Timing is crucial

Published Wednesday, 26 February 2014
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Peter Robinson does angry very well and there's no doubt he's angry about the revelations surrounding the John Downey case.

Speaking less than 24 hours after it emerged that a High Court Judge in London freed the man accused of killing four soldiers in the 1982 IRA Hyde Park bombing, the First Minister effectively put his job on the line.

The case against John Downey collapsed because he was mistakenly told in a letter in 2007 he was no longer a wanted man.

That's despite the fact that the PSNI knew he was still being sought by Scotland Yard.

Furthermore, and this is really what's annoyed Mr Robinson, it transpires a total of about 200 such letters were distributed to so-called "on the runs".

Peter Robinson is pretty definitive on his position - He knew nothing about it.
If he did he wouldn't now be in government with Sinn Féin.

If the letters aren't withdrawn and a public inquiry ordered he's not prepared to continue as First minister.

Are we the brink of a crisis, I asked? We're IN a crisis, he practically shouted.

Timing is crucial.

In less than two weeks the parties will make their annual trip to Washington.

The failed Haass talks have given something of a lifeline recently with ongoing party leaders meetings. And, of course, there's the European and Council elections in May.

David Cameron now finds himself between a rock and a hard place. If he doesn't withdraw the letters there's a unionist crisis, if he does chances are he'll feel the heat from republicans.

Over to you Prime Minister.

© UTV News
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1 Comments
john simpson in ballymena wrote (239 days ago):
(government) a democracy based on the recognition of individual rights and freedoms, in which decisions from direct or representative processes prevail in many policy areas. 71% of the northern irish people voted for peace based on this principle & they will feel cheated by the fact that here we have terrorists suspected of murder & atrocities who do not have to answer for what they did.They killed ruthlessly with no mercy for anyone including people from all communities including their own. We have a lie dressed up as democracy to appease the political wing of the IRA who somehow cant grasp the fact that they were responsible for the vast majority of the pain this country had to bear & they still show no regard for the victims families as long as their so called " freedom figthers" get off scot free. The only way there can be democracy in this country is for the rule of law & order to be respected . These people should still be tried if there is sufficient evidence & if found guilty serve there time.
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Tracey Magee
Tracey Magee

Tracey Magee has worked for UTV since 1997. She began her career in journalism the Mid Ulster Mail in Cookstown before moving to Belfast City Beat and then on to UTV. During her career she has worked for the Belfast Telegraph, Sunday Life and Downtown.

At UTV she has worked on numerous high profile stories including the Drumcree stand-off, the Holy Cross dispute and the Queen's visit to Dublin. She was recently promoted to Political Correspondent.

Her hobbies include shopping, shopping and shopping.

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