Thursday 17 August 2017

No country on earth would hand its security over to an independent body

A government not in charge of its police and security service is not governing 
a sovereign state

SECURITY OF THE STATE: The Gardai are our national security service, as well as our police constabulary. It is Ireland’s MI5.
SECURITY OF THE STATE: The Gardai are our national security service, as well as our police constabulary. It is Ireland’s MI5.

Michael McDowell

Desmond Rea and Robin Masefield argued in last week's Irish Times that because the PSNI is successfully structured with a policing board, the same arrangement can and should be implemented in respect of the Garda Siochana in this State in the interest of accountability. Their argument, which has also been made by Denis Bradley, needs to be very carefully examined.

I held office during the negotiations that gave rise to the full implementation of the Good Friday agreement and its policing arrangements as recommended by the Patten Report. I was and am well aware of the reasons why oversight of the PSNI was entrusted to a board, composed in the majority of senior members of the Northern Ireland Assembly elected on the D'Hondt system (who 
may not be members of the Executive) and in the minority of members nominated by the NI Minister for Justice, rather than to an individual member of the NI Executive.

This quite politicised, cross-community board was put in place with a view to creating and sustaining cross-community support for the new PSNI (which replaced the RUC) while devolving policing powers from Westminster to Northern Ireland's institutions.

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