Huge crowds appeared on the streets – over 100,000 according to some reports. There was huge excitement in the media – page upon page of commentary, live interviews on TV and radio with both VIPs and members of the public in the street. A new shopping centre was officially opened.
Contrary to what many politicians and journalists think, the people of Northern Ireland are not fixated with the Assembly and its key figures. Yes they took an interest in the First Minister Ian Paisley’s resignation announcement but next week they will still be talking about the new Victoria Square Shopping Centre and less and less about him.
The truth is that most people actually do not have high expectations of the Assembly but if it provides a semblance of democracy and presides over relative peace and economic stability they will be pleased – and go off to the shops.