Gerry Adams today published the wording which Ian Paisley was supposed to deliver in his New Year statement.
According to Gerry, in the run up to the meeting of the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle on December 29th the DUP were given the text of the motion that was to be put to the Ard Chomhairle.
This was the motion calling a special Ard Fheis on policing.
The DUP said that the required words were in the motion and that if the Ard Chomhairle accepted the motion they would respond to this in Ian Paisley’s New Year statement.
The words given to Sinn Féin were:
‘The DUP has always maintained that it will support devolution of policing and justice if there is sufficient confidence across the community. The words needed are those contained in the Ard Chomhairle motion. Provided Sinn Féin translate into action the commitments contained in that motion, the DUP will accept devolution of policing and justice in the time frame set out in the St. Andrews Agreement or even before that date.’
"The agreed words were never said which is why there is now a crisis in the process.So the context has been changed completely.
The DUP have refused to accept power sharing within the St. Andrews timeframe. The basis of the Ard Chomhairle motion has been removed. We have to find another basis to move forward. It will be very difficult but I see this as a challenge to be faced and overcome. Despite these very profound difficulties I stand by my remarks of December 29th.
I put the motion on policing to the Ard Chomhairle because it was the right thing to do. It is still the right thing to do. Republicans and nationalists, like all other citizens, have the right to a civic, non-partisan and accountable policing service. There is still an urgent need toget the power sharing arrangements in place, with the DUP in the Executive as is their entitlement."
"Tomorrow the Ard Chomhairle will have to judge all of these matters in the round. Our objective has to be to find a sustainable way forward.“
So, do I think the Ard Chomhairle will tomorrow cancel the proposed Ard Fheis on policing?
No I don't
It is clear however that the leadership had not expected the amount of opposition from the grassroots on this issue. They are publishing this statement to show the grassroots membership and voters that they were not sold a pup by the Brits and DUP.
It wouldn't be the first time that a Unionist leader failed to deliver what he promised, just think back to Trimble and the IRA's second act of putting weapons beyond use. We all saw what happenned to him.
That being said I wouldn't place any confidence on the word of the DUP, I would also never call an Ard Fheis on the strength of a promise from Ian Paisley.
That is just asking for trouble!
UPDATE: Ard Chomhairle agree to proceed with Ard Fheis on the 28th, quelle surprise!
"Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams hailed the decision as courageous and historic and said it would have been wrong of his party to be blocked by the most negative elements of unionism.
However, he did warn that it was not a foregone conclusion that the party would vote to support the PSNI and the criminal justice system."