On Sunday the DUP Deputy Leader, Peter Robinson sounded fairly relaxed in considering the future, accepting that the IRA had substantially decommissioned its weapons and come out with its most positive statement to date, but that the deadline of “November 24 is an arbitrary date with no independent significance outside the personal timetables of Tony Blair’s retirement and Bertie Ahern’s election”. More important, he argues, is to judge the deal by whether circumstances are right.
The formula for progress we have adopted has worked so far and, if we stick at it, I am confident that it will also deliver the final elements to make sure that which has undermined the community here can be dealt with once and for all.
It is only in such an environment that devolution is likely to survive and prosper, making a difference to the people of Northern Ireland. History has taught us that moving too soon leads to suspension and collapse of the institutions.
Sinn Fein has also to face up to dealing with the issue of policing.