“That would be complete nonsense”

At the end of Gerry Moriarty’s report in the Irish Times[subs req] on Gerry Adams’ speech yesterday he quotes an unnamed “senior British government source” who attempts to clarify the proposals contained in the letter from the Secretary of State for Wales, etc, in regard to appointing a minister for justice in light of the various responses to those proposals. Added linkFrom the Irish Times report

Meanwhile, a senior British government source has moved to dampen incipient DUP concern about proposals on how a minister for justice and a junior justice minister might be appointed to the Executive by May 2007. A British government paper details how, if the parties cannot agree on the nominations by that date, the government could then nominate who should fill the posts.

This prompted DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson to warn that such an imposition would wreck any prospect of devolution being restored by March as envisaged in the St Andrews Agreement, or by any other date.

A senior British source however said there was no question of a minister being imposed against the wishes of the Assembly. “That would be complete nonsense,” he said. The need for a Northern Secretary to nominate could only arise in situations such as where it was decided to appoint a minister from outside the Assembly, or where the post could go to an Alliance member or other MLA who was not a member of the four parties entitled to sit on the Executive – at present, the DUP, Sinn Féin, Ulster Unionists and SDLP.