Memo from Downing Street…

According to the PMOS’s unofficial blog, “We now needed to take co-operation to a new phase and a very important part of that would be the two Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) reports. One would be on the normalisation process, which would come most likely before too long and the second, due in October, would be an update report on paramilitary activity”. (BTW, the PMOS always speaks in reported speech, don’t ya know…) With the UVF not intending to heed appeals to decommission before the 24th November, it will likely not look good for Loyalist paramilitaries again… something that will make little material difference to the expected course of the end game. Even if the straws in the wind suggest that it may just see a decisive move from the Loyalist side.

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  • T.Ruth

    The IMC report wil perhaps enable movement to a shadow assembly. This will be made more likely if the government gives a clear undertaking that any party which is judged in subsequent IMC reports to have a continuing involvement in criminality or terrorist behaviour will be excluded immediately from any involvement at the Executive level of the restored Assembly. This will enable the institutions and democratic local government to proceed so our elected representatives can tackle the urgent problems which face our society.

  • I see that…
    Republicans urged the British and Irish governments today to come up with a plan of action to get the suspended Northern Ireland Assembly up and running.

    With all sides in Belfast under pressure to reach agreement by the Downing Street deadline of November 24, Martin McGuinness said London and Dublin would need to outline the plan if they were serious in restoring the institutions.

    Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern are expected to meet next month as part of the process to quicken the pace of negotiations.

    Michael McDowell and Paul Goggins had talks with police chiefs today, and next week is likely to signal the start of some serious debate at Stormont.

    Peter Hain’s so-called preparation-for-government committee involving all the main parties has been in discussion since May. But there has been no notable progress amid fears in London and Dublin that November 24 will pass without a deal.

    Sinn Fein is seeking urgent talks with British and Irish officials and warned today the party expected to see some indication by Friday of the governments’ plan of action.

    Mr McGuinness said: “Public confidence requires a serious effort from the two governments in the coming weeks. Sinn Féin is committed to being part of any genuine effort which will see the institutions put back in place. But the one outstanding issue to be resolved remains the DUP attitude to power sharing. That needs to be the focus of the two governments over the next 12 weeks.”

    Meanwhile Mr Blair believes “genuine progress” has been made in bringing Ulster’s political parties together to prepare for government again, Downing Street said.

    The Prime Minister’s official spokesman stressed the drive to get the Stormont administration back up and running would be a “very important part of the agenda this autumn”.

    He said: “We have seen some genuine progress in terms of the parties taking the preparation-for-government committee seriously.

    “We now need to take that co-operation to a new phase and a very important part of that will be two Independent Monitoring Commission reports – one on the normalisation process, which will come probably before too long (Wednesday), and its report on paramilitary activity, which is due in October.

    “We have approached this in a methodical, patient and painstaking way and I think that does allow a basis for moving forward this autumn – but that will be for the parties to decide.

    “This is one of the most important periods in Northern Ireland that we have seen for some time and this autumn will reflect that and the level of the meetings we have will reflect that.”

    Mr Ahern said tonight that if the political institutions could not get up and running, then alternatives would have to be enforced as a last resort.

    He said: “Mr Blair and myself are working to try to get to the 24th and to get the parties to make the moves on it.

    “We now need to get the institutions up and running.

    “Obviously we’ve had discussions about alternatives, but I really don’t see alternatives as a success. If we have to have alternatives, we’ll have alternatives.

    “But an alternative to what was set out and voted for north and south and accepted internationally as the Good Friday Agreement is the only thing that I want to see implemented. I want to keep the focus on that. Anything else is a distraction.”

    Mr Ahern told reporters: “I’ll repeat what I’ve been saying for months that politicians anywhere in the world would want to take positions of power and authority so they can improve the lot of the life and circumstances of the people who elected them into positions and I hope that the politicians are no different.”

    He said: “Mr Blair and myself are working to try to get to the 24th and to get the parties to make the moves on it.

    “I appreciate that the talks have continued over the summer. They are making better progress. I have to be frank and say that ‘better progress’ means they are now talking to each other and being polite to each other rather than agreeing things.

    “If we have to have alternatives, we’ll have alternatives. But an alternative to what was set out and voted for north and south and accepted internationally as the Good Friday Agreement is the only thing that I want to see implemented. I want to keep the focus on that. Anything else is a distraction.”

    source- http://www.mediapointireland.press.net/article.jsp?id=629374