Robinson surprised at 'brutal' statement

Published Friday, 22 January 2010
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The DUP leader has called on Sinn Fein to "calm down" after a senior republican announced the current round of crunch talks on the devolution of policing and justice was over without progress.

"I don't really need any more excitement in my life at the current time," Peter Robinson told UTV.

Read Ken Reid's blog: Weekend worries

"Let's all calm down and look at the prize we can have if we can successfully conclude negotiations. They have a unionist leader who wants to see a successful outcome. I want to resolve the outstanding matters."

Earlier on Friday, Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey said talks on the transfer of policing and justice powers had ended "a couple of days ago."

"We have exhausted the current round of negotiation, particularly with the DUP. We do not have a date for the transfer of policing and justice", Mr Maskey said.

Peter Robinson said he was "surprised" by what he called "a brutal statement from Sinn Fein".

"We're at the table. We're not walking away from the table. We're not walking away from the assembly and the executive but it takes two to tango", Mr Robinson responded.

Significantly, the DUP leader also told UTV he wanted to see one unionist party.

Earlier this week, the Ulster Unionists confirmed holding "private talks" with the DUP and the Conservatives as speculation mounts the parties could run agreed candidates in future elections.

"The time is right for unionists to be working more together, to have arrangements that can further the unionist cause. And I have long been in favour of having unionist unity right down to the extent of having one major unionist party where we are all walking in the same direction on the basis of policy and values", Mr Robinson said.

Ard Chomhairle

Sinn Fein's Ard Chomhairle will meet on Saturday in Dublin to decide on the next course of action.

Ahead of the executive meeting, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams accused in his blog the Democratic Unionists of "playing the orange card" by demanding concessions on loyal order parades.

But the DUP leader claimed progress had been made on the "outstanding issue."

"I felt that we were making some progress. I very much want to see the other parties in the assembly involved and see what their contribution is and how we might work together for an outcome that will be satisfactory," he said.

Speculation mounts that the British and Irish governments may step in to salvage talks.

"We need to see all parties more actively involved because this has to be credible", SDLP leader Mark Durkan said.

"It was the two governments, Sinn Fein and the DUP who produced the Saint Andrew's agreement which is actually at the heart of the difficulty we have now", he told UTV.

The Ulster Unionists have also called for all party talks in a bid to broker a deal.

"This is one of the most significant transfers of powers to this assembly and it is incumbent that if we genuinely want to build confidence to ensure that every party has the opportunity to be involved in this", UUP leader Sir Reg Empey said.

"That is the best way of demonstrating confidence."

On Friday the US economic envoy to Northern Ireland said he was "optimistic" that a deal could be achieved.

Declan Kelly was on a visit to Belfast to meet Acting First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
19 Comments
Deaglan in An Dun wrote (1,552 days ago):
I believe that the DUP cannot hold anyone other than themselves responsible for what is about to happen, I actually believe this will be the turning point for Irish Nationalism, Sinn Fein should bring down the assembly, a general election should then be held, the unionist vote split three ways and Sinn Fein top the poll like the european election, then a Sinn Fein first minister, then we can really get down to proper politics in stormont instead of the Swish and Sleazy family Robinson!
stevie in belfast wrote (1,552 days ago):
if parades is still the issue....im in a band...do the12th etc....i dont want to walk in a nationalist area....why would i?...and i can understand why residents dont like it...what riles people is the republican protest...ordinary residents and nationalists should devine themselves a bit more and try and find common ground with marching groups
Conan in Belfast wrote (1,552 days ago):
Why can the DUP not face up to reality? They either deal with nationalists as equals or they dont deal at all. Theres no going back to the back of the bus. Whats the DUPs difficulty? Its equality, stupid!!
Downpatrick Republican in Co Down wrote (1,552 days ago):
Its a time for cool heads here, keeping talking guys that's what you're paid to do and pretty well at that. Stalemates are no good, sort it out! As for concessions on Orange Parades, the loyal orders should use their heads for the sake of peace and stay out of areas (ie. Ardoyne) where they are not welcome. There's people from both sides making significant gains in community relations and this coat trailing destroys all this hard work.
Not again in Belfast wrote (1,552 days ago):
The uup would be mad to join the Dup in an electoral pact. The dup are in tatters and the uup would clean up the unionist vote. I seem to remember the dup berating the uup ala trimbles time for sharing power with SF, and now look at them. Theyre running scared, and the uup should punish them electorally after the dup forced the downfall of the last executive.
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