Page last updated at 12:23 GMT, Thursday, 7 August 2008 13:23 UK

Adams accused over justice date

Peter Robinson
Peter Robinson says no date has been agreed for justice devolution

The first minister has accused the Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams of distorting the facts over a date for the devolution of policing and justice.

Peter Robinson acknowledged progress had been made on the issue, but said "considerable hurdles remain".

On Wednesday, Mr Adams said the department should be created "sooner rather than later".

But Mr Robinson said: "Those powers can only be transferred when there is the required community confidence."

"It is critical that any arrangements have the widest and broadest support possible.

"I believe that the involvement of the Assembly's Executive and Review Committee in the autumn will help ensure this is the case.

"Too often in the past short term cobbled together political deals have been done which have not been in the best interests of Northern Ireland.

Transferring policing and justice powers from Westminster to Stormont has been one of the most contentious issues since devolution was restored to Northern Ireland.

The failure of Sinn Fein and DUP to agree on the issue has been a key factor in what some have described as a deadlock at Stormont.

On Monday, the DUP and Sinn Fein agreed there will be a single department of justice with a minister needing cross-community support to be elected.

The two parties have said they would not nominate candidates themselves.

But Alliance, the party most likely to supply a minister, has said it is not interested in taking on the post.

Tension mounts as backlog builds
02 Aug 08 |  Northern Ireland
SF and DUP closer to justice deal
04 Aug 08 |  Northern Ireland
Adams defends justice agreement
05 Aug 08 |  Northern Ireland

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