Saturday 17 February 2018

Paul Bew: Robinson crisis jeopardises any hopes of Sinn Fein deal

Paul Bew

The crisis of Peter and Iris Robinson, falling hard upon the heels of the fall of the House of Paisley, may well mark the end of dynasty politics in Northern Ireland. But its significance is far greater than that.

The first minister, Peter Robinson, was the Irish and British governments' best hope to achieve delivery of the final critical stage in the peace process -- the devolution of policing and justice powers to Northern Ireland.

Wounded as he now is, even if he manages to maintain his leadership in the short term, has he the capacity to persuade the increasingly assertive right wing of his party to cut the final deal with Sinn Fein? The problem is that Sinn Fein has it in its power to retaliate by bringing about a crisis of the institutions that may be fatal to the whole process.

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