A hardline DUP MP has prompted further pessimism about the prospects for progress in the North following an uncompromising speech last night.
Willie McCrea said his party would only accept the devolution of policing and justice powers to Stormont once it trusted Sinn Fein and not a day sooner.
He also said it was inconceivable for this to happen for many, many years, if indeed ever.
Mr McCrea's comments come just days before Sinn Fein and the DUP are required to give their initial response to the St Andrew's proposals put forward last month.
Sinn Fein has already given conditional approval to the document, but the party says it will only meet its obligation to endorse the PSNI once a timeframe is set for the transfer of policing and justice powers from London to Stormont.
However, Mr McCrea said last night that the democratic process could not be corrupted to suit what he called the warped and twisted Sinn Fein/IRA mindset.