Responding to the news that Ian Paisley’s DUP is seeking a further delay in Monday’s planned restoration of the political institutions in the Six Counties, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has said the Dublin and London governments must now proceed to put in place their all-Ireland partnership arrangements for the governance of the North.
Mr Adams said there would be “deep disappointment and dismay” at the “failure of leadership by the DUP and their efforts to frustrate the will of the people”.
However, he allowed for the possibility that “direct dialogue and agreement” between Sinn Féin and the DUP could yet resolve the problem. Historically, the DUP has always refused to hold direct talks with republicans.
The DUP executive held a five hour meeting in Belfast on Saturday following demands from the two governments that they indicate whether they will nominate to a power-sharing government by next Monday’s deadline.
It later emerged that they were trying to persuade the British government to pass emergency legislation stopping Monday`s nomination of devolved ministers and delaying the formation of the power sharing government by six weeks.
While the DUP has not yet expressed a reason for seeking the delay, the party has previously called for Sinn Féin to be “tested” on its “commitment to democracy”.
They were also pressing for a meeting of the Programme for Government Committee instead on Monday with Mr Paisley and Mr Adams taking part and for controversial new water charges to remain on hold.
Negotiations are still ongoing involving the two governments and the political parties.
“Two weeks ago the people voted overwhelmingly for agreement and for the restoration of the political institutions,” Mr Adams said.
“All of the other parties are ready for government. There are no outstanding issues.
“The DUP seeks to frustrate the will of the electorate. It cannot be allowed to block or delay progress.
“[British Direct Ruler] Peter Hain has majored on his commitment to devolution or dissolution by Monday. He needs to keep to this.
“If the DUP wants a functioning assembly after March 26 this can only happen through direct dialogue and agreement with Sinn Féin and the other parties.
“In the meantime the two governments must now proceed to put in place their all-Ireland partnership arrangements.
“The Irish government especially must compensate for the absence of local political institutions by providing effective representation in the political institution of the Irish state for citizens living in the north. The process of change must proceed.”
That is the latest news following the end of a crucial meeting of the DUP executive in Belfast earlier today in Belfast.
At this stage the DUP have still not made public the resolution passed at that meeting.
Speaking after the meeting in Belfast, DUP leader, the Reverend Ian Paisley claimed the executive had passed a resolution overwhelmingly but said it would not be released until later once negotiations were concluded.
“We in Ulster are at a serious state because we have had a dictation from the Government about things that people resent,” the North Antrim MP said surrounded by senior party figures.
“They are not going to be driven and I think we are going to have to leave it there.
“We will be delivering to you later on the full content of the resolution and I think as the hours proceed you will have a closer conception and perception of what we are after.”
DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson said over 90% of the executive had passed the resolution.
“We have as a result of the resolution further work to do and that is the reason why we are not releasing it at this stage,” he said.
Northern Ireland Office sources insisted, however, that they had not agreed to any emergency legislation on Monday to delay the formation of the power sharing government.
“At this stage we are in the same position as we have been all week,” one source said.