/ 8 May 2007

Blair: History will decide my legacy

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Tuesday that history would decide whether peace in Northern Ireland or the war in Iraq would be the outstanding part of his legacy.

Blair, who is expected to announce his resignation plans this week, hailed the restoration of self-rule in Northern Ireland, which the province hopes will finally bury the dark decades of sectarian violence.

Asked in Belfast whether Iraq would overshadow his achievements in Northern Ireland, Blair told BBC television: “I get to the point after 10 years of doing this job where I leave other people to make the judgements about these things.

“The most important thing you can do as a prime minister … is do what you believe to be right and for the rest, history will make its judgement.

“There are always two types of people in politics: those who stand aside and commentate and those who get their hands dirty and do.”

He said the restoration of the Northern Irish Assembly, where power is shared between Protestants and Catholics, was a special moment personally.

“It’s a tremendous thing for me, which I do feel emotionally,” he said.

“I’d like to think and hope that it will give heart to optimists everywhere to see a process of conflict come to an end and a process of peace begin.” — AFP