No Ard Fheis this year then?

SDLP leader Mark Durkan argues that Sinn Fein should not be distracted by DUP claims that policing may not be devolved for a lifetime. The issue is more pressing than that for Nationalist communities:

The truth is that achieving the devolution of justice is important so that we can pass our own criminal laws. But delays in achieving it certainly aren’t a reason to stay off policing. Sinn Fein should get on board for policing because nationalist communities are crying out for better policing and protection against crime, and it’s only with everybody working together in partnership that we can fight crime best. It’s as simple as that.

However, it seems that that crucial special Ard Fheis to ratify Sinn Fein’s support for the police is not likely to happen this year, never mind before the 24th November: your friendly, flexible deadline strikes again.

  • parcifal

    A week is a long time in politics 🙂

  • Ian

    According to the Noel McAdam piece:

    “However, Sinn Fein wants to see the legislation that will underpin the devolution of policing and justice – which is not due to be published until November 16 – and then its enactment.

    That could mean the ardfheis on policing may not take place until early next year.”

    Surely the “legislation underpinning the devolution of policing and justice” was the bill that was enacted earlier this year? And the legislation due to be published on November 16th is the bill that was demanded by the DUP to amend the workings of the institutions?

  • Yokel

    Something isnt right here. Despite the stories, its long been clear to me as a non DUP’er loking in that they’d get the basic approval required ok even with some misgivings.

    Sinn Fein on the other hand I would have expected to be in line and it hasn’t happened. Bertie pretty much closed the DUP issue off with his report of the 80+% approval but I haven’t heard much from the Irish government about Sinn Fein’s situation. London has kept its trap shut other than repeating the deadline date.

    The only decisive statement from within nationalism about SF’s position has actually just come from Durkan and even then the SDLP have been quiet up until that point. I suspect Durkan thinks there is mileage here in the fight for the nationalist electorate but still we have the imponderable, whither Sinn Fein?

    Could Paisley’s Old Time Gospel party show a more firm yes than Sinn Fein? Talk about tipping things on their head….

  • J Kelly

    Alex Attwood has consistently told us that the SDLP and the NIPB are doing a wonderful job delivering policing so why do they need Sinn Fein. The truth of the matter is this the SDLP jumped and broke nationalist consensus at Weston Park and they want SF on board to defelect the attention from them.

    If anyone believes that SF or anyone problem will deal with the crime that is effecting most people, anti-social nuisance behaviour by teenagers, need to get a grip. This problem is not unique to the north is blights communities the world over.

    Sinn Fein are right to argue and wait for their demands because its when the balance of powere is shifted that we have a chance of ensuring that show trials like which is currently taking place over omagh will not happen again. It is not about dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour its accountability.

  • kensei

    “The truth is that achieving the devolution of justice is important so that we can pass our own criminal laws. But delays in achieving it certainly aren’t a reason to stay off policing.”

    Could anyone explain to me what other card Nationalists have to get this other than refusing co-operation until we do? What power do we have other than what our colonial masters deign to give us?

    The criminal law aspect is secondary to accountability. The police boards in the end have no real power. It would of course have been a hell of a lot easier had the Stoops not broke the consensus. I fear political pressure and whooly lets-just-get-on-thinking will ultimately put paid to any hope of getting this. Really, all other utstanding issues are utter fluff compared to this.

  • Yokel

    Kensei, are you suggesting that the concerns of Sinn Fein on this are about to get steamrollered?

  • kensei

    “Kensei, are you suggesting that the concerns of Sinn Fein on this are about to get steamrollered?”

    I’m suggesting that SF have a dificult hand to play, becuase they have pressure on the one hand from the hardliners, but the people they need to attract and retain are more moderate, particularly in the South. Unfortunately, trying to explain that getting devolution of powers is important and maintaining that stance can be difficult in the face of the type of just-get-on nonsense spouted by the likes of Durkan.

    The StAA is cack as it is at the moment, because it has no guarentees and places control of an important issue in the hands of political opponents who’d block it just to see SF squirm. Dodd’s comments merely confirmed my fears. I’d honestly have little problem if there was a commitment to devolve powers in the timeframe given, rather it being at the DUP’s whim.

    The only thing that would reassure me is if SF make it clear they will block all legislation in the event of the DUP not holding up their end. It’d be nice if the SDLP was on board for that too, but it’s probab;y too much to hope.