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DUP warning fuels threat to power sharing

Resource type: News

The Guardian (London) |

by Henry McDonald The looming threat to power sharing in Northern Ireland deepened yesterday after the first minister, Peter Robinson, warned that the IRA army council has to be dissolved before policing and justice is devolved to the Stormont assembly. The Democratic Unionist leader was responding to threats from Sinn Fein that republicans would pull out of the power-sharing government unless control of the police and the judiciary was transferred to Stormont. Robinson also challenged Sinn Fein to urge its members and supporters to pass on information about dissident republican terror groups as evidence that the party fully supported law and order. “The DUP is impatient with the foot-dragging on ending the IRA army council and wants to see a greater flow of information to the police about those who were nurtured by the IRA but who now continue attacks under different labels. The move to democracy is an ongoing commitment and a continuing journey. It is not a move of convenience or a tactical step,” he said. Robinson added that if the devolved cabinet failed to meet next month the whole power-sharing project would be plunged into crisis. “A meeting of the executive has been scheduled for September 18. If this meeting were not to take place it is self-evident that there would be serious consequences for the good government of Northern Ireland and indeed potentially for those who refuse to fulfil their legal obligations,” he added. Sinn Fein appeared yesterday to be trying to tone down the heated exchanges with the DUP. The party’s Dublin MEP, Mary Lou McDonald, said: “We have agreements in terms of justice and policing, in terms of the Irish Language Act and so on, and we want those delivered on. It’s not a case of threatening anything. It’s just a case of recommitting ourselves to actually delivering.” McDonald added that Sinn Fein had tried unsuccessfully to negotiate with the DUP over the summer.

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