Friday, January 8, 2010

Time for transfer

Time for transfer

Irish Echo Editorial – January 6-12 issue

January 6, 2010 The year just gone was something of a lost one in Northern Ireland politics. Many expected, or at least hoped, for the transfer of policing and justice powers from London to the elected representatives in Belfast.

That didn't happen, so those same representatives are now looking into a year when the same questions are outstanding, though writ larger as a result of delay, argument and procrastination.

Yes, there are difficulties for the parties and their leaders in working together on many fronts, not least policing and justice. Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party is a most unlikely coalition by any standards.

But the people who voted both parties in with the idea that they govern really don't have a full and clear picture of how these parties actually do this until the parties hold in their hands the full remit of normal governance.

With talk of an election in the air, it is high time that voters in Northern Ireland were presented with such a picture.


I have no doubt that whatever side of the political divide one is on with regard to the North of Ireland, they can agree that these are very trying times for both the Adams and Robinson families. This is not a time to try to beatify one and demonize the other. Let’s practice a little “True Christian Charity” and allow both families time deal with their own problems in their own way. In the chaos resulting from the personal problems of these two families, we seem to have lost track of the issue confronting all of the people of Ireland, the transfer of policing and justice powers from London to Stormont. This is the last and probably the most crucial part of the Good Friday and St. Andrew’s Agreements to be implemented. It is long past time for the elected officials in Stormont to settle their disagreements and work cooperatively with the Irish and British governments to reach a final resolution to this issue.

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