“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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  • You should remember Pete that there was more than one promise made in the St Andrew’s Agreement. This one made by the British Government, in particular, wasn’t kept;

    • The Government will introduce an Irish Language Act reflecting on the experience of Wales and Ireland and work with the incoming Executive to enhance and protect the development of the Irish language.

    Not one part of that solemn commitment in an international agreement was honoured by the British Government.

    Little wonder then that Gordon made no reference to it in his speech, lest he be reminded of his own government’s perfidy.

    Given the failure of the British to adhere to that simple commitment, their failure to devolve policing and justice by the May 08 deadline/target date whatever is not a matter of amazement.

    I do often wonder why SF were hoodwinked on this – but I realise that also hoodwinked were the Irish Government and the SDLP.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    ‘• The Government will introduce an Irish Language Act reflecting on the experience of Wales and Ireland and work with the incoming Executive to enhance and protect the development of the Irish language.’

    “[i]Not one part of that solemn commitment in an international agreement was honoured by the British Government.”[/i]

    What are you on about? The government can’t force through a language act without consultation with the Executive on the ins and outs of how it’s going to happen. You’re reading that paragraph as if the Government are bound into forcing it thorugh before consultation. Things don’t happen like that in devolution, wise up and stop your moaning.

    http://www.dcalni.gov.uk/index/languages/irish_language_act.htm

  • DC

    Conc,

    The only flaw with SF’s press for policing is a clear lack of passion and little in the way of intellectual persuasion on the steps taken so far along the road to peace.

    I’m pretty much convinced now is the time but why aren’t so many others re Unionists, and I think this is the biggest problem with SF, negativity.

    A loathe the American elections for that plasticky American feel-good factor and sensationalism.

    Whereas in contrast NI elections it is this divisive negativity which ruins the spirit of people and the spirit of SF is prickly and barbed, even the SDLP cant be bothered working along side them because everyone is left exasperated by personalities alone. Even if there is something in their political demands, watching Gerry and Martin talk makes me want to put a gun to my own head as you would think everything is utterly hopeless when it isn’t.

    Work on delivery of that message or change the messenger.

  • Our First Minister hit back at Gordon Brown this morning, describing his Stormont speech as “ill conceived, unbalanced and ill advised”. Devenport Diaries

  • DC

    I just don’t get it with Unionists, especially democratic unionists – is democracy not about: liberty, peace and justice.

    Either SF are fit or they aren’t; if not why not – and as to no confidence then why isn’t there?

    When I watched his speech yesterday and saw the DUP being at worst repugnant there was a certain anxiety that came over me re the DUP’s position, it just didn’t seem to make sense. Not least given the PM’s offer to help and the PM’s own precarious position linked to a precarious environment which affects us all, the DUP didn’t cotton on to this and for the need to have a bit of respect for a PM who heads up the cash flow into Stormont. Besides, it is structural transfer after all not substance.

    SF are arguably pinning progress on democratic stability based on peace and justice upon which all the others, even the very executive table, must sit. Without it no deal.

    I do sympathise somewhat with SF, only very lightly, as when the sub-Prime Minister comes over stating the obvious re public opinion and focus on democratic stability, the DUP sit on their hands and stare “as if” that is what it is all about.

    But, re Brown’s one-in-ten, wasn’t there a song about the ‘one-in-ten’ by UB40 – a statistical reminder of a world that doesn’t care?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]I just don’t get it with Unionists, especially democratic unionists – is democracy not about: liberty, peace and justice.”[/i]

    Democracy is about liberty, peace and justice and we should never be forced into giving policing and justice powers over to IRA/Sinn Fein, just in the same way we shouldn’t be forced into giving pedophiles a license to teach our children.

  • DC

    That response is as warped as Iris Robinson.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Explain?

  • earnan

    Catholics living in NI got a lot of peace, liberty and justice while living in a “Protestant state for a Protestant people,” there is no doubt of that. Well, at least as long as they accepted their status as 2nd class citizens and kept their mouths shut

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “Protestant state for a Protestant people,”

    show that there wasn’t allowed any other religion other than Protestants?

    “[i]Well, at least as long as they accepted their status as 2nd class citizens and kept their mouths shut2[/i]

    why don’t you take that government to court instead of banging on about the same old, tired old, propeganda?

  • ryan

    Orangism is moving into minority status at a rapid clip. If they do not make peace with Republicanism they will decay further into a small bigoted party within the Irish Republic. Why? Because the DUP cannot make peace. This means the end of Stormont. This means that power will go to Dublin and London. But you know what? London does not want the north of Ireland anymore. So they will gradually cede all contol over the stolen counties back to the irish in Dublin where the government will finally rule a united ireland.

  • What are you on about? The government can’t force through a language act without consultation with the Executive on the ins and outs of how it’s going to happen. You’re reading that paragraph as if the Government are bound into forcing it thorugh before consultation. Things don’t happen like that in devolution, wise up and stop your moaning.

    Of course it can – didn’t it enact the legislation to enable the devolution of policing in that way!

    But I’m glad that you accept that the Irish Language Act is going to happen – that’s it just a matter of how.

    Pity you don’t have a word in the ear of the DUP members of the Executive – time’s running out, better do it quick – to tell them that the Act is going to happen and that it’s up to them to figure out how.

    I think the enactment of the legislation by Westminster could be a possibility given that it would leave the DUP off the hook – as it is they’re caught in the position of claiming that by oppressing the Irish language they’re actually gaining equality for the Ulster Scots culture and ‘language’. They’re also caught in the position of demanding less rights for the speakers of a British language, Irish, than are available for speakers of other British languages, Welsh and Scots Gaelic. A very unBritish position if I may say so….