The Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, MP, will be doing his best in New York to talk up the prospect of devolving policing and justice powers – the NI Executive’s delegation, minus the First Minister, are also on their way. According to the NIO statement,
“We know that the public feels increasingly confident, not only with the power-sharing Executive but also in their desire for politicians in Northern Ireland to take responsibility for law and order.”
Not everyone shares that confidence.. And presumably he’s referring to the recent NIO poll – despite the fact that those figures show a fall in support for devolving those powers at any time among those designated as DUP supporters, from 61% in September 2007 to 53% in January 2008, and overall that figure has fallen from 62% to 60%. Of course, if the Sinn Féin leadership’s line to both the public and, importantly, to their own party members – that ‘commitments have been given’ – was true, there’d be no need for the Secretary of State to ‘talk up’ anything..