Today is a significant step closer to Policing and Justice transfer – Sinn Féin
Commenting after the Bill to allow for the transfer of powers on policing a justice passed through the Executive today, despite opposition from the SDLP, Sinn Féin Junior Minsiter Gerry Kelly said:
“The SDLP really need to sort out their heads when it comes to transferring powers on policing and justice. Having previously stated it was not possible, they then belatedly supported it and demanded to become Minister and today they have reverted to their oppositional stance a position they share with rejectionist unionism.
"Given the SDLP record on dealing with policing legislation it should come as no surprise that they are once again in some disarray on the issue. Remember it was the SDLP who when faced with the Mandelson Bill which gutted Patten first voted for the legislation, then against and then abstained.
"For two years the SDLP held the position of Deputy First Minister yet never once raised the issue of transferring powers on policing and justice. Unlike the SDLP who have done nothing to secure the transfer of Policing and Justice powers Sinn Féin has remained committed to this key issue. We are working to ensure that the process led by Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson will lead to the transfer of powers happening. Today was another step along this road.
"Achieving this will remain the focus of Sinn Féin in the time ahead and we will not allow ourselves to become distracted from that task by Margaret Ritchie or anyone else.
"Sinn Féin have said that we would support the SDLP for the position of Justice Minister. That remains our position. It must be asked have the SDLP even bothered to arrange specific meetings with any other parties to seek their support or do they expect Sinn Féin to conduct that negotiation for them also.
"The latest 'poor me' position from the SDLP is fairly typical of the malign approach that they are taking to anything that the Assembly or the Executive are doing. Having previously argued that the transfer of powers on Policing and Justice could not happen, they now sit on the sidelines and criticise Sinn Féin for bringing it about."