No one can accuse the DUP of not doing their paperwork. Today the party will hand over a 16 page document outlining its ideas for a way forward, along with a second paper on “fairness and equality issues”. Key concerns remain:
* the time being taken to deliver the Royal Irish Regiment redundancy offer
* a lack of action to tackle deprivation in unionist areas
* no proposals for root and branch reform of parades legislation
* policing and criminal justice matters, including the continuing 50:50 law, and
* government plans to end the grammar school system.
Policing and justice is a sticking point for Sinn Fein too, and is likely to snag further progress. But that snagging may give the party sometime to work on the first three. Education has been a hot topic since Martin McGuinness’ decision to abolish the 11+, but with Nationalism and Unionism still dividing down the middle over it, and no local legislative forum,local parties will likely be reduced to the status of lobbyists.