Monday, February 11, 2008

More policing needed, not control

From epolitix yesterday:
Gordon Brown and Bertie Ahern have called on politicians in Northern Ireland to "take the final steps towards full devolution" by taking charge of policing and the courts.

After talks in Manchester, the prime minister and taoiseach urged unionists and nationalists at Stormont to build on the progress of the last 11 months.
A joint statement from Brown and Ahern said: "We stand ready to help the political parties as they work to complete the process of devolution through the devolution of policing and justice powers.

"It remains our shared view that the full implementation of all aspects of the St Andrews agreement is building the community confidence necessary to enable the transfer of these powers to take place.

"Having seen the huge progress made, we are convinced that the time is right for the parties to move forward and take the final steps towards full devolution and full normality

The only relevant question we should be asking ourselves here is in the event of the devolution of these powers does Northern Ireland become a safer, more law-abiding place; in other words, can we trust the DUP and Sinn Fein to improve the present pretty ropey policing situation?

Timely and connected post from Michael Shilliday relating to the DUPes’ almost pathological mistrust of open government and transparency; they still haven't disclosed which of their MLAs have relatives on the books, it's "confidential" apparently, despite the fact that these names were freely available on the DUP's own website...until they decided to remove them without explanation just over a week ago. Of course, it's not illegal to have your sons, daughters, or whomever you want, working for you, just a bit embarrassing in the present climate, but it does makes you wonder to what lengths the DUP's apparatchiks would be prepared to go to hide something that was really damaging to the party’s image. And giving them control over both policing and justice system can only enable them to tighten further that noose on the free-flow of information and data which we as citizens are entitled to expect in a full-functioning democracy.

Never mind Sinn Fein, the DUP cannot, at this juncture, be trusted to run an efficient, impartial, accountable police-force and justice system.

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