Speculation is building that there may soon be another hiatus in the political scene in Northern Ireland...
The problem revolves around the devolution of policing and justice – or rather the fact that it seems that it is increasingly unlikely to happen in time for the anniversary of the start of power-sharing on 8th May.
The Labour Ministers at the NIO and the representatives of the Bush administration seem intent on ‘talking up’ the prospects for devolving policing and justice – even though the proverbial dogs in the street believe the climate in unionist circles is simply not conducive.
The NIO even produced an opinion poll to prove that people were positively beside themselves with excitement at the prospect of policing and justice being controlled locally.
It almost seems as if the NIO and the Bush administration have made some private commitment to Sinn Fein that devolution on policing and justice will be delivered by 8 May or that at the very least that a date will be set for it to happen, perhaps in October.
The DUP are in no mood to agree, with the fall out from Ian Junior’s resignation compounding the discomfort of the Dromore by election.