Brexit no-deal legislation delayed by Stormont impasse

Brexit no-deal legislation has been delayed by the Stormont impasse, Northern Ireland’s justice department said.

Efforts to tackle criminality across the Irish border are among the measures which could be threatened if the UK leaves the EU next March without an agreement in areas like the European Arrest Warrant.

19 laws or actions surrounding justice issues in Northern Ireland have been delayed since powersharing collapsed early last year following a row between the DUP and Sinn Fein.

They also include the former ministerial executive’s action plan for tackling paramilitary activity and a pay award for police officers.

The information was obtained by Ulster Unionist policing spokesman Alan Chambers.

He said: “The response to my freedom of information request from the Department of Justice only increases my real concerns about the impact that the lack of an Assembly and executive is having right across Northern Ireland.

“According to the Department of Justice, there are 19 pieces of legislation or actions that are being delayed because of a lack of ministerial sign-off, such as the Criminal Finances Act 2017, which seeks to tackle paramilitary and organised crime financing, and reform of legal aid remuneration.

“The department also lists the police officer pay award for 2018/19 amongst a long list of issues that need to be addressed.”

According to the Police Federation for Northern Ireland, Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers are 1% worse off since the end of last month because a pay deal agreed a year ago has been cut in half.

Mr Chambers added: “Given that this comes alongside reports that police officers in Northern Ireland are going to have to endure a 1% pay cut, the situation is reprehensible.

“It is disgraceful that police officers are being expected to do more with less resources, yet they now face a pay cut.

“We have heard repeated warnings from the PSNI chief constable about the direct impact which a tightening budget is having on the PSNI`s ability to carry out all the functions which the public have come to expect.

“He must be wondering if anyone in politics is actually listening.

“I can assure the chief constable and his officers that we are listening, and that`s why we have repeatedly called on the Secretary of State to take action.”

Among the 19 areas awaiting a ministerial decision are:
– Judicial pensions
– Rehabilitation of offenders
– Legacy inquest funding
– Reform of civil legal aid
– Domestic violence measures
– Brexit no-deal legislation

- Press Association

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