“Whether it brings devolution closer is another matter..”

As Dan Keenan says in the Irish Times – of yesterday’s letter from the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers to the Executive Review Committee.

Yesterday’s announcement by Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness that three key elements of a package to deliver policing and justice devolution have been agreed, allows them to claim just that. Whether it brings devolution closer is another matter.

Indeed. And whilst the Alliance Party’s David Ford declared the situation “just bonkers”, it appears that the UUP leader, Reg Empey, is of a similar mind

“I think this is half-baked, I don’t think we’re ready for it, I don’t think the people want it,” [Reg Empey] said. “I don’t know who’s going to do it (be justice minister) because we’ve not been involved in any discussions on it, it appears the Alliance haven’t been properly involved in discussions on it, I don’t believe the SDLP has. “So how you can announce an agreement, without other parties being involved in it, escapes me.”

Back to Dan Keenan in the Irish Times

Other outstanding issues remain to be examined and this will take time. For the moment though, the tossing of some responsibility for consideration of justice devolution to an Assembly committee buys this Executive some breathing space.

Until the next intervention? Adds From the iol report

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams says enormous patience will be needed over the next few months to secure the devolution of policing and justice.

Indeed – redux. Of course, the Sinn Féin leadership had promised delivery by May..