“judgment has to be made in the next few days”

There are two points to note from Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s comments on RTÉ today. The first is at the end of the RTÉ report here where he rules out a formal coalition with Sinn Féin after a May or June election, but does not rule out accepting their support in the next Dáil. The second is in the detail of this report where he calls for clarity, “I think that judgment has to be made in the next few days, it is critical that we get clarity in these positions.”From the RTÉ report

Mr Ahern also said it was still his intention to hold the General Election in either May or June.

He said if Fianna Fáil were returned to power, it would not be reasonable for his party to object to support from Sinn Féin in the next Dáil.

But he said Fianna Fáil would not enter coalition discussions or a pact with Sinn Féin, or create a Government with them on the basis of Sinn Féin’s policies.

And from the second report

Mr Ahern said: “Dr Paisley is a man that is simple in his words, he speaks clearly, and if he makes this absolutely clear that if we see a Sinn Fein ard fheis this month as we should and as I hope we will, then we have no more further difficulties in the DUP moving to power sharing and we can get on with the issue of devolution of policing in May 2008 as set out in the St Andrew’s Agreement.[added emphasis]

“I think that judgment has to be made in the next few days, it is critical that we get clarity in these positions.”

He added: “The words during the week were helpful but it does not give us all that we need to move forwards.”

As set out in the St Andrews’ Agreement

7. Discussions on the devolution of policing and justice have progressed well in the Preparation for Government Committee. The Governments have requested the
parties to continue these discussions so as to agree the necessary administrative arrangements to create a new policing and justice department. It is our view that implementation of the agreement published today should be sufficient to build the community confidence necessary for the Assembly to request the devolution of criminal justice and policing from the British Government by May 2008.[extra added emphasis]

In case anyone missed it..

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  • Yokel

    The question is, what is happening in London?

  • Yokel

    Actually, maybe there is a bit of a gap opening up between London % Dublin. Not much but some.

    At the end of the day though, only one of them really counts.

  • Crataegus

    Bertie would be stupid to form a government relying on the informal day to day support of SF. As Bertie is not stupid that just won’t happen.

  • Pól

    If Bertie found himself with a hung parliament his party would be on there knees begging for support from any quarter. That includes Sinn Fein. The real question is would Sinn Féin want to be associated with the likes of Fianna Fáil.

  • ingram

    let us not forget Demot Ahern said that FF would not share government with SF for fear of a British agent being sat at the table.

    He was deadly serious. The Irish know the score. let us not forget what Bertie said about Stake knife?


    I dont see much of a gap in the two governments positions. It is clear both have said to Sinn Fein hold the Ard Fheish and get the backing or the game is not on. One step at a time.Sinn Fein seem in a panic about their next move. The only certainty is they will be the next to move! one way or the other.


  • lib2016

    The Irish authorities are perfectly well aware that Britain has agents in every political party North and South. In many cases they provided them. 😉

  • ingram


    Here is a good one for you?

    Ask Judge Barron about the former Gardai commissioner who was a British Agent?

    Ding Ding


    PS. Do you still think liberation can be achieved by 2016 has you pen name suggests?

  • lib2016

    “Do you still think liberation can be achieved by 2016….?

    We’ve seen the same pattern right around the world – Britain declares victory and congratulates herself for having brought peace to the region, then scuttles off ignominously betraying whatever local establishment was silly enough to have depended on her.

    Everything going to plan so far. Loved the touch of posting the RIR to foreign parts….you can’t beat experience.

  • ingram


    The British state has not shown much intent to disengage from this parish as it.

    Indeed the GFA reinforces the constitutional question for all parties including Sinn Fein. The Irish government even changed its own constitution to remove articles 2&3

    The new gigantic MI5 building in Belfast is good indicator of the British states long term strategy?

    Ding Ding


    still just over Nine thousand BRITISH troops stationed in the North of Ireland today and it is envisaged to hold a garrison of over 5 thousand once Sinn Fein commits to policing.

    Sounds like disengagement to me also. As for 2016 LOL pissing in the wind mate. LOL

  • ronanodonnell

    re SF in the Daíl

    Lets be clear about what bertie said. He’s not talking about day to day support – he’s just saying that if SF want to vote for him he cant stop them.

    Becasue he rules out any form of deal that support cant be dependent on anything.

    FG or Lab of the greens couldnt stop SF voting for them either!

  • Pat

    Come off it Pól,
    Look at the opinion polls in the south. The sinn fein vote has been in decline for the past year. If the sf vote slide stops then they may just hold onto their current crop of TDs. Otherwise they will become even more peripheral.

    But rest assured. No party will be needing SF to form the next southern government. The sf southern project is in terminal decline.

  • Chris Donnelly


    The only possible interpretation of Ahern’s comments are that they reflect those sentiments expressed by Martin McGuinness yesterday on the need for Paisley to speak with clarity over the issue of devolution- in terms of both March 07 and May 08.

    In other words, jettison the Jesuitical lingo and state he’ll not stand in the way of the St. Andrew’s Agreement line that policing/ justice get devolved by May 2008.

  • Yokel


    I’d agree with you to some extent, though again, like Dermot’s statement the other day there isnt a lot encouragement for SF.

    Bertie basically re-iterates a position of no chance of a coalition. This is probably not the moment to re-state the point, however obvious.

    No carrots to SF.

  • Pete Baker


    That’s why it’s important to look at the detail of what was said, the detail of the actual legislation.. and then to step back and consider the unenforceability of any date without the support of the Assembly.

  • smcgiff

    I read Ahern’s comments as a dig out for the DUP. It’s the DUP that needs to jump next, and give more conciliatory tones towards SF, if the Peace Process is to move forward.

    Ahern suggesting that SF is acceptable, however loosely, to the current Irish government removes one obstacle the hardliners in the DUP like to use. The, ‘why should we have them (SF) if they are unacceptable to a Southern government!’ whine.


    Do you think there’ll be a UK by 2016? A UI may come around by default.

    Ding! Dong!

  • Pól


    Opinion polls dont win elections.

    (The sf southern project is in terminal decline).

    That sounds more like wishfully thinking than an honest political judgment.