If Gerry *now* thinks Arlene is ‘innocent’ what’s blocking the formation of an Executive?

So one week till the deadline closes on the formation of the next Executive, or rather the appointment of a new First Minister and deputy First Minister. A new Executive (and that piece of comedic fiction, the Programme For Government) is another piece of work on top of that.

Gerry Adams said at the weekend there was no reason to doubt Arlene Foster’s innocence in relation to RHI: which may  or may not be a concession ahead of a final decision on whether or not to go ahead with his party’s threat to embargo Ms Foster as FM before next Monday.

The scale of the DUP’s loss of seats means that potentially the majority in the Assembly can now outvote the DUP capacity to block sensitive matters in the Assembly (there are some in the party who would gladly see matters like marriage equality taken out of their hands).

Looks like the SDLP is shaping up to make a proper response to the danger Brexit poses to Northern Ireland and its economy a red line. The UUP now back in the care of Tom Elliott is looking for more openness from government with victims over legacy issues.

Interesting comments from Stephen Farry that in spite of the obvious tensions [and one notable absentee who chose the $1000 plate dinner circuit instead – Ed] there seems to be momentum in the talks.

I’ll believe it when I see it. But neither would I bet against it. In bringing the DUP below 30, the petition of concern remains a possibility, but it cannot be used purely as an instrument of party control or power. The status quo has not quite gone, but nor is it what it was before the election.

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