“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”.