DUP Exit Strategy agreed from March deadline?

The recent divisions within the DUP have become all too evident, following on from the now-famed Press statement saga. Following on from the party’s ‘clear the air’ Templepatrick meeting, Ian Paisley Jnr is indicating that the party will refuse to agree a timetable for the devolution of policing and justice powers- as a group of dissenting DUP councillors in Antrim had demanded in a planned leak to the Antrim Guardian newspaper. Is this the DUP’s strategy to delay a deal beyond March 2007 to buy more time to prepare the jumpy grassroots for the necessary- and painful- compromises that lie ahead?

  • the other one

    senior dup elected rep in South Antrim is now suggesting that May 2008 is a more reasonable time for an election which could be run in parallel with the elections for the new councils.

    Interesting that labour MP Andrew MacKinlay offered had discussions last night with Nigel Dodds about the passage of the Irish Language Act. Came as a bit of a shock to those attending the St Andrews Day event at city hall when Mr MacKinlay urged the Government to bring the bill forward as soon as possible, many present had believed the DUP had got the act binned.

  • Observer

    The thing is the more the DUP delay on this deal the more likely the Bill of Rights, Irish Language Act, etc. will be put through by the British Govt anyway. And then by the time the next round of negotiations come around SF will have to get more ‘concessions’ on top of the above before signing up. The UUP are right, the more the DUP dither the more they will concede. There was no BoR & Irish Act in the GFA.

    As for the emphasis on getting SF to sign up to policing, when it does happen the DUP (and its supporters) are bound to regret it. The DUP say that SF must sign up to policing but it’s silly to expect them to sign up and take powers at one level and not another. They either want them involved or they don’t. For Unionism SF involvement in policing is a bad thing.

  • slug

    Observer, don’t agree that SF involvement in policing is a bad thing for unionists, I’d say its a good thing. Think about the implications.

  • David

    It is entirely predictable that the DUP would not be able to deliver devolution. They are a party founded upon opposing power-sharing. Thus it is logical if the grassroots rebels when some in leadership get seduced by the potential trappings of power.
    Just like Trimble, Paisley cannot bring his party to the deal. He may well have a majority but so did Trimble.
    Ultimately there needs to be a re-alignment within Unionism that reflects the split betwen those who would share power and those who would not. With it should come a shake up of personalities………is there no-one younger than 60 within Unionism?
    It sometimes seems that the older generation has worked so hard to keep younger unionists out that there is no talent left to inherit the leadership (all these men promoting their wives shuts out new talent).
    The Unionist closet has never looked so bare. As a political ideology it only articulates what it is against.
    What is Unionism for? Why should the next generation oppose an all Ireland? What are the benefits of the UK? If the leaders of Unionism continue to avoid articulating a new set of ideas…………then the case may well whither and die.
    It would be sad if history came to judge that to survive Unionism needed the IRA.

  • Bemu s ed

    As I have said again and again – if (as is now becoming glaringly apparent) the DUP are going to try to continue to frustrate progress ad infinitum – fine. Fuck them. Let the governments just plough on and leave the biggo ted, belligerent, obstructive scu m behind.

  • Patrique

    Talk about slow learners, and poor preparation? I knew this was going to happen in 1994.

  • parcifal

    DUP not bothered over deadlines

    seems Ian Paisley jnr has been watching too much of the Catherine Tate show.
    Look face am I bovvered?, dealines, but am I bovvered though?
    Look at my face, does it say bovvered?

    sorry about the hyperlinks, just won’t work for me, but the html does link to the BBC report.

  • slug

    IPJ is right that its Sinn Fein that have to move on policing, in the next stage of the StA Agreement. As and when Sinn Fein move then the Assembly can get up and running. The StAA does not specify when policing and justice powers are transferred; as the SDLP points out that requires DUP agreement and the DUP have made clear that this will only happen when the DUP electorate are comfortable with it.

  • Percival

    “Fuck them. Let the governments just plough on and leave the biggo ted, belligerent, obstructive scu m behind.”

    Well, indeed, but only problem is they are the largest party in Northern Ireland so by saying fuck you to them, you are also saying that to the majority of people who decided to vote for them.

    Only the people can change what is happening, without a mandate the political parties cannot do anything and I would bet good money that the majority of people bitching about this have never bothered to vote. You get the government you vote for, if you want to change it, then vote or someone else. Its that simple.

  • GavBelfast

    When will Fair Deal’s next counter-claim and, therefore, diversion appear, we ask, and in turn Chris’s counter, counter-claim?

    The saga continues.

    No real appetite for agreement, but determination not to be blamed for no agreement.

    It’s no real surprise, the extremes said “trust us”, but they couldn’t both be right.

  • fair_deal


    A nice theory however if you care to check the DUP press statement archive you will discover IPJ’s statement is nothing new, not only has he said the same thing before senior party members have said simialr statements too.

    Ian Paisley Jnr on 30/11/06, the day before the meeting at Templepatrick.

    “Gerry Adams should hear this message loud and clear. He is not getting a date for the devolution of policing period!”

    Here are similar comments by other leading DUP figures before the templepatrick meeting

    Peter Robinson on 27/11/06, four days before the Templepatrick meeting

    “There is nothing required of the DUP until after Sinn Fein has delivered on all its obligations. The DUP will make no move or announcement it is entirely up to Sinn Fein. If they fail to meet their commitments then they can carry the blame for a breakdown.
    Suggestions from Sinn Fein members that the DUP has to make a move by providing a date for the devolution of policing and justice are palpable nonsense.”

    Nigel Dodds on 27/11/06, four days before the Templepatrick meeting

    “Sinn Fein, alone of the political parties, makes it a precondition of even beginning the process leading to eventual support for the police that they must have the early prospect of getting leverage over the running of the police. Sensible people in Northern Ireland believe that anyone seeking such control or influence must FIRST earn the confidence of people that they can be trusted with such powers.”

    Ian Paisley Snr on 08/11/06, twenty-two days before the Templepatrick meeting

    “They are once again back to calling for a precise date for the devolution of policing and justice when everyone knows, except seemingly Sinn Fein supporters, that devolution of policing and justice powers will only occur when the people are content for it to be devolved.”

    Ian Paisley Snr on 04/11/06, twenty-six days before the Templepatrick meeting

    “Lest there be any doubt on the issue of policing and justice powers there is no question of any transfer of these matters unless and until there is confidence in the community. We have already secured in legislation that such power can only be transferred when a First Minister requests them. Unionists will not be agreeing to any policing and justice powers being devolved to Stormont until such times as confidence in the community is established.

  • parcifal

    yeah and how do we know it ain’t all bluff.
    We don’t.
    see Mick’s zero-sum game, talk is cheap.

  • fair_deal


    Time will tell whether it was bluff or not. Regardless of that the argument that the sunday life piece is a new DUP position is mistaken as the quotes show.

  • Billy


    “Only the people can change what is happening”

    I don’t think so. It is true that the DUP or Sinn Fein can prevent progress from being made locally if they choose to.

    However, it is clear that the UK Govt have had enough. If the locals can’t get their act together by March then that’s it.

    The UK Govt will then proceed with Plan B – greater involvement for the RoI.

    Despite all the rhetoric, the Unionists can do and will do NOTHING about this. The UK govt bails out NI to the tune of almost 2 billion per year and has a good majority in Parliament – therefore it can do what it wants in NI.

    Does it ever occur to the cavemen in the DUP that Paisley has been faced with a choice between something he doesn’t like or something even worse?

    If they prevent him from making a deal this time, the UK Govt will move on and, in my opinion, bring in something very bad from a Unionist perspective.

    If that happens the Unionist hardliners will have only themselves to blame.

  • Powergame

    Bem used wrote:

    “Fuck them. Let the governments just plough on and leave the biggo ted, belligerent, obstructive scu m behind.”

    And Parcifal Answered:

    Well, indeed, but only problem is they are the largest party in Northern Ireland so by saying fuck you to them, you are also saying that to the majority of people who decided to vote for them.

    See also all of Fair_deal above

    To which I would add/reply that golden rule of NI politics is:

    The Biggest Bigot will succeed and the Biggest Bigot is backed always in the end by the British.

  • DMcM

    There is one thing that EVERYONE seems to be overlooking. DUP stalling is giving massive rise to dissidence within the Republican family.
    Policing is only an excuse, prior to that it was decommisioning.
    If mainstream Republicanism is unable to move forward just watch the ranks of the Continuity/Real IRA start to swell.
    The provos wont matter anymore, a new leadership who havent even entered political dialogue yet will have to be negotiated with. Adams and McGuinness could be sidelined. We may as well turn the clock back 30 years.

  • mcgrath

    D McM:

    “We may as well turn the clock back 30 years.”

    Was that before we embittered the unionist population of Northern Ireland and alienated the population of the Republic of Ireland? What possibly will your implication achieve?

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Observer, don’t agree that SF involvement in policing is a bad thing for unionists, I’d say its a good thing. Think about the implications.

    Posted by slug on Dec 03, 2006 @ 07:43 PM”

    OK slug- sell me the advantages. Cos for the life of me I can’t see the benefit of Provos who have been involved in murder, racketeering, and just about every crime on the statute book putting on a green uniform and becoming the law enforcers- except perhaps that it might save on the travel claims if you only had to turn round three times and arrest yourself rather than hop in a jam sandwich down to Cullaville, or wherever.

  • fair_deal

    D McM

    “giving massive rise to dissidence within the Republican family”

    Sinn Fein failed to get in a negotiation what it says it needs on policing and justice to sell it to its grassroots and that is the somehow the DUP’s fault. Hmmmm.

    Also the SF leadership is describing the opposition as “small but significant”. However your comments contradict that, which is it?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    So we are going to have to accept that the hawks in the DUP have stalled everything for another month, year or even years.

    They represent about 16% of the total electorate at the last assembly elections and are now dictating what the other 84% can or cannot do. We need an active assembly and we need it now to get there ……

    1. We need SF to sign up to policing etc. now.

    2. We need a realistic date for the transfer of control of policing etc. to the assembly – say the end of 2008. This can be subject to the things normal parties do for example SF reccommending applications to the PSNI from all sections of the community, giving edvidence on crime to the PSNI, a clean bill of health from the IMC and taking up positions on the various DPP’s etc.

    3.The DUP need to come up to the mark on power sharing with a clear unequivocal statement, not couched in all sorts of conditions as they have done so far.

    If they don’t we will be subject to more years of NIO misrule by undemocratic overlords and ‘Gold Coast’ liberal civil servants whose only interest is in promoting themselves and not the good of NI.

    We should have the election in March regardless of what happens and let the people see the various manifestos and then give their verdict on what has happened in the last 2/3 years.

  • Aaron McDaid

    If this is the DUP policy (no timetable for devolution), then fair enough. The government should recognize that the devolution project is delayed, if not dead. Either way, the Assembly should be scrapped and salaries cut immediately, only to be resumed after a realistic deal is in place.

  • fair_deal


    “If this is the DUP policy”

    It is the SAA’s policy of no fixed date. The only party with a policy of a fixed date is Sinn Fein.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    Go for it Ian Óg – the longer you delay the devolution of power to here, the better the chance that the Irish Language Act will be on the statute books at Westminster…..

    Keep stalling man, that’s the way to go.

  • darth rumsfeld

    tut tut Ollie, have you learned nothing about how this repulsive unprincipled Government works yet?
    Remember the OTRs Bill. When the Shinners needed pushed, it was agreed, when the DUPs needed a nudge, it was dropped.If the Irish language Bill was the dealbreaker for the Doc, it would be cut adrift in an instant. At the moment, the DUP are further down the pipe so far as HMG is concerned, so they’re less likely to be dumped on- I repeat, at the moment- and you can bet that there will be no embarassing proprosal for irish road sign and other schemes for the awkward squad to castigate Papa over.

  • J_K

    Do we want the Assembly or not.

    Do we want people to work together or not.

    Do we want to perpetuate division or not.

    No-one here has clean hands – by act or ommision we are part of this society and we all bear EQUAL responsibility for yesterday, today and more importantly for tomorow.

    If we don’t find out how we can move forward others will take decsions for us – that we probably won’t like – for too long our so called politicians have abdicated responsibility.

    So much is lost in the Whataboutersy.

    Yes we need to understand the past – see which bits are shared and recognise that people did have very different experiences BUT this should not stop our politicians from getting on with it and doing a deal.

    As far as I can see – the DUP don’t want progress – I think that if they working with Sinn Féin that we would get them to sign up to policing and that this would change the whole picture.

  • fair_deal


    “No-one here has clean hands”

    Facile moral equivalence. The people who never supported or engaged in violence have clean hands. John Hume is not the moral equivalent of Gerry Adams.

    “As far as I can see – the DUP don’t want progress – I think that if they working with Sinn Féin that we would get them to sign up to policing and that this would change the whole picture.”

    Everyone has an “EQUAL responsibility” but only one party has to show any movement, hmmmm.