Friday, 29 January 2010

Still Talking at Hillsborough

I know a lot of eyes will be on the Queen Elizabeth exhibition centre today, but don't also lose sight of what is going on at Hillsborough. Even though the Prime Ministers Gordon Brown and Brian Cowen have left the Northern Irish politicians are still talking.

If there is no agreement made by later today the British and Irish governments have said their own proposal on policing and justice. Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said naming two controversial parade routes:

"Anybody who thinks that the price of policing and justice is a walk down the Garvaghy Road or Ardoyne is just ridiculous."

While Alliance Party leader David Ford said that the politicians were not "merely going through the motions". Of course Northern Ireland politics would be that if not for the one dissenting voice, step forward Jim Allister, Traditional Unionist Voice Leader:

"The manner in which Sinn Féin seeks to advance its agenda, not through accepting the processes within devolution, but by loading its gun to the DUP's head with every pet project, is a reminder that even if the present Stormont crisis is sorted, Sinn Féin will be back for more and more."

Of course the devolution of policing and justice powers is not merely the Sinn Féin agenda it was agreed upon in St. Andrews before the resumption of devolved powers. It would be a sign of maturity in Northern Ireland politics if such powers could be devolved. The fact that the TUV leader is still using the language and symbolism of war when others are trying to negotiate a settlement shows a lack of productivity on his part for a stable Northern Ireland.

Is that a true voice of Northern Ireland? I for one don't think so. I'm hoping that the talks are at a substantive stage where agreement may be met once they resume this morning and come to a swift conclusion.

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