Having been tasked by the Northern Ireland Assembly to review the initial ministerial provision for the Department of Justice and to “make recommendations relating to the provision that should exist from 1 May 2012”, the Assembly and Executive Review Committee failed to complete their task. From the AER Committee’s report
8. Following Committee discussion, a proposal was made, on the basis that there was no broad consensus on any of the options, that the Committee draft a Report that outlines all the different opinions, summarises the consultation outcome in terms of who endorsed which options and why, and any other comments.
9. The Committee agreed to this proposal, with no other proposals raised prior to this agreement.
But as TUV leader Jim Allister pointed out on Tuesday when the NI Assembly debated the Committee’s report,
This debate, in a way, is a mirror image and the cause of government working or not working in this place. It is indicative of the lurching from one expediency to another, which of course brought the Department of Justice into being and its present Minister into office. At the time, it was patched together with total disregard for any aspect of a mandate or respect for mandates. We ended up in the preposterous situation of having a party with eight Members gifted two Executive seats, while parties with twice as many Members and almost four times the number of votes as the Alliance Party ended up with one seat in the Executive. That, of course, was done out of sheer expediency to get past a certain difficulty.
We are now at the point of needing another sticking plaster. So, what do we do? We refer it to the Assembly and Executive Review Committee. What a farce. The Assembly and Executive Review Committee will not make this decision. The Assembly and Executive Review Committee will go through the motions and produce vacuous reports such as today’s, which tells you of this, that or the other option. However, it will not make any decisions. It simply awaits its instructions, which will come from the next Sinn Féin/DUP deal. Then, with great gravity, it will consider it and find it a fine proposition. It will rubber-stamp it, and it will return to the House as if it were a creature of democratic process, when everyone knows that it will be a decision taken not on principle but solely for expediency, behind closed doors, by the DUP and Sinn Féin. The Committee, of course, will lend itself to that farce. [added emphasis]
Indeed. Otherwise the NI Justice department will be dissolved on 1 May 2012.
As I mentioned in the previous post, “The real horse trading [over Justice Ministry] is likely to happen between party leaders…” And only two parties, the DUP and Sinn Féin have the necessary votes to trade…