‘Wake up and smell the coffee’ - DUP
‘Wake up and smell the coffee’ - DUP

A prolonged contradiction has arisen in talks over the proposed devolution of policing and justice powers from London to Belfast, with the DUP continuing to deny Sinn Fein claims that progress is being made in the talks.

Despite a number of optimistic statements by Sinn Fein’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness recently, senior DUP figures are adamant that it is “not going to happen.”

“It is pointless and counter-productive to keep falsely raising hopes and expectations that the criteria are to be met shortly when everyone knows it is simply not going to happen in the immediate future,” the DUP’s Gregory Campbell said yesterday.

His party colleague the Rev William McCrea said that Sinn Fein needed “to wake up and smell the coffee” and that the DUP was not going to be held to any particular timetable.

Mr Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness visited the US yesterday for a round of meetings including with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton who is due to visit Belfast, Dublin and London next month.

Mr McGuinness reiterated his belief that a deal on the devolution of policing and justice is “very close” and that it is “crunch time”.

He blamed the hold-up on internal DUP issues but said: “At the end of the day this is about leadership.”

It is understood the London and Dublin governments are also keen to maintain the talks processs in over to avoid the appearance of a stalled political process in Belfast.

During a Stormont assembly debate today, the Ulster Unionists and the SDLP both opposed the legislation.

UUP deputy leader Danny Kennedy said: “We oppose the bill because we don’t believe that [there is] the level of public confidence for the powers to be delivered at this point.”

In a change of its position, the SDLP’s Alban Maginness said the bill was “defective and flawed” because it does not permit a “stable and inclusive” method by which justice and policing can be transferred.

Sinn Fein Assembly member for Foyle Martina Anderson said that the SDLP were in “complete and total disarray” following the announcement.

“They are a directionless party with a lame duck leader, who has decided to jump from what is now a sinking ship.

“Pretty much like the SDLP approach to the Mandelson policing legislation when they voted for, against and abstained in the course of that Bills legislative passage they are once again completely confused when it comes to the transfer bill.”

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams met former US President Bill Clinton while attending an international symposium in New York this [Thursday] afternoon.

“I briefed the President on the current political situation and on the delays arising from the refusal of some to properly work the partnership government arrangements of the Executive and the other political institutions,” he said.

“I also expressed my dissatisfaction at the failure of the British and Irish governments to deliver on their outstanding obligations under the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements.”

Urgent Appeal

Despite increasing support for Irish freedom and unity, we need your help to overcome British and unionist intransigence. We can end the denial of our rights in relation to Brexit, the Irish language, a border poll and legacy issues, with your support.

Please support IRN now to help us continue reporting and campaigning for our national rights. Even one pound a month can make a big difference for us.

Your contribution can be made with a credit or debit card by clicking below. A continuing monthly donation of £2 or more will give you full access to this site. Thank you. Go raibh míle maith agat.

© 2009 Irish Republican News