This year’s fly in the ointment could be Nigel Dodds’ comment that devolution of policing and justice would not happen for a lifetime. According to the Irish Times, it seems the Secretary of State begs to differ (subs needed):
Northern Secretary Peter Hain has insisted that devolving policing and justice powers to a restored Northern Executive is a key element of the St Andrews Agreement. This is despite remarks by the DUP’s Nigel Dodds that it would not happen for a “political lifetime”.
This recent comment by the North Belfast MP, with his added assertion that Sinn Féin would just “have to lump it” on the issue, caused anger among republicans.
Some said that by word and tone Mr Dodds’s remarks were similar to Dr Paisley’s “sackcloth and ashes” demands of Sinn Féin two years ago – comments that were seen as partly responsible for destroying the chance of a deal between the two parties in December 2004.