Page last updated at 15:31 GMT, Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Ford: 'Police budget could face pressure'

Justice Minister David Ford told members that the policing budget could face pressure in the current financial year if the current level of disorder continued, on 15 January 2015.

Sean Lynch of Sinn Fein observed that the violence had cost the police £7m.

Mr Ford said the figure that had appeared in the media was an extrapolation of earler figures and the full cost would not be available for a few days.

Pat Sheehan of Sinn Fein asked whether the de Silva report on the murder of Pat Finucane would have any implications for the Justice Department.

The minister replied that he had no direct responsibility for the "outworkings" of the report, but he was concerned to ensure the public had full confidence in today's criminal justice system.

Mr Ford said he had met senior police officers to discuss matters including the safeguards and procedures for agent-handling.

In health questions, minister Edwin Poots told members there was no human right to adopt children.

The minister was replying to a question from Green Party leader Steven Agnew about a High Court ruling that unmarried couples and people in civil partnerships should be allowed to adopt.

Mr Poots said he hoped to introduce an adoption bill to the house soon.

He told Mr Agnew that in a public consultation that prompted 1050 replies, 1000 respondents opposed to changing the law on this matter.

Sinn Fein's Sue Ramsey asked about the role of the courts in determining the law.

The minister replied that, "when it comes to these issues it is for this house to make the law".

"We should make the law and the courts should interpret the law," he added.

Alliance member Anna Lo called for a widening of the pool of potential adoptive parents.

Mr Poots said the authorities had to act "first and foremost in the interests of the child".

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