“on top of all the others they`ve been unable to deal with ..”

The Office of the First and deputy First Ministers has told the relevant Assembly Committee [Wrong committee linked. Fixed now] that they have agreed the shape of any devolved policing and justice ministry – there is to be one department and one minister elected by the Assembly on a cross-community vote. But with one Northern Ireland Junior Minister, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly, still mis-representing the St Andrews Agreement, for reasons that should be clear by now, and fellow Junior Minister, the DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson, maintaining that “We continue to work on the basis that sufficient community confidence is required before devolution can take place”, just how closer are they to filling that power vacuum? And will any progress already made survive the next intervention? From the PA report at UTV

[Alliance] Party leader David Ford said the idea had be mentioned to them only in passing. “They (the DUP and Sinn Fein) really ought to consult with us before they spin about us,” he said. “I think there is this idea that they can rely on us to ride to the rescue, well they can`t expect that when they haven`t spoken to us (on the issue) for the last 16 months.” “We have been given the job to provide an effective opposition by the electorate and the fact is this is an incoherent and incompetent executive and my party will play no part in that.”

“The reality is the executive in place has failed to tackle a range of problems from education to rural planning to the Irish language and the proposed Maze stadium.” “And the thought that they need us to take on a department they can`t deal with, on top of all the others they`ve been unable to deal with properly, is just bonkers.”

Adds David Ford’s statement – “The Alliance Party will not be taking the Policing and Justice Ministry.” And Mick looks at the SDLP’s apparent eagerness to take on the role.