The row over policing and justice seems to be continuing. Shaun Woodward suggested that the devolution of policing and justice was “the final part of the jigsaw” and it “send a signal of confidence to the world” whereupon economic investment from the United States would inevitably follow after an agreement had been reached.
“Never forget there are 42 million Irish Americans who want to invest in the shared future of Northern Ireland,” he said. “America wants to put its money where their hearts truly rest, to create jobs and opportunity for those with whom they have the deepest and strongest ties.”
This was rubbished by Gregory Campbell: “No inward investor here raises any sort of precondition to coming here over policing and justice. They ask about wages, labour relations, power costs, no one mentions policing and justice.”
Campbell again suggested that the central problem with devolution of P&J was arranging a suitable financial package “We want to do it (devolve policing) when we have the resources to deliver. Sinn Fein need to say how they can justify proceeding without getting those resources.”
Meanwhile following McGuinness’s attack on him: “I have to record my annoyance at the fact I have not been able to develop a close working relationship with Peter Robinson. That is through no deficiency or lack of effort on my part.” Robinson countered: “I am not going to play his game by responding in kind. He did, however, suggest that Sinn Fein might be trying to force or threaten a Stormont election: asked by the News Letter whether he believed Mr McGuinness was trying to force a crisis in the Executive, Mr Robinson said: “A blind man on a galloping horse can see what he is doing.”
As the News Letter article points out an election might deliver Sinn Fein a larger umber of seats than the DUP, provided the TUV and UUP take DUP seats. However, a blocking minority of TUV MLAs would be exactly what the TUV want and would ensure no P&J devolution in the remotely near future.