Maurice Hayes: North's players must carry PSNI deal across line
So, Sinn Fein has decided, wisely, to give negotiation another chance. With Peter Robinson professing his willingness to talk, and the freedom to negotiate with the backing of his party, the outside observer will wonder what it has all been about.
The outside observer does not know the extent of agreement on policing and justice. Neither, apart from rumours, is it clear to what extent they got bogged down in extraneous issues -- like parades and the Irish language.
Sinn Fein has not created any deadlines, but the patience of its followers cannot be endless. Its credibility as a political force is at stake, having persuaded its people to buy into policing on the basis that powers over policing would be transferred from Westminster. It was on this basis that the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) was legitimised in republican circles, and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) should recognise this.