Assembly Committee Considers the Transfer of Policing and Justice Matters

Session: 2006/2007

Date: 22 May 2007

Reference: AER 01/07

The newly established Assembly and Executive Review Committee, which will be looking at a range of institutional issues, met for the first time, today, in Parliament Buildings.

Speaking immediately following the meeting, the Rt. Hon. Jeffrey Donaldson, MP, Chairperson of the Committee, said:

“There are a number of important challenges facing the Committee and, as Members, we are all determined to tackle what will be complex, political issues and we are keen to get on with that task.”

He also confirmed that there would be ongoing dialogue with the Office of the First Minister and the deputy First Minister in order to avoid duplication, particularly in relation to role and remit of the proposed Efficiency Review Panel.

Mr Donaldson went on to explain:

“There is a legal requirement on the Assembly to report to the Secretary of State, before March 2008, as to the preparations that the Assembly has made, and intends to make in connection with policing and justice matters ceasing to be reserved matters. That being the case, it is proposed that the Assembly invites the Assembly and Executive Review Committee to undertake that task on its behalf and to report, in due course, to the Assembly, and to allow it, thereafter, to make its report to the Secretary of State.”

Mr Donaldson also explained that:

“The Committee is legally obliged to report to the Secretary of State, before the next elections in 2011, on whether, or not, the arrangements for appointing the First Minister and the deputy First Minister should be changed.

“There are legal requirements on the Committee to make a report to the Secretary of State on the operation of Parts 3 and 4 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (as amended). It is expected that this work, which must be completed by May 2015, will focus on the operation of the various executive authorities established by the Northern Ireland Act, as well as the functions and proceedings of, and elections to, the Assembly.”

Finally Mr Donaldson said:

“It is the intention of the Committee to look at the issue of multiple mandates”.

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