“Rejoice, rejoice” were Jim Fitzpatrick’s opening comments on Stormont Live today, with perhaps just a soupçon of sarcasm.. Then to Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, MP, possibly overselling today’s announcement by comparing it with the Belfast and St Andrews Agreements – pointing out that they “did not agree a date or a process for the transfer of policing and justice”. By contrast, according to Shaun Woodward, today’s “historic agreement between the two party leaders” was “home-grown” [as opposed to the previous “indigenous” deal “put together by Sinn Féin and the DUP”? – Ed]. He does acknowledge also, “As of yet there is no date actually agreed by the politicians.” BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport suggests that “Sinn Féin must have some sort of private understanding of exactly how this will go.” Perhaps, Mark, perhaps.. although, we’ve heard about those private understandings before.. Below the fold, the UUP’s Reg Empey and the SDLP’s Alex Attwood, Shaun Woodward, again, the DUP’s Nelson McCausland and the Alliance Party’s David Ford. Noticeable by their absence were Sinn Féin who, despite being asked, failed to put anyone forward to talk on the programme about their agreed arrangements.. Adds Official statement. New letter to the Assembly Review Committee [pdf file]. And the new Process [pdf file].
Here’s the official announcement by the First and deputy First Ministers – no questions please.
The UUP’s Reg Empey and the SDLP’s Alex Attwood weren’t exactly on the same page, but they were both critical of the 152-day stand-off – part 2 here.
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Shaun Woodward returns to try to generate more enthusiasm.
But the DUP’s Nelson McCausland was already plenty enthusiastic about the agreed deal.
And the Alliance Party’s David Ford rounds off the contributions to the discussion.
And where are we now? Working towards a time when conditions on the ground are suitable for the devolution of policing and justice powers. Let’s hope the foot-soldiers have been fully informed this time..