24th January 2003
Kelly calls for powers on policing and justice to be transferred to Assembly and North South Ministerial Council
The Sinn Fein spokesperson on Policing and Justice, Gerry Kelly, MLA, today called for the powers on policing and justice to be transferred to the Assembly and North/South Ministerial Council.
Launching a Sinn Fein discussion document on the issue Mr. Kelly said,
"Proper policing and justice structures are essential if we are to move away from the injustices and abuses of the past. The starting point for the new beginning to policing promised in the Good Friday Agreement has to be the full and faithful implementation of the Patten recommendations. The British government has not delivered Patten in full. This is the minimum threshold.
"In terms of the Criminal Justice system, the British government's position falls far short of the fundamental overhaul envisaged in the Good Friday Agreement. The justice system must be radically reshaped to create a system which has the confidence of all our people. The British Government has not yet delivered this. As with the Patten recommendations these changes are essential if we are to achieve an acceptable justice system.
"In line with the Good Friday Agreement and in the context of the full and faithful implementation of the Patten recommendations, Sinn Fein wishes to see the early transfer of powers on policing and justice to the Assembly and the North/South Ministerial Council.
- Transfer of powers in the areas of policing and justice to the Northern Assembly and Executive;
- Comprehensive North-South arrangements in relation to policing and justice
- Judicial transformation; and
- An end to repressive legislation;
"We need to see the institutions established under the Good Friday Agreement restored. In this context the issues of policing and justice should be matters for local democratic accountability.
"The principles in the Good Friday Agreement in respect of institutions established under the aegis of the Agreement - the safeguards, checks and balances and an All-Ireland character - need to be applied to structures governing the issues of policing and justice. This will entrench the democratic accountability which is critical to a new beginning to policing and justice in this society."
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