“which will be followed through when the parties agree a date”

Sammy Mac’s getting over-excited in the comments zone here about a recent announcement by the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, MP, about any devolved Justice Ministry. So for completeness, here is that statement.

“The Bill deals with technical points which will allow the Assembly to move to the next stage of completing devolution. “The route map published by the First Minister and deputy First Minister last November included Westminster legislation to give effect to those elements of the process that required primary legislation.

“It provides one more model for a Justice Department, reflecting the views of AERC, and deals with the appointment of judges. It represents a vital building block in the devolution process which will be followed through when the parties agree a date.” [added emphasis]

“Is now the time..” Probably not. But it’s also probably worth watching the first part of Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams’ interview on Hearts and Minds again. [1min 10secs in. Transcript below the fold]From that interview [1min 10secs in]

Noel Thompson: But you talked last year to the conference about getting policing and justice moving on. It’s not really moving along at all is it? I mean the DUP still have a veto on it.

Gerry Adams: Well, this business about a veto. Sinn Féin and the DUP have vetoes. It’s whether you want to exercise them or not. But the DUP have agreed on the broad principles. You know, they often tell us and they tell you that they’re a devolutionist party, they always wanted to see the transfer of policing and justice, and I think the process that’s now in place will bring that about.

NT: So you’re not concerned about it in any way?

GA: No. Not at all.

NT: And you think the party’s not concerned about it? If it happens this year, next year, 5 years, who cares.

GA: Well, people do care and it’s quite central, but I have no reason to be concerned that the process which is in place is not going to deliver.

What he means is that Sinn Féin have now agreed to the broad principles of the DUP’s position.

As you well know..

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  • percy

    “The legislation which will be introduced on February 23 and have its Second Reading on March 4 fulfils that commitment and maintains the momentum towards the completion of devolution that was signalled by the agreement between the DUP and Sinn Fein on November 18.”

    There’s been a bit of slippage in your thread,the above part of the statement appears to have just disappeared into thin air.
    Perhaps its side-tracking to focus on why the above quote was met with the Ed’s clippers. Redux?

  • Comrade Stalin


    I think the problem is that a little too much relevance is being attached to the enactment of the enabling legislation, which places no obligation on anybody to proceed with the devolution of the powers.

    I believe it will happen after the European elections, and that the DUP are in full control of the timing. The other detail that they have wrapped up is the one about who exactly will get to be the justice minister – or, more precisely, who will not.

  • percy

    sure comrade stalin,
    I suppose its important for the NIO to be seen to doing something, the invisible hand nursing things along.
    Maybe its just futuring.. but there’s no need to clip the statement,
    it leaves one open to the charge: “I can’t see anything”

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    You have not diappointed in cheerleading the DUP’s victory on this matter – but I suggest you wait to see the detail of the bill and the political reaction before completing your lap of honour.

    Surely nobody seriously believes that the DUP would touch the devolution of Police and Justice for many years if they could it avoid it – except perhaps yourself – but are spinning the “we have always wanted it line” as best they can as they well know that without movement SF would have pulled the plug. No one knows this better than Tuv Jimbo who will launch the main thrust of his european election campaign on this issue precisely because the DUP are extremely vulnerable as they magic up the required Unionist confidence.

    What is puzzling is that the DUP now seem to have timed this to coincide with the Euro election build-up? Jimbo will probably try to nail Deputy Dodsy who formerly appeared to take the hardest line on this knowing that every punch landed on him will probably impact on his wife’s campaign.

    SF will sit back and watch as the votes spilling out of DUP fundamentalist bandwagon are picked up by Jimbo and with enough spillage possibly allowing them to top the poll.

  • Pete Baker

    “cheerleading the DUP’s victory on this matter”

    Sadly some people still regard accurately documenting this process in terms of who’s winning and who’s losing.

    We’re not in May any more, Sammy.

    Sinn Féin have signed up to the DUP’s broad principles for the devolution of policing and justice powers.

    That’s not a bad thing.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    one of the DUPs ‘broad principles’ and their absolutely central one was “not in a political lifetime”. Any comment on that?

  • Pete Baker

    Another invention, Sammy Mac.

    Go find the original, and full, quote.

    I think you’ll find that it relates to Gerry Kelly, or possibly any Sinn Féin MLA, holding the post of Justice Minister.

    And given the future requirement of cross-community support that’s something they can deliver on.

    But you’re drifting somewhat from the detail of original post.

    And not unsurprisingly..

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    Drifting Moi? The ‘original post’ was – as you remarked made by my goodself to draw attention to an important development which you were quite intent on downplaying the siginifcance of as you simultaneously talked up the DUPs position.

    You have been denial (along notably with my bestest pal Comrade Stalin) on this issue in consistently ignoring just how difficult this issue is for the DUP.

    Regarding “political liftimes” – I dont have the quote to hand – but try http://www.tuv.org.uk (probably with some TUV spin admittedly for who said what).

    The detail of the bill will be absolutely crucial in determining how the political debate will unfold between the TUV and the DUP in the run up to the election with SF likley to be the main beneficaries of at least 2 uninoist parties kicking eight colours of shit out of each other over the implementation of the GFA/STA.

  • kelly mor

    it was sammy and so on
    looking at all your posts recently on slugger it seems to me that you expect progress in republican terms in some kind of time warped future. personally, as a republican, that is not good enough for me. could you please give us some indication of what you think ‘republicans’ in the guise of sinn féin will achieve in, say, the next ten years. yiz are all brits now.

  • Mick Fealty


    You spent the last two years arguing over whether a timetable was deadline or not.

    Turns out it was a timetable and not a deadline because although there was an explicit date involved, there was no statutory compulsion to do business by that date.

    Now you are inviting us to have another argument over whether we have a framework, or a timetable.

    Since we don’t even have a date this time, I know where my money is; if you are prepared to give us odds and some clear conditions?

  • ??


    That is our position and that is where we stand. Sinn Fein will have to prove to people in Northern Ireland that it is committed to policing, justice, courts and the rule of law without being given control over the police service. That can be granted only when the community has confidence, and I cannot see that happening for a political lifetime.

    hansard 21-11-06

  • Dewi

    “Sadly some people still regard accurately documenting this process in terms of whose winning and whose losing”

    Some people do indeeed Pete – motes and kettles spring to mind…

  • rj

    Woodward talks about the legislation to allow devolution of policing to happen. He doesn’t say what the budget will be. FM and DFM have to agree who their parties will vote for, as opposed to who they won’t vote for. There might need to be policy agreements (or perhaps not – see DSD). It’s a long way from actually happening.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Mick, Pete,??

    My substantive point was not whether SF had a deadline or a timetable or a framework etc but rather that the DUP had been coereced first by the British (via threats of Plan B) and more latterly by SF ( via threats of pulling the plug) into accepting the devolution of Police and Justice. Pete’s mulit-posts were all exercises in-pin-head-dancing on “its not a deadline” and was/is in denial of the DUP’s for more important and obvious political difficulties on the issue.

    To be fair the DUP have slowed down the process more than I thought they would but they are still being forced to move slowly into a place on this issue which is clearly not in their political interest to be now it is unfortunately for them dovetailing into the run up to Euro elections.

    The “political lifetime”** hard-man-tag-line will be TUV Jimbo’s sharp political stick that he will employ against the DUP and as mentioned above simply serve to make it more likely for SF to gain the most Euro votes.

    **The wriggling by the DUP on what they meant by this will make for a very interesting couple of months.

  • ??

    the political lifetime is in relation to SF control of P+J not the devolution of it.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    The wriggling has commenced. lol

  • fin

    As GA pointed out today the DUP was founded to stop civil rights and to stop powersharing.
    Sinn Fein was founded to fight for Irish independence.

    Today the DUP and SF are debating the devolving of P&J;to Stormont where a SF minister is *ahem* Joint First Minister. Thats not bad going.

    Just because ‘we’ don’t have a date, doesn’t mean there isn’t a date. A fudged date/deadline was put in the public domain last time and it only served to be used for silly point scoring, it would have been silly to have issued another date 2nd time round.

    Personally I think the horse trading was, whoever picked the date the other side picked the minister. If so I don’t see any winners or losers.