Assembly Committee to Launch an Inquiry into the Transfer of Policing and Justice Matters

Session: 2006/2007

Date: 12 June 2007

Reference: AER 02/07

The Assembly and Executive Review Committee, which last week was asked by the Assembly to prepare a report by February 2008 on the preparations that the Assembly has made on the transfer of policing and justice matters, met, today, to discuss how it plans to approach this work.

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

“This is going to be a key element of the work of the Committee for the foreseeable future. Members are aware that some work was done on this by both the Committee on the Preparation for Government and the Committee on the Programme for Government and this will be the starting point for our consideration of this important work. The Committee agreed that it should proceed with a formal inquiry into the transfer of policing and justice matters, before the summer recess and that it would call for submissions in due course.”

Mr Donaldson also confirmed that the Committee had begun to look at the question of multiple mandates and whether the existing arrangements whereby members of the Northern Ireland Assembly can hold concurrent positions as Councillors, Westminster MPs, Members of the House of Lords, MEPs or positions in other legislatures should continue. Mr Donaldson said:

“The return of devolution and the demands of attending Councils, Westminster and the European Parliament place a heavy burden on many of our politicians. The Committee is also aware of calls which have been made for some sort of rationalisation that would help deliver scrutiny and accountability in a more efficient, and effective, way.”

Mr Donaldson also explained that:
“At a time of significant upheaval in local government, it will be important to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of experienced politicians available to manage that change.”

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