‘It’s been a good year’

That’s the claim of the DUP’s deputy leader, Peter Robinson, in today’s Belfast Telegraph – a ‘good’ year for unionism that is.No doubt many of our posters will find plenty to argue about in the article – party-political point-scoring does feature heavily – but I would like to draw your attention to what he has to say on the devolution of policing and justice powers –

On the issue of policing and justice we have won the argument and ensured that the powers will only be transferred when there is sufficient confidence in the community for this to happen. We hope that this can be achieved as soon as possible but we have won a double lock to make sure that it will not happen before people are satisfied.[my emphasis]

It’s not quite the triple-lock that I seem to recall was their originally stated objective, but it does represent a considerable obstacle to the resolution of the issue of policing here, given that Sinn Féin will not hold an Ard Heis to make that final endorsement of policing until those powers are devolved.

It’s an issue that was effectively sidelined in the ‘comprehensive’ agreement, despite the gloss that has been liberally applied to those proposals, and it remains the fundamental obstacle to progress.