Saturday, 23 January 2010

Crisis for Devolution - Ireland Awaits

Sinn Fein seeks resolution of N.Irish justice talks

Sinn Fein will return to talks with its Northern Irish power-sharing partners to try to set a date for transferring police and justice powers from London to Belfast, the party's president said on Saturday.Skip related content
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams was meant to attend talks with The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) on Thursday but left the negotiating table, the first time he was known to have done so since discussions began months ago.
The dispute over when to take on responsibility for policing and justice have brought ties between Sinn Fein and the DUP to the breaking point, threatening to upset the delicate balance in the power-sharing executive in Belfast.
Sinn Fein wants the transfer of powers as soon as possible and has accused the DUP of stalling.
A deal would give Northern Ireland its first justice minister and mark one of the biggest steps since a 1998 peace deal ended three decades of violence that killed 3,600 people there. Adams said the province's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein's representative at the head of Northern Ireland's executive, would urgently seek a meeting with DUP leader Peter Robinson.
"This will be a critical and defining engagement," Adams told reporters after a meeting of his party's national executive in Dublin. "Our negotiating team has been given a very specific brief by the Ard Comhairle (national executive) and hopefully, hopefully it will resolve matters."
Robinson, who has temporarily stood aside as first minister but is still leading negotiations, had said on Friday that he hoped to continue talks on Monday. Adams said Sinn Fein had since spoken to the British and Irish governments, signatories of the 1998 peace deal, and urged them to set a date for the transfer of justice powers.
"If that (the transfer of justice powers) is not possible then no self respecting public representative or political party would want to be part of what would be nothing less than a charade," Adams added.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Noah Barkin)


If devolution of powers to northern Ireland are obstructed those who believe the Ireland should be united will again be frustrated and may seek other means to achieve their aim to reunite the country.

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