“If people abide by the St Andrews Agreement..”

As I said yesterday, Gordon Brown’s intervention leaves us “very much where we were”. So much so that Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams is implying, again, that [on the devolution of policing and justice powers] the St Andrews agreement commited others to something that it didn’t.

Mr Robinson has warned of “serious consequences” if the Executive does not meet. Northern Executive ministers have not met in cabinet session since mid-June because Sinn Féin has blocked these meetings. Sinn Féin has argued that there is no point in holding an Executive until there are commitments on issues such as devolving justice and introducing an Irish language Act. These issues were guaranteed in the St Andrews Agreement, according to Sinn Féin, although the DUP says it was not party to any such aspect of the agreement.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said while the talks continued, no breakthrough was achieved. It was too soon to say whether the Executive would meet, he said after Mr Brown addressed the Assembly members. “If people abide by the St Andrews Agreement then progress is possible,” he said. “Our focus is to get an Executive meeting,” added Mr Adams. “The Executive has to meet on a comprehensive agenda which reflects the concerns of all of the parties. At the moment we don’t have that. We continue to discuss to try to get that. There is still time to get it but it’s too early to say [whether that will happen].”

And, as Brown pointed out yesterday, on behalf of the UK government

We pledged in the St Andrew’s Agreement that we would be ready to transfer powers one year after the assembly was elected. And we have kept that promise.

Read that text again, Gerry.

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