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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: January 14, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

    Cowen and Brown in Downing Street

    Harry McGee

    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
    been achieved.

    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. ”

    • Dan Sullivan says:

      Asking the usual question but what is the DUP for? I mean it was always a more hardline party centred around Paisley with more of an inclination towards devolution than the more centralist OUP or UUP. But was that it in terms of difference?

      The TUV is similar in that it is centred around Jim Allister. If Allister were much younger you could see him being Paisley in 10 years time. Could the DUP fracture and reform into some Kadima like party or is there anyone with that force of personality to do so?

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      It’s all very well in the lofty corridors of power to issue these nonsense statements. I’d expect nothing less from Laurel & Hardy – that can be Cowen & Brown or Cowen & Martin.

      The experience of the new ethnic communities in N Ireland belies the myth that society there has moved on. It is as fractured and bigoted as ever before. Only now in stead of Catholics and Protestants killing each other they are now targeting other communities for attack – as seen by the disgusting treatment of Romanians not too long ago.

      The people who were previous killing each other and planting bombs to kill policemen and women and soilders are now selling drugs, running protection rackets and brothels – north and south of the border at will.

      Therefore, how on earth can SF or the DUP be trusted to run the justice system impartially or to prevent the more extreme elements within their communities from having access to the highly sensitive information that transferring justice to them would entail.

      Are we really so sure that there aren’t people in SF or the DUP who aren’t itching to get access to files to find out who did what to them in the 70s or 80s and is it even worth taking the chance?

      Is it really the most important issue facing the North?

      Why don’t they focus on building up the economy, getting rid of the ghetto mentality, integrating education, integrating communities etc.

      Then come back and they’ve matured enough to be trusted with police and justice.

      Are we seriously expect to believe that a SF or DUP Minister for Justice is going to implement the full letter of the law against their friends and colleagues when they find the local drug baron or people smuggler or protection racket manager etc is one of their own activists – past or present?

      I don’t think so!

    • Metrosexual says:

      Hear Hear! How nowen Brown Cowen indeed!
      Des for Pres…that’s what I say… he’d jolly well show ‘em…Raa! Raa!
      Harry: ‘Iris virus ..quality… respec’…big up! …but I’d say she’d even prefer that to ‘Irish’ as someone referred to her elsewhere…! Can’t wait for the Paxman and Robin(son) showdown when/if he returns to work…

    • Pomme de Tastique says:

      @2 So what do you suggest as the alternative… a return to direct rule?
      It’s interesting isn’t it that the Labour party never ‘entered the arena’ by fielding candidates or polling in Northern Ireland…
      I hardly think a stone (n.b. singular) thrown at the bathroom window of a Romanian family equates to the persecution endured by the Nationalist Community… even if it did make the six o’clock news on the BBC…So often when I read these blusters I am reminded of the words of Bill the Bard in the mouth of MacBeth c.f. ‘Life is a tale told by an idiot all sound and fury signifying nothing’

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