“certain accounting and other powers may have to be left with the treasury..”

In the Irish Times Frank Millar has some further information on what the Northern Ireland First Minister, the DUP’s Peter Robinson, proposes to do about the devolution of policing and justice powers – after the NI Executive is “shown” draft legislation, as mentioned here. Including this interesting suggestion.

Speaking after talks with British prime minister Gordon Brown at Downing Street yesterday, Mr Robinson warned that substantial funding issues – a shortfall which the DUP leader estimates at around £600 million – have not yet been resolved by Mr Brown and the British treasury. While seemingly confident that Mr Brown will not let the devolution project falter on grounds of cost, Mr Robinson also stressed that a financial resolution under the current comprehensive spending review would only cover a period of one year.

Looking ahead to the possible election of a Conservative government committed to heavy public spending cuts next year, Mr Robinson told The Irish Times that certain accounting and other powers may have to be left with the treasury in the event of the transfer of policing and justice powers to avoid a recurring financial crisis.

That estimated [by ERINI] bill was noted here.
Also from the Irish Times report

Speaking in Dublin on Monday, Mr Robinson signalled his confidence in the arrangements already in place for the appointment of a policing and justice minister, widely expected to be Alliance Party leader David Ford.

Mr Robinson insisted last night, however, that “community confidence isn’t just a matter for decision by me or by the DUP”. Acknowledging that nationalist and republican opinion was clearly in favour of the move, Mr Robinson said “the other parties have to display equal confidence”.

This reference to the Ulster Unionists in particular is a clear sign that Mr Robinson – already under pressure due to last month’s European election result – does not intend to find himself “outflanked” by Jim Allister’s Traditional Unionist Voice on one side and the Ulster Unionists on the other.

Once he is satisfied with the financial arrangements to underpin a new policing and justice ministry, Mr Robinson says he will seek discussions on the “confidence” issue with the leaders of the other pro-Union parties, Sir Reg and PUP leader Dawn Purvis, while conducting an internal DUP consultation at the same time.

Let’s see what happens.

, , , , ,

  • Frustrated Democrat

    It is a pity Robinson hasn’t sought such consensus with the other pro union parties on all matters instead of running the famed politburo or huxter’s shop.

    He can agree it with SF as he does everything else and then wait for his electorate to decide. Reg should decline to discuss it on the basis he has no confidence in the DUP/SF axis to run anything never mind policing and justice and abstain.

  • loki

    Yep. FD’ s got it spot on.
    One point I would add is that the Alliance Party have now given the lie to their claim that they are non-sectarian and are trying tomove society here away from sectarianism. They need sectarianism to sustain them and if Mr Ford accepts this ministry then he is condoning the current set-up and is as guilty as the rest of the parties in promoting sectarianism and division. No more votes for Alliance from me.

  • Jo

    The only problem with the Alliance “alternative” is…er/…the way that people vote for other parties rather than them. While I have personal admiration for Anna Lo, her inept party leader’s “dog in the manger” atttiude over p&j is not helping. Unhelpfulness to devolution is not what Alliance voters want…?!

  • Jo

    I totally agree, with Peter R (this is a first!) that if he was to propose a unionst for the position of p and j minister it would be vetoed, as likewise would a corresponding proposal from the opposition. This is welcome political reality – and WAY removed from the grandstanding of former years….Of course its not ideal that we are a divided society but this is just that.

  • bob wilson

    Robinson is essentially asking Reg not to make political capital out of the DUP’s compromise – despite having made Reg and the entire UUP’s life hell for the past couple of decades for – eh seeking political compromise.
    I think Reg should prove himself the bigger man and better leader by helping Robinson out – but Robinson should publicly grovel first

  • Jo

    “but Robinson should publicly grovel first”

    Essentially the difference between realpolitik – and blogging. This is the difference on which Slugger, all other blogs and reality diverge, irrrevocably. Indeed, a little modesty would be appropriate.

  • I would add is that the Alliance Party have now given the lie to their claim that they are non-sectarian and are trying tomove society here away from sectarianism. They need sectarianism to sustain them and if Mr Ford accepts this ministry then he is condoning the current set-up and is as guilty as the rest of the parties in promoting sectarianism and division.

  • kensei

    Can someone explain the money for me? Polcing and justice work at the moment. They are paid for. Now there would be some cost in local adminstration probably being a bit more bulky, but £600 million seems an extraordinary amount for a “shortfall”.

    What is the shortfall made up of, exactly?