National security

Paul Goggins, the NI Justice Minister has outlined some limits on the role of any devolved Justice Ministry. Any new Minister will not have direct access to information on individual informants and access to classified intelligence would be restricted. These are on the basis that they are national security issues.

  • Carson’s Cat

    Its probably useful that there actually is some discussion about what any future Policing & Justice Minister here could actually do.

    Because of all the furore over the entire issue, and the still lingering caution in the unionist community that SF might get the post (despite there being no chance of that now) it has meant that people haven’t bothered focusing on what powers the department would have.

    If nationalists/republicans are demanding its transfer, and unionists resisting it, because they believe the Minister will have “control” over the police then they’re barking up the wrong tree. The Shinners might have told the backwoodsmen that devolving Policing will fulfill that long made but never met promise to “put manners on the police” well it’ll have been as big a lie as the “definite date” of May 08 for its devolution in the first place.

    Operational control of the Police will still lie with the Chief Constable (even the Home Secretary doesn’t tell the cops what to do operationally), and the Police Board will surely still have a role in calling in decisions. Signing the paycheque for cops I suppose is some ‘power’….

    The Justice side of the Department might have a few more baubles of power, but the Minister, whoever he or she is will still be wheeled out when the first pensioner is mugged to be asked why they haven’t ‘cleaned up the streets’ yet….

    I wonder just how underwhelmed some people are going to be when its devolved. The view that Government anywhere has some magic bullet for all issues seems to be unfortunately prevalent here, and with some of the discussion that’s gone on up to now you’d nearly believe that criminals are all going to retire on the day Policing & Justice is devolved.

  • Carsons cat

    exactly so what are the dupers stalling for if not a little show boating.

  • Carson’s Cat

    Blinding,
    As I understand it, financial issues are one very big reason why they don’t want to set a date. If the money for that wasn’t made available then which front-line services in other Departments do you propose should be cut in order to finance police overtime?

    There is nothing in particular for unionists to fear from the devolution of Policing & Justice (providing its done right). Those are also some of the issues which need to be refined about exactly how powers will transfer.

    I’m in no particular rush though. There are more important things in peoples lives, like heating their homes. The question could be asked why is there such a rush from the other side to have it devolved?

  • fin

    Carsons Cat they could always have a blanket ban on parades, which surely must be less important than home heating.

    Alternatively, pass a robust ILA recognising the language and scrap all funding for Ulster-Scots and Gaelic, if people want to learn either language its possible to do it from books and dvds available cheaply, or from locally arranged classes.

    There are lots of way to save cash in NI, and a lack of cash is a poor excuse for arguing against P&J;

  • Carson’s Cat

    Fin,
    I wasn’t arguing that P&J;shouldn’t be devolved. There seems to be a belief within the nationalist community that unionism never wants to see it devolved – that just isn’t true. Pointing out some practical issues seems to be a little bit much for you though.

    I was merely pointing out that there would be a massive (financial) cost if it were to be devolved without the financial issues being sorted out.

    “Carsons Cat they could always have a blanket ban on parades, which surely must be less important than home heating.”

    Yes, it may well be, but I’m not sure what your point really is.

    “Alternatively, pass a robust ILA recognising the language and scrap all funding for Ulster-Scots and Gaelic,”

    I’m very wary of opening that Pandora’s box up, but an ILA wouldn’t save money, it would cost bucketloads in administration etc, and particlarly if the rights based model advocated by SF were adopted it would all be overseen by an ombudsman, entailing more cost and more bureaucracy.

  • fin

    Carsons Cat, I merely pointed out that the cost could easily be offset with savings in other areas.

    With regards an ILA, I advocated now funding for it or ulster-scots, so funding is nearing zero on this.

    There all lots of other opportunities to recoup any financial outlay, so I really don’t see finance as a hurdle to such an important issue.

    Again apologies for any misunderstanding.

  • ulsterfan

    The Bill to devolve P&J;will clearlty set out the powers of the Minister.
    It should contain restrictions similar to those outlined by Paul Coggins and I would make it a criminal offence if a Minister stepped outside his authority by eg tampering with national security matters.
    We can not trust politicians and everything they do must be held up to accountability.

  • fin

    I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a call for clarification on this, will the justice minister have equal or more access to intelligence than privy councillors, I’m not sure it would be acceptable to the electorate and in particular the nationalist electorate, is it possible that Paisley Snr would be more in the know than an elected minister? is there a nationalist privy councillor?

  • Dec

    The Bill to devolve P&J;will clearlty set out the powers of the Minister.

    Proposed powers are outlined here.

    Saying that the DUP are resisting P&J;due to financial concerns is touching but clearly at odds with what the DUP has been saying publicly (and in contrast with their public stated opposition to the ILA.)
    Fin reiterates a point I have made several times: if the DUP is so concerned with easing people’s financial hardships, a one year moratorium on all parades (with the resultant savings tens of millions of pounds from security costs) would be a worthwhile gesture.

    But, as the Kings of Sparta once said: If…

  • Yvette Doll

    It is not that simple *anything* can be state security, try getting a FOI honored by Jim Gamble!

    It is highly classified stuff, it might be routine child protection, but its still in the same ball park as MI5 and MI6

    Even asking how many did CEOP & the FBI get relative to each other, that’s completely classified and verboten.

    We all know why, FBI = lots and CEOP = zero