Adams: every individual must be accountable…

Gerry Adams provides some limited clarity on his party’s position on policing:

“Peter Hain understands our position fully and so should everybody else. He is playing politics with the policing issue. We have seen, even as I stand here, the difficulties he has got himself into by playing politics with victims, playing politics with the Orange Parades, playing politics with equality and other issues.

“We are not about playing politics with policing. We are about depoliticising policing. I don’t think anyone would expect us to take responsibility for policing without there being executive authority.

“However other parties, and I think particularly the SDLP, have bought into MI5 involvement in the PSNI, they have bought into no timeframe at all on the transfer of powers of policing and justice. Sinn Fein has a different position. We believe in civic policing – the vision which was outlined in the Good Friday Agreement.

But his sign off line is intriguing, to say the least:

“We think we can get there and rather than Peter Hain asking us for clarification, he should provide clarification on these matters so we can have depoliticised civic policing where every citizen can be given some sense that every police officer will be held accountable in the mechanisms outlined.

Hmmm… That line may cause some discomfort within the McCartney household… but it is also considerably more concrete than anything placed in the public domain on the vexed issue of policing by Sinn Fein heretofore.

  • fair_deal

    “every police officer will be held accountable in the mechanisms outlined.”

    Maybe someone could clarify for me which officers are excluded from their chain of command, which officers are exempt from investigation by the Police Ombudsman, which DCU commander doesn’t have to account to a District Policing Partnership, which senior officers don’t have to account to the Policing Board?

    All officers are equally accountable to the structures already, the only thing missing from the structures is SF’s acceptance and participation.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    By these words isn’t Gerry Adams playing polictics with policing, just as those he accuses.

  • Dec
  • Ulick

    “Maybe someone could clarify for me which officers are excluded from their chain of command, which officers are exempt from investigation by the Police Ombudsman, which DCU commander doesn’t have to account to a District Policing Partnership, which senior officers don’t have to account to the Policing Board?”

    You mean apart from MI5? How about the ‘Major Investigation Team’ or the ‘Organised Crime Taskforce’

  • fair_deal

    Dec

    What have ex-employees got to do with it?

    Ulick

    Annex E of the SAA makes clear the full range of accountability mechanisms. For example

    MI5 are not the police. They are accountable to:
    “The Security Service is fully accountable through existing statutory arrangements and the due processes of Parliament. In addition, three separate Commissioners oversee different elements of covert work in NI: the Intelligence Services Commissioner; the Interception of Communications Commissioner; and the Surveillance Commissioner.”

    As to PSNI role and accounatbility of its role and its officers:
    “The Security Service has no executive policing responsibilities, even in countering threats to national security. While the Security Service will provide the strategic direction, the PSNI’s contribution to countering terrorism will remain absolutely central. In all circumstances, including where the interest is national security related
    it will be the role of the PSNI to mount executive policing operations, make arrests and take forward prosecutions under the direction of the Public Prosecution Service.”
    “There will be no diminution in police accountability. The role and responsibilities of the Policing Board and the Police Ombudsman vis a vis the Police will not change. Police officers working with the Security Service in whatever capacity will remain accountable to the Chief Constable and under the oversight of the Police Ombudsman.”

  • Aaron McDaid

    The way forward is obvious. First, SF and the DUP meet to discuss the modalities and timeline and so on. They could even discuss the precise wording of a motion at the ardfheis. At the end of these talks they agree that power will be transferred at a particular date provided the relevant motion is passed at the ardfheis on or before a particular date. Then SF hold the ardfheis.

    If the motion falls, the powers don’t have to be transferred and the DUP haven’t given up anything. Everybody wins.

  • fair_deal

    Aaron

    1. All devolution is reliant on the motion not just P&J.
    2. What is SF willing to offer in return for movement from the DUP?

  • Aaron McDaid

    Fair_deal,
    1. OK then. SF and the DUP meet and discuss everything, not just P&J.

    2. What movement from the DUP? Are you saying that just having a meeting with SF is movement? That’s nonsense, and nationalists won’t buy it. The two parties should meet right now – the result of that negotiation may well be an agreement that SF will jump first (pass motion at the ardfheis) followed by the DUP (the actual transfer of powers at the agreed date).

    (Third time trying to send this comment – apologies if it appears three times now)

  • Ulick

    If MI5 are to have a role in policing or ‘intelligence gathering’ here, then they must be locally accountable. There are no ifs or buts on that one. Given the track record of MI5, anything less will not be acceptable by the republican/nationalist community.

    The same goes for any other police agency, such as the so far elusive and secretive ‘Major Investigation Team’ (staffed by former RUC officers) and the NIO controlled ‘Organised Crime Taskforce’.

    What is SF willing to offer in return for movement from the DUP?

    This is not quid pro quo. Republicans want/deserve accountability in all police agencies to ensure that they can never be used again as a partisan arm of the State. Once that is guaranteed then the DUP are free to have their little Parliament up at Stormont (and all the ‘power’ that comes with it).

  • fair_deal

    Aaron

    “2. What movement from the DUP? Are you saying that just having a meeting with SF is movement?”

    1. SF want movement from the DUP of P&J powers ie timeframe, modalities and MI5. So what are SF willing to offer to get such movement from the DUP?
    2. I made no mention of meetings or non-meetings.

    “The two parties should meet right now ”

    1. The two parties do meet in the Committee for Government and will meet on the proposed sub-committee to look at policing and justice powers.

    Ulick

    “This is not quid pro quo”

    As it is subject to negotiation I am afriad there will be a quid pro quo. Negotiations were you present a list of demands but are unwilling to offer anything tend to be very short and fruitless.

    “Republicans want/deserve accountability in all police agencies to ensure that they can never be used again as a partisan arm of the State”

    1. No matter how accountable a police agency is it is still part of the state.
    2. Republicans are no more entitled or deserving of accountability than the rest of us. Also the accountability already exists and among the most rigororus in the world. Any lack of accountability to the republican constituency is because it refuses to support it and participate in it.

  • Ulick

    I said it cannot be a ‘partisan’ arm of the State (in as much as you want to view NI as a ‘State’). The way that will be prevented is by ensuring it is fully accountable. It is your view the police is accountable at present. It is my view and that of other nationalists that it is not. The way to keep everyone happy is to devolve P and J. Instead of trying to apportion blame, and look for the quid pro quo, you and the Dupers would do well to help the Shinners find a way out of this mess.

  • fair_deal

    “would do well to help the Shinners find a way out of this mess.”

    I have already suggested the way out, if SF want the DUP to move then they should offer them some incentives to do so. Hence my question of what are they willing to offer.

  • Ulick

    The Shinners are offering to help the DUP administer the state and with all of the benefits that entails (as mentioned above). If that is not good enough then too bad – equality under the law (incorporating an accountable policing service) is a right, not a concession to be granted through grubby negotiations with the DUP.

  • Ian

    Fair_Deal,

    “if SF want the DUP to move then they should offer them some incentives to do so. Hence my question of what are they willing to offer.”

    If the DUP move then they have offered to call an Ard Fheis at which their party will endorse the police, after which their Ministers will take the Pledge of Office.

    “They also say the DUP would be entitled to regard the new pledge of office, enshrined in last week’s emergency British legislation, as amounting to an explicit endorsement of the PSNI.”

    That’s a big thing for them to offer if you consider the position they’ve come from, and the risks (political and personal) they would be taking in doing so.

  • fair_deal

    There is no such thing as a free lunch. So what are SF going to offer?

    “The Shinners are offering to help the DUP administer the state”

    That was already conceded in 1998. I’m not going to buy the same dog twice.

    “equality under the law (incorporating an accountable policing service) is a right”

    1. Oh dear, having to add a self-serving made-up sub clause to a universal right to justify a position.
    2. The police service is accountable. Self-exclusion does not result in the breach of any right, real or made-up.

    “…not a concession to be granted through grubby negotiations…”

    Where have you been for the past 10 years? The entire process has been one negotiation after another.

  • mcgrath

    I have already suggested the way out, if SF want the DUP to move then they should offer them some incentives to do so. Hence my question of what are they willing to offer.

    Posted by fair_deal on Nov 28, 2006 @ 03:22 PM

    Can you suggest what the DUP want?

  • fair_deal

    Ian

    “If the DUP move then they have offered to call an Ard Fheis at which their party will endorse the police, after which their Ministers will take the Pledge of Office.”

    The legislation already makes the requirement over the pledge etc whether the DUP agree to a timeframe and modalities or not. So the question still remains what is SF going to offer?

  • Ulick

    Well then rair_deal the DUP’s had better get their act together and ensure we don’t go on for another ten years, because I’m afraid you are running out of things to trade.

  • fair_deal

    mcgrath

    Kensei and I had this debate yesterday on the following thread in which I provided a number of personal suggestions.

    link

    I must admit kensei’s greater willingness to engage made me somewhat more hopeful than these exchanges that it could be sorted out.

  • fair_deal

    Ulick

    Right now it is SF who need the trade over P&J not the DUP.

  • nmc

    Right now it is SF who need the trade over P&J not the DUP.

    Essentially there is no trade, it is simply a case of whether or not the pledge can be made by SF supporting the PSNI. If not, then SF can continue to work south of the border, and tell Hain and Blair to close the Assembly.

    What will the DUP do if there is no assembly? There’s nothing they can do, or am I mistaken?

  • Ulick

    “Essentially there is no trade, it is simply a case of whether or not the pledge can be made by SF supporting the PSNI. If not, then SF can continue to work south of the border, and tell Hain and Blair to close the Assembly.”

    Exactly

  • fair_deal

    nmc

    Your argument is based on the assumption that a Sinn Fein refusal to move will be without any political consequences.

    For example, if SF is not in a position to nominate in March that is fine, the other parties can their seats.

    Also considering the lack of yeast in SF’s numbers in the south and damage to GA’s personal ratings over the Northern and McCartney, a refusal to move on policing will do them no favours in the RoI.

  • Aaron McDaid

    fair_deal: “SF want movement from the DUP of P&J powers ie timeframe, modalities and MI5. So what are SF willing to offer to get such movement from the DUP? ”

    The DUP are requesting that they be allowed to keep a veto on justice forever even after SF have moved. Your question could just as easily be thrown back: “So what are the DUP willing to offer to get such movement from SF? ”

    At the moment, neither the DUP’s or SF’s ideas for policing have been accepted. There is a policing vacuum. Both parties either get together, discuss everything and try to come up with an agreement covering all the issues, or we end this entire charade.

  • Ian

    “The legislation already makes the requirement over the pledge etc whether the DUP agree to a timeframe and modalities or not. So the question still remains what is SF going to offer?”

    That’s irrelevant as Hain won’t even allow the election to go ahead without the Ard Fheis, which depends on agreement on modalities and timetable.

    You should bear in mind that the DUP have most to gain from devolution. In fact, the DUP have most to gain from devolution of policing and justice powers. Considering that the DUP keep banging on about how they’ve managed to acquire all manner of checks and balances into the Assembly and Executive, what do they have to fear about devolution of the latter?

    It really does seem to me as an outside observer, that the DUP are still stuck in “SF are for it so we must oppose it” mode on this issue. Rather than seizing the opportunity that it presents, both in terms of increased accountability of the justice institutions to the entire Assembly, and in terms of increasing the number of state bodies that SF have signed up to accept.

  • nmc

    Your argument is based on the assumption that a Sinn Fein refusal to move will be without any political consequences.

    I’m basing this assumption on the previous behaviour of big Ian, who walked away from the deal a few times with the result of Stormont being shut down. While it is an assumption I’m almost 100% that it is a correct assumtion. If either SF or the DUP walk, it’s all over.

    Agreed that SF is not doing well south of the border, all the more reason to get to work there then. I would also suggest that if the Assembly goes down the pan over policing that many people in the south will see big Ian as a large part of the problem.

  • fair_deal

    I have no answer so I ask a question ploy, fair enough.

    “The DUP are requesting that they be allowed to keep a veto on justice forever even after SF have moved.”

    They aren’t requesting it, they already have it. SF want them to give it up, so back we come to what are SF willing to offer?

    “Both parties either get together, discuss everything and try to come up with an agreement covering all the issues”

    They and the other parties are getting together in the Committee for Government and its sub-committee so what if anything new is the republican constituency willing to offer get “an agreement covering all the issues”?

    BTW if the answer is nothing or very little I will appreciate the honesty.

    “There is a policing vacuum.”

    In Unionist communities there isn’t. The PSNI’s performance is questionable but there isn’t a vacuum.

  • fair_deal

    Ian

    “depends on agreement on modalities and timetable.”

    Which SF has made dependent “on agreement on modalities and timetable.”, no one else. SF is trying to turn the Ard Fheis into a concession. I can understand a party trying to engineer such a problem to get something to solve it but some of us can spot it a mile off.

    On the vetos etc, they are handy but the practicalities of coalition means they cannot be used morning noon and night.

  • Aaron McDaid

    SF have a veto on the existence of any local government. They are offering to give up that veto if the DUP give up their veto on P&J.

    We could list and compare vetoes all day.

  • fair_deal

    Aaron

    “We could list and compare vetoes all day”

    Both parties have that veto. We could do that all day that is why I didn’t go down the line of my veto is bigger than your veto but asked a question about republican areas of movement to move the process on.

  • mcgrath

    FD:

    Based on your link….

    Just some suggestions (in no order of priority) take your pick
    1. IRA disbandment
    2. As you said no to voluntary coalition how about mandatory multi-party coalition not all-party
    3. Parades
    4. A default mechanism
    5. Getting off their arse to call an Ard fheis now.
    6. Living with a sensible Irish Language Act (not some sort of republican wet dream possibly even a languages act to take account of US and minority ethnic groups) plus a few new measures for Ulster-Scots and Ulster-British forms of expression.
    7. Reform of the NIHRC and EC so you don’t have to play spot the Unionist or be a NIWC member.
    8. Allowing the IICD to release a full report on PIRA decommssioning the amounts methods of destruction etc.
    9. Policy issues – How about not opposing the maintenance of academic selection in the controlled sector?
    10. Significant reductions in the number of departments?
    11. Cutting back on the North-southery?

    1. It effectively is disbanded, even if SF were to declare it disbanded, there is little to stop it reactivating. It becoming reactivated is the real issue in your point, wouldn’t effective policing prevent that from occurring?

    2. Important sections of the community would be excluded by this.

    3. If you behaved yourselves (more effective marshalling of marginal elements etc) the OO would gain wider tolerance. You are in a better position to solve the parades issue. Hire a PR guy.

    4. No idea what this means.

    5. The cart is in front of the horse right now, SF cant sell it to their electorate in the shape its in right now. If SF doesnt listen, they lose their arses at the next election.

    6. In the absence of an NI assembly, Westminster will continue to deliver legislation that Unionists will not like.

    7. No clue again.

    8. That will happen over time for free.

    9. I personally like academic selection.

    10. An economy that is largely dependent on public spending is going to require big government.

    11. Like Kensie said.

    Hope I offered something in addition to what Kensie said.

  • fair_deal

    mcgrath

    “Hope I offered something in addition to what Kensie said.”

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I am afriad the word is subtraction rather than addition to what kensei said.

    I also asked my original question specifically as I did not want to be prescriptive about the answers. As you do not seem to have warmed to nearly any of my suggestions perhaps you could suggest alternatives.

  • mcgrath

    What have the DUP got to lose by confirming a timetable for P&J?

  • fair_deal

    McGrath

    Some thoughts on the political cost

    1. They would lose credibility as negotiators, giving something away for nothing does not inspire confidence.
    2. They miss an opportunity to get some of their concerns about the SAA addressed.
    3. As there is no default mechanism in the SAA, if they agreed to it they increase the political damage if the PIRA goes off the reservation (again).

    “perhaps you could suggest alternatives.”

    I did offer an answer to yours…

  • McGrath

    FD:

    Isn’t an effective police service the highest priority for NI right now? To hold the prospect of an effective police service hostage for the sake of political credibility is morally wrong.

    A police service that can enforce the law would go along way to assuaging Unionist anxieties, i.e keeping the PIRA on the reservation, dealing with gangsters and the general scourges of NI that prevent a normal society.

    The policing issue, of all issues, is one issue the DUP should make a concession on as it appears to me the Unionist community will benefit the most from it.

    Here is a suggestion, maybe there should be no executive ministerial control of P&J, at least for a while. Everyone seems to be afraid of who will be at the steering wheel. Leave control of P&J at the policing board level with continued oversight from Westminster.

  • exuup

    if sf cannot make the pledge to support the police, the courts and the rule of law then they wont be in government, simple as that

    time to move on without them

  • fair_deal

    McGrath

    “Isn’t an effective police service the highest priority for NI right now? To hold the prospect of an effective police service hostage for the sake of political credibility is morally wrong. ”

    Indeed while you tell Gerry Adams and the Party Executive that or shall I?

    “Here is a suggestion, maybe there should be no executive ministerial control of P&J, at least for a while. Everyone seems to be afraid of who will be at the steering wheel. Leave control of P&J at the policing board level with continued oversight from Westminster.”

    This is essentially what the SAA envisages already.

  • McGrath

    FD:

    “This is essentially what the SAA envisages already.”

    Then the only stumbling block is SFs fear that they will be excluded from P&J if they commit to policing. Why give them an excuse not to participate?

    Exuup:

    Moving on without SF and their electorate is not any progress at all, we would essentially be back in 1972. In your world, history would be doomed to repeat itself.

  • McGrath

    FD:

    How important to unionists would a declaration of PIRA disbandment be?

    How helpful would it be to expand the parades committee to include more members of the OO and residents groups?

  • exuup

    mcgrath, not at all, SF would exclude itself by refusing a pledge that everyone else could support, the world will see SF walk away from government

  • McGrath

    Exuup:

    SF have not stated they refuse to take the pledge, they want to know if they will be included in the process that taking the pledge will create.

    A government that does not include the SF electorate is hamstrum by virtue of it not being an actual democracy. Didn’t we learn this over the past several decades?

  • exuup

    A government that does not include the SF electorate is hamstrum by virtue of it not being an actual democracy. Didn’t we learn this over the past several decades? –

    this is nonsense, the Tories have a greater share of the vote than SF but to say a government without them isnt democracy is silly.

    SF can exclude themselves all they like from power by refusing to take the pledge, the rest of us should move on and leave them in their sectarian past

  • McGrath

    Exuup:

    Sir, with all due respect, you have a very odd defination of democracy.

    Democracy (literally “rule by the people”, from the Greek demos, “people,” and kratos, “rule”) is a form of government for a nation state, or for an organization in which ALL THE CITIZENS have an equal vote or voice in shaping policy.

  • exuup

    Democracy (literally “rule by the people”, from the Greek demos, “people,” and kratos, “rule”) is a form of government for a nation state, or for an organization in which ALL THE CITIZENS have an equal vote or voice in shaping policy. –

    no such government exists, what about those who do not vote , for whatever reason, where is there vote

    Please show me which countries in the world actually have a government where EVERY CITIZEN is represented equally

  • McGrath

    Exuup:

    no such government exists, what about those who do not vote , for whatever reason, where is there vote.

    Therein lies the distinction, the electorate who voted for SF, did indeed actually vote.

    What you are suggesting by leaving SF behind is creating a single party state, which is not a democracy.

  • exuup

    McGrath, why would it be a single party state? The SDLP, UUP, Alliance could all swear the oath and be part of government.

    It is ONLY SF who is excluding itself! They are CHOOSING NOT to take the oath and therefore not to be in government

  • dpef

    FD,

    Stop giving us a red-herrings. You are against the SAA on multiple grounds (on prnciple?).

    Even if SF agreed to endorse policing in the north without any ‘concessions’ you have made it clear you reject the proposals outright and wrote at length why.

    What are you and the other rejectionists asking for? If you can ever be satisfied.

  • McGrath

    Exuup:

    The DUP in such a government would hold an 80% (approx) majority, as such it would effectively be a single party state.

    Considering they are not going to go away, how do you propose to accomodate that part of the electorate who voted for SF?

  • exuup

    Considering they are not going to go away, how do you propose to accomodate that part of the electorate who voted for SF? –

    McGrath SF will have to answer to their own electorate and justify their own exclusion from power.

    In those circumstances i could see the DUP being generous to other parties rather than hogging the whole 80%, but as you say thats democracy for you

  • McGrath

    exuup:

    “McGrath SF will have to answer to their own electorate and justify their own exclusion from power.”

    You think the SF electorate will actually punish SF for not signing up to policing? You cant be serious. By missing the opportunity to get SF to sign up for policing, the DUP will be missing the opportunity to hold SF’s feet to the fire.

    “In those circumstances i could see the DUP being generous to other parties rather than hogging the whole 80%, but as you say thats democracy for you”

    That made me laugh, you’re funny.

  • exuup

    You think the SF electorate will actually punish SF for not signing up to policing? You cant be serious –

    In that case the SF electorate cannot complain about not being in power, they have excluded themselves based on their own sectarianism

  • McGrath

    exuup:

    I refer you to my previous point:

    “SF have not stated they refuse to take the pledge, they want to know if they will be included in the process that taking the pledge will create.”

    This is hardly sectarianism.

  • Stiofán de Buit

    exuupIn that case the SF electorate cannot complain about not being in power, they have excluded themselves based on their own sectarianism

    If people were excluded from power in NI because of sectarianism Stormont and the council chambers across the six counties would be pretty empty places…

  • exuup

    “SF have not stated they refuse to take the pledge, they want to know if they will be included in the process that taking the pledge will create.” –

    Yes they have refused to take the pledge or we couldve taken it on friday – they would be as included as everyone else , no more , no less and thats the problem – they always want more!

  • McGrath

    exuup:

    “they would be as included as everyone else , no more , no less and thats the problem”

    Likewise on Friday, the DUP could have stated that SF would not be excluded from P&J, but they didn’t.

    To which party does the person who said SF wouldn’t be included in P&J for a lifetime belong to?

  • exuup

    To which party does the person who said SF wouldn’t be included in P&J for a lifetime belong to? –

    That wasnt said, what was said that p+j wouldnt be devolved, again Unionists would be in EXACTLY the same position as SF, so SF cannot complain about being excluded when theres nothing to be excluded from!

  • McGrath

    exuup:

    And the DUP can prevent P&J from becoming devolved. That’s the whole point.

  • Reader

    McGrath: And the DUP can prevent P&J from becoming devolved. That’s the whole point.
    Likewise, SF can prevent P&J from being devolved. That’s equality. Both the GFA and SAA are based on locks and vetoes. This is just one more.

  • Briso

    FD wrote:
    > For example, if SF is not in a position to
    > nominate in March that is fine, the other
    > parties can their seats.

    Am I missing something? Who is refusing to nominate or accept nomination?

    As for the DUP giving up something requiring reciprocation from SF, what would they be giving up by the devolution of P&J? Isn’t an agreement on this the very definition of a win-win situation?

  • fair_deal

    McGrath

    “How important to unionists would a declaration of PIRA disbandment be?”

    IMO it would be very helpful and largely cancels out the need for any default/exclusion mechanism. I think it is also useful for SF, no more waiting for the IMC or PSNI to say whether IRA members are acting with or without the leadership’s ok as there would be no IRA leadership or membership.

    “How helpful would it be to expand the parades committee to include more members of the OO and residents groups?”

    I would be looking for something a bit more radical than that also court rulings make it near impossible for an OO member (and resident groups) to go on the PC.

    dpef

    “Stop giving us a red-herrings. You are against the SAA on multiple grounds (on prnciple?).
    Even if SF agreed to endorse policing in the north without any ‘concessions’ you have made it clear you reject the proposals outright and wrote at length why. What are you and the other rejectionists asking for? If you can ever be satisfied”

    It is obvious that you either did not read what I said or did not understand it.

    I did not reject it “on principle” or “outright”. I listed what I was concerned about. I also said that if I saw some improvements on these (not all of them) I was perfectly willing to move and become supportive.

  • fair_deal

    Briso

    A ministerial nomination were the nominee refuses to take the ministerial pledge of office is not a valid nomination.

    SF says it cannot allow its members to take such a pledge until an Ard Fheis decides hence they are either not in the position to nominate or if they do it is invalid.

  • Briso

    FD, can you point out a link to the wording of the pledge to me? I would be interested to read it.

    What about my second question? Here it is again:

    As for the DUP giving up something requiring reciprocation from SF, what would they be giving up by the devolution of P&J? Isn’t an agreement on this the very definition of a win-win situation?

  • fair_deal

    Briso

    Here is the full bill/act
    Link

    Here are the specific bits added to the previous pledge

    7 Pledge of office
    (1) In the pledge of office set out in Schedule 4 to the 1998 Act, after paragraph (c)
    insert—
    “(ca) to promote the interests of the whole community represented
    in the Northern Ireland Assembly towards the goal of a shared future;
    (cb) to participate fully in the Executive Committee, the North-South Ministerial Council and the British-Irish Council;
    (cc) to observe the joint nature of the offices of First Minister and deputy First Minister;
    (cd) to uphold the rule of law based as it is on the fundamental principles of fairness, impartiality and democratic accountability, including support for policing and the courts as set out in paragraph 6 of the St Andrews Agreement;”.
    (2) At the end of the pledge of office set out in that Schedule insert—
    “Paragraph 6 of the St Andrews Agreement says:
    “We believe that the essential elements of support for law and order include endorsing fully the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the criminal justice system, actively encouraging everyone in the community to co-operate fully with the PSNI in tackling crime in all areas and actively supporting all the policing and criminal justice institutions,including the Policing Board.””

    “As for the DUP giving up something requiring reciprocation from SF, what would they be giving up by the devolution of P&J? Isn’t an agreement on this the very definition of a win-win situation?”

    1. SF want something then they have to give something. No free lunchs.
    2. There is an agreement on it but SF aren’t happy with the terms.

  • Ian

    Fair_deal,

    I think the point Briso is trying to make is that the DUP stand to benefit at least as much, if not more than SF from an early devolution of P&J powers.

    It could be argued that SF are offering something to the DUP by making it clear that they won’t use their veto on the timing of the devolution.

    If both parties stand to benefit i.e a win-win situation then it’s not a question of either party giving a concession to the other party. It’s just stubbornness that prevents the DUP from claiming the prize of a Justice Ministry (as well as locking SF into support for police and the rule of law etc) for themselves.

  • fair_deal

    Ian

    “the DUP stand to benefit at least as much”

    As a far as I can see that is not the DUP’s assessment of the situation. SF can try and persuade them otherwise. Good luck.

    “It could be argued that SF are offering something to the DUP by making it clear that they won’t use their veto on the timing of the devolution.”

    A very nice try. The Ard Fheis delay is a self-imposed blockage. The DUP veto on P&J is the law.

  • Ian

    “the DUP stand to benefit at least as much”

    “As far as I can see that is not the DUP’s assessment of the situation.”

    I’m trying to understand the DUP’s assessment i.e. why they seem to fear devolution of P&J so much, when they clearly stand to gain an extra Ministry out of it. You yourself have stated (in your six-part analysis) that you don’t share their hang up over it.

    I see it as a failure to move away from their zero-sum analysis, i.e. if SF call for it then it must be opposed. Maybe, just maybe something that benefits republicans might also benefit unionists?

  • fair_deal

    Ian

    I haven’t done the d’hondt figures lately but I
    don’t think they are in-line for the ministry so that benefit you percieve may be a false one.

    No I don’t share the objections about but the discussion is about the DUP position (as best I understand it) not my personal one.