The process has potential…

Sinn Féin have issued a statement following the second meeting of their Ard Chomhairle to discuss the St Andrews Agreement. There’s been no call to hold that Ard Fheis on policing, but while the text of the motion passed at the meeting today talks of their belief that “the process set out at St. Andrews has the potential to deliver” – which could be read as neither ‘yes’ nor ‘no’ but ‘maybe’, and which avoids another question – there are some references to policing and MI5, “We reject any role for MI5 in Ireland or in civic policing.” That doesn’t leave much doubt about the SF response to Annex E of the St Andrews Agreement, then..Full text of motion passed by Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle

“The Ard Chomhairle notes the report on its consultation process and on recent discussions between the party negotiation team and the two governments.

This includes the concerns raised, the progress made and the work still ongoing.

We believe that the process set out at St. Andrews has the potential to deliver the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and to bring about the restoration of the power-sharing and all-Ireland political institutions.

However, there are elements in the document set out by the two governments, which require further work to keep them in line with the Good Friday Agreement.

There are ongoing negotiations in relation to a number of core issues which have yet to be resolved.

Subject to delivery of these issues the commitments set out in the governments‚ St. Andrews statement could represent a way forward. The Ard Chomhairle mandates the party President and national Officer Board to pursue all of this and to report back to the Ard Chomhairle.

We reiterate our view that the issue of policing and justice is a matter for the two governments and all the political parties. Issues to be agreed include a timeframe for the transfer of powers and a model for the department on policing and justice.

Sinn Fein is committed to bring an end to decades of repressive and sectarian policing.

We reject any role for MI5 in Ireland or in civic policing. We want to see democratically accountable civic policing and we will continue to work until we achieve this.”

Apart from the issue of Annex E of the St Andrews Agreement the statement on policing and justice powers being devolved within a set timeframe relates to a SF party policy statement – there is no requirement for any other party to be held to that… and it would require a rewriting of the current legislation on the mechanism for devolving policing and justice.

There are now only 5 days to do it, assuming the ambiguity doesn’t take over, that is.. again…