There must have been a lot of pre-work done before they arrived for their 2½ days of negotiation in order to pull such a wide-ranging set of ideas and timetables to knit together the beginnings of an agreement.
The 18 page document covers everything from secret services cooperation with PSNI to putting a cap on domestic rates and ministerial conduct. And the negotiations seem to have included nods to allow a working Stormont Assembly some say in academic selection, local council reorganisation and the introduction of water rates.
But the proof will not be in gesture politics conducted in corridor diplomacy in Scotland. Instead it will be in the hard decisions faced by the local parties in the month that they now have to consult with their members in order to state agreement with the St Andrews statement. (And the slanging matches that may occur on the radio and TV as the parties disagree about the side deals over education and councils.)
And Paisley and Adams are likely to both attend the Committee on the Preparation for Government early next week as the parties continue to sort out the details of what they need to
To finish this post, a quick excerpt from the Hansard minutes from the CPFG meeting on 25 September. Attendance seems to be a movable feast, with each party swapping their attendance amongst MLAs as they wish. Peter Robinson’s normal confident polish seems to have been replaced by a lack of certainty ...
Ms Lewsley: I am here on behalf of Mark Durkan.
Mr O’Dowd: I am here on behalf of Michelle Gildernew.
Mr McCarthy: I am here on behalf of Naomi Long.
Mr McFarland: Michael McGimpsey is here on behalf of David McNarry.
Mr P Robinson: I am not sure for whom I am deputising. I will see who the other two members are, and then I will have a better idea for whom I am substituting.
The Chairman (Mr Molloy): You are here for somebody, anyway.
Mr Ford: Can it be put on the record that Peter is not sure?
Mr P Robinson: I am it.
Ms Lewsley: He does not know who he is.