“I gave a robust response and I stand absolutely by it”

The transcript of the meeting of the Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement should be available at some point but, for now, we have the Irish Times report [subs req] on what out-going Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said about devolution of policing and justice powers

Prime minister Gordon Brown and I have both made clear that we consider that the time is right to proceed with this step,” he said. Urging the DUP to accept the devolution deadline, the Taoiseach said: “Waiting in the lane drags things out. All that ever does is pull back from the graciousness of doing something. If you are going to do something, then do it,” he told the committee.

Of course, as we already know, it was only ever a target date.. and, “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..” Speaking of SF and policing, today saw the well-advertised meeting between a party delegation and Chief Constable Hugh Orde take place. Before the meeting SF leader Gerry Adams took the opportunity to describe his previous remarks on policing as expressing his concerns “in a constructive and positive way”. It’s not in the online report but he also talked about the police over-reacting to the criticism in a knee-jerk manner. That “knee-jerk” reaction taking place on the 3rd April, some time after the initial comments by Adams on 22nd March – although the party line was repeated elsewhere. The BBC video report is online here and has the “over-reaction” and “knee-jerk” comments, and Adams refers to making his earlier remarks “after being briefed about how the PSNI had handled the direct aftermath of the murder of Bap McGreevy”. This is Hugh Orde’s response in the BBC report. The quotes are also here

However, speaking before Friday’s meeting, Sir Hugh said: “I gave a robust response and I stand absolutely by it – if you want to have a discussion about policing, we do it sensibly, we do it rationally, we do it in a mature way. “That’s how you protect people – you do not protect people by shouting at the cops.”