“a dead cert”

Regardless of the continuing attempts by some to attribute blame, in the Irish Times, Gerry Moriarty appears decidedly optimistic[subs req]. While most of the current rumours centre on the likelihood of a “heads of agreement” document by the November deadline, at best, he reports indications of the possibility of much, much more..From the Irish Times

Sinn Féin support for the PSNI is achievable by the deadline, writes Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

The agenda for the three days of talks involving the two governments and the Northern Ireland political parties which begin in St Andrews in Scotland tomorrow runs to about 50 pages including annexes and rather esoteric legislative detail, but it could all be distilled down to two issues – policing and powersharing.

It’s for Gerry Adams to deliver the first, Ian Paisley the second. The signs are coming, not only from Sinn Féin, but from senior Dublin and senior security sources as well, that Mr Adams is prepared to call sooner rather than later – and possibly even before November 24th – a Sinn Féin ardfheis to decide on whether republicans should endorse the PSNI.

Think for a moment what that means. If a police officer feels comfortable patrolling along the Falls Road then, without ifs, buts or wherefores, the war is over. As the SDLP’s Séamus Mallon persistently said, “It’s all down to policing”.

Not just Seamus Mallon, btw..

The sequencing is important, as ever.. but as Gerry Moriarty says

A senior Dublin source made clear his conviction that all issues could be resolved by the deadline. And this is where it gets interesting because surely it is implicit in that belief that Mr Adams would call a Sinn Féin ardfheis before November 24th to seek support for the PSNI. Why is it implicit? Because, as Dr Paisley and his deputy Peter Robinson have made clear, there is no hope of the DUP sharing power if Sinn Féin has not made that great leap of faith on policing. The DUP just about might jump together with Sinn Féin on powersharing and policing but it seems a dead cert it won’t jump before Sinn Féin.

It does all remind me, however, of another recent assertion – “we could end up with an absolutely fantastic society..”

Adds All aboard? Mind the gap