Another joint letter..

BBC NI political editor, Mark Devenport, sketches out some of the details of the arrangements connected to Thursday’s suggested Northern Ireland Executive meeting.

Tomorrow Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness are expected to give the Assembly Executive and Review Committee a joint letter, with a fairly hefty annex. The way forward will involve the election of a future justice minister by cross community support. The DUP say they haven’t agreed a definite date for devolving justice. But republicans will point to 6 or 7 action areas for future legislation designed to culminate around April of next year.

Let’s hope they both agree on the meaning of the text this time.. because we’ve heard the elected [at all times? – Ed] by “cross-community support” proposal before. The key question is, does that proposed legislation include a definitive date for an Assembly motion asking the Secretary of State to devolve policing and justice powers “tabled by the First and Deputy First Ministers acting jointly”? – as required by the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2006 – or does it just define the shape and function of the ministry?Also from Mark Devenport’s post.

Besides justice other elements of the package are thought to include a minority languages protocol ( instead of an Irish Language Act), parking the Maze stadium proposal and finding other ways to fund a Conflict Resolution Centre at the Maze (probably through European money).

Some sources suggest there could be a “review” of the academic selection controversy. Other policies – such as the future regulation of rural planning – stand ready to be approved.

Update From Mark Devenport again

P.S. Another source tells me that the educational element is not a review of the transfer procedure, but rather the unfreezing of legislation on the creation of an Education and Skills Authority. What’s likely to be unveiled tomorrow will deal with the devolution of justice – the other elements may follow as officials are freed up to move them forward.