“as you well know..”

After months of claiming “very firm” British Government commitments, and alternatively a DUP commitment, to devolving policing and justice powers by May 2008, Northern Ireland’s deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, finally gives a straight answer on that question. Not sure it meets the requirements of his own party’s Ard Fheis.. but better late than never, eh Jim?

Key quote from his answer [scroll down]

“However, agreement between the political parties (as you well know) remains the key determinant before detailed steps can be taken to implement devolution of justice.”

Adds Perhaps someone should tell Caoimhghín..

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  • DC

    Well, there it is Pete. Did ya feel that little pat on the back there?

    Perhaps, just perhaps, someday somebody some group will wake up and ask questions about why Paisley and Robinson worked their magic to fire up the voter base in the apparent belief that Stormont-1998 and beyond remains the biggest political sell-out; but, there they are now with SF.

    It’s just im tired of the people of Northern Ireland being sold mistruths, being sold misdirections, etc under the banner of Unionism, as we all know policing will be devolved so it would have been helpful to have a more responsible Unionist party conditioning for that rather than stoking up nonsense, all of which will now have to be undone.

    Blatantly pandering to the sectarian elements has wasted time and led people in the wrong direction and the politicians are wondering why unionist apathy is rife? Unionism needs to get real and stop with the selling of nonsense to its electorate for petty political pointscoring.

  • Damian O’Loan

    I wondered if you’d pick up on this – alongside the Maze climbdown installment which followed, a bad day for the DFM.


    “Unionism needs to get real and stop with the selling of nonsense to its electorate for petty political pointscoring.”

    This is true, and equally true of nationalism/republicanism. No less true, though, is that moving into devolved governance requires greater cynicism on the part of our electorate, as the parties necessarily now have to adopt more nuanced and substantial positions, and sell them.

    Regarding P & J, now or very soon is the time to either transfer or delay for at least a few years, and simply wait and see what happens to the Assembly. I am almost certain it would survive unscathed, and that would inject a badly-needed dose of confidence. The DUP do not simply appear strong in resisting – they are increasingly seen as indecisive; SF’s continuing humiliation makes me wonder how something like S75 could be negotiated nowadays. Certainly it’s Robinson’s first real leadership test – unless it’s more choreographed than I think.

  • ulsterfan

    On P&J;the DFM seems to have lost the republican plot and standing in the Assembly he looks more like a Conservative MP than a Republican

  • Comrade Stalin

    Clearly reading from a script prepared by a civil servant somewhere.

  • ulsterfan


    Do you think he is following the party line to fall in with British Government thinking or is incapable of speaking for himself. The use of language suggests the Shinners have well and truly been sucked into the establishment.

  • BonarLaw


    more like suckered.

    Do you think they realised what they were siging up to at St Andrews?

  • Comrade Stalin


    I think they’d have signed up to anything just to get themselves into government and prove themselves successful. Turning up at the gates of Stormont and handing in a letter of protest is the act of a defeated party.

  • Pete Baker


    “Unionism needs to get real and stop with the selling of nonsense to its electorate for petty political pointscoring.”

    And yet here we have a prima facie case of the Sinn Féin leadership not simply selling mistruths, selling misdirections to “the people of Northern Ireland”, nor simply to “its electorate”, but to their own party members and activists.

    And you want to complain about “unionism”?

    *shakes head*

  • DC

    Halfway houses Pete aren’t meant for permanent stays. What’s coming is coming.

    Perhaps that’s the problem with Unionism with the capital U well at least Unionism that currently is. It’s always chasing back, two steps back and one forward. Before you know it, it’s all too late. You need only look at the drop in votes between those that came out and voted Yes for the GFA and didn’t reappear for the new Assembly elections, somewhere between 60-100,000 voters. Says it all, apathy is rife due to Unionism being riven with foolish infighting that has never stopped the inevitable because the arguments were without an appropriate basis.

    My point is that Unionism always fumbled around over the inevitable, using ethno-religious ways and means but in the end such a strategy fails and we are left having to come to terms with it at some point. It’s called frittering it away so that time can heal the blisters of the old Prod-biased rhetoric, while it away, while it away let’s play let’s forget what was once said and done in the past under DUP leadership.

    The basis for non-progression of P&J;powers was said to be down to no confidence from within Unionism. Now, given that the DUP-SF work the Executive together, do you really believe people take that as a sufficient reason? Unionism throughout the last 35 years has found itself backtracking now do you think that really instills voter confidence. That’s why it ought to get real as it has lost so much face to the point that it’s better staying at home smirking from the armchair saying ‘told ya so’.

  • Pete Baker

    Which is missing the point, somewhat, of my comment about the Sinn Féin leadership in this particular case, DC.

    Especially when you complain that “It’s just im tired of the people of Northern Ireland being sold mistruths, being sold misdirections..”

  • Driftwood

    So SF signed up to British rule in Northern Ireland. Big deal. They also support the police and 5,000 British Army garrison. MI5 HQ at Palace Barracks, not a peep. And they gave up their weapons, articles 2 and 3 have gone. The Union flag flies over Stormont.
    Maybe time to lay off them?
    Looks like kicking a puppy that rolled over and whelped to stop kicking.
    The biggest cartwheel was not Paisley doting. It was Sinn Fein accepting they are now a British political party, practicing British rule in Northern Ireland.
    And that folks ,is the reality. Lets give SF credit for accepting the inevitable, instead of looking for some Oirish mirage.
    There could be minor cabinet posts for Lord Trimble and Sir Martin McGuiness in a Tory cabinet. Adams could even be Lord Lieutenant. Since he has frig all else to do these days.

  • DC

    In order to implement Pete you need to have a certain timelimit so as to see change happen.

    So in that case, people can judge for themselves what statement has more credence:

    1) Unionism’s ‘no confidence’; or,

    2) Sinn Fein’s ‘working to a May deadline’

    The thing is I imagine SF have been working to that target date but have been met with the veto of ‘no confidence’. That is the problem with inherently different ideologies; Unionism and its list of noes; and, Republicanism with its list of aspirations. Policing powers is written in to happen sometime soon just like the rest of the power-sharing arrangements under devolution that are already up and running with a certain degree of confidence.

  • Pete Baker

    “The thing is I imagine SF have been working to that target date but have been met with the veto of ‘no confidence’.”

    You don’t get it do you, DC?

    The Sinn Féin leadership didn’t work towards that date.

    They sold that date as a commitment to their own party members and activists when it blatantly wasn’t.

    Bleating about others in those circumstances is ridiculous.

  • DC

    “The Sinn Féin leadership didn’t work towards that date.”

    Right, so where did the ‘no confidence’ claim come from or was that whimsically raised by the DUP in a light hearted fashion?

    Anyway we will have to agree to disagree about the workings around this because yes I appreciate the triple lock; however, it’s the *reason* why it can’t be unpicked now which I find most remarkable given the context. We even have George Bush coming over and there’s apparently no confidence, it’s more a lack of wanting to build on partnerships because the old ethno-religious quarters aren’t keen to commit to it.

    Now, if the DUP would care to elaborate a bit more on the ‘no confidence’ with SF, even though McGuinness is dFM, then perhaps I might think there was something other than just time wasting done to point score in the face of an impending reality.

    I understand SF led on and promoted that target date but I don’t accept the DUP’s reason for stalling as it doesn’t seem to have much truth or political currency but more so do with a lack of leadership within Unionism that is shit scared of breaching past the old notion of status quo.

  • It is for the Assembly to request the devolution of policing and justice powers. Its report, which was submitted in March 2008 to the Secretary of State in accordance with section 18 of the St Andrews Agreement Act 2006, recommended that political parties commit to further discussions as to when such a request might be made. The issue is currently being discussed by political parties. Neither the First Minister nor I have entered into discussions with the NIO. .. MMcG

    So devolution isn’t going to happen any time soon?

  • “a certain degree of confidence”

    I’d class it as a very limited degree of confidence, DC.

    I don’t have a problem with aspirations but I do have a problem with loyalist and republican fascism and mafiaism.

    I’ve every confidence that London and Dublin will continue to appease their ‘chosen’ godfathers – and let decent folks in local communities go hang.

  • jim rainey

    Good on you marty!
    SF = political pushovers.

  • Pete Baker


    “Right, so where did the ‘no confidence’ claim come from or was that whimsically raised by the DUP in a light hearted fashion?”

    The NIO’s own polls, unreliable though they may be, point to a falling in support for devolution of policing and justice powers [at any time] among DUP voters.

    And that’s a result of things like the McCartney murder, the Northern Bank robbery and, more recently, the Paul Quinn murder – and, in particular, the Sinn Féin response to those events.

    “I understand SF led on and promoted that target date..”

    They did much more than that. They promoted the idea that May 2008 was a deadline to their own party members and activists – with the limited [by way of parliament] assistance of Peter Hain when he was in place.

    But, and this was the actual focus of the original post, why do you think anyone should have confidence in a party leadership who are prepared to sell mistruths and misdirections to their own party members and activists?