I think Brian’s right that this is “no further forward, but no further back either”. And that’s an interesting position to note given that Sinn Féin have avoided public discussion of the latest “crisis” over the past week. They’re not out of that corner yet, though. Even if the end of UTV’s Ken Reid’s report on the public disagreement between the Northern Ireland First Minister and the deputy First Minister in Limavady today sees both men smiling for the cameras before lunch. Here’s the blogging Ken Reid’s video report on the press conference. It sounds as if there was another “we’re not in May” moment too..
Video courtesy of UTVAnd, despite Martin McGuinness’ shaking head, here’s the passage Peter Robinson was referring to from the Ashdown Interim Report – which contains the signature of, amongst others, Sean Murray.
“We hope to be able to deliver our final report to the Secretary of State in the autumn of 2008. But it is, in our view, more important to get this right, and to take time to get buy in, than it is to get it done quickly. We also recognise that transferring responsibility for public assemblies to the Northern Ireland Executive will not happen in isolation. The transfer of policing and justice matters to the Executive is part of the wider jigsaw of politics in Northern Ireland and progress in these areas is very likely to affect progress on the transfer of responsibility for parading issues.” [added emphasis]
That linkage, and others, was also being noted by Mark Devenport’s anonymous sources in April 2009.
And here’s Ken Reid’s studio analysis of the press conference.
“Consistent with our desire to re-connect parading and related issues to the political process, we believe that their effective resolution can best be achieved within the wider context of the transfer of policing and justice, while recognising that the timing of these matters remains the prerogative of members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Government.”