Jesus, you go away for a few days and the world turns upside down. I see that the two governments have outlined their proposals for the restoration of devolution. The parties have until the 10th of November to accept these proposals.
I have read these proposals and there are bits that I like and bits that I dislike.
The bits that I like
1. Advancement of the Irish language with an Irish language act.
2. Advancement of the North South agenda with a North South parliamentary forum , North South Independent Consultative forum and checks and balances to ensure that these groups are accountable to the Oireachtas and the Northern Assembly.
3. Further progress on equality, social, economic and ex-prisoner issues.
Bits that I dislike
1. Academic Selection
The policing issue will be the most crucial issue for Republicans. I do not like, nor do I think I could support, any new policing arrangement that gives Unionism an automatic veto over the devolution of Policing and Justice powers.
Most people will know that Unionist's like Robinson etc are power hungry, they would sell their Grannies for a slice of Political pie. That said, no matter how much they would like to wield the powers of policing and justice they would far rather not if it meant denying us the chance to access the same powers.
I don't know yet what kind of assurances that the leadership got in relation to Policing, what changes that the Brits promised etc.
If however it is "what you see is what you get" in relation to this document then I do feel that the leadership would be foolish to approach the membership at a special Ard Fheis and ask them to support the RUC/PSNI.
I think that Gerry Adam's statement today was the right one
"So far no one has agreed to these proposals except the British Prime Minister and the Taoiseach. Issues of this importance, with such major implications, require careful study. They need comradely debate and thorough discussion. Our leadership will consult with our party membership and the wider republican community to see if these proposals contain the potential to resolve outstanding issues and deliver the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
We need to do this calmly and with political maturity but critically, if Sinn Fein is to respond positively to these proposals they must have the potential to deliver equality, accountable civic policing, human rights and the full restoration of the institutions."
This is a time for debate, Republicans should use this opportunity to let the leadership know exactly what it thinks of these proposals. This is not a time to accept less than what is required.
Do these proposals give us enough in order for Republicans to support the RUC/PSNI?
I don't know but my initial reaction is No.
Only time will prove me right or wrong