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DUP and Sinn Fein take major step over policing

Resource type: News

Irish Independent |

Original Source THE DUP and Sinn Fein yesterday took a major step towards a deal on devolving policing and justice powers from Westminster to the Northern Ireland Assembly. Both parties have agreed there will be a single department of justice with a minister needing cross-community support to be elected. The two parties have said they will not nominate candidates themselves. But Alliance, the party most likely to supply a minister, last night said it is not interested in taking on the post. Transferring policing and justice has been one of the most contentious issues since devolution was restored to Northern Ireland. The failure of Sinn Fein and the DUP to agree on the issue has been a key factor in what some have described as a deadlock at Stormont. However, the parties have written a letter to the Assembly Executive Review committee outlining common areas of agreement. Transfer But there is still no agreement on when transfer of powers would take place. The DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson said: “No decision has been made on timing of devolution and other areas such as financing are still to be worked through. “We continue to work on the basis that sufficient community confidence is required before devolution can take place.” Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly said the transfer should have happened in May, under the terms of the St Andrew’s Agreement. “Sinn Fein want to see it happen in the short time ahead,” he said. “We have agreed with the DUP that powers would be transferred to a single department, with a single minister elected by cross-community support and that initially neither ourselves nor the DUP would take on that ministry. This is a significant development.”

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