Irisch Republikanische Solidarität


Flash: Joint Declaration by the British and Irish govts

Following the strongly criticised decision earlier today by the
British government to postpone elections to the Belfast Assembly,
which were due on May 29, the Irish and British governments have
published their Joint Declaration on the implementation of the
1998 Good Friday Agreement.

The following is the full text of the document, with annexes.

APRIL 2003

Requirements of Peace and Stability

1. The two Governments have, over recent months, engaged in
extensive dialogue, including discussions with the pro-Agreement
parties, about ways of bringing the search for long-term peace
and stability in Northern Ireland, through its concluding phase,
to fruition, and of securing the full implementation of the

2. The overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland want
to live in a society which is normal, peaceful and secure; is
inclusive of all its members, irrespective of their religious,
political or cultural affiliations; demonstrates equality of
opportunity and full respect; allows their voices to be heard and
their concerns to be fairly and reasonably addressed through a
democratic process that is fair, inclusive and durable; has a
justice and policing system that enjoys widespread confidence and
support and has the capacity to address criminality in all its
forms, with resort to military intervention only in exceptional
circumstances; and provides an overall sense of safety and
confidence which contributes to an environment in which the
opportunities for economic and social well-being are maximised.

3. A key impediment to completing the evolution to such a society
in Northern Ireland is that both major traditions have lacked
confidence and trust in each other. A major factor contributing
to the erosion of the confidence and trust of law-abiding people
throughout the community has been the continuing active
manifestations of paramilitarism, sectarian violence and
disorder. While it would not be possible to complete the
transition to longer-term peace and stability by dwelling forever
on the undoubted wrongs and associated hatred of the past,
neither is it possible to create a new beginning without taking
account of, and addressing, its legacies.

4. The obligation to create the circumstances in which peace and
stability become a reality, and in which politically motivated
violence becomes forever a thing of the past, rests on everyone.
Some parties are, of course, better placed than others directly
to persuade those engaged in violence to desist. And some have,
over recent years, clearly demonstrated their willingness and
success in doing so. However, all have an important role to play
in demonstrating their commitment to the operation of political
institutions that are characterised by durability, effectiveness
and inclusiveness. The best way of ensuring that peace remains
permanent is by demonstrating that politics work.

Acts of Completion

5. The two Governments have previously stated their commitment to
the full implementation of the Agreement which, we affirmed, had
already brought great gains and tangible benefits to the people
of Northern Ireland. The achievements of the Agreement have
already vindicated the vision and courage of those who seized
that opportunity. The Agreement remains the template for
political progress, has been endorsed by the people of Ireland,
North and South, and is the only sustainable basis for a fair and
honourable accommodation between all traditions.

6. Achieving a fully peaceful and healthy society, which we
believe is now attainable, is dependent on the full realisation
of the values and principles that are at the heart of the
Agreement. Building on those principles and values, we are
committed to undertaking and securing the acts of completion
necessary to bring about a peaceful and normalised society.

7. The two Governments wish to see the devolved institutions
restored as soon as possible. But devolved government in Northern
Ireland can only flourish on the basis of trust between the
parties. In order to re-establish that trust, it must be clear
that the transition from violence to exclusively peaceful and
democratic means is being brought to an unambiguous and
definitive conclusion. It is also essential that each party has
confidence in the commitment of the representatives of the others
to the full operation and implementation of the Agreement in all
its aspects and accords respect to each others' democratic

8. Taking account of all the discussions since October, we set
out today the following proposals necessary to promote trust,
implement the Agreement fully, restore the devolved institutions
and attain a fully normal society in Northern Ireland. All
concerned must, in the process of carrying out their obligations,
have the required confidence that all other acts of completion
will be implemented in the shortest possible time-frame. For
their part, the two Governments commit themselves to proceed in
this way and ask other parties to do likewise.

Political Institutions

9. The political institutions, across all three strands, are the
democratic core of the Agreement. The two Governments, with the
parties, have been working towards, and wish to see, the
restoration of the Northern Ireland institutions as swiftly as
possible. In the context of definitive acts of completion, the
British Government would be prepared to repeal the power in the
Northern Ireland Act 2000 to suspend these institutions by order.
They recognise that the review of the operation of the Agreement
this autumn (see paragraph 34 below) will need to consider other
aspects of the functioning of the institutions which might
contribute to greater stability.

10. The Agreement envisaged that all of its institutional and
constitutional arrangements would be interlocking and
interdependent. The two Governments believe that the institutions
should be protected against arbitrary interruption and
interference. Both Governments and the parties have
responsibilities to ensure the full and stable operation of all
the institutions of the Agreement, including the North/South
Ministerial Council and the British - Irish Council (BIC). The
two Governments expect, in accordance with the Ministerial pledge
of office, all parties to play their full part in these
institutions and to enable other parties to play their rightful

11. The two Governments recall that the Agreement envisages that
the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Oireachtas should consider
developing a joint parliamentary forum. In the light of the
decision already taken by the North/South Ministerial Council,
the two Governments look forward to the early convening of the
consultative forum involving civic society. The two Governments
commend the work of the North/South Ministerial Council and of
the BIC. As part of the ongoing review of its support
arrangements, the two Governments will consult all participants
in the BIC to establish whether a dedicated secretariat would
give greater impetus to the Council's work and maximise its
contribution, and will facilitate its establishment if all
participants agree.


12. Five years after the Agreement, the transition to exclusively
democratic means must now be completed. Ongoing paramilitary
activity, sectarian violence, and criminality masquerading as a
political cause, are all corrosive of the trust and confidence
that are necessary to sustain a durable political process.

13. Paramilitarism and sectarian violence, therefore, must be
brought to an end, from whichever part of the community they
come. We need to see an immediate, full and permanent cessation
of all paramilitary activity, including military attacks,
training, targeting, intelligence gathering, acquisition or
development of arms or weapons, other preparations for terrorist
campaigns, punishment beatings and attacks and involvement in
riots. Moreover, the practice of exiling must come to an end and
the exiled must feel free to return in safety. Similarly,
sectarian attacks and intimidation directed at vulnerable
communities must cease.

14. All paramilitary groups should actively engage with the
Independent International Commission on Decommissioning with a
view to putting arms beyond use in a manner that is conducive to
creating public confidence and all parties should, in accordance
with the Agreement, use their influence to encourage and support
the completion of that process. In accordance with its mandate,
the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning will
continue its existing functions. The two Governments continue to
believe that putting all arms beyond use remains an indispensable
part of implementing the Agreement.

15. Paramilitary groups need to make it clear that they have made
such an historic act of completion, and that it is reflected in
reality on the ground. The Governments are aware of the strides
made by some groups and acknowledge that the paramilitary
ceasefires, independent arms inspections and three acts of
decommissioning have been important in enabling and sustaining
the political process over recent years.

16. The Governments believe it is essential that those
paramilitary groups that have not, to date, shown a willingness
to follow the route towards peace should do so now. Should these
groups fail to respond positively and decide instead to pursue
criminal activities, such a course will not be tolerated. The
Governments will not allow a criminal minority, of whatever
persuasion, to dash the hopes and ambitions of the great majority
of people who wish to see long-term peace, normality and

17. To guard against and thwart the efforts of those who still
see violence and terror as the way forward, the Governments will
intensify their existing security cooperation and will respond
immediately and vigorously to any form of criminal activity by
armed groups. This will include decisive steps to deal with any
continuing dissident republican or loyalist terrorist threats,
having recourse to the full range of measures afforded by
existing and planned legislation, including, in particular,
measures directed to the resources and organisational capability
of such groups. They will be dealt with through the application
of the full rigour of the law.


18. The Agreement recognised that the development of a peaceful
environment could and should mean a normalisation of security
arrangements and practices. In the context of the definitive
transition to exclusively peaceful and democratic means, and
recognising the changed environment brought about by the new
policing arrangements and structures, security normalisation
would be implemented in its entirety over a defined time-frame.

19. As outlined in Annex 1, the outcome would be that the profile
of the police and army in Northern Ireland would, over the period
between now and April 2005, change to that required in any
peaceful society, it being accepted that normalised security
arrangements have to include the capacity to respond quickly,
effectively and proportionately to criminal threats that may be
directed towards its individual members or towards society as a
whole. The change in that profile would involve the vacation and
demolition of security installations, the closure of designated
military bases, a substantial decrease in military deployments in
support of the police, the phased reduction in troops to
peacetime levels, and a substantial decrease in military
helicopter activity and usage.

Policing and Justice

20. The British Government has accepted, under the Agreement, the
desirability of devolving policing and justice on a basis that is
robust and workable and broadly supported by the parties. In
accordance with the paper contained in Annex 2, the British
Government would take an early initiative to facilitate a
dialogue between the parties to address and agree the
practicalities of such further devolution, including the
necessary institutional arrangements, with a view to the
introduction of the necessary legislation in the Westminster
Parliament at the earliest opportunity and with a view to
ensuring that it is achieved within the lifetime of the next

21. The new beginning in policing envisaged by the Agreement,
requires, amongst other things, all community leaders, including
political party leaders and local councillors, to take steps to
remove all discouragements to members of the community from
supporting and applying to join the police, and making it a
priority to encourage them to apply. Part of this process would
involve Sinn Fein deciding to join the Policing Board and the
District Policing Partnerships. In recognition of the importance
of policing with the support of the community, the PSNI will
renew and continue its efforts to encourage applications from all
parts of the community, including those in which the service has
traditionally been under-represented. Efforts should be made to
encourage recruitment from women and ethnic minorities.

22. The Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2003 received Royal Assent
on 8 April. It provides the legislative basis where necessary for
delivery of each of the commitments contained in the updated
Implementation Plan, including where relevant in the context of
acts of completion. The Act directly strengthens the powers of
the Policing Board to hold the Chief Constable to account, gives
it greater freedom in determining the strategic objectives for
policing in Northern Ireland, and will ensure that there is full
consultation on the Secretary of State's policing objectives and
codes of practice.

23. Further progress towards normal policing will also include
the prompt enactment of the necessary legislation by both
Governments to allow for lateral entry and secondments. The
stated commitments in relation to the Full Time Reserve and the
Special Branch of PSNI would also be implemented. The latter
issue takes due account of the reports of the Oversight
Commissioner and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary. An emphasis
would be placed on building up the Part Time Reserve in areas
where there are currently very few Reservists.

24. The British Government has announced its intention to appoint
an independent Oversight Commissioner to provide independent
scrutiny of the implementation of the Government's decisions on
the Criminal Justice Review. This constitutes a major programme
of transformational change and will give particular weight to
modernisation, accountability, protection of human rights,
ensuring a representative workforce and the effective performance
of the criminal justice system. Further significant change will
be introduced in the context of a second Criminal Justice Bill
which will bring forward the creation of a Judicial Appointments
Commission and make further provision to promote a human rights
culture in the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland. The
two Governments intend to move forward quickly with the
development of cooperation on criminal justice matters between
the two jurisdictions, where there is mutual benefit. This will
focus on issues like sharing information and research,
arrangements for monitoring offenders, liaison on misuse of drugs
and co-ordinating registers of dangerous offenders.

Rights, Equality, Identity and Community

25. The two Governments fully support the human rights affirmed
in the Agreement, including the right to equal opportunity in all
social and economic activity. In partnership with the parties,
they rededicate themselves to the achievement of these
objectives. Recognising the importance of the principles and
mechanisms contained in the Agreement for the advancement of the
human rights and equality agendas, the two Governments commit
themselves to the steps outlined in Annex 3.

26. The two Governments fully accept that acknowledging and
addressing the suffering of the victims of violence is a
necessary element of reconciliation. In the past, victims' needs
have been neglected. Much has been achieved since the signing of
the Agreement, but the time has now come to develop the next
stage of policies for victims, taking account of the need for a
long-term approach. The British Government reaffirms the
principle that there is no hierarchy of victims. The two
Governments will work with the parties, victims and survivors to
seek to establish what further practical steps can be taken to
recognise and address the suffering of all victims, taking into
account the state of readiness of the community as a whole to
engage. To facilitate that work, consideration will be given to
the establishment of a victims' and survivors' forum. Remembering
and recognition are an essential part of the healing process.

27. The two Governments recognise that Northern Ireland remains a
deeply divided society, with ingrained patterns of division that
carry substantial human and financial costs. They recognise the
importance of building trust and improving community relations,
tackling sectarianism and addressing segregation, including
initiatives to facilitate and encourage integrated education and
mixed housing. Accordingly, the British Government will encourage
the devolved administration, when restored, to prioritise and
take forward a review of policy on good community relations,
taking account of the consultation which is currently under way,
with a view to bringing forward a strategic and integrated

28. The substantial reduction in the security threat and the
enabling political climate over recent years have contributed to
the improved economic situation that is evident across many parts
of Northern Ireland. However, both Governments recognise that
many disadvantaged areas, including areas which are predominantly
loyalist or nationalist, which have suffered the worst impact of
the violence and alienation of the past, have not experienced a
proportionate peace dividend. They recognise that unless the
economic and social profile of these communities is positively
transformed, the reality of a fully peaceful and healthy society
will not be complete.

29. Accordingly, in consultation with the Irish Government, the
International Fund for Ireland, the Special EU Programmes Body
and representatives of civic society in Northern Ireland, the
British Government will work with the devolved administration,
when restored, to bring forward a strategic and integrated
approach aimed at the progressive regeneration of those areas of
greatest disadvantage. This approach would be fully consistent
with new Targeting Social Need, and would be targeted mainly at
areas of greatest social need and areas where there has been
significant community division. It would also build on a range of
initiatives taken by the devolved institutions before suspension,
and during suspension by the Community Action Group, and would
also cover the new Local Community Fund announced at Hillsborough
on 12 February. Its objective would be to build on current
efforts to provide an opportunity for those communities, both
loyalist and nationalist, who have been the victims of past
failure to become committed stakeholders in a peaceful and
prosperous society. In the context of the work of the Community
Action Group, Northern Ireland Departments are identifying as a
matter of urgency pilot programmes which will cover Belfast,
Portadown and other areas where there is community division, with
a view to establishing which forms of intervention are likely to
be most effective in achieving the necessary transformation of
those communities.

30. The British Government will continue to discharge all its
commitments under the Agreement in respect of the Irish language.
Specifically, in relation to broadcasting, the British Government
will take all the necessary steps to secure the establishment as
soon as possible, following receipt of the final business case in
April, of a fund for financial support for Irish language film
and television production. It will also take steps to encourage
support to be made available for an Ulster-Scots academy. The two
Governments will continue to work with the relevant regulators
and broadcasting authorities to address the technical and other
barriers with a view to increasing substantially the reception of
TG4 in Northern Ireland.

31. In the Agreement, the participants recognised that the use of
symbols and emblems for public purposes was a sensitive issue and
that there was a need, in particular in creating new
institutions, to ensure that they were used in a manner that
promoted mutual respect rather than division. They also agreed
that arrangements would be made to monitor the issue and to
consider what action might be required. The British Government
will discuss with the parties how to find an agreed way forward
on this sensitive issue.

32. The British Government appointed Sir George Quigley to review
the operation of the Parades Commission and the legislation under
which it was established. He produced a very extensive report
last autumn which recommended splitting into two the Commission's
functions of facilitation and determination. Consultation on Sir
George's recommendations will conclude at the end of April and
the British Government will consider, in the light of the views
expressed, the need for any future legislation in this area.

33. The two Governments, together with the parties, will
collectively and proactively address other outstanding issues
under these headings of the Agreement. The British Government is
committed to taking the necessary steps itself to ensure that the
rights and equality of all are protected, and to working closely
with the devolved administration, when restored, to do so.


34. The two Governments are committed to a review this autumn of
the operation of the Agreement (under paragraph 8 of the
Validation, Implementation and Review section). This provides a
vehicle for further consideration of a number of other important
issues that the parties have brought to the table. These will
include the question of designation and voting arrangements in
the Northern Ireland Assembly; the effectiveness of the Pledge of
Office with regard to the responsibilities of Ministers to
participate in the work of the Executive and the other
institutions of the Agreement; and the nomination procedures for
attendance at meetings of the North/South Ministerial Council and
the British- Irish Council. The Governments will, in consultation
with the parties, put forward proposals for the agenda and
conduct of the review. Different formats may be appropriate for
the discussion of different issues.

35. The Governments will continue to discuss appropriate issues
with the parties, including through the Implementation Group,
prior to the commencement of the paragraph 8 review.


36. The two Governments believe these proposals provide a
comprehensive basis for the acts of completion sufficient to
re-establish trust and confidence, restore the devolved
institutions in Northern Ireland and complete the implementation
of the Agreement. Accordingly, we commend them to the parties. We
are determined, in continued dialogue and partnership with the
parties, and, where agreed and appropriate, through the mechanism
of the Implementation Group, to ensure that the Agreement
succeeds for the benefit of all of the people and delivers on the
promise of a new and peaceful society in Northern Ireland. We
believe that the uninterrupted operation of the institutions will
allow for enhanced co-operation between the parties, and provide
renewed momentum in taking forward the work of the Northern
Ireland Assembly and Executive.



1. It is the aim of the British Government that Northern Ireland
should be policed as a normal, peaceful society, building on the
commitment in the Agreement to "as early a return as possible to
normal security arrangements in Northern Ireland, consistent with
the level of threat...". The army has exceptionally been deployed
in Northern Ireland in support of the civil power for over 30
years. Once the exceptional situation which required their
deployment is removed, we believe it will be possible to return
to normal security arrangements. Progress towards normalisation
has already been made, especially since the establishment of the
Policing Board in November 2001 and the subsequent creation of
the District Policing Partnerships.

2. The British Government has no desire to maintain more troops
in Northern Ireland than are maintained in equivalent parts of
the United Kingdom to meet its defence commitments. In the
context of acts of completion and with positive community support
for the police at all levels, the outcome will be that the
profile of the police and army in Northern Ireland would reflect
the requirements of any peaceful society consistent with the need
to meet the continuing threat to security and public order from
whatever quarter.

3. Against this background we envisage a community-based police
service for Northern Ireland, in which the character and strength
of community support for policing would be reflected in the
quality of the engagement between the police and the community.
Police assessments in relation to the level of support required
from the army depend, in part, on the level of community support
the PSNI enjoys. Our aim is a Northern Ireland in which the
police have the support of all sections of the community and in
which all parties on the Executive are represented on the
Policing Board. Full-hearted support for the PSNI in our view
provides the best way of reducing the continuing threat to
security and public order from whatever quarter.

4. In those circumstances, the profile of policing in Northern
Ireland would change further, leading to a substantial reduction
in the current numbers, type and style of police stations, for
example, being replaced with community police posts and reporting
stations. Fortifications would be removed from police stations.
Police would patrol in normal police vehicles, on foot, on
bicycles and as single officer beat patrols, without army
support. Building on the progress of recent years, additional
steps would be taken, as the environment allows normalisation to
progress further, and as decisions are made with the support of
the community and of District Policing Partnerships, of the
Policing Board and of the Northern Ireland Executive once
responsibility for the police has been devolved.

5. On the basis of the historic leap forward by the IRA we would
undertake a normalisation programme over the period between now
and April 2005, as the abnormality in Northern Ireland society
recedes and as community confidence increases, which would in the
context of full community support for the police at all levels,
lead to the peacetime situation described in the following

6. In the context of a peaceful society:

* policing would display the profile described in paragraph 4;

* the abnormal army deployment needed over the past 30 years
would cease;

* army support for the police would be reduced to a residual
level, e.g. providing specialised ordnance disposal and support
for public order as described in Patten recommendations 59 and

* there would be a permanent garrison of 5,000, reflecting the
Government's global defence commitments;

* the regular garrison would be based in no more than the
following 14 locations: Aldergrove, Antrim, Ballykelly,
Ballykinler, Ballykinler Training Camp, Ballymena, Coleraine,
Divis Key Point (on Divis Mountain), Duke of Connaught Unit,
Holywood, Kinnegar, Lisburn, Magilligan and Omagh (St Lucia);

* army helicopters would be used essentially only for training
for operations elsewhere. (A police helicopter would be used in a
normal policing role, as is common in other police services);

* progress towards the desired objective of an unarmed police
service would have been reviewed.

7. By the end of 2003, in an enabling environment, we would have

* vacation and demolition of 5 towers in 5 sites in South Armagh,
starting immediately with two towers in Cloghogue and Tievecrum.
These sites would be restored to greenfield status as rapidly as

* vacation and demolition of Oldpark observation post in Belfast;

* vacation, closure and disposal of Ebrington Barracks (already
announced), the vacation of Musgrave Park (except for the
hospital wing) and the closure and demolition of the military
base at Aughnacloy;

* announcement and commencement of implementation of a structured
plan for phased reduction in troops to peacetime levels described

* initiation of a full review of the police estate, carried out
by the Chief Constable, covering the options for redevelopment of
each site as a policeonly community police station,
de-fortification and closure, and of the nature of policing
operations to achieve a rationalisation and normalisation
reflecting the policing needs of 1.7 million people. In preparing
proposals, the Chief Constable will take account of the views of
District Commanders and their respective local communities before
submitting his recommendations to the Policing Board. The review
would also include the scope to develop the role of custody
suites as suggested by Patten. The implementation of this review
will, in the normal way, be subject to oversight by the Oversight

8. By the end of 2004, in an enabling environment, we would have

* vacation and demolition of the remaining South Armagh towers.
These sites would be returned to greenfield status as rapidly as

* further planned reduction of around 2,000 troops;

* as alternative accommodation becomes available outside Northern
Ireland, the vacation, closure and disposal of those barracks no
longer required, including the closure of Clooney;

* up to 380 soldiers progressively withdrawn from sites where
co-located with police in Armagh (Crossmaglen, Forkhill,
Newtownhamilton, Middletown) and in Fermanagh and Tyrone;

* return of private property on vacated sites, as appropriate,
including Crossmaglen;

* implementation of de-fortification of police stations in
consultation with the Policing Board. Progressive development and
extension of varying patrol patterns, e.g. single beat officers,
bicycle patrols, and opening of police shops.

9. By April 2005, in a continuing enabling environment, the
British Government aims to have achieved the position in
paragraph 6 above. This would entail:

* further implementation of the review of the police estate, as
determined by the Policing Board;

* additional opportunities identified for the police to patrol
without the use of armoured vehicles;

* a further reduction in army and other service levels to a
permanent garrison of some 5,000 involving the disbanding of two
operational brigade headquarters;

* the removal of troops from remaining police stations and joint

* the vacation, closure and disposal of all but the 14 core sites
listed above;

* the vacation and demolition of observation posts at Rosemount
and Masonic in Derry and at Divis in Belfast;

* repeal of counter terrorist legislation particular to Northern

10. Many of the vacated military and police (subject to the
agreement of the Policing Board) sites might be made available to
the OFM/DFM's Reinvestment and Reform Initiative to ensure that
the process of normalisation generates a new public asset base
for those communities most directly affected by the security
arrangements to date.



1. Paragraph 20 of the Joint Declaration reaffirms that the
British Government has accepted, under the Agreement, the
desirability of devolving policing and justice within the
lifetime of the next Assembly, on a basis that is robust and
workable and broadly supported by the parties. Within that
context, this Annex sets out issues for consideration without
commitment at this stage. It takes account of both the practice
and structures of policing and justice in Northern Ireland, and
the legal, social and political contexts within which they
operate. Introduction

2. In the Policing and Justice section of the Agreement
(paragraph 7), the British Government said that it remained
"ready in principle, with the broad support of the political
parties, and after consultation, as appropriate, with the Irish
Government, in the context of ongoing implementation of the
relevant recommendations, to devolve responsibility for policing
and justice issues."

3. The Government has accepted the Patten recommendation that
when the Government's role in the tripartite arrangements passes
to the Northern Ireland Executive, the powers of the Policing
Board should in no way be diminished.

4. This Annex highlights a number of key aspects of this topic,
identifying, in each case, questions for consideration.

5. The Annex is written on the basis that arrangements for
devolving policing and justice will need to be agreed between the
parties, and subsequently between the British Government and the
Executive, and that these arrangements must be robust and
workable. The British Government will wish to give careful
consideration to the views of the parties on all of the matters
below. Definitive acts of completion, independently monitored,
would provide the necessary context for addressing and agreeing
the practicalities of such further devolution as quickly as
possible. Scope of Devolution

6. What exactly would be devolved, and how would the respective
responsibilities of Northern Ireland Ministers and of the UK
Government be exercised postdevolution?

7. Subject to consultation with the parties, the expectation is
that responsibility would be transferred for those policing and
justice and associated functions which are designated as reserved
matters under the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

8. Reserved matters are listed in Schedule 3 to the 1998 Act. The
relevant parts of this provide an indicative, although not
definitive, list of policing and justice matters which might be
devolved. Relevant paragraphs (some of which have been updated by
more recent legislation on policing and justice) read as follows:

"9. The following matters-
(a) the criminal law;
(b) the creation of offences and penalties;
(c) the prevention and detection of crime and powers of arrest and
detention in connection with crime or criminal proceedings;
(d) prosecutions;
(e) the treatment of offenders (including children and young persons,
and mental health patients, involved in crime);
(f) the surrender of fugitive offenders between Northern Ireland and
the Republic of Ireland;
(g) compensation out of public funds for victims of crime.
Sub-paragraphs (a) to (c) do not include any matter within paragraph
17 of Schedule 2.
Sub-paragraph (e) includes, in particular, prisons and other institutions
for the treatment or detention of persons mentioned in that subparagraph.
This paragraph does not include any matter concerning the Advocate
General for Northern Ireland.

10. The maintenance of public order, including the conferring of
powers, authorities, privileges or immunities for that purpose on
constables, members of the armed forces of the Crown and other
persons (other than the Ministry of Defence Police), but not any
matter within paragraph 17 of Schedule 2; the Parades Commission
for Northern Ireland.

11. The establishment, organisation and control of the Police
Service of Northern Ireland and of any other police force (other
than the Ministry of Defence Police); the Northern Ireland
Policing Board; traffic wardens.

12. Firearms and explosives.

15. All matters, other than those specified in paragraph 11 of
Schedule 2, relating to the Supreme Court of Judicature of
Northern Ireland, county courts, courts of summary jurisdiction
(including magistrates' courts and juvenile courts) and coroners,
including procedure, evidence, appeals, juries, costs, legal aid
and the registration, execution and enforcement of judgments and
orders but not-

(a) bankruptcy, insolvency, the winding up of corporate and
unincorporated bodies or the making of arrangements or
compositions with creditors;

(b) the regulation of the profession of solicitors."

9. On this basis, further devolution would include the
maintenance of public order; parades; the establishment,
organisation and control of the PSNI; the criminal law; the
courts; prosecution; the treatment of offenders, including
prisons; firearms; and compensation for the victims of crime.
Further consideration will need to be given to the detail.

10. The British Government would retain responsibility for such
"excepted matters" as the defence of the realm, the armed forces
and national security. This raises the question whether any
change would be needed in the allocation of responsibilities to
the Chief Constable of the PSNI and to the heads of other
agencies involved.

11. In line with the recommendations in the Criminal Justice
Review, it has been decided that there should be a Judicial
Appointments Commission representative of the judiciary, the
legal professions and the community.

12. The British Government envisages that the counter-terrorist
legislation particular to Northern Ireland would be addressed in
the context of security normalisation.

Institutional Models

13. How would the devolved administration reorganise itself to
receive and manage these new responsibilities? This is primarily
for the Northern Ireland parties themselves to address, but any
increase in the number of Northern Ireland Departments beyond ten
would require Westminster legislation. Given the sensitivity of
these functions, the British Government would need to be
satisfied that the arrangements were likely to prove robust and
workable. Consistent with the Agreement, whatever new model is
agreed should contain adequate safeguards to protect the rights
and interests of all sides of the community while ensuring that
there is effective decision-taking capability.

14. Without prejudice to the views of the parties it is possible
to identify a number of models.

15. The first would be a single Justice Department, headed by one
Minister (perhaps supported by a Junior Minister from the other
tradition). This was broadly the approach favoured by the
Criminal Justice Review. Asingle Department has the advantage of
facilitating a joined-up approach to the criminal justice system.
A variant would be to agree a rotation arrangement so that the
Department changed hands between parties after a fixed interval.
(This would require some modification to the workings of d'Hondt
and therefore primary legislation.)

16. Asecond model would be a single Justice Department headed by
two Ministers, with decisions requiring the agreement of both,
as, for example, in OFM/DFM. (As a variation on this, the First
Minister and Deputy First Minister could themselves take on the
roles of the two Ministerial heads of a new Department.) Any
double-headed arrangements of this sort would strengthen
crosscommunity accountability but could weaken decision-taking
capability. It would therefore be particularly important to
consider whether this model would be likely to prove robust and

17. Under a third model, there would be no new Department.
Instead, the responsibilities would be added to those of the
First and Deputy First Ministers, perhaps supported by additional
Junior Ministers. Two key issues here are whether it would be
workable for the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to
provide Ministerial oversight in these key areas in addition to
all their other responsibilities; and whether such an arrangement
would fundamentally change the nature of the Office of the First
Minister and Deputy First Minister, and the relationship between
that Office and the Northern Ireland Departments.

18. A fourth model would be to create two Departments (say
Policing and Justice), with the two Ministers each coming from a
different tradition from the other. Splitting the portfolios
could reduce risks of deadlock but weaken efforts to integrate
the system more effectively.

19. A further possibility would be to revisit the functions of
the existing ten Departments in order to free up one or two
Departments which would then receive the policing and justice

20. In settling this issue, account will need to be taken of both
political balance and effective governance.

21. Some further issues relevant to the choice of model should be

* in order to promote joined-up working across policing and
justice, a number of jurisdictions have established cross-cutting
groups of Ministers and/or officials. Arrangements of this sort
are currently in place for Northern Ireland. It will be necessary
to address whether such structures would be desirable after
devolution of policing and justice.

* the question of the relationship between the Department or
Departments with responsibility for policing and justice and the
Executive as a whole will need to be addressed.

* the relationship of the new arrangements to the Assembly will
need to be considered, including the implications for the
structure of Assembly Committees.

* the parties will wish to consider whether establishing new
arrangements for the devolution of policing and justice has any
implications for the allocation of functions and responsibilities
between existing Northern Ireland Departments.

All-Ireland Dimension

22. There is already close co-operation between the British and
Irish Governments on policing and justice matters. This operates
through a number of different institutional arrangements.

23. Once policing and justice are devolved, it will be possible
for them to be brought within the scope of the North/South
Ministerial Council, in accordance with Strand Two of the

24. The questions which then arise are:
* what aspects of justice and policing should be added to the list of topics
identified for North-South co-operation?
* should an all-Ireland implementation body be established?

25. A key issue will be what the parties themselves can agree,
and what they can agree with the Irish Government.

26. This paper does not consider further any issues relating to
the operation of the North/South arrangements as a whole which
are not specific to the issue of policing and justice. Safeguards

27. Strand One of the Agreement sets out safeguards to ensure
that all sections of the community can participate and work
together successfully in the operation of devolved democratic
institutions in Northern Ireland, and that all sections of the
community are protected.

28. A key question here is how these safeguards should apply to
the policing and justice functions once devolved, given their
different nature.

29. The Agreement has also provided extensively for rights,
safeguards and equality of opportunity. This provides an
essential context within which devolution of policing and justice
would operate. Legislative and procedural matters

30. A number of mechanisms under the 1998 Act would need to be
brought into play to bring about a transfer of responsibilities
to the devolved administration.

a. The 1998 Act provides for reserved matters to become
transferred (section 4). The procedure involves, first, a
resolution passed by the Assembly with cross-community support;
then an Order in Council approved in draft by each House of

b. An Order in Council under section 86, again subject to
affirmative resolution, would be required to provide for
associated transfers of functions from UK authorities (generally
the Secretary of State) to Northern Ireland authorities -
essentially Departments (subsection 3). It could also (subsection
4) provide for transfers of property etc.

c. Action by the devolved institutions would also be required.
They would, quite possibly, need to set up one or more new
Departments to take over the new functions (see below); as can be
done by Act of the Assembly under section 21(2) of the 1998 Act.
Since, at the time of passage, such an Assembly Bill would
presumably be dealing with a reserved matter, it would also be
subject to the Secretary of State's and Parliamentary consent.

d. the First Minister and Deputy First Minister would also need
to make a new determination under section 17 of the Act, setting
out the functions if the Ministerial offices were to deal with
law and order issues under section 17(1). Unless this were to be
achieved within the present total of Ministers (ten) by
restructuring of existing portfolios, the Secretary of State
would need to make an order under section 17(4) to increase the
number of Ministerial offices.

e. The determination would be subject to cross-community support
in the Assembly, and would trigger a fresh run of the d'Hondt
procedure for the selection of Ministers.

f. A non-statutory concordat between HMG and the devolved
administration covering such matters as the principles of
judicial and prosecutorial independence would need to be formally
endorsed by the Executive.

31. The question here is whether paragraph 30 above covers the
key issues.

32. The parties may wish to consider what arrangements are needed
to ensure that devolution of policing and justice is implemented
in a way which gives due weight to the questions of
accountability, risk management and value for money which would



Human Rights

1. In the Agreement, the parties affirmed their commitment to the mutual respect,
the civil rights and the religious liberties of everyone in the community, and
affirmed in particular:
* the right of free political thought;
* the right to freedom and expression of religion;
* the right to pursue democratically national and political aspirations;
* the right to seek constitutional change by peaceful and legitimate means;
* the right to freely choose one's place of residence;
* the right to equal opportunity in all social and economic activity, regardless
of class, creed, disability, gender or ethnicity;
* the right to freedom from sectarian harassment; and
* the right of women to full and equal political participation.

2. There has been substantial progress in implementing the rights
elements of the Agreement. The British Government has enacted the
Human Rights Act. A Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has
been established and has, among other tasks, undertaken
significant work towards a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland.
At the conclusion of that process, and after consultation with
the parties, the British Government is committed to bringing
forward legislation at Westminster where required to give effect
to rights supplementary to the ECHR to reflect the particular
circumstances of Northern Ireland. Without preempting the
processes under way, including in relation to the Bill of Rights
and the Single Equality Bill, it is envisaged that many of the
above rights will be given legislative effect through these
mechanisms, and through legislation to tackle racism and
sectarianism. In Ireland, a Human Rights Commission has also been
established. An enhanced Employment Equality Act and Equal Status
Act have been enacted and the Irish Government has also ratified
the Council of Europe Framework Convention on National

3. The British Government will work with the parties to
facilitate the response to the Northern Ireland Human Rights
Commission's proposal for a round table forum on the Bill of
Rights, involving the parties and civic society. Subject to the
agreement arrived at in the Implementation Group, it is envisaged
that the round table forum will have an independent chair and its
own secretariat, will be as inclusive as possible of Assembly
parties and civic society, will appropriately involve the Human
Rights Commission, mindful of its statutory role, and will be
adequately supported and resourced. It is envisaged that the work
of the round table forum will be forwarded to the Human Rights
Commission before it gives its advice to the Secretary of State.

4. The British Government will take full account of the parties'
views, and those of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission,
on the powers, resources and effectiveness of the Commission and,
consistent with the Agreement and with the UN principles relating
to national institutions for human rights (Paris Principles),
take the necessary steps to ensure that the Commission can fulfil
its mandate. The British Government recently announced increased
funding for the Commission over the next three years. It will
continue to ensure that the Commission has the flexibility and
resources it needs to carry out its functions. Following the
restoration of the devolved administration, the British
Government will bring the current consultation to a close and
within a short period thereafter will bring forward its final
response to the review of the Commission's powers. The British
Government will also continue to ensure that appointments to the
Commission are made in line with the Paris Principles.

5. The two Governments welcome the Joint Committee of
representatives of the two Human Rights Commissions and its
consideration, among other matters, of a Charter reflecting and
endorsing agreed measures for the protection of the fundamental
rights of everyone living in the island of Ireland.

6. The legislation providing for the incorporation of the ECHR
into Irish law is currently before the Oireachtas. The Irish
Government will encourage the Oireachtas to pass this legislation
by the summer recess. Equality

7. As provided in the Agreement, both the British Government and,
prior to suspension last October, the devolved administration in
Northern Ireland, have pursued broad policies for sustained
economic growth and stability in Northern Ireland and for
promoting social inclusion, including in particular community
development and the advancement of women in public life.

8. In accordance with the Agreement, the Equality Commission has
been set up; fair employment legislation has been updated; a
review of procurement policy, including measures to promote the
engagement of the long-term unemployed in the award of public
contracts, has been completed; a new more focussed Targeting
Social Need (TSN) initiative has been introduced; and the work
begun by the devolved administration on combating unemployment,
including the work of the Taskforce on Employability and
Long-term Unemployment is continuing.

9. The British Government reaffirms the commitment in the
Agreement to a range of measures aimed at combating unemployment
and progressively eliminating the differential in unemployment
rates between the two communities by targeting objective need. It
will encourage funding to be made available for research for this
purpose. It will also encourage the devolved administration to
explore, including in the context of the evaluation of new TSN
which is currently under way, how best work on this issue can be
accelerated and what further measurement techniques including
indicators and targets may be used in order to assess progress.

10. The British Government will encourage the devolved
administration to keep under review the adequacy of the Equality
Commission's powers and resources. And it will, with the Equality
Commission and other interested parties, review the operation of
the section 75 equality duty including effective monitoring and
enforcement mechanisms (without diminishing its current
effectiveness in legislation or in the Equality Commission's
guidelines), and consider extending the list of designated public
bodies subject to its scope, including consideration of
designating Translink, the Secretary of State for Northern
Ireland and the BBC (taking account of the issue of freedom to

11. The British Government will also review the operation of the
national security exemption in the Fair Employment and Treatment
Order with a view to considering whether it is still a


12. The Joint Declaration, in paragraphs 27 to 29, summarises the
important initiatives which have been and are being taken to
regenerate areas of greatest disadvantage, with a view to
enabling those communities, both loyalist and nationalist, to
become committed stakeholders in a peaceful and prosperous

13. The British Government recognises the importance of building
trust and confidence within and between communities and tackling
sectarianism. It recognises that a new thrust to significantly
improve relationships is necessary and that this will require a
long-term commitment with the associated investment of time,
resources and effort. Accordingly, the British Government will
encourage the devolved administration, when restored, to
prioritise and take forward a review of policy on good community
relations, taking account of the consultation which is currently
under way, with a view to bringing forward a strategic and
integrated approach aimed at improving relationships and tackling
sectarianism. As part of the Government's commitment to
eradicating sectarianism, following recent consultation the
Government is committed to bringing forward legislation to ensure
the proper punishment of offences motivated by racism and

Implementation Group

14. As part of its recent consideration, the Implementation Group
has initiated new work on rights and equality issues and has, in
particular, established a subgroup in response to the Northern
Ireland Human Rights Commission's proposal in relation to the
Bill of Rights. The two Governments welcome this action and the
continuing opportunity which it provides to address key issues in
the rights, equality and community action fields, among others.
The two Governments envisage that the Implementation Group will,
notwithstanding the restoration of the devolved institutions,
have a continuing and supporting role to play in ensuring that
the momentum of delivery in these areas is maintained.

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