Executive divisions holding up justice devolution

Alliance Party Justice Spokesperson, Stephen Farry MLA, has criticised the Assembly and Executive Review Committee report on the devolution of policing and justice for not making sufficient progress on key issues, and warned that this will result in decisions being taken behind closed doors.

Dr Stephen Farry MLA stated:

“The Committee report, while weighty, does little to move the debate on.

“At best, there is only agreement on the powers to be devolved – the least thorny of the obstacles to be overcome. Issues relating to ministerial structures and the timing of devolution remain unresolved. This now holds out the prospect of a deal being hammered out behind closed doors, with an absence of transparency and accountability.

“For Alliance, we want to see policing and justice powers devolved soon, but not just yet. Community confidence does not yet exist. The Committee should have taken the opportunity to at least set out a series of benchmarks against which a decision can be judged.

“In particular, the Executive does need to demonstrate an ability to act in a responsible, coherent and collective manner. The debacle over the appointment of a Victims Commissioner, reflecting a fundamental inability to agree on a single appointment, illustrates the weakness of the current regime. Before devolving justice powers we need clear evidence that the Executive parties have the ability to take tough decisions and stand by them.”


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