It’s hard to see how the current disruptions (and there appear to be several) will help the current government meet its professed timetable (rather than a deadline) of May 8th for the devolution of policing and justice powers. A new campaign by dissidents targeting the PSNI (which Sinn Fein Ministers are pledged to uphold) hasn’t made things any easier. The cancellation of a key meeting that would have seen Sinn Fein councillors take their seats on the local DPP in Dungannon last night, suggesting that some members on the ground are having second thoughts about following the leadership’s official position of support. It’s worth noting that SDLP councillors have been living with stringent security measures ever since they first took up their seats more than five years ago. Des Wilson believes that devolution of ministerial oversight would do the trick, and make some of this resistance go away. Though the complications arising out of South Armagh (and to a lesser extent the Markets) will not be making the atmosphere between the two leading government partners all sweetness and light. It would seem that the very back end of this particular pantomime horse is breaking loose.
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