Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 October 2014

We're waiting for signs of real maturity

The Ulster Unionist Party said the reason they could not support the devolution of policing and justice at this time was the dysfunctional nature of the current Executive.

They have also throughout the current negotiations made clear that being excluded from the talks only highlighted and exacerbated the dysfunctional nature of our current set-up - and they were right!

So should the UUP now endorse what has been agreed at Hillsborough? Absolutely not!

The proposals to address the dysfunctional nature of the Executive are the typical Gordon Brown approach - put these issues on the long finger.

A working group is to be set up, probably similar to the working group looking into the Presbyterian Mutual Society.

But Sinn Fein and the DUP don't even want to chair the meetings, so Sir Reg Empey and Margaret Ritchie will play the role of big sisters and then ignore any and all recommendations.

Even if all the recommendations were to be accepted and acted upon, what chance is there between now and March 9 to prove that the recommendation are followed - or even work?

The current Executive is too dysfunctional to devolve policing powers to it. Until that situation changes, the UUP should oppose any further devolution.

The real moment of political maturity may yet come out of this - the moment when the Northern Ireland Assembly begins to act and work like a real assembly with a clear division between government and opposition.

ULTONIAN

Portadown

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