SF to discuss response to St Andrew’s deal

Sinn Féin's ard comhairle is due to meet in Dublin later today to discuss the proposals put forward in Scotland last week in an effort to restore power-sharing in the North.

Sinn Féin's ard comhairle is due to meet in Dublin later today to discuss the proposals put forward in Scotland last week in an effort to restore power-sharing in the North.

The issue of policing will be top of the agenda, with Sinn Féin required to endorse the PSNI under the St Andrew's proposals.

The party's ard comhairle is expected to decide today how to consult with grassroots members about the issue and when to call an ard fheis to take a vote on the matter.

The timing of this endorsement has already led to a fresh dispute in the North.

Earlier this week, DUP leader Ian Paisley refused to attend a meeting of political leaders at Stormont, claiming the British government was rowing back on commitments made at St Andrew's.

Dr Paisley claims to have written assurances from prime minister Tony Blair that Martin McGuinness will be required to take a pledge of support for policing and the rule of law if he is nominated deputy first minister before the November 24 devolution deadline.

Sinn Féin, however, will not have formally endorsed the police by then and says it believes such a pledge will not have to be taken until any power-sharing executive gets up and running next spring.

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