Earlier today, Martin McGuinness spoke in Limerick at the Sean South commemoration. Sinn Fein headlines the text of his speech: Martin McGuinness calls on DUP to meet power sharing challenge. The Belfast Telegraph has this, presumably in response, from Nigel Dodds: Dodds tells SF not to expect any more from DUP.McGuinness:
“If DUP members are to hold Ministerial office it will be within the power sharing and all-Ireland arrangements set out in the Good Friday Agreement. But while the DUP have without any doubt been brought closer to that point, ignore the spin of London and Dublin that they have arrived there – they have not. There is no point pretending otherwise. After St. Andrews talks Ian Paisley indicated that he would share power. He has yet to say when. He has yet to say he will do so by March 26th following the elections. He has yet to say he agrees with the the transfer of powers on policing and justice by May 2008. So let me put a challenge out to a man who describes himself as a plain speaking Ulsterman.
“Ian, are you going to share power with nationalists and republicans by March 26th? This is a simple question. It requires a simple answer.
“A positive response from Ian Paisley clearly moves the current situation forward. It would be seen by many as the DUP finally beginning the journey towards accepting equality for all citizens. So let Ian Paisley rise to the challenge set for him and his party. Sinn Féin has continually demonstrated our willingness to stretch ourselves and take risks in order to make this process work. We want the process to move forward, we want to share power with the DUP, we want to see the issue of policing resolved. But others have responsibilities they need to meet.
Dodds (via the Belfast Telegraph, the press release is not on the DUP website yet):
Mr Dodds said Sinn Fein aren’t going to get a different answer from the DUP no matter how long they keep demanding one.
Sinn Fein must support the police without concessions, he said, the DUP is not required to give any commitments on devolving of policing and justice.
McGuinness also said:
The debate that is currently underway within our party and community is vitally important. But this debate cannot simply be reduced down to policing or to support for the PSNI. The Ard Chomhairle have indicated that we will move to an Ard Fheis to discuss this issue in the context of a positive response coming from the DUP. We await that response. But people should not become distracted by the DUP. People here need to focus on our strategy, on our objectives.
Which gives SF wiggle room to move forward without the DUP endorsement it does not look like they will be getting.