Sammy Mac’s getting over-excited in the comments zone here about a recent announcement by the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, MP, about any devolved Justice Ministry. So for completeness, here is that statement.
“The Bill deals with technical points which will allow the Assembly to move to the next stage of completing devolution. “The route map published by the First Minister and deputy First Minister last November included Westminster legislation to give effect to those elements of the process that required primary legislation.
“It provides one more model for a Justice Department, reflecting the views of AERC, and deals with the appointment of judges. It represents a vital building block in the devolution process which will be followed through when the parties agree a date.” [added emphasis]
“Is now the time..” Probably not. But it’s also probably worth watching the first part of Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams’ interview on Hearts and Minds again. [1min 10secs in. Transcript below the fold]From that interview [1min 10secs in]
Noel Thompson: But you talked last year to the conference about getting policing and justice moving on. It’s not really moving along at all is it? I mean the DUP still have a veto on it.
Gerry Adams: Well, this business about a veto. Sinn Féin and the DUP have vetoes. It’s whether you want to exercise them or not. But the DUP have agreed on the broad principles. You know, they often tell us and they tell you that they’re a devolutionist party, they always wanted to see the transfer of policing and justice, and I think the process that’s now in place will bring that about.
NT: So you’re not concerned about it in any way?
GA: No. Not at all.
NT: And you think the party’s not concerned about it? If it happens this year, next year, 5 years, who cares.
GA: Well, people do care and it’s quite central, but I have no reason to be concerned that the process which is in place is not going to deliver.
What he means is that Sinn Féin have now agreed to the broad principles of the DUP’s position.