“obey the communal imperative”

That’s Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams’ advice to the DUP on the devolution of policing and justice powers. And, as well as describing the DUP leader Peter Robinson’s speech in the Commons as “not a sincere, genuine or a serious effort to resolve the issue of Orange parades”, he’s declared the linking of the parades issue to the transfer of those powers “unacceptable”. But what will you do about it, Gerry? Meanwhile, an iol report notes the DUP response

The DUP today said: “The comments made by Peter Robinson in the House of Commons are entirely consistent with the party manifesto. “Our insistence upon community confidence before the devolution of policing and justice is a long-standing DUP policy.” The party added: “It was Sinn Féin which tied parading to policing and justice when it insisted the party could not proceed with the Ashdown proposals until policing and justice was devolved. “If Mr Adams is unhappy about the link, he can be unhappy with himself.”

Adds According to the Irish Times – The DUP hit back at Mr Adams last night, accusing the Sinn Féin president of being an “unmitigated liar”.

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  • Guest

    No link to the party manifesto?
    I can’t find on their website either;
    Or have I missed something Pete?

    The broader situation is quite clear.
    Dup doesn’t want peace process to advance.Their decision.Uk and republic in recession;couldn’t care less.

    roll on election.

  • anon

    I’d be interested in hearing how devolving policing and justice will help get us out of recession

  • Pete Baker


    You don’t need the DUP’s manifesto.

    It’s the “indigenous” deal, “let no one interfere with that”, of the St Andrews Agreement which talks of “the community confidence necessary for the Assembly to request the devolution of criminal justice and policing”.

    And as I said at the time

    As I’ve said before, the Secretary of State may set a target date, and may hope to achieve that date, but the current mechanism for devolving powers on policing and justice already set out, in the NI (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, grants both holders of the offices of First and Deputy First Ministers a veto on whether that goes ahead.

    Apparently, the Sinn Féin generals still fear they were too far ahead of their troops.

  • Pete Baker

    I should have pointed out that assessing “the community confidence” is entirely a matter for the individual political parties concerned.

    Before they decide whether or not to exercise their veto.

  • joeCanuck

    Well, Perhaps we are about to find out which is most important for the DUP:
    1. Parading where they are not wanted.
    2. Getting responsibility for P&J.
    3. Keeping the TUV at bay.
    Personally I think #3 is the most important and we are not going to see P&J devolution this side of a general election.
    Mr.Adams can rave and rant all he likes but there’s nothing his party can do other than stall business on the Hill. And, in that case, who would notice any difference?

  • joeCanuck

    Perhaps I should have mentioned that Mr.Broon must be furious after all the time he has devoted to this and Gawd help Robbo if a miracle, a la John Major occurs, and Mr.Broon’s party gets to form the next government.

  • Dave

    “obey the communal imperative”

    As opposed to the Mr Robinson’s preference to ‘obey the unionist imperative’ regarding community confidence in the transfer of policing and justice powers. Fair enough, but shouldn’t nationalists “obey the communal imperative” when it comes to support for other state forces such as the military? They should, and they will be led to do so. It’s just the timing that is a little out.

  • cut_the_bull

    I have asked these questions on an earlier thread relating to the DUP stance on P&J.
    Just wondering what people think.

    Will the scrapping of the Parades Commission be enough to to increase public (Orange Order/DUP) confidence in the devolution of policing and justice powers?
    Will the need to march down the Garvarghy and Ormeau Roads be the next confidence building measure demanded by the (Orange Order/DUP)?

  • Pete Baker


    Understand that I hold no remit for the DUP.

    But the answer to your questions is..

    If that’s what the DUP say.

    That is what Sinn Féin signed up to at St Andrews.

  • cut_the_bull

    I was hoping to get answers from DUP members/voters voters or members of the Loyal Orders

  • Billy


    “If that’s what the DUP say.

    That is what Sinn Féin signed up to at St Andrews”

    If you take that to it’s logical conclusion, then the DUP could demand anything they want – nobody signed up for that.

    The Parades Commission and P&J are not linked in any way under the St Andrew’s agreement or anything else.

    I’m no fan of Gerry Adams but for once he’s right.

    This is nothing less than blatent blackmail from the DUP and, IMO, neither the UK govt nor SF/SDLP should agree to it.

    You’re perfectly correct that the DUP can prevent the transfer of P&J. However, if they do so over the Parades commission they (and Unionism in general) will be exposed for what they are.

    First of all it was SF supporting the PSNI, then it was money – both legitimate concerns but they have now been addressed.

    The Parades Commission has nothing to do with it -so are the DUP saying that the Unionist community does not have enough confidence to transfer P&J but, if the Parades Commission goes then suddenly they will?

    That’s a crock and will be seen as such by all but the most bigotted of DUP supporters.

    The DUP can block the transfer of P&J but if they use the Parades Commission as an excuse, they will be exposed as not being interested in making local govt work but in restoring the rights of the triumphalist OO to walk through any Catholic areas they like when they like.

    The OO has long since been exposed and discredited (since Drumcree). As a moderate Nationalist, I would rather P&J wasn’t devolved than have the Parades Commission removed. I think that the vast majority of Nationalists would agree and, IMO, there is no chance of the UK govt giving in to this.

    While the DUP may score a few points over the TUV with this move, it will simply discredit them (and Unionism in general) even further in the eyes of the British public.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    Pete has long pedalled the misconception that the STA is a naysayers charter offering political
    cover to the DUP for its anti-agreement stance and protecting it from the political reality that irrespetivce of which piece of paper it has or has not signed all three governments want the GFA/STA implemented in order to secure the peace/political process. The recent statement by Hilary Clinton that economic investment was directly linked to the transfer of Police was not disussed by Pete on Slugger – although the topic was debated a number of times PRIOR to Hilary’s clarification.

    Pete also likes to discuss the fact SF may not have brought all its ‘political base’ with it when signing up to the STA, and there is some eivdence of this, but then completely neglects to discuss the far greater evidence that the DUP’s politcal base has been shredded by the TUV, at least partly as punishment for their signature to the STA and their faciltiating SF becoming the largest party and Marty becoming First Minster.

    In relation to whether the DUP should have made marching down Garvaghey road a pre-condition for the transfer, at least if they did that it would keep his own troops happy but the suggestion that there should be SF involvement(at local, council and Stormo level ) in an arrangement that should replace the Parades Commsision, as per the Ashdown proposals, which Robbo has warmly welcomed does seem a little strange and should be thrashed out by the parties in the executive. It would be interesting to hear the UUPs and the SDLPs views.

    As to whether Robbo’s big idea/precondition/anti-agreement-rabbit is going to solve all his problems with his own ‘base’ the reaction of the TUV as evidenced below seems to suggest otherwise.


  • I was hoping to get answers from DUP members/voters voters or members of the Loyal Orders

  • Guest


    You don’t need the DUP’s manifesto.”

    Indeed Pete.Who does?

  • Dec

    You don’t need the DUP’s manifesto.

    It appears to be a living document.
    Anyway I’m sure future generations might see the funny side of the DUP determining that staving off the TUV at the next election was worth plunging us all back into widespread armed conflict.

  • shorty

    Seems from this article that the bould Spike, as the SF rep on the Ashdown body, made the wrong call on the parades issue and SF are now having to roll back from the position he got them into.
    Certainly, contrast Spike’s views (and his side swipe at two of the residents groups)from last year in a full page interview in the SF weekly to that of Adams in the last day or two referring to McGuinness’ letter to the Brits saying that OFM/FDM was not the place to locate the parades issues, or that of O’Dowd who on BBC radio now says that the role of councils, if they have any, still has to be defined.
    Perhaps, SF should have been listened to the two residents groups in Lower Ormeau and Garvaghy at the time Ashdown’s Interim Report was published. However, it would appear now that SF are now seeing sense and moving closer to the residents’ position.
    Its also interesting that the SDLP line, since the publication of Ashdown, has been more consistent with that of the residents in Lower Ormeau and Garvaghy.
    I was also surprised at how well Alex Attwood put it up to Gerry Kelly on ‘Hearts and Minds’ last night.

  • fin

    Not sure if its true but someone pointed out on a thread a few days ago that Ashdowns report did not include the very hot potatoes such as the the Garvarghy and Ormeau Roads.

    I wonder how much of SF’s response to this is mere posturing. Recent marching seasons have shown that the ‘ordinary decent unionist’ is getting a bit fed-up of riots and entire areas decked out in union flags. Personally I think the DUP is putting themselves between a rock and a hard place, if this power is transferred and they start insisting on marches that result in rioting, a section of their voters will depart to the UUP in search of normal politics, if they don’t insist on the dodgy marches another section will disappear to the TUV.

    I think SF will play it that power is transferred but it will exclude the contested marches.

  • Dec

    I think SF will play it that power is transferred but it will exclude the contested marches.


    Robinson specifically mentioned ‘Five areas’ which I took to mean march locations – that list then surely includes Garvaghy Road, Springfield Road and the Ormeau Road.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Didnt Paddy’s parades report say that there had to be local dialogue between residents and marchers?

    Have the Orange Order now fully accepted this concept?

  • Guest

    Peter hopes that Republicans will throw a hissy fit.


  • Pete Baker

    According to the Irish Times – The DUP hit back at Mr Adams last night, accusing the Sinn Féin president of being an “unmitigated liar”.

    Sammy Mac

    I know it’s difficult for you, but try to focus on reality rather than what you want to happen.

    The St Andrews Agreement envisaged the parties working together to build the community confidence required.

    Instead, Sinn Féin unilaterally declared that they had secured commitments to a deadline for the transfer of policing and justice powers by May 2008.

    That’s the moment of disconnect.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Pete Baker,

    the disconnect moment occurred when the DUP imagined that they operated in an environment in which powerful forces i.e. governments didnt have vested interests i.e. Peace/Political progress.

  • BonarLaw

    “If you take that to it’s logical conclusion, then the DUP could demand anything they want ”

    An so the St Andrews penny drops…

  • shorty

    Fin – “Not sure if its true but someone pointed out on a thread a few days ago that Ashdowns report did not include the very hot potatoes such as the the Garvarghy and Ormeau Roads.”

    True, but it also said that they would hold off recommendations on those two areas until their final, now long overdue, report. Maybe that’s why SF is now rolling back – the penny has dropped that they won’t be able to deliver a march at either location.

  • cut_the_bull

    The danger in all this for any unionist politician is the pay back of failure to secure the ability of the Loyal Orders to march where and when and how they want.
    It was’nt to long ago that Michael Copeland was hissed and booed on the Newtownards Rd,when the PSNI read out warnings to Orangemen in relation to possible breaches of Parades Commission determinations.
    Shortly after this Michael Copeland lost his MLA seat in Stormont as voters left him high and dry.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Poor ould Slabbery, the moment news of this latest stroke of the Punt’s broke, off he raced to proclaim itn a triumph for the, er, payroll Republicans. Why, it had to be – after all, it had happened, and everything that happens in Slabberyworld has to be a Sinn Five triumph. So in post after post on thread after thread, Slabbery droned on aout how wonderful it was for the Thames House old comrades league. But forsooth! For Agent Adams and McMurderous, who sadly for them have to deal with actual-factual republicans trapped in the occupied 6, and not just with plastics like me ould mucker Slabbery, has to pronounce. And guess what? Knowing full well that this latest concession the Punt has screwed out of Labour is as painful as shafting as any they’ve taken in the last 30 months, they’ve had to squal something rotten about it. And where does this leave dear old, mad old Slabbery? Yup, you gussed it: madder that Mister Madso McMadman, maddest madman in madland. You have to laugh, you really do.

  • Billy

    Bonar Law

    “An so the St Andrews penny drops..

    What a stupid comment. So why not demand the return of the B-Specials, internment, gerrymandering etc?

    I think any intelligent person would concede that SF handled this badly at St Andrews.

    However, many Unionist posters here seem to delude themselves that P&J is such a big deal for Nationalists that Unionists can have a free for all.

    I have no issue with the demands for SF recognition of the PSNI (should always have been the case) and an adequate financial package – which benefits everyone in the North.

    However, blatent self-serving and sectarian demands such as the abolition of the Parades Commission are unacceptable to the vast amjority of Nationalists and I believe to the UK/RoI and US govts.

    However you try to dress it up, once a financial package was agreed – there has been intense pressure on the DUP from all sides to get the job done.

    It’s perfectly true that they can prevent this from happening. However, they have now been exposed as delaying it for their own narrow sectarian raesons rather than over legitimate concerns.

    Frankly, as a moderate Nationalist, I would rather that P&J wasn’t devolved than see the UK govy concede to blatent sectarian blackmail. Frankly, it won’t happen – under either a Labour or Tory govt.

    If the DUP continue to prevent the transfer of P&J powers, I believe there will clearly be repurcussions for local govt here.

    Make no mistake – while SF played St Andrews badly – they have fulfilled their side of the bargain and that has been acknowledged by all 3 govts.

    The UK govt have done their bit by agreeing a financial package even in these auster times.

    It is the DUP who are the problem with their transaprent sectarian blackmail.

    If there is any fallout from this issue, the blame will go fairly and squarely where it belongs – to the DUP.

  • Pete Baker


    I know they deny it, but you miss the point about Sinn Fein’s demand for the devolution of policing and justice powers.

    Hint: It’s not about moderate Nationalism.

    The financial package is a side-show. Not that we haven’t seen those side-shows before.

    Community confidence, determined by the parties themselves, is the “indigenous” deal.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Slabbery, tell us more about ‘disconnects’. You’ve spent the last week, since the news of the Punt’s latest concession from Labour broke, claiming that, in fact, abolition of the Parades Commission was a huge Republican gain. But now we have Agent Adams and McMurderous both squealing as loudly as they can what a bad and unacceptable thing such a move would be. Do, do, dooooo explain to us why the Payroll Republicans fall quite so short of your brilliant, consistent and always but always rational exegeses of northern Republicanism. Or, just possibly, was the disconnect here between the truth and what you spoofed? I think I will just die of shock if it was.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    It’s odd, isn’t it? Not one poster manages Slabbery’s devotion to posting. He’s the 80s Martini girl ad of our beloved Provettes: any time, any place, anywhere: you name the thread, he’ll be there. So where’s he got to now? It’s an open goal for him. He spent all of last week – since the news of Woodward’s charming, polite and hideously convenient offer to abolish the Parardes Commission broke – telling us all what a wonderful triumph for the Payroll Republicans this was. How the outworking of our old friend, I. N. Exorable was about to take his usual toll on the pauvre Huns, and whadya know? All, every last word, spoof. And on whose authority do we have that? Not mine. Not even Mick and his secret West Brit, Castle Kefflick (Provette posts passim), evil, relentless, criminal, perverted, relentless, subvented, and relentless agenda of publishing-varying-opinions-about-Sinn-Five. No, it was, of all people, Agent Adams and McMurderous, in some detail, who proclaimed that this was a noxious, terrible and utterly unacceptable development for SF. What with it being a blatant pro-Unionist bung by the government. And the very worst sort too boot, being one solely designed to allow the Punt, rather than their goodselves, to stroke the agitated base. Indeed, being something so screamingly self-evident, any fool could have seen for himself last week, without needing to be told by the Republican headshed what was going on. And yet, and yet . . . but we will have to leave for another day the two-piper of where Slabbery has got to and why.