Some questions arising…

As one commenter has suggested, the release of what Sinn Fein claims is a pre-agreed text with the DUP, appears to be Gerry Adams playing a joker. Indeed it will be interesting to see how the DUP counter it. But this is precisely what Slugger asked for over a week ago when this ‘crisis’ began. I guess late is better than never. But why has it been released now?

Possibly because it leaves journalists little time to check the provenance of the wording. There is no direct channel between Sinn Fein and the DUP. It must have been passed to SF through the NIO. As yet we have no idea of the conditions or the context in which this ‘deal’ was made.

It’s doubtful that it will cause much of stir within the DUP, since it doesn’t actually negate anything the party has said. In the end, conditions on the ground will dictate their consent to the devolution of policing powers, or otherwise.

That lack of substantial difference between what was promised, and what was delivered raises the possibility that it was released now, because it just might smother a rather difficult discussion on the party’s questionable deal (and questionable for everyone in Northern Ireland, not just nationalists) over MI5.

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