“We believe that the parties can move forward”

According to a short statement in the BBC report, the NIO have waved play on in the aftermath of the various statements.. which should mean that the Ard Fheis is next

The Northern Ireland Office in a statement said: “It is positive that the leadership of both Sinn Fein and the DUP have accepted and welcomed the prime minister’s assessment as set out in his statement today. We believe that the parties can move forward on that basis within the timeframe of the St Andrews Agreement.”

Update Looks like another Ard Chomhairle meeting first [on Tuesday? – Ed]

Mr Adams said: “The ard chomhairle will obviously have to judge whether or not the DUP’s response today amounts to a positive acceptance of what Mr Blair has said. Let the dust settle on this. However, the officer board of our party will meet next Tuesday to look at all of this.”

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  • Dualta

    Sinn Fein will not be taking the NIO’s word for it, I’m sure.

  • Chris Donnelly


    I’m sure you can take that as read, particularly when the link story includes a transparently hostile response by Nigel Dodds which, when taken together with Gregory Campbell’s ‘Talkback’ interview earlier in the day, will leave the matter of where the DUP stand about as clear as mud.

  • Yokel

    So then SF, after getting Tony away from sunning himself and agreeing to have him make an ‘honest broker’ statement they are now going to reject it all?

    Reality check warning, the British government has delivered a boot up the arse.

  • Dualta

    Yokel, SF are not going to reject this. There’s no doubt that they’re committed to this move. The doubt rests with the DUP’s intentions. Blair knows that SF are on board. He’s back to deal with the DUP. That’s the reality of the situation.

  • Yokel


    SF asked him to come home. The DUP don’t care. They havent been asked to do anything else.

  • fair_deal

    SF kicked the ball to the Government they kicked it on to DUP who passed it back to them and they punted it back to SF. How pointless was all of today’s shenanigans?

    We end the day the same as it started, the exact same ball at the exact same feet and nothing that happened in between has done anything to make SF’s difficulties any the less.

    I would say this is all becoming reminscent of December 04 but a more apt comparison is probably the flux the republican movement got itself in over the McCartney murder.

  • parcifal

    How can you mean what you say?
    SF are speaking with one voice. as are the gov’t; but virtually all the DUP’s MLA’s /MP’s have said different things vis-a-vis the timetable for devolution of policing and justice powers.

  • fair_deal


    “SF are speaking with one voice”


    “all the DUP’s MLA’s /MP’s have said different things vis-a-vis the timetable for devolution of policing and justice powers.

    No one in the DUP has said May 2008 will be achieved, has been agreed as the deadline and all are agreed it depends on delivery. The rest is personal judgement about how acheiveable it is.

  • Rory

    Just been listening to Radio4 PM where nobody really gives a monkey’s for this silly NI kerfuffle but are more enthused about Blair’s continuing silence on the public outrage at the execution of Saddam Hussein and Blair’s complicity therein.

    This side of the sheugh everyone just assumes that the troubles are over and any new problems brought to public (i.e. London) attention are always deemed to be the handiwork of that old rogue, Paisley. “It’s what he does, ain’t it?” is the common concensus.

    p.s. I notice that Slugger shared Blair’s silence on the Saddam execution. Perhaps it was deemed too strong for debate, like a Mel Gibson film.

  • parcifal

    Its the full-moon that’s causing all this “water- on-the-brain” and lunarcy 😉

  • the other one

    just had an interesting update on the current situation. Apparently it has little to do with policing.

    Following Paisley’s dropping of part of his agreed text in Nov there was concern about DUP commitment to power-sharing by March 27th.

    Blair Paisley and Gerry worked out an agreed text to be dropped into Paisley’s New Year message. Surprise surprise just like Nov Paisley forgot the important pre-agreed bit.

    Now it seems that the issue is whether or not the DUP position is about never sharing power in a political lifetime not the devolution of policing by 2008. Now read Tony’s statement and note the bit about both parties supporting the St Andrew’s agreement. Kinda puts a different spin on things.

  • Yokel

    Amazing that, I havent heard too many voices in the front line of the DUP opposing power sharing in itself. Anyway, they have no choice, just as Sinn Fein has no choice. I actually believe Paisley will try to make it happen because, for all I have serious issues with the man, I take his word on this one. He couldnt have done this years ago, ironically the UUP’s demise has sent some interesting people into the DUP ranks and there is a shift not only in its membership profile but more significantly its voter base. If the DUP didnt go into devolution, justice aside, they’d lose votes now. The DUP’s strength of recent years was the defection of UUP voters to them because they wanted a better deal. A better deal, not no deal.

    There are considered to be two possibilities with Sinn Fein’s sudden screaming fit

    a) It’s all the fault of the DUP
    b) Sinn Fein are finding it hard to get the current deal through with the comfort level they want so they need more.

    Take yer side, make yer choice.

    Anyway there’s more fun to be had with making up silly repsonses regarding some Alliance bloke called Tervor Lunn. Come on, the weekend is 24 hours away.

  • Pete Baker

    Adams has indicated, see update above, there’s another ard chomhairle meeting to come..