‘Do you do it all at once or do you do in bite size chunks given the leverage we have?’

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Shaun Woodward has told local church and civic leaders to bring this message to politicians in Parliament Buildings: “Get on and seal the deal.” He clearly has the DUP in mind as that part continues to block the devolution of policing and justice. Already Peter Robinson and his colleagues have made the abolition of the Parades Commission and the retention of the Full Time police reserve as two preconditions for allowing the devolution of policing and justice to go ahead. Mr Woodward told his guests at Hillsborough Castle: “The danger is this could go wrong. Get in there and say to the politicians to get in and finish it now.”

The DUP however appear to be playing a bloody game. One insider said:
“If sustainability of devolution is the object then there has to be major changes to the workings of the institutions – an end to sectarian designation – enforced coalition and the creation of a working democracy not based on a mutual veto.

“The tactical question is ‘Do you do it all at once or do you do in bite size chunks given the leverage we have?’ That is the debate that is taking place. The source added: “This place is in free fall. It would not pass any test in any other legislature in terms of delivery on the ground.

” The lack of corporate ownership or collectivity, collective responsibility doesn’t exist. What you get is competing party fiefdoms instead of collective government.”

In the event of either the DUP or Sinn bringing the Assembly down the DUP source said: “If there are elections it will not be to an Assembly but an election to negotiations. If this place perishes on the rock of policing and justice why would you go back into government?”

What would happen if Sinn Fein emerged as the largest party in any election ?

“Peter Robinson would not serve as deputy first minister and neither would any other Unionist” said the DUP insider.