DPPs, declarations and disqualifications..

The debate on policing in the House of Commons yesterday, which as Mick noted earlier none of the DUP MPs attended, related to an Order of the Day which, among other things, removed the disqualification of anyone who had served a custodial sentence from becoming an independent member of a District Policing Partnership – the Order was passed without a division. Report here. Instead the sentence will have to have been discharged 5 years before appointment to the DPP… and all members of DPPs, both political and independent, must “make a declaration against terrorism”. The measures are intended to come into force on 4 September. According to the Minister responsible, Paul Goggins, that declaration will be

“I declare that, if appointed, I will not by word or deed express support for or approval of…any organisation that is for the time being a proscribed organisation specified in Schedule 2 to the Terrorism Act 2000; or acts of terrorism (that is to say, violence for political ends) connected with the affairs of Northern Ireland.”

From Minister of State, Paul Goggins

The order deals with three specific issues: the requirement for independent members of DPPs to make a declaration against terrorism; the rules concerning disqualification; and the functions of the Belfast DPP sub-groups. The order inserts a range of provisions into the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000, and, by its nature, is complex. I therefore hope that hon. Members will bear with me as I go through the detail.

Article 2 brings into force section 15(1) to (5), section 16(1), section 19(1) and schedule 1 of the 2003 Act. Section 15 brings the arrangements for independent members into line with those that already apply to political members in requiring them to make a declaration against terrorism before the Policing Board can consider their application. It is in the same terms as the declaration that prospective local councillors are already required to make. If an independent member appears to have acted in breach of his or her declaration against terrorism, it will be within the power of the Policing Board, or the council with the approval of the Policing Board, to remove that person from membership of the DPP.

and later in the debate

When the hon. Gentleman mentioned the criteria for disqualification, he put his finger on a very sore point. It is a difficult area, but all we can do in this place is to bring the rules for independent members of DPPs into line with those for the political members. All members, both independent and political, must make a declaration against terrorism and, as it is short, I shall read it out. It states:

“I declare that, if appointed, I will not by word or deed express support for or approval of…any organisation that is for the time being a proscribed organisation specified in Schedule 2 to the Terrorism Act 2000; or acts of terrorism (that is to say, violence for political ends) connected with the affairs of Northern Ireland.”

That is an unequivocal statement by any would-be independent member of a DPP of their complete aversion and opposition to acts of terrorism, so although the hon. Member for Aylesbury has identified a difficult area, I hope that gives him comfort that we are aware of the need to make progress to sustain a more hopeful future.

The relevant sections of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2003 are here

And Lembit Öpik’s contribution, whilst initially a little cheeky, is interesting

As for the consequences of the order, the main question is whether the safeguards are adequate to prevent criminality and corruption from seeping into appointments to the district policing partnerships, a point that the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) elucidated in some detail. I see it like this: in theory, it is a risk, but in practice, it is not a very big one. There will be an onus on those choosing whom they want as members of the DPPs to exercise a degree of common sense. I accept, as my late father used to say, that sense is not always common, but there are elements in the decision-making process for appointing members of the DPPs that cannot be guaranteed through further legislation. There would be a bigger danger in over-legislating, rather than allowing a degree of autonomy and accepting that with that comes a degree of risk.

By the same token, the sub-groups are likely to provide a political balance, because that is the mood music of the cross-party and cross-community consensus in Northern Ireland politics at the moment. I am prepared to give the benefit of the doubt because sometimes we see more problems than we need to try to solve. If that does not work out, it will need attention, but we do not need to worry about that just now.

There is also, it’s worth pointing out, a review of the status those specified groups, et al, underway.

  • martin walker

    shame on the DUP

  • joeCanuck

    “If that does not work out, it will need attention,”.

    Pity the Dail, or at least a certain Minister, cannot see the merit in being able to change bad decisions.

  • The DUP once again demonstrate a lamentable interest in law and order. Power seems to have become their only interest, and since they are prepared to share it with convicted murderers, bombers and Terror warlords, why be surprised at their disinterest as to which foot-soldiers sit on the DPP’s.

    It is a remarkable situation we now witness, the largest Unionist Party removing itself from the values which make one a unionist, the primacy of the rule of law being but one.

    Still, at least Jeffrey D served in the forces. 🙂

  • ciaran

    David, Bollocks is the word that springs to mind after reading the crap you posted.Sorry for not being more eloquent. I cannot believe you are coming up with the same old shite for dismissing a party from office of any kind. I should object to unionists of any kind sitting on the dpps because they supported the attacks on the catholic community by the ruc and loyalist terror groups. I grew up with the image of Ian paisley ranting against catholics, He was a figure of hate, wouldn’t be my choice of first minister, but the thing is, we have peace, we are learning to live together, and rants like yours only serve to upset that peace.

    [And the ball? – edited moderator]

  • Glensman

    David,

    In 1998 the people were given the choice between continuing war and excluding Catholics from government, or, power sharing. The people voted for the latter- which makes it law? Is ‘law and order’ not a bit of a passion of yours?

    Yet you are still harping on about shame on this shame on that for sharing power with muderers, terrorist blah blah blah.

    For the love of god give it a rest. If you don’t have a real contribution to make (apart from deriding everything and everyone) don’t bother.

  • Ciaran / Glensman,

    Thanks for those eloquent replies, I see that Slugger has lost none of its ability to tackle the issues.

    For clarity Ciaran, I do understand that it is part of republican mythology to wish appear its bloody past, and YES, some unionists play along with this. But not all of us, so spare me the nonsense you spout as substitute for substance.

    Glensman,

    Roman Catholics were NEVER excluded from Government but like so many with your mindset you conflate decent Roman Catholics with terrorists, deliberately of course. In doing so, you do a grave disservice to that faith. Of course the brave IRA boys also knew how to do a grave disservice to many Roman Catholics by putting them in graves.

    You, and the rest of the appeasing class represented on this site need to understand one simple truth – power sharing with the delegates of terror is ALWAYS going to be unacceptable to those with a moral compass.

  • ciaran

    David, I wish you were more in favour of a peaceful resolution to the conflict we have had here, but from the tone of your posts it seems to me the opposite is the case. I hope you can live with your conscience if more trouble flares up in the future.

    “power sharing with the delegates of terror is ALWAYS going to be unacceptable to those with a moral compass”.

    Now are you talking there about Ian paisley who founded ulster resistance or are you forgetting about that piece of history. funny how a moral compass can look a bit of course when it suits.

    And yes RCs were barred from government when the catholic population were denied the vote.Try and stick to the facts.

  • Cruimh

    “And yes RCs were barred from government when the catholic population were denied the vote.Try and stick to the facts.”

    when were RCs denied the vote in NI ?

  • Ciaran,

    You’re goning to have to do much better than that if you seek to debate with me.

    Let’s start me your suggestion that I am not in favour of a “peaceful resolution” to the terrorism that afflicted this country. I am of course in favour of peace, but not purchased at the price of allowing self-confessed IRA commanders into the highest joint office in the land, not at the price of having an Assembly containing convicted bombers and murderers.

    As for your “Ulster Resistance” drivel – is that REALLY your best? Seriously? Tell you what, which crimes do you believe Dr Paisley committed? As far as I can see, he is but guilty of one – and that is sitting in power with IRA trolls. Further, you appear to believe I carry some support for Paisley, I do not, and once again you demonstrate a startling lack of political insight.

    PS When, to repeat Criumh’s point, were Roman Catholics barred from voting? I think that Republican apologists have become so heady with DUP appeasement that they figure ALL unionists will buy into their nonsense. Forgeddit!

    Now, back to the IRA/Sinn Fein propaganda handbook for your answer..

  • Cruimh

    Ironic that ciaran finished with “Try and stick to the facts.”

  • ciaran

    The civil rights marches were in part an attempt to get votes for all.I mean surely you remember that. Ulster resistance supplied arms, funding and information to loyalist paramilitaries. Is that drivel? Now who should decide who is fit to hold public office in this country? You? Or the people who go to the polls. But then they were all forced to vote sinn fein weren’t they? If the electorate think that these ” Ira commanders”are fit to hold office then is that not what should happen? I think that is what normally happens in a democracy. Personally I think it is a better solution than barring them from office and letting the extremists have the victory of a failed assembly. I have no access to any IRA/Sinn Fein propaganda handbook but if you find one could you let me have a look at it.

    “and once again you demonstrate a startling lack of political insight. ”
    Well pardon me for having an opinion, but hopefully with you to educate me I will improve.

  • George

    David Vance,
    “Roman Catholics were NEVER excluded from Government”

    How many Catholics were members of the Stormont government in its 50 years of existence in Northern Ireland and can you name him?

  • Roman Catholics were NEVER excluded from Government

    DV – do you remember Louis Boyle?

    How many Catholics were members of the Stormont government in its 50 years of existence in Northern Ireland and can you name him?

    G B Newe, in the powerless and tokenistic post of Minister for Community Relations, as a desperate last attempt to give some legitimacy to the system; and I think even he resigned after internment was introduced.

    Can I have my tenner, George?

  • Cruimh

    “The civil rights marches were in part an attempt to get votes for all.”

    That’s HUGELY different from the nonsensical claim that the Catholic population were denied the vote ciaran. How else do you think they managed to elect Eamon De Valera – and more than once to boot ?

    “Try and stick to the facts.”

  • “The Civil Rights marches were in part an attempt to get votes for all”

    Rubbish. The so-called “Civil Rights” agitation was all part of the ongoing mopery one expects from the world’s most oppressed people (after the Palestinians, of course)

    The salient point here is not how many Catholics were in Government but how many terrorists are now in Government. The moral malaise that lies at the heart of Irish Republicanism is evident in all this historical revisionism combined with tactical contemporary blindness as to the monstrosity now at Stormont.

    Ciaran,

    The fact that a large section of the RC population voted for IRA/Sinn Fein voluntarily does not embue them with virtue. It just damns them all the more. You, and your ilk, may see nothing wrong with convicted bombers and murderers representing you. But please do not expect us all to join you in the moral sewer.

  • ciaran

    Sorry david it took me so long to catch on. I didn’t realise you were taking the micky the whole time. I mean, you can’t really be saying that the civil rights movement was not needed or justified in it’s actions. To quote you from earlier ” you demonstrate a startling lack of political insight ” if that is the case. And as for ( I am assuming you are refering to RCs) the world’s most oppressed people , the civil rights movement were also trying to help working class protestants.
    Could you tell me one thing, if these terrorist ministers bring about any legislation that would actually benefit you in some way, is that ok or would you refuse to accept the benefits. Would taking those benefits, bring you down into my moral sewer.

    cruimh, how is it hugely different. In the derry example, not only were a large proportion of catholics prevented from voting but because of boundery changes on a regular basis, a large part of those votes were rendered virtually useless. That is also a fact. The same thing happened in upper bann. In fact in upper bann as recently as ten years ago a large sector of catholic voters had their polling station changed from a school half a mile away to a protestant area two miles away. And if you would like to confirm this I am talking about the antrim rd, kilmore rd, in lurgan being forced to vote in kingspark school at the opposite end of the town. A town which has always had a fierce sectarian divide and still has today. And while de valera was elected , the unionists changed from the pr system to first past the post because they didn’t like the gains made by catholics at that time.