ROBINSON A CACCIA DI CONSENSI
Peter Robinson è alla ricerca di un sostegno unanime del partito per approvare un eventuale accordo.
La devolution, o meglio un possibile accordo sulla devolution, è ancora al vaglio nei colloqui di Hillsborough. Dopo lunghe settimane di dichiarazioni, smentite, speranze e rabbia; non sembrano esserci sostanziali progressi, nonostante molti politici dichiarino il contrario.
Oggi l’attenzione sembra essersi spostata dai colloqui DUP – Sinn Fein alla coesione interna al partito unionista. Sembra infatti che all’interno del partito di Robinson vi siano forti frizioni, proprio per il delinearsi di due fazioni: a favore dell’accordo e contrari allo stesso. Robinson, com’è naturale che sia, sta cercando in ogni modo di superare la crisi politica con il maggior consenso politico sia all’interno del suo partito sia all’esterno, nella comunità protestante.
Un diplomatico Sammy Wilson (DUP) non ha voluto confermare o smentire divisioni all’interno del suo partito. Egli ha dichiarato: ” All’interno di qualsiasi organizzazione si hanno discussioni interne, e quando si raggiunge conclusioni che hanno un impatto sull’elettorato, si esce e si dà l’esito di tali conclusioni, ed è quello che abbiamo fatto ieri”.
BBC news scrive oggi che la riunione interna del DUP si è svolta in un “clima burrascoso” con una votazione a scrutinio segreto risultante 60/40 a favore delle proposte avanzate.
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DUP MLAs in quit threat over deal (BBC News Northern Ireland)
DUP leader Peter Robinson was faced with threats of resignations when he put a proposed justice deal to his assembly team, the BBC understands.
After Monday’s meeting, party sources said Mr Robinson was seeking unanimous support for a deal before moving ahead.
It is believed the meeting was stormy, with a secret ballot ending in a 60/40 split in favour of the proposals.
It is now thought talks between the DUP and Sinn Fein could go on until the end of the week.
Talks between the two parties appeared to end shortly after lunchtime on Tuesday, when the DUP negotiating team left Hillsborough.
The Sinn Fein team is now expected to brief its assembly members.
The DUP’s Sammy Wilson declined to comment on whether or not there were party divisions at his party’s meeting on Monday.
“You have within any organisation your internal discussions (and) when you reach conclusions which impact on the public, then you go out and you give the outcome of those conclusions and that’s what we did yesterday,” Mr Wilson said.
On Monday evening, the DUP said some issues still needed to be resolved over a potential deal on policing and parades.
Sinn Fein and the DUP were back at Hillsborough Castle on Monday night, with both parties indicating a deal was close.
The two parties have been arguing over the timing of the transfer of justice powers to Belfast.
Sinn Fein wants the powers transferred immediately.
The DUP has said that can only happen when there is “community confidence” among unionists.
Earlier on Monday, the DUP assembly team met at Stormont.
The issue of parades came up as an unresolved issue with some DUP assembly members reportedly keen that a new appeals tribunal be set up, at least in shadow mode, in time for this summer’s marching season.
However, it is thought to be unlikely that legislation could be passed to enable this to happen.
Sinn Fein sources also insisted they would not reopen the negotiations on the marching issue.
Plans for a return visit by the British and Irish prime ministers were put on hold as the DUP took longer on a negotiated package than anticipated.
The talks represent the longest period of sustained negotiations since the peace process began in the 1990s.
Peter Robinson ‘struggling to sell Northern Ireland policing deal to DUP’ (Belfast Telegraph)
Negotiations over a devolution deal continued into the early hours amid growing indications that DUP leader Peter Robinson was struggling to sell policing and justice proposals to members of his own party.
Sinn Fein and DUP teams were again meeting at Hillsborough overnight after the emergence of signs of last-minute problems which prevented a return visit yesterday by Premiers Gordon Brown and Brian Cowen.
There were reports of unease within DUP ranks and indications that some of the party’s Assembly team has voiced disquiet about aspects of the agreement.
Remaining issues were said to centre on when revised mechanisms for dealing with parades might come into effect — apparently not in time for this year’s marching season — and how a new Department of Justice will work. There were also indications of concerns that promises over how the wider party would be involved in consultations have not yet been met.
Mr Robinson, however, who reportedly met his MLAs one-by-one along with Acting First Minister Arlene Foster, was said to be confident the negotiations could be closed.
While their frustration continued, Sinn Fein appeared fairly relaxed at any 11th-hour difficulties.
The Assembly parties had been set to seal the deal to make local control over police and the legal system a reality — just after their 1,000th day in office since devolution returned.
The wraps were expected to come off a package of proposals, including a streamlined procedure on parades to prevent contentious marches bringing violence to flashpoint areas and destabilising the administration.
Prime Ministers Brown and Cowen were said to be on stand-by to fly back to Ulster to herald an historic handover of powers from Westminster, with a Stormont administration responsible for law and order for the first time in almost 40 years.
Mr Robinson was last night locked into “clarification” talks with Secretary of State Shaun Woodward and Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin at Hillsborough. Now stood down as First Minister for three weeks, Mr Robinson emerged from a party meeting shortly after teatime flanked by his predecessor Ian Paisley, party hardliner Gregory Campbell and his deputy leader Nigel Dodds, who is seen as a pivotal figure in bringing party sceptics over the line to accept a deal.
Mr Robinson said a number of issues remained to be resolved which he hoped could be achieved “with all due diligence”.
Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly said a number of issues still had to be resolved but the party was confident of reaching a deal. “There are no sticking points — we are close to conclusion,” he said.
First Minister Questions at the Northern Ireland Assembly was postponed as speculation mounted that a deal on policing and justice powers was close.
At least preliminary arrangements for Mr Brown to travel back to Belfast were inadvertently revealed in the House of Commons. It also emerged Mr Cowen had cancelled a trip to Madrid.
In London Foreign Secretary David Miliband let it slip in Parliament that Mr Brown had been en route and then postponed travel plans for Belfast.
Asked by MPs where the PM was, Mr Miliband said: “He’s in Northern Ireland actually.” Then he corrected his comments after being handed a note.
The ongoing talks also meant First Ministers Question Time in the Assembly was called off.
New SDLP MLA Conall McDevitt said it was 1001 days since the current DUP and Sinn Fein-dominated Executive began, yet it had achieved less than its predecessor, primarily run by his party and Ulster Unionists, in 750 days.