The IRA have said there is absolutely no chance whatsoever of any of its members posing for portraits for Ian Paisley, despite the fact that doing so could restore devolution to Northern Ireland.
Proposals on power sharing set out by the British and Irish governments promised to bring an end to the two year suspension of Northern Ireland's political institutions.
But Mr Paisley, the DUP leader who has been annoyed for over 50 years, made it clear that he would not accept the proposals until he had received a Christmas card from the IRA with a photo of some of its members on the front.
"And I don't want to see balaclavas either," he said. "I want faces, smiling faces. I'm not asking for much. I have a large fireplace with a wide mantelpiece at home and I never get enough Christmas cards to fill it. The IRA never send me personalised Christmas cards."
Asked if he would accept a signed photograph rather than a Christmas card, Mr Paisley said "Yes." The IRA, however, said "No."
Meanwhile, two ex-IRA members, Sean O'Sullivan and Aodh Byrne, who can't be named for legal reasons, said it was highly unlikely that anyone in the IRA would consent to having his photo taken. "Let's face it. Very few of us like having our photo taken. Members of the IRA are no different, even when wearing balaclavas. The fact that Mr Paisley wants to see them without balaclavas, well, it's just not going to happen."
In an attempt to resolve the problem, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said Mr Paisley could have his photograph on a Christmas card if he wanted. He said he'd even wear a Father Christmas costume if that would help move things along.
The DUP leader politely rejected his offer. "Damn the beast to hell! I'd rather have a photograph of Beelzebub himself on my mantelpiece. No! No! No! No! No! No! No!"
Mr Adams has asked republicans not to take Mr Paisley's words to heart. "Look, the man isn't getting as many Christmas cards as he'd like. It hurts. Don't be too harsh on him. And remember what all this comes down to - a large mantelpiece. If only Mr Paisley's fireplace was a little smaller. We'd all be as happy as Larry."