Interesting speculation in the Irish Times on who is holding things up. Dublin and London sources are pointing fingers directly at Sinn Fein to accuse them of an old Modus Operandi of theirs: ie, telling their interlocutors they’re nearly ready and, then suddenly not being…
We’ve seen the same pattern in countless negotiations in which even a senior figure like Martin McGuinness was compelled not to strike a deal directly on behalf of Sinn Fein but to track back and forth endlessly for months and in some cases years before a deal is done.
Since the collapse, it is understood that some of the harder elements of the Ard Comhairle like Ted Howell (who ran the party’s International desk during the Belfast Agreement talks) came back in earlier in the year to ensure a tougher line prevails in negotiation.
Here’s Gerry Moriarty in the Irish Times this morning…
Informed sources have said the belief in Dublin – one shared by the Northern Ireland Secretary, James Brokenshire – is that Ms O’Neill was ready to compromise but others in the party decided against doing so.
The belief is that Ms O’Neill and DUP leader Arlene Foster were ready to do a deal on legislation for the Irish language, the key issue blocking a political deal to restore the executive now dormant since January.
It was suggested that figures on Sinn Féin’s executive board, the ard chomhairle, which includes Gerry Adams, had a differing view to Ms O’Neill. The ard chomhairle met in Dublin last Saturday.
It is understood the same assessment of the impasse in the talks to restore the Northern Executive is shared by both the Irish and British governments.
Fiach Kelly further notes in the Inside Politics email newsletter this morning that:
…the impression that Gerry Adams is not serious about restoring the Executive is gaining traction at senior levels in Government, perhaps explaining the increasing edge in exchanges between Ministers and Sinn Fein.
Yep, that tension is a thing. Truth is that SF is in a hole (of its own making) and it needs time to get out of it. The strangest irony is that the partner whom its own support loves to hate most appears to the only other player who seems willing to provide it for them.