Policing and Justice to be devolved to smaller parties?

Interesting that, if his interview on the Politics Show is anything to go by, Mark Durkan shares the view of some of our commenters that the DUP will likely do a deal before the end of the year. But there was an intriguing piece in the Irish Times on Saturday which hints that a compromise might involve two of the smaller parties:

Asked about Mr Robinson’s declared enthusiasm to involve the other smaller Assembly parties, Mr McGuinness agreed, while adding: “They must also acknowledge this is a serious business.” This apparent swipe at the rival SDLP came amid speculation that Sinn Féin might oppose any attempt to revive an earlier DUP proposal that could see policing and justice powers vested in a new ministry to be shared initially by the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists.

That could work. Although any future Justice Minister may wonder just what his department is for, other than ensuring that the outside of the court houses are painted and kept up to date. And his Policing Ministerial ‘Twin’ may find him/herself fighting a losing battle to wrest some oversight and investigative powers from the Policing Board.

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