Page last updated at 12:48 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Northern Ireland policing and justice talks

Hello and welcome to BBC News Online's live coverage of the aftermath of crunch policing and justice talks in Northern Ireland.

Gordon Brown is expected to say no deal has been reached but a "pathway to agreement" is in place. We'll be bringing you all the reaction to this developing story.

By Bryce McGarel
BBC News

LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times GMT)

1421 DUP leader Peter Robinson says the document at St Andrews made it very clear that their was no commitment to a date for the devolution of policing and justice. However, he says his party wants it to happen, but on a basis that is sustainable and satisfactory.

1420 DUP leader Peter Robinson is next to address the waiting media. He says he won't be taking questions an apparatchik.

1419 Alliance leader David Ford says the situation is serious. "Instead of engaging in a blame game and whinge game, there needs to be willingness," he adds before leaving.

1417 SDLP leave the microphone stand to be followed by the Alliance Party.

1414 He says he thinks a deal can still be done if people "calm down and wind their necks in". But he adds that the DUP and Sinn Fein have to give people confidence in the deal.

1413 The SDLP leader says his party are prepared to work through the big issues to resolve the policing and justice question.

1411 Mr Durkan: "If any party is entitled to say we have been betrayed it is the SDLP." Like Sir Reg of the UUP he is unhappy at being excluded from the sharp end of the talks.

1410 Mr Durkan says there is concern and confusion surrounding the state of the negotiations.

1409 UUP leave conference. SDLP leader Mark Durkan next to talk to the media.

1407 Sir Reg again complains that his party has been excluded from full participation in the talks and says the talks "is a two stage process". He adds that his party have their issues too and "won't be bullied".

1405 Sinn Fein leave press conference. UUP leader Sir Reg Empey next to address the media.

1404 Mr McGuinness said: "One thing is certain, citizens rights and entitlement will not be made subject to a unionist veto or Orange order precondition." He refuses to answer a question on whether he will resign.

1403 Martin McGuinness said he is "deeply disappointed" despite some progress being made on policing.

1400 Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams says his party is very unhappy with the outcome of the talks

1359 Prime ministers leave the conference and Sinn Fein team about to speak to the press

1358 Gordon Brown says he won't be apportioning blame to "any party or organisation".

1357 Mr Cowen says the discussions have been "painstaking" and rejects a suggestion that there has just been three days of process.

1354 He continued: "Once we can get agreement, the focus of the assembly can move from constitutional to real social and economic issues."

1354 Mr Brown: "We have devolution, but we have had incomplete devolution."

1354 Mr Brown: "We have devolution, but we have had incomplete devolution."


1352 Brian Cowen: "There is far more in common than what divides us."

1351 Mr Brown tells the BBC's Martina Purdy he hasn't failed and that "enormous progress" has been made. He says it's now down to the NI parties.

1350 Prime Minister Brown says they want the agreement to be one all the people can sign up to.

1349 He says the "spirit of past agreements must be respected as well as the letter".

1348 Mr Cowen calls for the parties to show "determined leadership".


1347 Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said the parties had held a detailed set of talks and progress had been made. "It is unfortunate we haven't completed the discussions," he added.

1345 The prime minister says he is giving the parties until Friday morning to seal a deal. If they can't, he says he will publish the proposals which were put to them.

1344On parades, he thinks there is a reasonable basis for agreement. Other issues outstanding from St Andrews Agreement, such as operation of the NI Executive, an Irish Language Act and North-South relations are "moving forward".

1343Mr Brown thinks a devolution date could be set for the beginning of May. He adds that discussions are continuing on a minister for justice and their relationship with the rest of the NI Executive.

1342 The prime minister says he believes the issues can be resolved and he and Brian Cowen have reasonable proposals which will produce "a pathway to agreement."

1341 Gordon Brown says both governments will continue to work towards getting a deal.

1339 PMs Gordon Brown and Brian Cowen about to address the news conference.

1336 BBC Northern Ireland political editor Mark Devenport says mood in talks is particularly bad

1335 BBC Northern Ireland political editor Mark Devenport says Sinn Fein are particularly unhappy and are making it clear that they are upset the prime ministers are going without agreement

1333 Press Association reporting sources saying a plan by the British and Irish governments to set a 48 hour deadline for a settlement has been rejected by some of those involved in the talks.

1317 Alliance party official Gerry Lynch tweets: "Gordon and Cowen off home. Giving us to Friday a.m. to do the deal, or they will publish their own proposals."

1315 The Green Party's only assembly member, Brian Wilson, reckons a policing and justice deal is being "held to ransom" by the parades issue.

1312 BBC NI political correspondent Martina Purdy says the plan now is to move the talks to Stormont and hold more discussions there with the parties and officials until Friday. So another 48 hours to seal a deal.

1311 We're now hearing that in traditional Northern Ireland talks-style the PMs press conference will be delayed for at least 10 minutes.

1305 RTE Northern Editor Tommy Gorman says the prime ministers expected to say "80% done and 20% left to do".

1252 BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport says Gordon Brown's press conference is in same room where former prime minister Tony Blair talked about "feeling the hand of history on his shoulder" before the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

1248 On Twitter the Progressive Unionist Party leader Dawn Purvis tells us "the journos are packed like sardines" into the prime minister's press conference.

1245 To recap - Gordon Brown and his Irish counterpart Brian Cowen have spent almost three days in talks with Northern Ireland's parties trying to get a deal on the devolution of policing and justice.

The largest nationalist party Sinn Fein want devolution to happen straight away while the unionist DUP say there most be "community confidence" for the move.

Their main confidence building demand was the abolition of the Parades Commission which places restrictions on loyalist matches.

With no deal in place there is now a danger that Sinn Fein could walk away from the power sharing executive.





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