Well in spite of Brian Feeney’s criticism of the air of unreality that hangs around the Transitional Assembly. Sinn Féin Assembly Group Leader, John O’Dowd MLA confirmed this morning that Sinn Féín would play a full part in its coming workload. He calls for the DUP to to step forward and engage fully in this process, otherwise it will be clear that “they are not at this stage willing to find agreement on power sharing, policing or any of the other outstanding matters.” It’s an intriguing form of words. Does it mean Face to Face negotiations with the DUP are now a precondition for agreement?From John O’Dowd, MLA
“In recent days the Sinn Féin Assembly team and business group have met to discuss our approach to the working of the Transitional Assembly. Already we have played a full part along with the other three government parties in the work of the Programme for Government Committee.
“We intend to intensify this work in the coming weeks and are already at an advanced stage in preparing for meetings of the six sub groups agreed last Monday.
“Last Friday we put forward Martin McGuinness for the position of Deputy First Minster and he accepted the role of leading the next Executive alongside Ian Paisley.
“We have also decided to play a full and active role in plenary sessions of the transitional Assembly. We view this as a valuable opportunity to advance the work of preparing a radical and effective programme for the incoming executive. There is a massive mount of work facing an incoming executive, not least issues such as Health, Education, Water Charges, Rural Planning
and the rates issue.
Sinn Féin will participate in the debates planned on Monday and Tuesday and will bring proposals for a number of debates which we would like to see happen to the Assembly Business Committee.
“Sinn Féin are determined that the opportunity which now exists to see the power sharing and all-Ireland institutions put back in place is not squandered. We are willing to play a full role in this transitional arrangement. The two governments St. Andrews proposals are clear, the end point of this period has to be the establishment of a fully functioning Assembly and Executive. The DUP now need to step forward and engage fully in this process. That is the only way in which progress will be secured.
If they fail to do so then it will become very clear that they are not at this stage willing to find agreement on power sharing, policing or any of the other outstanding matters.”
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