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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 October 2006, 19:01 GMT
'No date' for devolving policing
Stormont
The DUP claims no target date has been set for devolving policing powers
Policing and justice powers will not be passed to the Northern Ireland Assembly within two years of the restoration of devolution, the DUP has claimed.

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said it would take longer for unionists to trust Sinn Fein to take responsibility for security.

"It is certainly not a target date for us," he said.

"As far as we are concerned, there will be no devolution of policing and justice for a very long time," he said.

"I have no evidence whatsoever to suggest that that is likely to happen within a political lifetime."

Sinn Fein's policing and justice spokesman Gerry Kelly said it was "crazy" for the DUP to ask his party to sign up to policing and justice and then deny them any influence on the issue for years to come.

"They should not be able to demand that nationalists sign up to this issue of policing and justice and then say that you won't have any influence on it for a generation," he said.

SDLP West Belfast assembly member Alex Attwood also criticised Mr Dodds' comments.

gordon brown
Chancellor Gordon Brown will be asked for an extra 5bn

"To grandstand around holding up the devolution of justice powers when the DUP know that next March, all the parties, including Sinn Fein would be exercising real policing powers, is really quite hollow," he said.

The St Andrews Agreement had envisaged that powers for policing and justice would be devolved to Northern Ireland within two years of devolution being restored.

Meanwhile, a meeting on Tuesday between Northern Ireland's politicians and Secretary of State Peter Hain has been cancelled.

The Northern Ireland Office said it was because Mr Hain and the parties had agreed there was no need for a meeting as officials and parties had clarified all the issues on Monday.

The meeting was to be held ahead of all-party talks with Chancellor Gordon Brown in London on Wednesday.

Northern Ireland's parties are going to ask Mr Brown for a peace dividend worth up to 5bn.

It is understood they will ask for extra funding, over and above the Northern Ireland block, of 1bn a year over five years.

The parties will call for huge investment in infrastructure and it is expected they will also ask for a delay in the introduction of water charges, as well as a reduction in corporation tax for companies.




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Martina Purdy reports on the claims



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27 Oct 06 |  Northern Ireland
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17 Oct 06 |  Northern Ireland



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