“He was very strong..”

Both the Guardian and the Irish Times pick up on comments by Northern Ireland’s deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, on one of the issues he and the First Minister, the DUP’s Peter Robinson, talked about with out-going US President George Bush yesterday – the devolution of policing and justice powers. From the Irish Times [subs req]

Mr McGuinness said Mr Bush “majored” on the issue. “He was very strong. All of us who spoke to him understood that he regarded this as a very important issue to be resolved,” he said. “The whole issue of the transfer of powers of policing and justice is a big challenge for all of us,” added Mr McGuinness. “He talked about the need for leadership and the need for people to take this forward in a decisive way. All of the other functions have been transferred to Belfast, and that it was now vitally important that we had one last push to get that done. But he was very strong on the issue and at the same time respectful of where both ourselves in Sinn Féin and the DUP were coming from.”

Ah, Martin, but did he give you a commitment just as you, and your party’s president, had claimed the British Government and the DUP had done? The Irish Times also quotes the NI First Minister.

The First Minister said the DUP favoured such devolution but it could only happen when the “community confidence was in place”.

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  • percy

    I think you’re approaching this the wrong way.
    What needs “fleshing out” is what is meant by “community confidence”.
    Can it even be measured, by all those strict rational standards your blog posts demand on this and other subjects.
    We know that every other big player wants P&J;to be devolved, without delay.
    So shouldn’t the emphasis and searching questioning be put on the DUP’s position?

  • DC

    Good point Percy, how can community confidence be measured whenever the Assembly and its political institutions is a form governance by consociational elitism? And as such can lag behind views outside of that arrangement.

    Of course, the elite can call it right but they can also call it wrong without having to call forward any evidence to justify positions taken. It is like ab-using power for a particular stance. It is up to the wider community to use other lobbying channels to call it otherwise.

  • DC

    Also I found Bush appeared very superficial to false in his convictions.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Th last thing Bush is concerned about is the devolution of Policing and Justice in N.Ireland. He’s here to ask Robinson and McGuinness to commit themselves as peacemakers and role models in the middle east peace process, and in return he’ll make sure N.Ireland receives continued investment. McGuinness needs to keep his troops in tact, so he’ll dress up anything.

  • BonarLaw


    “We know that every other big player wants P&J;to be devolved, without delay.”

    what about the UUP’s current position? Do they or don’t they?

  • oscaildoshuile

    come on Peter, it’s simple. McGuinnes is over-stating Bush’s support for the transfer of powers to put pressure on Brown and other politicians. A clever republican getting some strategic benefit from an otherwise uncomfortable and potentially damaging engagement.