Sinn Féin’s national executive has backed the motion put by party President Gerry Adams to convene a special party conference on the issue of policing today.
Sinn Féin support for policing would satisfy Ian Paisley’s DUP main precondition to sharing local devolved power by March 2007.
The development came after a 6-hour meeting of the executive [Ard Chomhairle] at the Great Southern Hotel at Dublin Airport this afternoon.
Full details of the actual motion to go before the party conference [Ard Fheis] will not be made available for a number of days.
It was reported that the motion will commit the party to appoint representatives to the North’s policing board and district partnership boards.
It will also encourage everyone in the community to co-operate fully with the PSNI police in tackling crime and to actively support all criminal justice institutions.
Speaking after the talks, Mr Adams said the meeting would be held if the two governments and the DUP gave a positive response.
It was not revealed how many members of the Ard Chomhairle, if any, dissented with the Adams proposal.
It has also still not been revealed what agreement was reached, if any, with the British government and the other political parties in negotiations over the Christmas holiday period.
“We have just had a very good debate at our Ard Chomhairle,” said Mr Adams.
“I put a motion to the party leadership and our party leadership endorsed that by more than the 2/3 majority.”
Mr Adams said the debate had been “frank, comradely, and robust”.
“We have a very united Ard Chomhairle facing into the challenges ahead.
“If the two governments and others including the DUP respond positively to today’s developments, then the Ard Fheis will proceed in January.”
Mr Adams said party officials would start to meet republicans, particularly veteran republicans, in the coming weeks to win support for the move.