Policing is the last issue…

As the most underworked politicians in the world finally take their seats at Stormont this morning, It seems clear a new political climate has finally set in, many months after the IRA’s largely unilateral and visible act of decommissioning has reduced the number of outstanding political issues to one. That’s policing. In this morning’s Newsletter, Ian Paisley argues that Sinn Fein must recognise the police, before there can be any return to an executive on the model of that envisaged by the Belfast Agreement. As blogged by Pete on Thursday, Adams has held out the prospect for resolution on that still vexed issue.

  • Pete Baker

    Mick, the same argument was put forward by Ian Paisley in his interview in the Irish Times on Saturday.. which was also noted here

  • fair_deal

    The DUP aren’t going to let policing come back and bite them in the arse like Patten did to the UUP. If the next deal is going to work it isn’t going to be a partial one ie executive now policing later but all issues agreed together.

  • Jo

    I note that water charges scrutiny was not exactly ruled out by Sammy yesterday on the Politics Show?

    As for legisaltion which is required to bring in the charge? Delay pending agreement by the November date would not impinge on the overall timetable. One more reaosn why Nov. has to stick is that the legislation needs to move on if devolution aint happening.

  • Zorro

    Sinn Fein’s refusal up to now to accept policing until they get agreement with the DUP on the devolution of justice is against Patten.

    Gerry has said :-
    …Policing may be a necessary element in the resolution of the outstanding matters to do with the Assembly…

    Is this the masterful political insight and guidance SF can offer? God help us!

  • Nevin

    FD, can we expect the two Governments to do a side deal with the Sinner parapoliticians in advance of any announcement by the latter to join the Policing Board? Is it likely that the Governments would give official recognition to the various paramilitary ‘civic justice’ systems as a sweetener?

  • fair_deal


    Policing is under british jurisdiction so it’d be a deal with one government. As regards side deals, don’t know ask the governments

  • Rory

    The most underworked politicians in the world? Hardly. I should have thought that Northern Ireland Westminster MP’s up until Bernadette Devlin shook things up held that title.

    In the more than 30 years that Unionist member for South Down, Capt.LPS Orr sat at Westminster his only contribution to parliamentary life was as Chairman of the House Wine Committee and his only contribution to debate was on a measure considering the length of Church of England clergymen’s cassocks.

    Then we had Enoch Powell.

  • unionist

    One suspects that the shinners have got more concessions on policing such as crj funding and the removal of anyone recruited as RUC officers within a set time frame. The shinners will indicate joining the policing board will be to bring about more change, Paisley will claim victory and hey presto him and gerry will be best of mates

  • Stephen Copeland

    Oh Rory, now you’ve gone and reminded the unionoids to whinge about Gerry Adam’s “contribution to parliamentary life”. If there’s a title for most underworked politicians in the world then surely he (and the other four) win it hands down for their contribution to Westminster.

  • seabhac siulach

    “Sinn Fein’s refusal up to now to accept policing until they get agreement with the DUP on the devolution of justice is against Patten.”

    Not so, devolution of justice powers was one of the important aspects of the Patten reforms…
    And, it is only recently that the British have moved to pass the necessary bills to enact this.

    In fact on page 8 of Patten, section 1.15, it states,’We believe these arrangements will work best when responsibility for policing is devolved to Northern Ireland, and it seems to us that the logic of the Agreement argues for this to happen sooner rather than later. If it is true in other areas of public life that people are more likely to act responsibly when they are given responsiblity [Paisley???], then we see little or no justification for excluding policing from this approach. But first, of course, an executive needs to be established on the basis of the sort of understanding encapsulated in the Agreement.’

    So Patten says that devolution of policing powers SHOULD NOT be devolved until the executive is set up. Saying this, it is nonsense to blame Sinn Fein for not accepting policing. We may just as well blame the DUP for preventing devolution and therefore preventing policing powers to be devolved (and hence the trouble for Sinn to ‘recognise’ the police). Why should Sinn Fein support a police force that is not yet truly representative and answerable to local democracy?? Why should they accept it before the executive is set up and they have the devolved policing powers they want?

    Would it not be better for all concerned to ‘jump together’ into an executive, which point Sinn Fein will have to accept the police, through new devolved powers…

    It looks to me that the DUP are using policing as another cynical ‘stumbling block’. Their nonsense that sitting on the Policing Board does not imply recognition of the police is farcical Alice in Wonderland stuff…

  • JD

    Is no one seeing the absolute contradiction in the DUP position, they are trying to erect policing as the new pre-condition to progress yet they have already stated that if Sinn Fein comes on to the policing board they will withdraw. You cannot have it both ways.

  • Conor Gillespie


    Why yes,I was wondering about that myself. LOL this news just made my day (:

  • elfinto

    The DUP are waiting for Gordon and when he arrives they will start waiting for David.

  • Rory

    The Sinn Fein Westminster representatives, Stephen Copeland, were elected on a clear mandate of abstention to that body, and would be breaking faith with their electorate if indeed they took their seats. They were also in the main elected to work for the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and, on this side of the water at least, friend and critic alike are pretty impressed by their work rate on that front.

    I mentioned Capt. Orr only because he happened to be my MP, but the old Nationalist bunch were equally useless.

  • Stephen Copeland


    Thanks for the (totally unnecessary) lesson about Sinn Féin’s position vis-a-vis Westminster. Which side of the water is your “this side”, by the way? I’m guessing you’re in Britain, because very few of SF’s critics in Ireland are prepared to admit anything positive about them!

    Captain Orr was certainly a waste of space, but it is a bit unfair to counter that criticism with the obligatory ‘the other side were just as bad’ when the other side never got the opportunity to be good or bad until Eddie McGrady. Maybe his uselessness has made up for the lost time?

  • Nevin

    FD, is policing wholly under British jurisdiction? Jurisdiction involves administration and the BIIC Joint Secretariat has been and continues to be involved in policing policy and day-to-day decision making. AFAIK JS participation in the policing process is not subject to parliamentary and Policing Board scrutiny.

  • heck

    what about collusion?

  • fair_deal


    Policing is not a devolved power. It lies with the Westminster and thuse the NIO.

  • Ingram


    Quote”what about collusion

    Heck Republican or Loyalist? spoilt for choice.


  • heck

    neither Marty , British

  • Nevin

    FD, have you not read the 1998 Agreement recently?

    “The [British-Irish Intergovernmental] Conference will be supported by officials of the British and Irish Governments, including by a standing joint Secretariat of officials dealing with non-devolved Northern Ireland matters.”

    IIRC some members of the JS may be drawn from the NIO. Check out the [url=http://www.sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/orange_finally_realise_its_good_to_talk/P25/]Dick Spring briefing[/url] if you want to have a better understanding of how the AIIC/BIIC JS mechanism works.

  • Ingram


    QUOTE”neither Marty , British

    Ah , but who did they collude with ?

    No 50/50 and no phone a friend on this one Heck, although you can ask the audience.


  • elfinto

    As you know well Marty the Brits colluded with loyalists to kill hundreds of innocent civilians and a handful of republicans.

    As you also know well, the RUC was up to its neck in collusion too, as Ms O’Loan is shortly to reveal again. Meanwhile the RUC linked Mount Vernon UVF murdered Thomas Devlin last year and the PSNI refused to call it sectarian. And nationalists are expected to have confidence in them? Please!?

  • Ingram

    quote”As you also know well, the RUC was up to its neck in collusion too, as Ms O’Loan is shortly to reveal again. Meanwhile the RUC linked Mount Vernon UVF murdered

    You seem to have a selective memory Elf?

    The Ombudsman has been preparing a report into collusion regarding RUC Con McMurray now for over four years , get in the “q” mate. She will do yours quicker granted because she is a political animal BUT one day the real story of Republican collusion will be told.