“they don’t belong in the new Northern Ireland..”

Just a thought, but what will happen to the legislation on decommissioning following the devolution of policing and justice powers?.. ANYhoo, Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, MP, continues his campaign on behalf of.. whom exactly? UTV carry half of the available quotes. There’s much more in this report. According to the Secretary of State

“If nationalists and republicans felt that somehow they were going to be excluded from power-sharing in law and order, I think quite quickly you would see quite a lot of disquiet.”

So much for that ‘possible resolution’ then.. And those other quotes

He said dissidents had no support in the Catholic community and he contrasted the RIRA and CIRA groups with the mainstream republican movement of the 1980s. “They could elect (IRA hunger striker) Bobby Sands,” he said.

Ah yes, they have “no political mandate”..Shaun Woodward continues

“But the idea that anyone from RIRA’s leadership, if that’s the word for it, could be elected… I don’t think they could actually be elected on to a postage stamp. These are people who have no community support, but they do have a bit of capacity, hence their ability to put five shots into the shoulder of a policeman who, thank God, didn’t die.

“But so long as they’ve got some kind of opportunity, I suppose they have some kind of a goal. And the best way, therefore, to make them completely pointless is to actually remove any psychopathic conception of a goal that they have.

“It’s about making sure the dissidents have got nowhere to go and they become an ever-dwindling number of ageing people.”

And the Probation Service opening up “lines of communication”?

The NI Secretary of State had, earlier, explained the reason for his concern

Mr Woodward said: “One of the things that worries me about the amount of time that is left between stage one and stage two of devolution is that it presents an opportunity for dissidents.

“I don’t think it is by chance that we’re seeing more (dissident violence) than we have at any time over the last four or five years.

“They think their time is running out and they’re right, their time is running out because they don’t belong in the new Northern Ireland.”

Mr Woodward said the best way to isolate dissidents was to copperfasten devolution with the transfer of policing powers.

Since the reports repeat that, “Sinn Féin insists the move is a commitment of the St Andrews agreement that paved the way for shared government in the North”, it’s worth pointing out, again, that the only “commitment” in that document was to a target date – despite what the deputy First Minister apparently thought. And here’s another reminder of what the deputy First Minister said on May 28th.

“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.”

[Alert the amphibious squadron? – Ed]