“given the particular operational emphasis of this year’s conference…”

According to a Belfast Telegraph report, unlike previous years, neither the Northern Ireland Justice Minister, David Ford, nor the Irish Justice Minister, Alan Shatter, will attend this year’s cross-border police summit on organised crime co-operation.  From the Belfast Telegraph report

Mr Shatter said that, given the particular operational emphasis of this year’s conference, it would be more appropriate for the Garda Commissioner and the PSNI Chief Constable to take the lead.

Rather than attend the conference, the two ministers, the Commissioner and the Chief Constable would have a separate meeting in the coming weeks.

Senior PSNI and Garda officers will discuss the attack on south Armagh man Paul Quinn in the Co Monaghan village of Oram in 2007.

Also on the agenda will be the murder last January outside Dundalk of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe, amongst other issues.

This is the 11th cross-border police summit. The others, always attended by ministers from both sides, have been acclaimed as highly successful.

Mr Shatter said the respective heads of police “were happy with this approach”.

Well, some matters remain above the Northern Ireland Justice Minister’s pay grade[But the Irish Justice Minister could attend? – Ed]  That would just be embarrassing…