Having discussed below the infantile antics of Ogra Sinn Féin, it is worth for a moment considering the ridiculous and self-defeating posturing in which the senior party are currently indulging. To summarise, if other parties within Stormont do not agree that the institutions are ready and stable enough in order to devolve policing and justice, or if they maintain that an executive involving the Provisional Movement does not yet have enough public confidence to handle such an important brief, well then, Sinn Féin might well collapse those power sharing institutions, thus proving their perdurable immutability and the immense lack of volatility which republicans bring to the business of government.
Gerry Adams has been huffing and puffing on roughly this theme for some time now. Caoimhghin O Caolain, who leads SF in the Republic’s parliament, is the latest senior party figure to echo Adams' ominous sentiments. Martin McGuinness is conveniently on holiday, although as surreal as it occasionally seems, McGuinness now represents the ‘good cop’ in SF’s petulant attempts to get its way.
Sinn Féin is a past master at this type of brinkmanship and there is very little chance that its threats will be followed through. Not least because it knows that elements of the St Andrews Agreement which it claimed as part of the deal were in no respect fastened down or agreed with other parties. Mark Durkan has captured the hubris at the heart of Sinn Fein’s fulminations, “"the soundings coming from Sinn Féin at the minute are more ludicrous than ominous. Are Sinn Féin saying they are going to see the assembly and North-South Ministerial Council being put back on ice?”.
Any fragile edifice of trust which Sinn Féin has established will be destroyed completely should it pull out of the executive. It cannot and mustn’t be allowed to dictate terms on this issue. Meanwhile its antics are undermining the very arguments it is simultaneously trying to put forward.