Ahead of the briefing by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern on the joint government proposals, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has, again, clarified the party’s stance – following the apparent softer line from Mitchel McLaughlin that Gonzo noted. The Irish Times carries his latest statement – “We have made it clear in our discussions with the Irish Government that we are opposed to any dilution of the Agreement, or to the establishment of any shadow Assembly with scrutiny committees or scrutiny powers. This is not the Agreement.”[subs may be req]. That seems to clash with the expected form of the governments proposals.. but does leave open the prospect of the Assembly heading into
the train wreck that initial 6 week period. UpdateThe full statement is on the SF website.. and seems to tread a thin line of ruling out the expected government proposal of committees operating over the summer period –
“In recent days senior Irish government representatives have promoted the possibility of a shadow Assembly, with committees, or some form of scrutiny role, which will extend beyond the six weeks allowed for in the Agreement for the establishment of the Executive. These proposals are naïve in the extreme. They will not work and are not supported by anyone other than the DUP.
– while, apparently, still being prepared to accept some form of proposal..
“We have made it clear in our discussions with the Irish government that we are opposed to any dilution of the Agreement, or to the establishment of any shadow Assembly with scrutiny committees or scrutiny powers. This is not the Agreement. Any proposals by the governments must be to give effect to the Agreement and to the election of an Executive. Changing or altering the institutional structures of the Good Friday Agreement to facilitate the DUP is not acceptable. [added emphasis]
“The future of the political institutions now hangs in the balance. Today‚s talks and the decisions which will be taken by the Irish government in the coming weeks are therefore critical. This is the context for today,s meeting.”