“it would be an enormous boost to the prospects of doing a deal”

Via the UTV website, the Press Association reports that Secretary of State, Peter Hain has called for “an unequivocal commitment to support policing” from the Sinn Féin leadership ahead of the November 24th deadline – it comes after a brief exchange on the issue at his Preparation for Government Committee this morning. Sinn Féin meanwhile, and I think prior to the press conference by Hain, have issued a statement from SF’s Martin McGuinness clarifying his party’s position..One interesting point on the clarification by McGuinness is the stipulation on forming “fully functioning political institutions”..

“We need policing which is democratic, accountable, representative and free from political control. Central to achieving this is the transfer of power to locally elected politicians. Sinn Féin argued for and secured British legislation to enable his to happen. But we also need fully functioning political institutions, so can we hear today the British government strategy for achieving this.”

That would appear to be stepping back, not just from his comments this morning – when he talked of the government’s commitment to devolving policing powers – but to the previously announced position, from January, by SF’s Gerry Kelly

But it also bypasses the more recent comments, on certain other things mentioned by Gerry Adams… not to mention the other negotiating points that Raymond McCartney suggested were obstacles. They could, of course, have been talking about the same thing… but that would mean Mr McCartney was being somewhat disingenuous in his comments.

But amidst the flurry of calls and clarifications, it’s worth remembering what has previously been said – and there’s a fuller round-up here – but, in order to solve the conundrum of policing, an Executive must first be formed to open the first of the quadruple lock

Peter Hain’s solution to that, with his emphasis on the need for reciprocal movement from the DUP, echoes the comments of the US special envoy, Mitchell Reiss, once again, in an interview by Frank Millar in June this year

The worry for many people is that even if Sinn Féin resolves the policing issue, the DUP will simply find fresh obstacles. Is he saying that Sinn Féin signing up for policing should be seen as the last act, so to speak, of republican decommissioning?

Again, Mitchell Reiss says he doesn’t want to presume to know the DUP’s position, while his own seems clear: “I will say that I’ve been encouraged by the objective criteria they have set out for joining a government with Sinn Féin. The two issues Peter Robinson articulated when he visited the US in April were a commitment to supporting the police and an ending of IRA criminality. I think those are completely reasonable for the DUP to stake out – and again, if they should be met, then I can’t see any reason why the DUP wouldn’t be willing to stand up in Stormont immediately.”

The question remains, though, on whether the movement on policing from Sinn Féin, which Peter Hain previously expected to begin in July, will now come before November 24th.

  • McGrath

    Per the quadruple lock stipulation, inst it the government who are insisting that there are fully functioning political institutions (aka NI Assembly) in place before SF signup for policing?

    Doesn’t this put the DUP in a difficult position? Especially when the DUP let the Oct 24th deadline slip.

  • Complaint

    Can someone tell me what happened to the post concerned the Ed Maloney – Eamonn Mallie debate? The post has been removed from Slugger – with all the comments. Has Ed Maloney’s lawyer been in touch????

  • The Devil

    ***** Slugger up for an award… “The Cowardice Award” ******

    It would seem that Slugger has taken a huge step backwards again in the face of criticism from the mealy mouthed, cap tipping, gutless wretches that masquerade as the free press and electronic media of “Our wee Ulster”

    Slugger is fine putting up posts for it’s participants to comment on about absolute drivel, complete nonsense that any self respecting blogger wouldn’t wipe their arse with, Slugger is also quite capable of putting up posts about the D.U.P or micro republican or loyalist organizations in full expectation of scornful replies and ridicule being heaped in equal abundance.
    However once the subject ventures anywhere near harsh criticism of mainstream individuals or organizations the alarm bells go off and the site goes into censorship mode and cyber lock-down if not lock-out.

    The thread I am referring to is the radio link concerning the Mallie –v- Maloney piece and it’s subsequent postings on Slugger, with the exception of the 3.00am post by “lies damn lies” nothing else was defamatory or libelous, yet today not only was the questionable 3.00am post removed (btw most of the post was accurate and non-libelous) but the thread in it’s entirety was deleted.

    Shame on you Slugger when I look back through some of the cut and pastes that I have saved from previous Slugger threads, and I see what was posted on this very site about other journalists and commentators, stuff that was not only close to the knuckle but outright slander in the extreme and yet these posts were only tinkered with, and the thread was never ever removed in it’s entirety like it never existed in the first place.
    If Slugger is going to run from questioning the “Great and the Good” and instead concentrating on the weak softer targets then Slugger has run it’s course and really should strongly consider calling it a day before Slugger gets tarnished with the same brush that it is quite happy to see the soft target get painted with, the brush with scorn and ridicule on it.

  • Rory

    “Can someone tell me what happened to the post concerned the Ed Maloney – Eamonn Mallie debate? ”

    This is of concern to me as well, Complaint. I was hoping to get the details where I might “Listen again” on the BBC web. Can anyone please help?

    And is Complaint to have an answer, what has happened to the piece?

  • Bohereen

    I have put two comments in this thread and they have gone awol.
    I was merely asking a question or two. The Mallie interview is on BBC Sunday Sequence Listen Again, 55 mins in.

  • Bohereen

    I clicked on SOT tonight as I wanted to listen to the SS prog again and I knew I had seen the link here, easier than going through all the BBC sites to find it.

    This has not been a warm welcome from Slugger, I am afraid. My first posts, deleted.

  • Pete Baker


    While I understand the frustration regarding the thread in question, I don’t have an answer for you.. although, from what I recall, regardless of whether anyone was maliciously libellous, the actual topic of the thread was hardly touched.

    Your best bet is to contact Mick directly with your concern.. email address is on the main Slugger page – he usually answers.

    In the meantime could I ask you, ever so politely, to refrain from multiple posting your concern on various unrelated threads?



    Sunday Sequence should be avialable either via its homepage

    Or (possibly) here

  • The Devil

    Pete my post was not directed at you but at the running away from questioning, and my posts did touch the subject as does the previous one in this thread

  • Pete Baker

    Indeed, Mr Satan, but it’s not the topic of this thread.

  • slug


    It must be reassuring to the DUP that so many people agree with their criterion, that the SF must sign up to policing before an executive is formed.

    It looks to me as though SF are ready to move on the issue but that they will only do so within an overall agreement and it looks like nobody thinks thats going to happen under Blair.

  • Pete Baker

    Thing is, slug

    By May everyone, publicly, knew that such a move was needed… and, at that point, Hain said he expected it to happen in July.

    Someone, despite the sudden new-found enthusiasm, has been dragging their feet throughout the summer..

  • Mick Fealty


    Consider this a single transferable speech.

    I can only surmise Devil, that you have been falling asleep on the job if you think Slugger has been falling quite that far behind.

    The thread in question was riddled with potentially defamatory material. I took it off this morning, fully intending to re-instate it when I had a chance to fine tooth it.

    My apologies for the delay, I had hoped to find the time this morning, but the real world intervened several times and it got pushed to the back of my work queue. I can assure people my action was not prompted by the threat of legal action, just the degree to which serious debate had been bogged down in hopeless man playing.

    BTW, Devil, I now see you were one of the worst offenders. I’ve no problem sustaining a liberal right to free speech regime on Slugger, but as it says at the top of Damien Mulley’s blog “Invisible people have invisible rights”. I have no intention of sustaining the right of those invisible beings (like yourself, for instance) to land me in court.

  • IJP

    This is about much more than just taking seats on Policing Boards.

    There are PUP members on policing boards, but no one could call their pals’ “commitment to policing” unequivocal.

    What is required is the fundamental acceptance by all political parties that the police enforce the rule of law and no one else does.

    By the end of the year, SF might actually be nearer that position than quite a few Unionists…

  • The Devil

    Mick Fealty,

    Ok… fair enough excuse (sorry reason)

  • The Devil


    I was one of the worst offender about what????

    Put up or shut up

    Anything I posted on the subject was not libelous or defamatory, period!!!!!

    And do have the decency to behave like an adult in such matters, changing your 9.50pm post after I had posted at 10.34pm making it look like I agreed with you that I was an offender of some sort and accepted it.
    I was not, and I do not accept such blatant accusations, if you were hurt by the critiscism do something about the message not the messenger let alone pulling childish stunts like altering previous posts.

  • Ghost of PDN Past

    Mick, stick to your guns. While not famously welcome here, I suppose, I have met the real Devil. If this one wants to set the rules for a blog, he ought to get his own.

  • Mick Fealty

    Could not have put it better myself GoPG!

    Devil, that post was amended to leave you in absolutely no doubt about the bottom line of posting on here.

    Now if you want to be treated fairly and squarely then launching an entirely ad hominem attack (don’t you read the rules?) on a public figure is not the way to go about it.

    If you don’t like it, post in your own name and take the consequences, or set up your own blog and call whomever you like whatever you like.


  • unionist

    The difficulty for the SF is that if they sign up for the policing board they have no promise that the DUP will agree to the devolution of policing and justice.

  • An angelic republican

    Any move to support or particpate on the policing boards prior to full devolution will be impossible for SF to sell to the grassroots sufficent to pass at an ard fhies.

    The SF position is clear and written within the party rules. No decision on policing until policing and justice responsibilities are devolved.

    For the vast vast majority of activists this is line in the sand stuff. The leadership know this and irrespective of their wishes it simply would not be passed and hence would create the split in SF.

    I think the SF leadership have played this one correctly. “our hands are tied…sorry, come back to us when you have power devolved”

  • harlequin

    McGuinness – “We need policing which is democratic, accountable, representative and free from political control. Central to achieving this is the transfer of power to locally elected politicians.”

    So we’re going to achieve policing which is free from political by control by handing it over to NI politicians??

    How does that work then?