“For many unionists it is a welcome development as well.”

It’s always difficult to assess anonymous sources, although the straight bat response might indicate some veracity to the claim that both Sinn Fein and the DUP “are keen to appease unhappy members” with potential problems ahead, but it does point to the limits of that triumph of top-down politics..From the Belfast Telegraph report

The [DUP] source said: ” Sinn Fein have requested that there are fewer joint appearances involving the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

“There was a meeting between advisers from both sides. Sinn Fein are getting stick from members in their heartlands.

“They are particularly annoyed that because the First Minister gets to go first that Martin McGuinness is made to look junior.

“The request has been made for more separate engagements, which will come into force next month.

“For many unionists it is a welcome development as well.”

And the response from Sinn Féin

Yesterday a Sinn Fein spokesman insisted no official approach had been made about scaling down engagements, adding: “Sinn Fein is committed to building on the positive leadership of the executive shown by Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley snr.

“It sends out a powerful message that the Executive is working and the Executive is working together.”

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