Monday, 12 April 2010

Justice at Last

So Northern Ireland has a Department of Justice with domestic control over the PSNI, Courts Service, Probation Board, etc for the first time since the former John Taylor, Lord Kilclooney, handed back his seals of office in 1972 when the old Stormont Parliament ceased to exist. As we all know, Alliance leader and South Antrim MLA David Ford is the new Minister. I suppose we could refer to the delightful expression that has characterised the whole Justice debate, ''political lifetime'' with David Ford's stated expressions (apologies, no links) that Alliance would provide a voice of principled opposition and wouldn't be interested in the Justice portfolio.

In all seriousness, and despite my reservations about the manner of Mr Ford's appointment, I wish him well. I like him personally, having met him a few times, and he will require the support of all politicians and parties (as outlined by Basil McCrea and Alban Maginness on Good Morning Ulster earlier today) in order to combat the threat Northern Ireland faces from the dissidents. We should all be thankful that no-one was injured in the blast in Holywood last night and ask what sort of idiocy drives people to such wanton vandalism? They certainly don't bring their republican utopia an inch closer by their terrorist and criminal actions. It is the duty of all law abiding citizens to offer any and all support possible to the PSNI and other authorities if they know anything at all about last night's blast.

As an aside, what are my views on the devolution of Justice powers? I think devolution was a rather premature step (although it would be wrong to say I was opposed to the concept; anything but. Just at this time and in these circumstances) and especially to an Executive which isn't always capable of carrying out its functions. That said, it's here now, and we all have to pull together to make Northern Ireland a safer place.

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