Newton Emerson: Covid means North has to relearn dangers of having too much money

US diplomat Martha Pope ahead of her time with observations on excess funding in 1997

 Fountain Street in Belfast, Northern Ireland, which is  under a six-week lockdown.  Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Fountain Street in Belfast, Northern Ireland, which is under a six-week lockdown. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Of all the stories from this week’s release of state papers, one stands out fresh across the decades.

In 1997, US diplomat Martha Pope, the senior aide to peace talks chair senator George Mitchell, said Northern Ireland was “awash with money” for special interest groups and community organisations and suggested this was why many did not want to change the “status quo”.

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