“There will come a time when [Peter Robinson] and I will have to decide a date..”

In the first video BBC NI’s Jim Fitzpatrick and Mark Devenport discuss the alternative briefings from the DUP and from Sinn Féin ahead of tomorrow’s meeting between the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers and the Prime Minister. Below the fold, Chairman of the NI Assembly and Executive Review Committee, the DUP’s Jimmy Spratt, in London to meet Justice Secretary Jack Straw, answers the question, “Where stands the whole process of devolving policing and justice..?” Also below the fold, the NI deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, clarifies his previous comments about the uncontentious issue of devolving justice powers – apparently it wasn’t “contentious” during the election campaign – and he answers another question, “Would it not make sense to have a target date?” Which is where we came in..

Chairman of the NI Assembly and Executive Review Committee, the DUP’s Jimmy Spratt, answers the question, “Where stands the whole process of devolving policing and justice..?”

NI deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, clarifies his previous comments about the uncontentious issue of devolving justice powers – apparently it wasn’t “contentious” during the election campaign – and he answers another question, “Would it not make sense to have a target date?” – “There will come a time when [Peter Robinson] and I will have to decide a date when this will happen.” [Or else? – Ed].

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  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    So as we long guessed Robbo and Marty have an agreement and the DUP have been involved in the process of transferring police and justice for some months – the DUP like to be vague about this but I think we all know that they started moving the process along in November when SF agreed to lift the blockade of Stormo.

    Its all about money now and slowly and painfully the DUP are inching towrds the finishing line. Of course threatened by the SOS on the one side and SF on the other they had little choice but to bite the gavel – and particulalrly so since the Euros even their anti-agreement escape roue is blocked by the TUV.

    …and doesnt Marty sound all statesmanlike these days?

  • Pete Baker

    Sammy Mac

    What are you wittering on about now?

    No-one had to guess anything about this current process.

    Although I seem to recall you guessing about a secret deal with a date already agreed.

    This process was agreed, and made public, when Sinn Féin backed away from their boycott without a date set.

    Look again at what “Marty” is saying.

    Some time, in the future, he and Peter Robinson “will have to decide a date when this will happen”.

    That’s the same position everyone was at in May 2008 – when Sinn Féin stopped talking about deadlines and suddenly became vague about the whole thing.

    Or don’t you remember?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Pete,

    “That’s the same position everyone was at in May 2008”

    No Pete – dont forget the DUP are now in a process to deliver Police and Justice.

    I take it you agree that this process started when SF ended their blockade of Stormo in November?

    If so, I take you agree that the reason they did so was because they came to agreement with SF that SF would lift the blockade of Stormo and Robbo would get the process under way?

    The DUP (and your goodself) were in denial that firstly the DUP were under any pressure to move on this issue and secondly that they were forced to do so by a combination of pressure from SF and the SOS.

    We had much jibber-jabber about the great negotiating skills of the DUP and triple locks and how badly wrong SF had got it when in fact the DUP had locked themselves into engaging in a process to deliver a key SF demand.

    Robbo is not loooking quite such a great negotiator now and his triple locks are about as much use as the Tories running candidates for every Norn Iron seat.

  • Silverline

    I dont think P&J are a big issue as long as SF are not in charge it can be sold to the Unionist Community

  • Comrade Stalin

    No Pete – dont forget the DUP are now in a process to deliver Police and Justice.

    Yes. It’s a bit like the IRA decommissioning process which arguably started in 1998. It took nearly ten years to complete. I think this will be something similar.

    I take it you agree that this process started when SF ended their blockade of Stormo in November?

    I think it began long before that. But the end of the SF blockade in Stormont amounted to an admission that the date of May 2008 in the StAA wasn’t binding on anyone, which can’t be interpreted as anything other than a spectacular climbdown given that it was the justification for their boycott in the first instance.

    The DUP (and your goodself) were in denial that firstly the DUP were under any pressure to move on this issue and secondly that they were forced to do so by a combination of pressure from SF and the SOS.

    It’s quite obvious that they’re not under any pressure to move, given that they aren’t actually moving and that we still have no date by which this process will be completed. I’m glad you believe that SF have some sort of arrangement which is so secret they can’t tell their own supporters about it. I’m sure a party which regards such knowledge as being dangerous in the hands of its supporters must keep you inspired to continue posting this rubbish of yours.

    I don’t know why SF are still in the executive. Apparently little or no business is being done and it sounds like we are close to being back to a boycott again. I guess that shows how successful the last one was.

  • loki

    Silverline-I’m not quite so sanguine as you about the unionist community accepting P&J. DUP are seen to be bluffers,and i don’t think people will be quite so willing to trust them in future. Anyway, where’s the money coming form to properly resource this?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    loki,

    the money is coming from the Englezes – that is part of the deal (GFA) with the Provos.

  • Pete Baker

    Sammy

    There was always a process underway – see the work of the Assembly and Executive Review Committee.

    Pre-May 2008 we had a process, and a target date.

    During which time Sinn Féin fraudulently claimed to have commitments to a deadline.

    Post-May 2008 we have a process with bullet-points, and no target date.

    And Sinn Féin are now talking about a time in the future when a date will have to be decided on.

    Both cases require agreement between Sinn Féin and the DUP for completion – that legislation hasn’t gone away.

    As you well know.

  • percy

    well at least we know the PM’s position, in answer to Mr. Eddie McGrady today;

    The Prime Minister
    I think that the benefits to Northern Ireland of the devolution of policing and justice will be very considerable indeed. I realise that there are very delicate issues that have to be dealt with, and that there are conversations to be had, but I recognise that progress has been made with the commitment of the major parties to devolution in principle. Talks are now taking place that I hope will yield results, and I hope it will not be long before we complete the process of the devolution of policing and justice under terms that will give security to every community in Northern Ireland.

    whether this means that unionists/loyalists will show loyalty and fealty to the wishes of the Crown’s PM, I can only guess.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Pete,

    stop the wriggling. As you should well know – it was the lack of progress at these committees that led to the he DUP being threatened with the collapse of Stormo by SF.

    As soon as the ‘deal’ between Robbo and Marty was done mysteriously things started to move.

    Your obsession with target dates/deadlines/triple locks completely missed the politics of the issue – this was about the DUP being trapped in a process, agreed between SF and the Englezes, which the DUP could only slow down but not stop – that is – as long as they still wanted to be in Stormo.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Your obsession with target dates/deadlines/triple locks completely missed the politics of the issue – this was about the DUP being trapped in a process, agreed between SF and the Englezes, which the DUP could only slow down but not stop – that is – as long as they still wanted to be in Stormo.

    Why were the DUP able to slow it down ?

    Why is Martin McGuinness admitting that no date has been set ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    BTW if the unionists want to collapse the assembly rather than devolve policing and justice powers, even though their supporters will suffer for this, then they will do it if that is what their electorate want.

    It seems to be as if the unionists have slowly and carefully changed the nature of the deal over policing and justice so that it essentially looks like a unionist blueprint, with nationalists being forced to sign up to a deal to exclude them from the role for at least four years. The only reason why unionists are intimidated by it is because SF want it to happen and they don’t understand why. I think that’s true of the entire peace process since the mid 1990s.

  • Pete Baker

    Comrade

    Well, the SF leadership claimed it would definitely happen by May 2008 because that was the condition their own party activists put to them for for signing up to policing and justice. [added links]

    Which, in turn, leads back to previous conversations between the various players involved and Frank Millar.

    And highlights the role of Mitchell Reiss in all this.

    I know, Sammy, Gerry doesn’t like to talk about that.

    Cuckoo, cuckoo..

  • joeCanuck

    The grand total of comments would seem to indicate that devolution is no longer a contentious issue.