Published Friday, 04 October 2013
When Peter Robinson sent his letter from America, stalling any development, there was always going to be a point when the Euro funding was taken off the table.
Last Monday Martin McGuinness told the Assembly there would be no further development at the Maze-Long Kesh site unless the Peace Centre dispute was settled.
The Executive was tipped off earlier this week the money was about to be withdrawn.
There will have been no surprise.
But the political implications should not be under-estimated.
It is the latest move in the current political uncertainty which some in Sinn Féin have called a crisis.
Next Thursday and Friday the First and Deputy First Ministers will host a major economic investment conference with the Prime Minister in attendance.
Many top Chief Executives from America and elsewhere will be present.
All will be sweetness and light.
As one insider said to me: ''We will be operating in a bubble for the sake of the economy''.
But when the great and good leave, the political problems will not have disappeared.
The result could be inertia as far as Assembly and Executive business is concerned.
Former Sinn Féin spin doctor Danny Morrison has expressed concerns over the actual survival of the Assembly.
We are not at that stage but there are real concerns.
And what could possibly topple the institutions?
Probably not parades or the Maze or any of the topics on the Richard Haass agenda.
No my hunch is welfare reform could well prove the most challenging issue.
The Prime Minister has told me of consequences if the reforms are not accepted in Northern Ireland.
His officials reckon about £60m could be withdrawn from the block grant with IT costs on top.
Nelson McCausland says he has already won concessions but are they enough for Sinn Fein?
I doubt it, so a real political battle looms.
And the outcome could well affect the whole future of the institutions.
In the meantime, don't expect much happening around Stormont.
The last Executive meeting lasted about an hour. That could prove the norm for a while.
As for that Euro £18m, finding a project which could be completed by the end of 2015 may be a problem.
And then we have the Euro and council elections in May 2014, Westminster in 2015 and the Assembly in 2016.
The stakes are high in the next few months.
It will be the ultimate test for our politicians.
© UTV News