Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Justice and Policing Stormont Breakthrough

One hundred and fifty two days, not the longest stand off in Northern Irish politics but possibly one of the most crucial with one of the greatest outcomes at the end. Many said it could never be done but the DUP and Sinn Fein have actually come to an agreement over moving forward the devolving of powers for justice and policing from Westminster to Stormont.

Announcing the programme of "modalities" that will lead to the eventual transfer of these powers appears to have finally removed the major stumbling block that was outstanding between the two parties. With the logjam about to be removed in the next few months.

The steps include appointing the Senior QC as the new Attorney General. A cross-community consensus vote in the Assembly would elect the Chairperson of the Justice Committee until May 2012.

There is also a sunset clause to review the arrangements in time to put in place a more permanent settlement on these issues.

So it's back to work for the folks on the hill.

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