11 January 2007 Edition
DUP responsible for current difficulties
As the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle meets this weekend to assess the current political situation and to plan the next step forward in the process of re-establishing the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement, there is deep concern at the current stance of the DUP.
On 29 December the Ard Chomhairle backed a proposal to convene a special Ard Fheis on policing. It set out in unequivocal terms the substance of the motion to be put to an Ard Fheis and the intention of the Ard Chomhairle to hold such a conference before the end of January. The Sinn Féin leadership stated plainly that it would ask the wider party to support the motion. The significance of such a move by Irish republicans should not be underestimated.
For two weeks now since that bold initiative by the Sinn Féin leadership, a cacophony of voices emanating from the leadership of the DUP have poured scorn on hopes of that party agreeing to share power with republicans and agreeing the transfer of justice and policing powers from London to the Six Counties, in the timeframe set out in the St Andrews proposals.
Ian Paisley’s party needs to make its position clear. If the DUP is seriously ruling out power sharing on 26 March next and the transfer of powers on policing and justice by May 2008 it is indeed a serious development. The Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle motion is predicated upon a commitment by the DUP leadership to power sharing within in the St. Andrews timeframe.
As we go to press the Sinn Féin leadership remains in contact with the Irish and British governments in an effort to resolve matters.Republicans are anxious to see a new beginning to policing. Sinn Féin wants the special Ard Fheis to go ahead. But Sinn Féin is not responsible for the current difficulties. The DUP has major responsibilities in getting us all where we need to be.
This is a collective process and all parties involved must strive to resolve all of these matters. The clear difficulties, confusion, mixed messages and lack of leadership within the DUP is now the biggest problem.
In the next few days republicans will do their very utmost to approach the situation in a positive and constructive manner, always seeking to advance the peace process, do the right thing by those we represent and always with our democratic, republican objectives in mind.