So yet again, for the umpteenth time in recent political memory, we are at a crisis which threatens to bring an end to devolved government in Northern Ireland and reinstate Direct Rule.
HOW HAVE WE GOT TO THIS POINT?
This started with a murder. The murder of Kevin McGuigan Senior, who was known to be in the IRA. What makes this political is that the PSNI have implicated members of the Provisional IRA in the murder. This organisation is supposed to not exist except in the footnotes in History. The allegations that it not only exists but was involved in a murder has become intensely political through the actions of firstly the UUP
WHAT DID THE UUP DO?
The Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt took the huge step of taking his Party out of the NI Executive in protest. Despite only having 1 Minister, this has created a political crisis for a number of reasons:
WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?
The DUP and UUP have left themselves backed into a corner in a way. It is not clear what exactly they want in order to avert a closure of the Assembly. Do they want something off SF? Sinn Fein have little to give. It is very unclear how to end the impasse
WHAT IF DIRECT RULE RETURNED?
This would have a number of serious implications potentially
It is difficult to see where the next steps will take us
Mr John Wishart -