Lord Clyde: CRJ must not become political football

This is one to add to the NI Gov wiki’s brave attempt to untangle and demystify the tangled working of NI Government. Lord Clyde, the Oversight Commissioner for judicial reforms in Northern Ireland (appointed in June 2003), has warned against the reduction of the public discussion around Community Restorative Justice to a game of political football.He told PA:

It is an area, I think, which is of enormous importance, and I do believe community restorative justice can have, as the review group said, a role to play in the criminal justice system. The matter has moved at a fairly slow pace for the first two years of my oversight work. Time was taken working towards the production of guidelines. The matter has come much more into the public forum since the autumn with the (Criminal Justice) Minister (David Hanson) taking an active role by furthering the thing and preparing the guidelines to move the process forward.

I do welcome these initiatives to make progress. On the other hand one has to be aware that there are a great number of sensitivities, anxieties, about this development, and one must respect those anxieties and concerns. But the review built in a considerable number of safeguards

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty