déjà vu..

It’s probably not the kind of dialogue the new Secretary of State had in mind.. But Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey claims to be “thoroughly baffled” at the reported comments of the DUP’s Nigel Dodds – although the SF spokesman quoted in the report seems more circumspect. I’m baffled that Alex Maskey apparently still thinks May 2008 is an enforceable deadline for devolving policing and justice powers, rather than a target date. And there’s no use pointing to St Andrews either. But don’t take my word for, go back to one of the numerous times I’ve pointed this out and read what the previous Secretary of State said when in the House of Commons – “the May 2008 timetable agreed in the Northern Ireland (St. Andrews Agreement) Act is a Government objective, to which all parties should work” – and read what the former NIO Minister David Hanson said in the same place. That target date may, or may not, be met. We’ll just have to wait and see what the committee’s assessment is.And I’ll repeat the question from Lib Dem MP Lembit Öpik, and the answer from David Hanson, that seems to clarify the situation best

Lembit Öpik: I understand what the Minister says is the intent of the Bill, but will he answer the following question? Is it theoretically possible for a Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to use the powers in the new clause to establish a functioning Department if the Assembly does not support that or if it has major doubts about it?

Mr. Hanson: No, it is not the intention—nor is the power available to the Government—to do that. Under the proposed legislation, the Government can establish a Department. That does not mean that the devolution of functions will occur, nor that the transfer will occur. They are subject to legislation that we have discussed previously in the House.

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  • dodrade

    What’s the betting on another six week figleaf?

  • joe

    this site is a sick joke – it claims to cover politics in northern ireland yet not one word was written on this blog about a story inthursday’s irish times containing details of a letter sent in 1987 by fr reid to charles haughey outlining gerry adams’terms for an ira ceasefire and political settlement years before others in the ira knew anything at all about it – how can you ignore such a story? except that because you didn’t likethe story’s implications you decided to censor it?i think your readers deserve an answer, don’t you?

  • Cruimh

    “not one word was written on this blog about a story inthursday’s irish times containing details of a letter sent in 1987 by fr reid to charles haughey outlining gerry adams’terms for an ira ceasefire and political settlement years before others in the ira knew anything at all about it”

    Not so Joe – it was written about earlier today.

  • joe

    oh yeah!where exactly? and don’t say someone commented on it in the item on steorn or something, because that is not what i meant, as i suspect you well know! what i meant was that this blog had ignored it as a separate item and tojudge by your past record i would suspect the same political bias – and i still think we require an explanation from you as to why such an interesting and significant (historically speaking) item was ignored!

  • Cruimh

    “not one word was written on this blog ”

    “that is not what i meant”

    I can only respond to what you write.

    The article in newshound was quoted on the Sammy Wilson thread, circa 6PM

  • parcifal

    what brings you back on Sluggers Cruimh?

  • Frank Sinistra

    Joe,

    Maybe it’s not mentioned as most people have read Moloney’s ‘A Secret History of the IRA’, the Stepping Stones chapter in particular and specifically from page 269 on.

    There is nothing new in the piece you mention other than Moloney tells us he is publishing the Reid letter he has already discused in length in his updated book.

    For those of us that follow these things the article reads like the cheapest advertisement in the world for a 2nd edition book and has nothing of substance to add to what we’ve already read years ago.

    You see explosive, some of us may see an old dinner being reheated and bluster to boost book sales.

  • joeCanuck

    “go back to one of the numerous times I’ve pointed this out ”

    Indeed you have pete, right from the getgo.
    This was a fudge to move things along and really is quite meaningless.
    If the DUP don’t want it to happen, it won’t happen. One of the few times SF have left themselves no fall back position. I can’t see them collapsing the assembly in a years time.

  • Kevster

    If the IRA have kept up what they are doing now, when the deadline/target date/aspiration date whatever comes, Sinn Fein will have a very good argument.

    I’m not sure the police and justice thing would happen all at once, anyway. That would be one way to fudge the date, just give some control over some things?

  • Cruimh

    alex can hardly comlain – after all there was a two year target for decommissioning paramilitary weapons.

  • Nevin

    Perhaps Alex’s help will be needed elsewhere in 2008. Mary Lou is calling …

  • Kevster

    Cruimh “alex can hardly comlain – after all there was a two year target for decommissioning paramilitary weapons.”

    While true, you’re crystal ball must be clearer than my own if you can tell what things will be like next May. You could have the Garvaghy residents lined up on the road singing “The Sash” in Irish, who knows?

    I would not be at all surprised, considering the events of the last few years, to see the policing/justice issue dealt with in a manner that protects the interests of all the people (except perhaps Mr. Alister) in the projected time. The time to work to that end is now, of course.

    Enjoy your twelfth. I hope you have a nice day out with the family and whomever.