Adjornment or suspension, the SDLP gets a chance to drink from ‘the poisoned chalice of peace’, once again…

Lots of Twitter action when the Fianna Fail leader referred to a suspension of the institutions on Newstalk Lunchtime, when in fact he’s outlining qualified support for the DUP motion to adjourn the business of the Assembly rather suspending the Assembly indefinitely.

So here’s a quick attempt to clarify the terms:

Adjournment is in the gift of the Business Committee at Stormont. It stops the business of the Assembly, and all its committees, but retains the institutions and ensures that those parties still left inside the Executive can continue in their jobs (minus the oversight of the Assembly).

It’s not popular. Last week only the DUP and the Alliance Party were in favour. Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the UUP all voted against it.

Suspension is different. In the face of a threat by the DUP to plunge Stormont into the dark by calling for the Secretary of State to put the Assembly and all the institutions into by introducing legislation at Westminster. This is the supposed ‘ten year route back’.

In Dublin the two main parties have reluctantly swung in behind the DUP’s move for an adjournment, putting pressure on the SDLP to cede to the lesser of the two forms of action. It certainly won’t be thanked for it, least of all by SF.

But if it and the UUP do abstain the initial crisis at least comes to an end.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

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