“but they have nobody to blame but themselves..”

In the NewsLetter, Liam Clarke notes the irony of the venue for Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin’s threat to take the ball away

Crossan’s commemoration was an ironic venue to choose for a call for the return of control of security powers to Stormont but O Caolain didn’t stop at that. “If we are forced to conclude that change will not be forthcoming from the Executive, then we will have no option but to pull out our Ministers and seek to put pressure where responsibility ultimately lies, which is on the British Government in London,” he went on.

It is a sign of how far republicans have come when they are now threatening to pull down a local Irish administration with a cross-border dimension in the hope that the British government will fight their corner for them. Sinn Fein’s position is unenviable, but they have nobody to blame but themselves.

And, for the benefit of those still not paying attention, he spells it out again

It is Sinn Fein, and not any other party or group, which put itself in this position. It has made a shibboleth out of the devolution of policing and justice. It has become a matter of pride, and the leadership has so oversold it to their membership, that they will lose face if they can’t deliver.

The upshot is that the DUP are now in a strong position and, behind the bluster, Sinn Fein has been giving ground in an effort to move things along. They have caved in on their demand for two separate ministries and have conceded that, for the foreseeable future, Sinn Fein will not hold the portfolio. There will never be a better moment for unionists to ignore the verbals and cut a deal with them.