Sunday, 4 October 2009

Devolution Delays in the North of Ireland

Policing powers for northern Ireland are being devolved from Westminster but they are causing tension between the power-sharing executive. The British PM is flying there to attempt a resolution before the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Press association

While the two main parties in the powersharing executive both support the transfer of law and order responsibilities from Westminster, they are at loggerheads over the timing of the move.

Sinn Fein claims it should have happened months ago, but the DUP says it will not approve devolution until the Treasury stumps up an appropriate cash package - thought to be in the region of £600 million - to support the region's new justice department.

Though the republican party acknowledges funding is important, it believes Mr Robinson is using it as an excuse to delay the transfer in the face of resistance from hard-line elements within his ranks. Senior Sinn Fein figures also believe the DUP is wary of the electoral impact of the move, given the vocal opposition to devolution from the anti-agreement Traditional Unionist Voice party.

Traditional Unionist need to realise that the road ahead for northern Ireland is in uniting with the South and establishing the long delayed and fiercely resisted (by Ulstermen of the Orange order) unification of all Ireland as a free and independent sovereign state within Europe.

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