More on Policing and Justice

As Pete has noted The Assembly and Executive Review Committee have failed to reach an agreement on the devolution of policing and justice powers: no surprise there.

The DUP claim to have negotiated a “triple lock” and the ability to veto devolution of policing and justice. Dodds has also stated that his party will not be “bullied” into accepting P+J devolution.
This raises two interesting points: Firstly, if as the DUP tell us, one of their great achievements has been to get SF to support the police; why then are they unfit to exercise policing and justice powers? Their answer is because of continued IRA activity. However, does that not imply that they should not be in government at all?

Of course most unionists will not be keen on SF having involvement in policing and justice powers but the DUP’s position here does seem rather illogical nay hypocritical.

The second point is made by Jim Allister who whilst celebrating the effect the TUV have had; has pointed out that neither of the unionist parties is trying to stop Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister having “powers to recommend who should be Lord Chief Justice, Lord Justices of Appeal, the Attorney General and also the power of involvement in removal of Judges.”

Since most also feel that policing and justice will indeed be devolved at a later date, is this something which the DUP and UUP should be attempting to address now?

  • JG

    if as the DUP tell us, one of their great achievements has been to get SF to support the police; why then are they unfit to exercise policing and justice powers?


    I saw Dodds’ bluster today on the news. The TUV have given the DUP pause but they are only delaying the inevitable. Get on with it I say.

  • slug

    I would be inclined to devolve P&J;after a full term of the Executive, thus in about 3 years. By that time it will be possible to combine it with a review of the overall arrangements in light of the foregoing three years’ experience.

  • BonarLaw


    Jim should know better. The limited role of the FM & DFM in judicial appointments was legislated for in 2004.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    It is interesting how the DUP play this – they are obviously keen to milk their veto for political gain but seem reluctant to state that they will rule it out for a considerable period.

    The Englezes may have a stick or trick up their sleeve to encourage the DUP as they probably feel ( correctly ) that failure to implement this policy will allow Nationalist abivalence towards acceptance of “the rule of law” to continue and will encourage dissident republicans plus Provo desertion.

  • Bigger Picture


    “why then are they unfit to exercise policing and justice powers? Their answer is because of continued IRA activity. However, does that not imply that they should not be in government at all?”

    Are we not simply going over old ground here?

    I never bought the argument that SF were completely signed up to the police and that is why p&j;hasn’t been devolved. Going into Government was the pragmatic decision that I saw as best for delivering for unionism and I stand by that. I may not like sitting in power with SF but then again I do not think there really is another option, whatever happened or did not happen at St Andrews the bottom line is, and Jim Allister knows this, is that sharing power at Stormont was always always always going to be inevitable, no matter what critics may think.

    The question then is, how do you deliver for unionism but make sure there are still sufficient checks and balances on SF/IRA until such a time as that is no longer a threat? Simple go into power and get stuck in doing he job you were elected to do and not be railroaded into anything by the shinners. Now that the chuckle bro period has ended I am more encouraged that we will see a better brand of deliverance at Stormont now that the Paisleys are gone. This is something that you and me debated long and hard on over the summer Turgon so I will spare you and my keyboard by going over it again.

    I will say this Turgon, that on a day when SF/IRA are giving off that the transfer of policing and justice will not happen, are giving off that there will be no maze stadium, are still smarting by not being allowed their Mairead Farrell exhibition in the Long Gallery and are accusing the DUP of failing to make the institutions work by veto, the best that the TUV can come up with is that McGuiness shouldn’t have been there in the first place. It seems ironic about who is complaining about the optics now.

    I also have no doubt that there will be some give and take on the issue, but what will be the price to SF? The Army Council going? Begs me to wonder what the TUV could shout about then really

  • Bigger Picture

    “Having fought just one by-election, Traditional Unionists have been able to put the brakes on the stream of concessions to republicans – not bad for a bunch of “flat earthers”! The Maze terrordome is likely to be the next casualty. ”

    I just lifted thi from Jim Allister’s website.

    Just one question to ask. Is the TUV a rival political party or simply a pressure group for the DUP?

  • Turgon

    Bigger Picture,
    You will be pleased to know that I am about to go to bed as I have to get up early. This will spare slugger readers our tiresome if polite debates and save Mick’s bandwidth (whatever that is).

    You know my position which is not a million miles from yours. The most relevant question and the one I will answer is the last:

    “Is the TUV a rival political party or simply a pressure group for the DUP?”

    I am pretty definite on this and I am very in favour of developing distinctive policies on a whole range of issues: most importantly obviously hats and bow ties.

    Yes of course the TUV need a raft of policies. Remember, however, just how new this party is and that it has relatively few full time employees. I am confident that policies will be rolled out gradually. I am not privy to the inner councils of the TUV but am aware that these things are ongoing. Incidentally are you still not becoming more senior in the DUP? You have way too much talent not to be (and I am serious there).

    However, even as a pressure group you must admit that the TUV are achieving quite a lot. I would submit that the stalling of the P+J powers, the end of Paisley, the end of the Chuckle act are all examples of things which, though not in whole, have in part been produced by the TUV. I suspect you personally are quite pleased by these events.

    One might even argue that the TUV forcing the DUP to move to the right would damage the TUV. That may be so but I for one would be unconcerned by that. If the result of all this is to stop the DUP selling out on things to the disadvantage of my analysis of where we should be; then I am happy. I have little political ambition and no need to be able to crow after the event, tell people I saw disasters coming and that everyone ignored me.

    By the way the dog is well. I remember you saying you were a dog person.

    Regards, and do drop me an email some time.

  • peter fyfe

    I notice a few unionists have posted so i have a question to ask.

    Why do unionists believe that the devolution of P&J;would be bad? Do they not believe the people of the north are fit to control their own affairs in regards to security? Does this belief come from how badly failed the security forces were up until this point? I would really appreciate an anwswer. Thank you.

  • BonarLaw

    peter fyfe

    “Do they not believe the people of the north [sic]are fit to control their own affairs in regards to security?”

    That belief would apply to those who have an Army Council included within party structures.

  • DC

    What this shows is the sheer incompetence of DUP-Unionism to deliberate with a level of accountability on how such devolutionary powers would or should be operated. It fails to show how they would ever intend to legislate on the issue at any point. So it clearly makes them look intransigent.

    Some have said that the DUP have discussed models and this is a ‘sham-fight’ but it remains to be seen just what both parties are thinking.

    Turgon, you mention about whether they should be in government, there is an issue with that in that the DUP have given SF a democratic coat after the dressing up at St Andrews and with innumerable tete-a-tetes thereafter.

    It is a problem, but still I think DUP-Unionism are clearly out of ideas and are stalling for time while they figure out what they want from devolution as they move away from a party of protest to a party that has to legislate.

    Same goes for Sinn Fein except there is an onus on the DUP to lead and be seen to have some ideas which can be disclosed regardless of any target dates.

    Re: Jim Allister’s post – he has a cheek to issue out a statement from his EU portal, him being a Euro-sceptic and writing off the back of his DUP mandate! A victory at Dromore, I think not, the turnout was dreadful despite the heavy amount of press that was given, and it was very heavy for a Council re-run!

  • BonarLaw


    the DUP is not a party that has to legislate. It is a party that has to protect the Union. Once you understand that you understand the advantage double veto hands to all shades of Unionism.

  • DC

    What is the point of a Union that doesn’t function and excludes a large national minority.

    I’d rather function in a united Ireland than mal-function in Northern Ireland with no democratic control.

  • Steve

    What advantage does a double vetoe pass onto unionism and the DUP

    The staus quo?

    sorry thats changing every day by statute and law that is beyond either unionists or the DUP’s vetoe

    The 11+ is dead, just plain gone and the DUP never got a say, never will have a say. What will replace it remains to be seen but it won’t be what the DUP want of that you can be sure

    P+J well you can delay that but the PSNI is already gone beyond what the unionists wanted and every year the old corupt guard retires or dies and they are no longer a unionist police force for a unionist people. again beyond the DUP’s much vaunted vetoe. And heres a dark little thought to put in your ear, what if London refuses to drop 50/50 recruitment leaving it in place till P&J;is devolved to Belfast. And what then with SF’s vetoe?

    Storomont, the famous shrine to unionist terrorists? SF has already signalled their intention to either elevate their own terrorists to this level or a purge of unionist menorabilia again beyond the vetoe of the DUP.

    Republican initiatives are largely protected by existing legislation while the DUP’s require the co-operation of SF

    So tell me again how a double vetoe strengthens unionist communities?

  • Truth & Justice

    Since the St Andrews Agreement there has not been one new consession to Sinn Fein, the DUP seem to have the upper hand on Policing and Justice and have just delivered the end to 50/50 recruitment to the PSNI anounced by the security minister Paul googins the TUV line of attack on the chuckle brothers has now gone it seems the DUP have delivered its unfortunate that those who support the TUV cant see the truth that is hiting them in the face.

  • Blooper


    It is no “claim” to say there is a triple lock – it is a fact acknowledged by Jim Allister himself:

    “though there is an aspiration that policing and justice should be devolved by May 2008, the fact that adequate community confidence apparently remains a pre-requisite, means that the largest unionist party can veto the devolution of such powers;”


    Truth and Justice has it about right here.

    Other than actually physically being in Stormont, I wonder could any TUVvies out there tell me just what massive new concessions Sinn Fein has got?

    I remember being told that the DUP had agreed to Irish becoming a joint official language in Northern Ireland – well, that turned out to be a tissue of lies, like most of the other TUV claims.

    Also I wonder have any of the new recruits to Jim’s Army (but no council you understand!) have asked him if its true that he advocated waiting until October 2007 to form a government? He has never said this was untrue when it was put directly to him by Edwin Poots. I wonder why?

    Perhaps because Jim Allister actually finds himself a bit of a captive to the bunch he has attracted to his side – direct rulers, devolutionists (with no fenians allowed – well, except the SDLP, who some of them actually believe would go it alone and act as a Unionist Uncle Tom in the Executive) and independent Ulster folk.

    Then of course we had the TUV poster-boy young Harbinson telling us on H&M;that the problem was not what the DUP had done, but that they had moved too quickly.

    Is it any wonder Jim is so reluctant to be seen in public alongside his new party members or let them in front of TV cameras? Is it any wonder he hasn’t any policies, other than loathing of other Unionists to unite his supporters?

    This is scare-mongering of the highest order by Jim Allister and it is particularly difficult to understand given that he welcomed the triple lock at the time of St. Andrews.

  • Steve

    Truth and justice

    I have seen no commitment to end 50/50 recruiting perhaps you could site a source? I did see where it could be ended after having met its goals, I have not seen when or where it will be ended

  • joeCanuck

    I know that 50/50 recruitment offended a lot of people. But it has delivered a situation where almost a quarter of the PSNI are now from the “nationalist” tradition. That has to go a very long way towards encouraging trust in the PSNI.

  • Blooper


    At St. Andrews it was agreed that 50-50 would end once the RC g;e of the PSNI reached 30%. Paul Goggins speaking this week predicted that would come about by 2010/11 and 50-50 will be abolished.

  • Blooper

    “ g;e”

    not swearing! Something about a percentage symbol the computer doesn’t like!

  • Ms Wiz

    One consistency throughout the years of the ‘peace process’ has been Sinn Fein’s increasing willingness to jump through whatever hoops are demanded of it by whoever’s the top dog of unionism happens to be. The IRA Army Council will be disbanded, that’s fairly obvious at this point.

    What’s interesting though is how the debate about the transfer of policing and justice powers has centered entirely on SF’s involvement in such a ministry, or to be precise, their suitability. Personally I don’t see what problems could arise, after all, if Ronnie Kasrils, who was a founding member of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the ANC’s armed wing, can become Minister for Intelligence Services in the SA government, a bit of devolved policing to NI won’t harm anybody. Especially since we know MI5 will be running the security side of things.

    I can understand unionist unease with a local policing and justice ministry involving SF, but equally it can spin the other way. For over 50 years policing and justice WERE devolved to NI, and we all know how that ended. So unionists, quite frankly, are the last people to lecture anyone on their suitability to administer a policing and justice ministry in this state.

  • majordolittle

    Who will be in charge of Defence and foreign policy?
    I take it the 5000 strong garrison at Thiepval, Massereene, Ballykinler, Palace Barracks etc are fully supported by Marty and Gerry. Good for them.

  • Steve


    St. Andrews also calls for the devolvement of P&J;powers and we havent seen that yet either

  • Blooper

    May 2008 was an aspirational date in St. Andrews. The legislation also provided the Unionists with a veto. The 50-50 thing was straight, simple and clear. Once 30% is reached the procedure is scrapped.

  • Steve

    No blooper that is the recomendation

    It remains such until action is taken

  • BonarLaw


    I understood the discriminatory recruitment requires yearly renewal so it does not remain until action is taken.

    Your 0313 also seems to show a certain misunderstanding of the current position. Yes the 11+ is gone but not academic selection. The veto will ensure it remains.

    I think the Farrellfest shows how effective use of the veto can stymie a Prvo love in.

    “Republican initiatives are largely protected by existing legislation while the DUP’s require the co-operation of SF ”

    That’s just plain wrong.

  • Steve


    Funny I don’t remember 50/50 recruitment being renewed every year and besides it can be shifted from law to policy with out ever being infront of parliament

    How have academic selection with out the 11+

    The Farrel fest was the ranging shot, prepare for the barage!

    thanks BL I never knew I was so wrong and I respect your opinion just so

  • Mike C

    I am amazed that the TUV fans on here actually believe that they have achieved a postponement of the devolution of policing and justice. The DUP had no intention of allowing this to be devolved in May 2008, that was pretty clear from the outset. The Dromore by-election didn’t get rid of Paisley…. that was going to happen sooner or later. Paisley’s performances have been so poor for a long time now that it was inevitable that he would have to step aside. If Paisley has gone in his prime then I would give credit to TUV but this is an 82 year old man.

    Allister is clearly running out of things to whinge about… it’s time he went back to the law.

  • BonarLaw


    the clue is in the title- Temporary Provisions albeit a triennial not annual renewal.

    “it can be shifted from law to policy with out ever being infront of parliament”

    Yeah, of course it can. Do you really believe religious discrimination can survive legal challenge without the cover of legislation?

    “How have academic selection with out the 11+”

    You’re kidding, right? Ever heard of pupil profiles or common entrance?

    “The Farrel fest was the ranging shot, prepare for the barage!”

    You seriously used the phrase “ranging shot” in relation to the late, unlamented Ms Farrel?

    “I never knew I was so wrong”

    You do now.

  • Steve


    you are completely wrong Miss Farrels passing was much more lamented then some one we both knows passing will be. no names of course but…..

    lol nice try at academic selection but even with your lies it will never be what it was. score Sinn Fein!!!!!!!

    as for 50/50 selection i believe it can survive whatever england decides it can and as some one else noted you are slaves to english policy

    I am quite sure one of us is wrong but I think you were looking in a mirror just then