Putting politics aside for a moment and putting aside the still dreadful anti-democratic-process decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, I look to the amazing news out of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Two seemingly intractable forces, the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) and Sinn Fein (Ourselves Alone) have come to an agreement over policing (PSNI-Police Service of Northern Ireland) and justice issues. These powers have rested in Westminster and will soon be transferred to the Northern Ireland Parliament at Stormont outside of Belfast.
Why is this a big deal? Policing has always been a thorn in the side of the Nationalists (Republicans) because the police force (formally the RUC- Royal Ulster Constabulary) was made up mostly of Protestants and many Nationalists felt that law enforcement and the judiciary was stacked against them. In other words, it became a symbol of another “English” intrusion into the lives of Northern Ireland. Westminster would decide for Northern Ireland.
Small steps have been taken since the Good Friday Agreement, some forward and some backward. This is a great step forward. As Gerry Adams said,
“I believe that the Assembly and political institutions can now proceed on the basis of equality, fairness and partnership.
“They also have to deliver for all citizens, that is the collective responsibility of all the political parties.”
The idea that policy would continue to be made from London for the North became untenable. I guess there is always hope. Of course…then there are the parades…but that’s another story