And around we go again..

With the Secretary of State for Wales, etc, Peter Hain, jumping the gun, so to speak, following the decision last night by the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle to hold an Ard Fheis on 28th January, the Sunday Times picks up on that conditional paragraph in the statement from Gerry Adams and adds some thoughts on the matter which Peter Hain and others will need to consider..From the Sunday Times

Last night’s decision, taken after a marathon six hours of discussion by the party’s ruling ard comhairle, is conditional on power-sharing being restored. It will give the ard comhairle the right to implement the motion after further negotiation when power-sharing is restored, but does not compel it to do so.

This means that the motion must be referred back to the ard comhairle for final ratification even after it is passed at the ard fheis and does not give the Democratic Unionist party the degree of certainty or the testing period they demanded.

Adams used similar tactics to achieve IRA decommissioning. This will allow him to present the motion at the ard fheis as one of trust in the leadership. The Sinn Fein president described the decision as “historic and courageous”, saying that he wanted to replace British ministers with local ones. “Policing can’t be left to unionists, it is non-partisan,” he said. He added that he intended to hold meetings across the country to discuss the issue further.

In addition that conditional paragraph refers to giving “the Ard Chomhairle the responsibility and authority to fully implement all elements of [the motion]”, leaving open the possibility of one, or more, of those elements not being implemented at the same time… but more importantly, the question is now whether the next Ard Chomhairle meeting, to implement the elements of any motion passed by the Ard Fheis on the 28th, will be held before the March 7th election date?