Ken Reid’s got some good detail on the outline of ‘the deal’ (which isn’t actually a deal, yet). Robinson gets to be FM tomorrow, but then external talks begin on a range of subjects. Most of these comprise Sinn Fein’s frustrated shopping list, with policing and justice at the top of the list, and “education, the Maze Prison complex, the future of the Irish Language Act and the viability of the mandatory form of executive also on the agenda”. This last is an insertion from the DUP, which suggests they may looking to up the price of any future deal.
The negotiations, will only include the ‘smoking break’ partners in the Executive, Sinn Fein and the DUP (the others must wait outside in ‘the corridor’). Downing Street will play host on Friday. The fact that policing and justice are back on an official agenda, may help calm some jangling nerves within the SF. More importantly perhaps: it usefully resets the problem outside the highly problematic question of dates. And it gives the SF leadership a ‘strategy’ to present to party activists, after last month’s timetable expired without the promised delivery.
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