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Statement by Peter Robinson (DUP) on the devolution of policing and justice, (28 January 2010)

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Text: Peter Robinson ... Page compiled: Brendan Lynn

Statement by Peter Robinson, then leader of the Democratic Unionist Paty (DUP), following two days of discussions in Belfast regarding the devolution of policing and justice powers, (28 January 2010)


"I know that a great many people will be disappointed that contrived instability threatens the devolved government. The people of Northern Ireland want effective government, not government by crisis. They want to see the bread and butter issues they care about being dealt with.

The recent difficulties were not created by unionists. The DUP will not be pressed to take any decision in an engineered crisis it would not otherwise have taken. All our decisions are rooted in our Manifesto commitments. A strategy to ‘collapse the Assembly’ unless demands are met will not divert me from the solemn commitments I have made to the people of Northern Ireland.

No commitment to devolve policing and justice was given by the DUP at St Andrews or since. I challenge Sinn Fein to show anyone the provision in the St Andrews Agreement that makes any such assertion. Yet even though the press and media have access to the Agreement and know that the Sinn Fein claim that the DUP has not met a commitment made at St Andrews is a lie they fail to challenge this diabolical and deliberate deceit.

The DUP is in favour of devolving policing and justice. We remain committed to building a consensus with all the Assembly parties on how this can be achieved without undue delay. I am encouraged that, despite Sinn Fein’s tactics, the other Parties are continuing to work with us to resolve some of the outstanding matters. In particular, we want to reach a conclusion on what decisions would be brought to the Executive table by a future Justice Minister and determine those decisions that the Justice Minister should take without reference to the Executive.

Contrary to Sinn Fein propaganda it was not the DUP who first linked policing and justice with parades. Indeed it was none other than Sinn Fein. The two issues were intrinsically linked right through from St Andrews to the publication of the interim report of the Strategic Review of Parading. I am convinced that a resolution of the parades issue would be welcomed across Northern Ireland and would be of benefit to every section of our community.

We realise that Stormont, whatever its current imperfections, is infinitely better than direct rule. Some people try to claim devolution under the DUP is little different to the old Belfast Agreement model. But for years it was unionists who threatened to walk out and pull the house down. How the tables have turned. Now Gerry Adams is "doing a Trimble".

Our Party is up for a deal. We will not settle for a half-baked deal though which does not meet our requirements. Just as we held out for a right deal on finance for a Justice Department, we will continue working towards the right deal on these matters."


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