unable to support" the agreement reached between the British government and Brussels.
While frustration over the prolonged failure of the House of Commons to provide viable solutions to the Brexit debacle may be growing, at least the Westminster body is actually considering the main issues of the day.
Regardless of the outcome of today’s finely balanced vote in the House of Commons, it is clear that the DUP’s decision to enthusiastically support the Brexit project will go down as among the worst strategic blunders in the history of unionism.
I once asked Ian Paisley had he ever thought of just infiltrating and taking over the Ulster Unionist Party at the beginning of the 1970s, rather than starting his own party and spending years in the electoral and political doldrums.
While Boris Johnson was in jubilant mood yesterday after defying the odds and securing a deal with the EU, the mood in Northern Ireland was rather more cautious while the full implications are weighed and assessed.
A bounce that went wrong? Or did Boris Johnson just heave the DUP overboard when loss of patience halted further guesswork? Calculation of the numbers he would have in Westminster tomorrow never felt solid in any case.
The solution to the Emma DeSouza case was for the Home Office to treat her husband’s immigration application as coming from the spouse of an Irish citizen, in accordance with her choice of identity as per the Good Friday Agreement.
Can you imagine what it must be like to know that the murder of a person you loved so much - a child, a mother, a brother - was entirely preventable? That not only did the state know who took their life but was paying the killers and, in some cases, directing them.
Bearing in mind the lack of any sense of partnership between the DUP and Sinn Féin just before the collapse of the Stormont Executive I suspect that there is little confidence n the republican/nationalist community that lessons have been learned by the DUP and that going back to Stormont will begin a new era of mutual respect and true partnership.
Co Derry woman Emma DeSouza's legitimate efforts to assert her Irish citizenship under the Good Friday Agreement has raised an important issue which has reached the highest political levels in both Dublin and London.