The complexity of the policing knot…

Gerry Kelly reiterated his party’s position that it will not recognise the police until policing and justice is devolved to a local minister. With the DUP now murmuring that it may agree to a devolved administration but resist such devolved powers, this could be an interesting next round Northern Ireland’s long running game of political chicken. Given Government proposals to concurrently both fund and de-regulate Community Restorative Justice schemes in Nationalist areas, Dean Godson, now of Policy Exchange, likens such a move to letting the fox into the hen house.The schemes, which are currently privately funded, he argues, have not been above reproach:

Catherine McCartney is under no illusions about “restorative justice”. “If a kid has a dispute with someone and he’s called into a restorative justice meeting in a nationalist area, that means it’s going to be run by the IRA,” she told me. “Look at my home area of Short Strand. When they put out the notice for the creation of a restorative justice programme there were some perfectly decent people on it — but also many Provisionals, plus some of those women who picketed the home of my brother’s partner after the murder.”

Indeed, when Robert McCartney’s best friend, Jeff Commander, was subsequently assaulted by republicans armed with iron bars, the attack was witnessed by a leading CRJ figure — one Harry Maguire, who was convicted for his part in the murder of the British corporals. Yet despite observing all this, he hasn’t made a statement to the police, even though the Commander family have asked him to do so and it is a crime not to report such an event.


  • Pete Baker

    As well as Gerry Kelly keeping the political rhetoric the same as before Peter Hain’s speech on Sunday, Gerry Adams added the accusation that Peter Hain was being patronising.. a point on which I tend to agree.

  • spirit-level

    SF living in the past, accusing DUP of living in the past. And so it goes on.

  • Sinn Fein must stop holding things up too. In refusing to sign up for policing they are are putting party interest first and not the wish of the greater electorate. They are happy to accept an unlawful society. They still act and talk as if anything that the IRA authorises cannot be a crime. That’s just ridiculous. The SDLP has consistently argued that they best way for Sinn Fein to show others that that IRA criminality is at an end is by accepting policing and the rule of law. Not because the DUP say they must, but because doing their all for Patten and the Agreement means that they should. Shame on SF for playing politics on this issue.

  • ballymichael

    Gerry Kelly says ““The core issue is the transfer of powers away from securocrats in London and the NIO and into the hands of democratically elected politicians in Ireland. We have set out publicly the core of what is needed.”

    The Patten Report foresaw great difficulties with this. Section 6.15

    “We recommend that responsibility for policing be devolved to the Northern Ireland Executive as soon aspossible, except for matters of national security (on which, see also paragraphs 6.22 and 6.43 to6.45).

    It is, however, vital that the clock is not turned back to the situation before 1969, when the
    police were seen to be subject to direction by the Minister of Home Affairs. If, in the devolved
    arrangements of the future, there were too direct a relationship between a minister and the police,
    there would be a danger that that minister could be seen to be exercising partisan influence over
    the police. This is a risk that must be avoided.

    We therefore strongly recommend that the powers of
    the Policing Board proposed in this report, in relation to both government (as now represented by
    the Secretary of State) and the Chief Constable, be in no way diminished when the government role
    in the tripartite arrangement passes to the Northern Ireland Executive.