Ian Paisley Junior led on the Northern Ireland question on Questions and Answers tonight. You can find some of his substantive responses below the fold…First on testing Sinn Fein’s commitment (sufficient to let down policing and justice powers to Stormont):
“How will it be measured? Let me give you some practical tests. Instead of condemning the police, we will see parties actively engaging with the police, not just holding them to account, but encouraging them in their communities to come and solve crime. And crimes like rape, like murder, and organised serious crime. We will see evidence coming forward and communities being encouraged to give evidence, and not molested if they do give evidence before an open court”.
Bowman: Is the May 2008 a realistic date?
At that point is out of his [Blair’s] hands. If there is a government established in March or April of this year, as a lot of people hope there will be, then it really is down the politicians to build confidence in the community and demonstrate that there is a desire to have that controversial issue of policing and justice transferred. I am a devolutionist. I want to see those powers transferred. I’m not going to be standing in the way of them. Neither is my party. But we are not going to do is just hand over controversial and serious issues like that, unless the community feels confident and encouraged to see it happen. And I hope that confidence does come. But I say again, this process isn’t about unionists. It isn’t about what we want, it is about Sinn Fein delivering for the needs of democracy in Northern Ireland. And that will affect democracy on the whole of this island.
But will this thing actually fly…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty