“they are answerable to those to whom they sold that package”

The BBC report of NI First Minister Peter Robinson’s interview on the Politics Show today focuses on one quote relating to the deputy First Minister’s complaint. From the BBC report.

“Simply because Sinn Fein has a demand and can’t get other parties to agree with their demand isn’t an example of inequality, it means that they haven’t been able to pursue their political agenda or at least that aspect of it. “There’s no requirement on me to meet the demands of Sinn Fein and to fulfil their political agenda,” [Peter Robinson] told the BBC’s Politics Show.

But there was another equally important exchange during the interview about the latest manufactured “crisis”.

[Jim Fitzpatrick] “Sinn Féin sold the whole idea for support for policing on the fact that policing and justice would be devolved. Do you know how difficult that was for them? They’re not seeing any progress on that issue…

[Peter Robinson] “Well, if Sinn Féin oversold what they thought they could achieve then they are answerable to those to whom they sold that package. The reality is they weren’t entitled to sell it.”


[Peter Robinson] “The St Andrews Agreement was clear. There was no commitment to any date for policing and justice in the St Andrews Agreement.

“Immediately the agreement was published, Dr Paisley, on behalf of the party, with his colleagues around him, indicated very clearly that the Democratic Unionist Party had not signed up for any particular date for policing and justice. But because it was a party priority to get policing and justice we would continue to work towards it.

“We have, in the legislation at Westminster, got clear conditions which allow us to determine when and why we would move forward with policing and justice.

“So they had no right to be indicating to anybody that policing and justice would come in a particular period of time. We weren’t under any commitment to do so whatsoever.”