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Statement by Reg Empey (UUP) about the Agreement on the devolution of policing and justice powers, (5 February 2010)

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Text: Reg Empey ... Page compiled: Martin Melaugh

Statement by Reg Empey, then leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), about the Agreement on the devolution of policing and justice powers, (5 February 2010)

The Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Sir Reg Empey, has given his initial reactions to the Agreement at Hillsborough Castle on the devolution of Policing and Justice.

In a statement Sir Reg said:

"I received this document at 11 O'clock this morning. I had no previous sight of its contents and as I have repeatedly stated the Ulster Unionist Party has not been involved in any of the negotiations which led to this Agreement. Sinn Fein constantly talk about equality and inclusion, however they have consistently sought and achieved the exclusion of two Executive Parties.

In light of this the Ulster Unionist Party will take the document away and honestly examine its contents on its merits. I must make it clear - we will not be rushed into any decisions - the DUP and Sinn Fein have taken 120 hours to negotiate this document so we will take as long as it takes to come to our conclusions.

The Ulster Unionist Party helped bring the peace, stability and devolution that we now enjoy in Northern Ireland and we will continue to act responsibly."

Making some initial comments on the content of the document Sir Reg said:

"The Ulster Unionist Party will be seeking clarification on a number of issues. For example the document contains strict timelines for certain issues such as parading, however; resolving the fundamental issue of the dysfunctionality of the Executive is open-ended. We cannot allow policing and justice to drift into the current malaise in the Executive. It cannot end up like the paralysis in the Department for Education.

The document is also as interesting for what it does not say as for what it does. Under Section 5, Outstanding Issues from St Andrews, there is no mention of what has actually been agreed by Sinn Fein, the DUP and the two Governments. What has been agreed on Irish Language for example and is there a place in this Agreement for the Presbyterian Mutual Society."


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