“Failure to have a properly functioning Executive is stalling progress on policing and justice..”

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has been speaking out again about what he thought he had delivered at St Andrews [Added video]. But it’s not exactly what he told Frank Millar previously. According to the BBC report

[Ahern] said the DUP was “well aware” of the British and Irish governments’ commitment to the deadline for such a transfer. “It should have been long done by this stage,” he said. … Mr Ahern said he understood unionists needed to feel “certainty” in order to establish trust with republicans and felt the IRA perhaps needed to spell out its intentions more clearly.

And in the Irish Times

Mr Ahern said: “I have to restate again, because it was part of these discussions and talks, the devolution of policing was not predicated on the army council doing this, that or the other. “It was not on that. It was a solemn agreement that the Irish Government, the British government were engaged and involved in, that said we would have the devolution of policing, that was the effect of it.”

The British and Irish governments might have had a “solemn agreement”, they might also have been committed to that target date, but as Eamonn McCann put it, what was written down was “a semantic mile short of a deadline”. Not to mention a deadline which could not be enforced. So what’s Bertie up to? Looks very much like political cover.. Meanwhile, with some sleight of hand to allow attendance at the British Irish Council, also in the Irish Times.

Addressing the Northern Ireland branch of the Confederation of British Industry yesterday, Mr Robinson referred to the impasse that has stalled the Executive since June. “There is no political, logical, moral or legal justification for blocking Executive meetings,” he said. “I am ready to convene a meeting at any time. The sooner the better.” Linking this to ongoing talks on the transfer of justice powers, a key Sinn Féin demand, Mr Robinson said: “Failure to have a properly functioning Executive is stalling progress on policing and justice.

“Not unreasonably, I want to ensure there is community confidence for these powers being devolved and when structures are agreed which meet the proper and understandable concerns of the public on this matter, then I and my colleagues will actively seek that community support.” The DUP leader believes devolution depends on an acceptable agreement being reached with Sinn Féin on how any new justice department is to be run.

Update Ian Paisley Snr responds to Bertie Ahern’s comments. And Here are those comments by Bertie Ahern.