Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Time for the British government to convene Programme for Government Committee

31 October, 2006


Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle member Gerry Kelly MLA has said it is vital that the British government call together a meeting of the Programme for Government Committee to facilitate dialogue between the parties. Ian Paisley's decision to withdraw from the first meeting was a set back. The failure of the British government to hold any further meetings since then is a mistake. These meetings are an essential part of moving the process forward and key to resolving some of the core issues including policing.

Mr. Kelly said:

"Dialogue between ourselves and the DUP is vital to resolving the remaining outstanding issues. Ian Paisley‚s decision to withdraw from the first meeting of the Programme for Government Committee was a set back. The failure of the British government to hold any further meetings since then is a mistake. These meetings are an essential part of moving the process forward and key to resolving some of the core issues including policing. It is time for the British government to convene a meeting of the Programme for Government and begin resolving these issues.

"One of the issues which needs to be resolved between ourselves and the DUP is the issue of the transfer of power on policing and justice away from Westminster and an agreement on the departmental model within the Executive.

"We have consistently argued that the transfer of power away from London to locally accountable politicians is a key element of transforming policing. Both governments have indicated that they support this position also.

"We are keen to come to an agreement with the DUP on the timetable for transfer and the departmental model. And these are all issues that can be resolved if the DUP come at this genuinely."

Responding to Nigel Dodds comments last night on the issue of Policing Mr. Kelly said:

"I heard Nigel Dodds comments on this issue. It appears he is trying to put obstacles in the way of finding agreement. It is not practical to try and kick the issue of policing into touch. It needs to be resolved and resolved as soon as possible.

"The real fact is that the transfer of powers needs to happen and will happen. The governments have set out their intent for this to happen in the St Andrews document. The way forward now is for the DUP to sit down with ourselves and work out the detail of timetable and model." ENDS

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