I’m quite excited about goings on back home in Northern Ireland today. The first Northern Irish Justice Minister, the Alliance Party’s David Ford, is going to make a keynote speech outlying his plans. Seeing as this will be first keynote speech by a devolved Northern Irish Justice Minister in my lifetime that is quite a landmark.
 
David has been in post for eight weeks but has described today’s speech as a “platform to outline the opportunities that devolution has provided”. I was living back home when the excitement of the devolution settlement was fresh in people’s minds. I had friends from all sides who agreed that the only way forward then was to work together (strange how now at Westminster I have to persuade some Lib Dem friends of the same thing). However, the hardest area to be devolved was always going to be policing and justice. It was the area where across the communities there were the deepest scars from the past 40 years or more.
 
He goes on to say:
 
“I will be making a very strong case for building partnerships to make Northern Ireland safer.

“These partnerships cannot just be at a political level, they must be across the criminal justice system and across our community.”

So it will be from the people up to the political leaders that Northern Ireland can be made safer. Local partnerships in some areas would have been inconceivable 10 years ago, now that is the way forward. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) really has come a long way in recent years in earning the trust across all communities. Now it is time to see if the communities are ready to help in securing a safer future for themselves and their children.

I’ll let you know more once the speech has been made.

This post has been sent via email therefore spacing and fonts may not appear at my usual standard. Also there may be links to other relevant blog entries or other content added later today along with adding the correct tagging.
 
 

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