“before detailed steps can be taken to implement devolution of justice..”

With those words lingering in the background, the current US special envoy, Paula Dobriansky, was in Belfast today just as a depleted Assembly and Executive Review Committee set themselves a target date to complete their discussions on the devolution of policing and justice powers – it’s never been just about those dreary steeples.. Meanwhile Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey has been trying again to apportion blame elsewhere for the crisis kerfuffle tense time. He’s got one thing right though.

“The St. Andrews Agreement is very clear with regard to transferring these powers.”

Why yes. Yes it is clear, Alex. To anyone who’s read it and has been paying attention, that is. But not in the way you needed it to be back in May. “As you well know”, indeed.

“However, agreement between the political parties (as you well know) remains the key determinant before detailed steps can be taken to implement devolution of justice” – Martin McGuinness.