No one can accuse the DUP of not doing their paperwork. Today the party will hand over a 16 page document outlining its ideas for a way forward, along with a second paper on “fairness and equality issues”. Key concerns remain:
* the time being taken to deliver the Royal Irish Regiment redundancy offer
* a lack of action to tackle deprivation in unionist areas
* no proposals for root and branch reform of parades legislation
* policing and criminal justice matters, including the continuing 50:50 law, and
* government plans to end the grammar school system.
Policing and justice is a sticking point for Sinn Fein too, and is likely to snag further progress. But that snagging may give the party sometime to work on the first three. Education has been a hot topic since Martin McGuinness’ decision to abolish the 11+, but with Nationalism and Unionism still dividing down the middle over it, and no local legislative forum,local parties will likely be reduced to the status of lobbyists.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty