“Alliance says there must first be agreement on a policy programme for the justice post”

The Alliance Party continues to try to maximise the opportunity provided by their appointed role in the latest manufactured “crisis”. From the BBC report

First and deputy first ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness had asked MLAs to put forward potential candidates for the post by next Friday. But in a leaked letter, Alliance says there must first be agreement on a policy programme for the justice post. It also wants real progress on a community relations strategy.

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  • slug

    Lets see how good Alliance are at negotiating in progress on the Cohesion and Inegtration agenda.

    Im going to expect they will not be any good at this but would nonetheless hope they are.

  • fair_deal

    Reg Empey has made a simialr suggestion in the past. It seems a perfectly reasonable idea.

  • slug

    Agree – there is little point in devolving the power if there is no agreement on what to do with the power.

    (Just look at Ruane for an example of that).

  • Michael Shilliday

    Leaked was it? My gosh but I can’t understand who might have done such a thing……..

  • Comrade Stalin

    None of this should come as a surprise to anyone. Alliance has said as much recently in public. There is no point in devolving justice just to have another rebranding of the NIO.

    The justice system in Northern Ireland, from the prison service to the courts, requires reform and modernization. We need legislation to deal more effectively with anti-social behaviour, and we need to do more to improve the effectiveness of the police. This requires a radical programme, and a radically minded minister. There shouldn’t be anything in the above that either the DUP or SF will have problems with, and as such there is no reason why these requirements should impose any further delay on progress towards devolution.

  • Intelligence Insider

    I can’t think who would be the worst party to give control of P & J to, DUP,SF,Alliance or the DUP/SF/Alliance alliance. If Stormont has to fall over this issue, the sooner it does the better. Give me Direct Rule any day rather than give control over such a sensitive issue to some inadequate from any of them.

  • Danny O’Connor

    Does anybody on here really believe that an Alliance minister for P&J will make the spooks any more accountable than their colleagues did on the police authority?
    Unfortunately their track record suggests otherwise,which is ,why, the DUP are happy to accept them,the question which beggars belief however is- why are SF?

  • @ unIntelligence outsider

    The sensitive issue is controlled by spooks in Micks old stomping ground, down Holywood way.

    This is only dodgy lights on bikes stuff.

    Worry ye not.

    We’ll still be able to fuck the big things up at will as we did in the good old days of yore.

    Sowing despair and confusion amongst friends is our speciality.

  • igor

    ‘more accountable’

    there is an awful lot of nonsense talked about the powers of the Justice Minister.

    1 the policing board holds the Chief Constable to account and appoints / dismisses him. SF have been in there involved in that for about 3 years now.

    2 the Minsiter may huff and puff but his / her powers are limited. The Chief Constable and DPP have operational mindepenence. He can change the law, try to influence policing plans etc but he cannot order them what to do.

    Alliance want clear agreement on policy. Its very simple. On the day Davy Ford sits on that seat he will have as much autonomy or freedom of thought as one of the cartoons on Hearts and Minds. He will be a sock puppet with Marty and Peters hands up his backside. If he doesn’t believe that, let him look at his potential Executive colleague Catriona. Bereft of policy and support she wanders about making non-announcements on new wallpaper to cover the cracks in her policy ahnd authority.

    Still, the money’s nice and you get a car and driver.

    Also, is it just me, but the letter to MLAs last week seemed a nice bit of choreography…. a device to give the illusion of progress while the hatcheting negotiations went on behind the scenes. Now we have this response from the putative Justice Minister that will require yet further negotiation. So we cannot do the deal by Christams boys because we need to square this off with Alliance. That gets both the DUP and SF off the hook of their respective rhetorics and allows us to stagger into the new year.

    Cynical? Moi?

    So don’t expect any surprises in your Christmas Political Crackers and Sammy has stolen the sixpence out of the pudding as part of the new Stormont Austerity Drive

  • GavBelfast

    I don’t have any real confidence in Alliance, either, to make serious progress that would enable them to say yes to taking over the reins of P&J, albeit in a puppet capacity. But I wish them well.

    While SF and the DUP are at the helm, dependent on herding “their” poeople, making them feel separate and behave separately, things will never improve.

    When nothing even vaguely contentious has been sorted in this round of devolution, I don’t want this rotten rejime in charge of police and the courts.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Police accountability isn’t really an issue as that job lies with the Police Board and the DPPs, and that’s where it should stay.

    All this talk of direct rule is actually quite frightening. The attitude in the contributions above is that the electorate cannot be trusted to vote for the right politicians, therefore we should take the power away from them. This is breathtakingly anti-democratic. The electorate must learn that their decisions at the polling booth directly influence the way the country is run. Perhaps then we might see things improving. We won’t see improvement if we isolate people from the consequences of bad choices.

  • IJP

    I think my former party has raised the important issue here.

    For all the fuss about who may or may not be offered/accept the post, too few have discussed what could be done with it.

    Surprising though it may be to those who spend their entire professional lives in the corridors of the House on the Hill, this is not actually about the technicalities of d’Hondt. It is about a policing and justice policy which ensures people who are rioting are arrested and imprisoned, people who attack AGMs are traced and punished, and victims in rural/border areas are assured of a response time of under 12 hours.

    An agreed policy to deliver this is far more important than the identity of the Minister.

  • DC

    Perhaps so, but wont the identities of those ministers working behind the scenes actually shape the policy programme, which the justice minister will have to run with.

    It’s always a blend of the personal and the policy that shapes the end outcome, the content.

  • Just wonderin’

    Thanks IJP for drawing attention to how inexplicable your defection was…money isn’t everything. Having regrets already?

  • IJP


    Earning much less now, as it goes, but despite that no regrets whatsoever thanks for asking.

    Where I am now I am able to influence policy at every level. Unfortunately I was, and would never have, become able to do that with Alliance.

    I’ve also always been willing to identify myself on here to demonstrate the rationale behind my stance.

  • da

    Hear, hear Comrade, on the question of casual invocations of direct rule’s return. It all goes back to being monarchists: if you believe your head of state should be a fat german woman who hasn’t bin 2 university and happens to have been born into one family rather than another, it follows that you will not take responsibility for your own life and are in fact (quietly) unconfident of your own autonomy. Projecting that onto the political process you will then be satisfied to be ruled by people in London who actually have nothing but distain for you and complete un-understanding of your difference from other Irish people. Basically we need CBT for all monarchists and NI’s probs will be solved.

  • Meanwhile in the dreary prisons

    Prison boss quits

    Steve Rodford left his job as head of Maghaberry prison after the discovery of intelligence material on him inside a cell holding a dissident Irish republican prisoner.

  • DC

    Nevin, that’ll be another million pound-plus property on the market round Cultra then?

  • Democratic

    “It all goes back to being monarchists: if you believe your head of state should be a fat german woman who hasn’t bin 2 university and happens to have been born into one family rather than another, it follows that you will not take responsibility for your own life”

    Fraulein Merkel perhaps? – surely you aren’t speaking of Elizabeth II born in London in 1926 – daughter to George VI born in Sandringham, Norfolk in 1895. Wouldn’t call her fat either unless you’re watching the Christmas speech in wide-screen – really this kind of crap is infantile in the extreme……

    In that case then since we’re playing I noticed this little gem of a derogatory line in your post including the phrase “who hasn’t bin 2 university” – if I may ask what did you read for yourself – modern languages perhaps?….

  • It looks like he was barely settled in, DC.

    It is understood that Rodford moved out of his home with his family in County Down and was living for a while in a hotel outside Belfast. His wife is understood to have later moved back to England before her husband eventually resigned.

  • Have the DUP and SF complained about these Alliance ‘preconditions’?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Reform of the prison system is a topic of major interest for Alliance with respect to the justice ministry, and I think this resignation highlights some of the issues. It’s a great shame, though, that someone has to resign after being threatened.

  • Comrade Stalin, I thought he would have been briefed about the dissident threat before he took up the post a few months ago.