Earlier this year two pundits predicted that the IRA would not decommission until 2011. In the event they were out by six years. What does it prove? Possibly, given the deep crisis sparked by the Northern Bank robbery and the murder of Robert McCartney, political movement is more likely to be prompted by pressure from within than without. David Adams argues that that is the only way the DUP will be shifted into government (subs needed) with Sinn Fein. He struggles to see where that pressure might come from:
The only thing the DUP is likely to respond to is pressure that emanates from within the unionist community and that is non-existent at present. Neither, if at all, is it likely to manifest itself anytime in the foreseeable future. There is no yearning within unionism for a return of devolved government and absolutely no appetite for anything that has Sinn Féin in executive positions.
Sinn Féin’s refusal to support the new policing arrangements in Northern Ireland remains, on its own, a potentially insurmountable obstacle to any reinstatement of the assembly. Though often declared, it also seriously calls into question any real commitment by republicans to law and order and the democratic process.
That republican support for the PSNI is dependent on responsibility for policing being devolved to an assembly that has, to date, proved itself totally incapable of taking charge of anything, is almost laughable. Less amusing, for many people from differing political and social backgrounds, is the prospect of a party like Sinn Féin gaining control of law and order.
It is clear that irrespective of what efforts the governments and others might make, while the DUP and Sinn Féin are the lead parties within their respective communities, there is no chance of a power-sharing executive being restored to Northern Ireland.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty