DUP HAS RENEGED - SF
Ian Paisley's DUP have gone back on a deal to agree the devolution of
policing, Sinn Fein has said.
The party's Ard Chomhairle [executive] is tomorrow to reconsider its
decision to call a special party conference [Ard Fheis] later this
month. The conference had been expected to approve a motion endorsing
the PSNI police and the policing boards and urging republicans
to co-operate with police investigations.
Party leader Gerry Adams said the DUP had approved the text of the
motion. The DUP was, in return, supposed to say that if Sinn Fein
translated its words into actions they would accept the transfer of
policing powers from London to Belfast by May 2008.
Mr Adams said the DUP had accepted that the published Sinn Fein
motion, contained the required form of words. According to Mr Adams,
the DUP leader Ian Paisley's response, in the form of a New Year
statement, was to include the following text:
"The DUP has always maintained that it will support devolution
policing and justice if there is sufficient confidence across the
"The words needed are those contained in the Ard Chomhairle motion.
"Provided Sinn Fein translate into action the commitments contained
that motion, the DUP will accept devolution of policing and justice in
the timeframe set out in the St Andrews Agreement or even before that
The St Andrews proposals, set out by the Dublin and London governments
foillowing negotations in October, contains a timeline for devolution
on March 26, with fresh elections to the Belfast Assembly set for
March 7. However, the DUP has repeatedly denied making any
commitment on deadlines or what it terms "delivery".
Mr Adams said because of the DUP's failure to fulfil their part, there
was now a crisis in the process.
"The DUP have refused to accept power sharing within the St Andrews
"The basis of the Ard Chomhairle motion has been removed. We have
find another basis to move forward.
"It will be very difficult but I see this as a challenge to be
He said there was still an "urgent" need to get the power
arrangements in place, and the Ard Chomhairle would meet on Saturday
to "judge all of these matters in the round".
On Monday, the DUP leader Ian Paisley denied he had entered any
agreement regarding future political progress in the recent
negotiations, while DUP representatives still refuse to speak directly
to Sinn Fein.
However, the DUP has said publicly it "will not be found wanting"
Sinn Fein agrees to support ther PSNI and makes other concessions.
The London government has said this should be taken as a clear hint
that the DUP will follow through on a commitment to power sharing. The
Dublin goverment has said Sinn Fein should support the PSNI police
because "it is the right thing to do".
Yesterday DUP leader Ian Paisley accused Sinn Fein of trying to
distort the St Andrews Agreement.
He said there was no requirement for his party to agree to the
devolution of justice by May next year, and that the St Andrews
proposals contained only an aspiration of the two governments about
what they would like it done.
"People should understand there is not a line in the St Andrews
at all about saying that, at a certain date, we must hand over these
powers and work a joint system in security," he said.
The DUP has always insisted Sinn Fein's support for the police, its
recognition of the courts and British rule of law had must be "tested
by its actions" and the party "decontaminated" over a "credible
Sinn Fein has sought to move quickly into power-sharing in the Six
Counties in order to boost its appeal in the forthcoming election in
the 26 Counties.
It now faces increasing competition from the new 'Concerned
Republicans' group, which is to contest the Assembly elections on a
more traditional republican ticket.