They have a cunning plan..

After a long day of meetings with the various parties Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Prime Minister Tony Blair have issued a joint statement.. and there’s a work plan for the parties[pdf file] [not much detail though – Ed]. It would appear that Hain’s the Preparation for Government Committee is intended to meet throughout the summer.. assuming no-one decides to boycott it that is.. The BBC report has some comments from those involved. October’s work ends with: “Parties conclude discussions and finalise draft Programme for Government and draft Ministerial Code.” That’s assuming everything goes to plan..From the Work Plan:

July/August

During the summer parties continue to address necessary issues in preparation for government and to consult their members and communities.

• Preparation for Government Committee continues its work (i) identifying the issues that need to be addressed and (ii) preparing a programme of work to enable the Assembly to address these (to be agreed and announced by end August).
• MLAs and parties discharge responsibilities towards employees, landlords etc in respect of ending of salaries and allowances from 24 November.

September

During the autumn efforts to elect FM/DFM continue. Parties hold discussions with each other and the Governments on changes to the institutions. Discussions with parties continue on support for and devolution of policing.

• W/B 4 September: Assembly returns.
• W/B 11 September: Peter Hain and Dermot Ahern take stock of progress on all outstanding issues with the parties.
• Timetabled subjects in plenary on preparation for Government; Preparation for Government Committee continues its work.

October

Parties conclude discussions on all outstanding issues.
Taoiseach and Prime Minister continue to monitor progress closely.

• W/B 2 October: Governments receive and publish IMC report.
• Assembly sessions to prepare for Government continue.
• Final consultations within parties if necessary, and confirmation of readiness to finalise preparations for government.
• Parties conclude discussions and finalise draft Programme for Government and draft Ministerial Code.

Either

November

Parties and Governments make final preparations for restoration of the institutions.

• W/B 20 November: last opportunity to amend Standing Orders and introduce Emergency Bill (on changes to the institutions) at Westminster following all-party agreement to restore devolution.
• 24 November: last opportunity for selecting FM/DFM and Executive and affirming pledge of office. By midnight Secretary of State notifies Presiding Officer of intention to make a Restoration Order [effective on Monday 27 November].
• W/B 27 November: Ministers arrive at Departments. Executive meets.

Or

November

• 24 November: Salaries and allowances for MLAs and financial assistance to parties stop.

December

• BIIGC at Prime Ministerial Summit level to launch new British Irish partnership arrangements.