Policing roadblock looms for process
Although tomorrow's deadline for a positive response to the St Andrews
proposals is likely with with a conditional 'Yes' by the DUP, there are
signs that Ian Paisley's party will not meet the November 24th deadline
for the designation of First and Deputy First Ministers by the November
The Dublin and London governments have said they will impose their
so-called 'Plan B' for partnership government over the heads of the
northern political parties if agreement on power-sharing is not reached
by November 24.
DUP leaders are today briefing their Assembly members, officers and
executive today before party leader Ian Paisley issues what is expected
to be qualified approval of the so-called 'St Andrews Agreement'. The
governemnt proposals calls for the apointment in shadow form of the
joint heads of the putative Six-County administration by the November
But senior DUP figures have been briefing journalists that Ian Paisley
will not allow himself to be designated as the First Minister alongside
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister, even in a
The DUP leader's son, Ian Paisley jr, has said there would be no
designation in any form on November 24th "without Sinn Fein delivery
The party has insisted that Mr McGuinness pledge to support the police
and court system while they remain under British jurisdiction -- ahead
of the planned transfer of these powers to Belfast.
There are concerns within Sinn Fein that any move to overtly support
the British 'Crown forces' and rule of law could create a split within
the Provisional movement. Hardline republicans have already moved to
capitalise on the suggestion.
While no date has been fixed for the creation of a Ministry of Policing
and Justice in the North, the two governments have suggested that it
could take place within two years.
Last month, the DUP leader boycotted a meeting of a committee intended
to chart the programme for the return of power-sharing over the pledge
issue, throwing doubts over the viability of the St Andrews plan.
Mr Paisley yesterday insisted he would not compromise on the policing
"The Sinn Fein position on policing is now being seen as a complete
nonsense and they will have no choice but to support the PSNI and the
rule of law if they expect any movement whatsoever. There will be no
compromise on this most fundamental of requirements."
Speaking in New York at a Friends of Sinn Fein dinner tonight, Mr Adams
said that at St Andrews Mr Paisley was "moved to say that he hoped
there could be a better future for the children of the north.
"I watched and listened very closely to him. I think he was genuine.
my remarks I said the future was for all our children and I repeated
the words of Bobby Sands.
"Since then of course Ian Paisley has refused to turn up at meetings.
He has used language which is offensive and objectionable, but it is my
guess that the DUP tomorrow will signal, in a qualified way their
intention to give conditional support to the process outlined at St.
"Maybe I'm wrong in that. But that's my guess. And if not tomorrow,
then some day soon.
"However if I am wrong then the governments must move on to fulfill
"They have set out a sequence and a time table for implementation
they must stick to it. If the DUP will not participate then Dublin and
London must roll out the partnership arrangements they have committed
"Whether there is a power sharing government in the north or
partnership arrangements between the two governments, Sinn Fein is
moving forward with confidence in ourselves and our agenda.
"Our eyes are on the prize - peace and justice for every man, woman
child and a democratic and peaceful way forward into a united and free