Well not quite, since the Belfast Agreement was brokered on April the tenth. But it is appropriate to consider, that this is not yet an agreement. It looks like the DUP is solid behind the plan, and the key concession appears to be that the Assembly gets to say when policing powers get devolved. Perhaps Sinn Fein were finally pursuaded that the SDLP was right on that one: or perhaps it was a straw man all along? Another thing to keep an eye on is whether they go for a re-election, or a 32 County Referendum. Paisley is said to be easy about either. But, interestingly, a referendum is said to be Bertie’s favoured option. Sinn Fein, apparently, is up for an early election, being already in mobilisation mode, and hoping that any forward movement in Northern Ireland will create a bounce in the Republic.
And in which case they might finally leapfrog their latest stagnant poll figure and get the bounce they had hoped once for after decommissioning. In which case Bertie’s not going to be too keen to do Sinn Fein any more favours than he has to!!
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty