“focused on ensuring that the British government honours the public commitment..”

Given the row at the Policing Board the other day, it’s an interesting time to be talking, again, about “control of policing and justice”. Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams has been briefing his party’s “collective leadership” – as identified by Fionnuala O’Connor – on the prospect of the devolution of policing and justice powers. From Adams’ statement

“At this time Sinn Fein is particularly focused on ensuring that the British government honours the public commitment to transfer powers on policing and justice away from London and into the hands of locally elected politicians.”

Except that, as Northern Ireland Secretary of State Shaun Woodward said yesterday [pdf file]

“The British Government have kept their word. We have prepared the institutions ready for transfer in May this year. We stand ready to hand over responsibility for criminal justice and policing to politicians elected in Northern Ireland.”

And he’s right. The next step is up to the holders of the Office of the First and deputy First Ministers.. But, as the target date of May approaches, there may be other concerns for Gerry Adams..Shaun Woodward also referenced public opinion in his speech – by which I assume he means this NIO poll. [I’ll also note that the BBC’s Jim Fitzpatrick subsequently acknowledged the error I pointed to in that post]

But, as I’ve mentioned previously, and might as well again

Imposing those powers against the wishes of the Assembly would be a “constitutional nonsense” – and, importantly, “it is not the intention—nor is the power available to the Government—to do that.”

And a reminder of the DUP’s opinion on this

While it would seem foolish for republicans to accept the outlandish boasts and rhetoric of the Sinn Fein leadership when playing to their base and not see through them, it would be even more foolish for unionists to fall into the trap of believing them.