The gloves are off!

I see that the mystery and intrigue surrounding Stormont this last couple of days has come to an end. Sinn Féin has made clear that they will be nominating Martin McGuinness for Deputy First Minister.

That has been intense media speculation, some of it completely off the wall, that Sinn Féin would refuse to nominate Martin and so bring down the Assembly over the DUP failure to devolve Policing and Justice, the Irish Language act, Education etc.

Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson issued a joint statement tonight which contained the following

"We recognise there are outstanding and unresolved issues which have been raised with the prime minister and which require urgent attention."

The first round of negotiations is scheduled for Friday with more at the start of next week.

The DUP and people in general need to get real for just a second.

Promises were made in relation to St Andrews and those promises need to be lived up to. Sinn Féin will not be continuing in any Assembly which does not contain power-sharing.

The DUP have blocked Sinn Féin proposals at every turn, using a veto time after time and generally being a barrier to equality. Being totally obstructive at every opportunity is not power-sharing and it's about time the DUP learnt that.

Now Sinn Féin could start using the mutual veto all over the place but we are not interested in that kind of politics. It's about time that the DUP grew up and stopped pandering to the lowest common denominator.

These negotiations start on Friday and I hope the DUP take them seriously because Republican's are deadly serious, the gloves are off! The time for pussy footing about people and their egos is over.

I understand why Sinn Féin let the DUP off with a little too much at the start, the DUP had to be embedded into the process but that time is over.

Robinson has been given a short and sharp kick in the bollocks; he is not the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland and he never will be. Martin McGuinness is his co-equal, not his underling. The days of the Unionist veto are over!

Gerry Adams laid it out tonight when he said

"The Office of the First and Deputy First Minister is a joint and co-equal office. Those two are in that office can only fulfil their responsibilities if they are mindful of that fact."

We will not be taking any nonsense from the DUP and these issues have to be addressed and as a matter of urgency.

If the DUP do not take their responsibilities seriously then a return to the people may be the only option.

As a Republican I have nothing to fear from an election, the same can not be said for the DUP.

It's about time Unionism showed a bit of maturity, these negotiations will indicate if they are up to that job.

I hope they are but Republican patience is wearing thin, we are not prepared to sit back and wait for progress any longer.

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