Page last updated at 14:41 GMT, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 15:41 UK

Timetable set for policing talks

Police car
The devolution of policing powers has been a contentious issue

A Stormont committee drawing up proposals on the devolution of policing and justice, has agreed a five-week timetable for its discussions.

The assembly and executive review committee passed a resolution on the timeframe by four votes to three.

Unionists on the committee had objected to the timetable, which was proposed by Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey.

They were outvoted because of absentees - one committee member was away due to illness and another due to travel.

The failure to devolve policing and justice powers is a critical issue at the heart of Sinn Fein's refusal to hold executive meetings.

Mr Maskey said he was keen to avoid any delay on the committee's report on devolving the powers.

He had originally proposed a three-week timeframe, but agreed to alter it to accommodate the Halloween recess.

It was then agreed the committee's discussions should run until 18 November.

The DUP's Simon Hamilton and the Ulster Unionist Danny Kennedy described the move as unhelpful.

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