“And that perhaps is the difference between now and the past..”

Slugger has gotten advance notice of an interview with Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson in Total Politics magazine – which probably took place before Ian Paisley Jnr’s recent comments. And, in perhaps a reference to the threats of collapsing the executive taking the ball away by Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, there is this

“People within the party recognise that, until the stability of the Assembly is more firmly established on a longer-term basis, there will be reluctance among people who are Westminster MPs to give up their seats to work exclusively in the Assembly. There will be a phasing-in of that approach,” [Peter Robinson] said.

And furthermore

“We have a choice as a people. Either you continue with the division or you seek to end it. My party took the position that, in the right circumstances, it was possible to proceed, but that we couldn’t concede to terror: criminal activities had to end; guns had to be handed over; and there had be support for the police, the courts and the rule of law.”

Finally, with perhaps an eye on the devolution of policing and justice powers.

Mr Robinson said: “While political parties in NI would have wide areas where they can agree, if you put the Conservative party and the Labour party into the same room, you would have battles every day on issues of socio-economic policy. “The differences we have, we are talking about and attempting to reach agreement on. There are battles, but they are ending without blood being spilt. And that perhaps is the difference between now and the past.”

Adds The full interview, by Slugger’s own Mick Fealty, is available here.

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  • It was Sammy McNally what done it

    He’s turning into a good lad is Robbo.

  • susan

    The hard-working women in the worldwide Invest NI offices can put that one in the front of the press kits.

  • fair_deal

    “there will be reluctance among people who are Westminster MPs to give up their seats to work exclusively in the Assembly. There will be a phasing-in of that approach”

    The difficulty I see with that approach is it’ll end up in one big squabble about who gets phased out first better – the 101 reasosn why it should be somebody else. Better to bite the bullet.

    The next elections will most likely be in 2010 if that remains true then select new Westminster candidates in 2009 giving plenty of time to develop profile and get round the constituencies. This is a good opportunity to attract able individuals into politics or promote some of the younger MLAs.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    Out of interest, when you wrote, “Robinson refuses to go into detail, but rather chooses to voice a chippy optimism about the future”, did you mean “chippy”, or did you actually intend to say chirpy?

  • susan

    I’d bet your last quid he meant “chippy,” Rooster.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    But “chippy optimism” doesn’t make any sense. It’ll like talking about ‘dry sea’ or ‘hairy baldness’ or ‘wooden metal’.