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Time is right for transfer of powers on policing and justice

21 February, 2008

Sinn Féin leaders are meeting in Leinster House this morning and among the key issues for discussion are the transfer of powers on Policing and Justice in the north and the implications of the Lisbon Treaty for the island.  Speaking following the meeting Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said:


“The transfer of power on Policing and Justice issues is not simply a matter for Sinn Féin. All communities want effective, accountable and responsive policing. They want a justice system, which delivers for them. Local politicians in the Assembly and Executive are the only people who can deliver this.


“The two governments agree with Sinn Féin on this matter. So does the US Administration and importantly those actually involved in delivering policing and justice in the north are arguing for transfer.


“I believe the vast majority of nationalists, republicans and unionists also share this position.


“Last year Sinn Féin made the decision to engage in policing structures in the north. The increased levels of both accountability and co-operation are evidence of the progress made in a short space of time.


“We are in the process of replacing the policing and justice failures of the past with new system in which all citizens can have confidence. And the transfer of powers is part of that process.


“There is a major US investment conference planned for Belfast in May. It is important that companies attending that event see clearly that the Executive is stable and built upon strong foundations. Agreement to press ahead with transfer on policing and justice does that in a very clear way. Any stalling for bogus political reasons sends the opposite message.”


Responding to comments made by Bertie Ahern in relation to those opposing the Lisbon Treaty Mr. Adams said:


“It is time that the Taoiseach set the date for the referendum and actually engaged in the debate on the implications of the Lisbon Treaty for this country.  Let’s talk about the politics and have a battle of ideas and end the scare mongering and personal attacks.


“If the Lisbon Treaty is passed it will involve a serious loss of influence within key EU institutions, it will open public services to competition, it will further undermine neutrality and critically for the first time it will allow the EU to operate in the same way as a state.  What the Lisbon Treaty does not do is address issues of democracy. It does not bring the EU closer to citizens in member states. It doesn’t make the Commission accountable. It doesn’t allow the European Parliament to bring forward legislation.


“This Treaty will shape the future of the European Union for generations to come and we need a full and proper debate on what all of this means. We need to ask ourselves if the high price we are being asked to pay is worth it.  I don’t believe that it is.  I think it is in the best interests of Ireland to reject this Treaty and send them back to the drawing board.” ENDS


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