Cowen and Brown in Downing Street
Both leaders have issued a statement in the past 45 minutes. It’s exactly as you would expect. It goes along the lines of many previous statements, with minor variations.
The gist. The following are the important issues: devolution of policing and justice powers.
Despite all the tragifarce of the past month, despite the serious fever that the Iris Virus has caused to the DUP, we believe it’s still achievable. What’s more we believe it’s desirable. The date on the Good Friday Agreement ticket has not yet expired. Like parents, we have finally emptied the nest, but you always know we are there at the end of a telephone.
We all believe it’s desirable. But I’m not convinced that the Robinson saga will concentrate minds in the DUP and mount the pressure on the party to move as others believe it will. There is also a chance that things could go the other way as the party self-destructs from the fall-out from the scandal. At this stage, I would be pessimistic than others. is always worth checking out for finger-on-the-pulse updates.
Here is the full statement issued by the Taoiseach Brian Cowen and prime minister Gordon Brown.
“The Prime Minister and the Taoiseach issued the following statement after
their meeting in Downing Street today.
“When we met on December 17th, we said that we believed that the early
completion of the devolution of policing and justice powers to the Northern
Ireland Assembly was both realistic and achievable and that any outstanding
issues were capable of resolution by the parties.
Despite the turbulent events of recent days, we remain firmly of that view.
We welcome the engagement that is taking place between parties and are
available, if required, to help bring these discussions to a successful
The completion of the devolution of policing and justice powers will play a
vital role in ensuring the stability of the Northern Ireland Executive and
Assembly, underpinning the hard won progress that has been achieved over
the last number of years. Recent acts of decommissioning, most recently by
the UDA last week, reminds us all of the great benefits that the peace
process can bring.
Equally, the evil attack on PSNI Constable Peadar Heffron last Friday is a
stark reminder that there remain those whose aim is to destroy all that has
The best response to give to such people is completing the devolution of
policing and justice powers, securing the stability of the devolved
institutions and showing that the democratic political institutions are
delivering for all of the people of Northern Ireland.
The Good Friday and St. Andrews Agreements remain the templates for
progress in Northern Ireland and we are determined to see them upheld and
Both Governments will continue to encourage, and work with, the parties to
bring the outstanding issues to a successful and early resolution.
We will remain in close touch in the coming days and will be available to
further engage as required. ”