Commenting on the statement from Caoimhghin O’Caolain, Ulster Unionist Party leader Mr Empey called for clarification from the Sinn Fein leadership. “If Martin McGuinness does not distance himself from this statement then a full-blown crisis is facing the Executive next month,” he said.
DUP junior minister Jeffrey Donaldson says the comments are not helpful. “I think there is a danger that Sinn Fein are trying to create a crisis. Policing and justice devolution can only occur if there is sufficient public confidence in the ability of politicians to handle such a sensitive matter.
I think the question is this – will these remarks by Sinn Fein convince anyone out there that this is mature politics when people are threatening to pull the whole thing down?”
And in the BBC report
Mr Donaldson said the DUP needed to know where Sinn Féin stands on [Caoimhghin O Caolain’s] comments. “Bearing in mind the statement went through their official press office, one is left with the impression it’s a bit of kite-flying by Sinn Féin. These comments were not off the cuff or out of the blue.”
Adds From Republican Sinn Féin
Director of Publicity, Richard Walsh, said: “Comments such as these are clearly part of the pathetic choreography surrounding the so-called ‘policing and justice’ saga. Members of Mr. Ó Caoláin’s own party are disenchanted not only by the failure of their leaders to secure the devolution of such powers to Stormont, but also by their cosy relationship with the DUP.”
A Sinn Fein spokesman last night responded: “Martin McGuinness is on holiday and Sinn Fein has no interest in responding to demands by Reg Empey.”
You can listen to Suzanne Breen’s Talkback contribution here [RealPlayer stream for now]
“It isn’t going to get any better for the [Sinn Féin] leadership. The Maze stadium will soon join the Irish Language Act in the political morgue. Talk about incompetent negotiating. Policing and Justice by May hasn’t happened. I wouldn’t hold my breath for a united Ireland by 2016.”