The less said the better?

That appears to be the subtext of the brief statement by the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman at yesterday afternoon’s press conference[scroll down] and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was suitably vague in his comments too.. talking of a deadline for publishing proposals before the beginning of the marching season.. and of making progress during the course of the year.. Whether those are firmer deadlines than the last one that just went whooshing by, isn’t entirely clear. Don’t worry though.. as the Secretary of State has said.. there is a strategy..This is the brief statement by the PMOS yesterday, on the discussion between the PM and Taoiseach –

Asked if there were any words from the meeting with the Taoiseach, the PMOS said that this was primarily a stocktaking exercise. The two Prime Ministers were clearer in their view of where we were going, but there was now further work to be done by officials. To sound a general warning at this stage, the PMOS said that it was a statement of where talks were that the nearer you got to putting together some proposals the less you could say about them. We would be in this position for a little while.[emphasis added]

And from the UTV report, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is quoted as saying –

“We`ve listened to the parties now for six weeks. We`ve a very good sense of where they`re all at and where there`s agreement and where there`s disagreement,” he said.

“We`re still determined that during the course of this year we have to try and get the institutions up and also implement all the other aspects of the Good Friday Agreement.”

RTÉ note his comment as he left Downing St –

But after an hour with Tony Blair, the Taoiseach left Downing Street saying it was ‘still a work in progress’.