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Policing talks are above politics

The talks between the DUP and Sinn Fein regarding the final devolution of policing and justice powers to the Northern Ireland Executive are of grave concern, considering the way the North's two largest political parties are using one of the biggest remaining political and legal instruments yet to be implemented there to suit their own agenda.

Both the DUP and Sinn Fein are using the policing and justice discussions to bolster their fortunes in any future elections.

Such is the huge importance and significance of devolving policing and justice that both parties are using Gordon Brown and Brian Cowen for a political deal to safeguard their parties from public and media scrutiny.

Policing and justice powers, if and when devolved, will affect the vast majority of citizens in the North, and should have the input of all elected political parties.

Policing and justice is not a political chip that can be used to gain points for one party over the other.

The powers that will ultimately be devolved will go to the very heart of the future of policing, the running of the criminal justice and legal system, as well as the entire judiciary and legislation.

The DUP and Sinn Fein should recognise that.

Patrick Clarke
Dundrum, Co Down

Irish Independent