17 July 2017
DUP Defence and Home Affairs spokesperson at Westminster, East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson has challenged those who are ‘frustrating the justice system’, after the findings of a report on the National Security Arrangements in Northern Ireland was released.
Today the Secretary of State James Brokenshire made a written statement on the findings of Mr Brian Barker Q.C into security in NI between June 2016 and December 2016.
Gavin Robinson MP said, “There are some deeply depressing findings, which sets a challenge to each elected representative to ensure Northern Ireland does not recede back into the past of paramilitaries and terrorism.
Mr Brokenshire in his statement referred to Mr Barker's conclusions during the time period of June 2016 to December 2016, saying that a threat of terrorism still exists, is unchanged and indeed includes the relaxation of attitudes in communities.
The NIO needs to be clear where that relaxation of attitude comes from and outline exactly what they mean. Are people becoming more active in support of paramilitary activity? Or is it the case that less information is being passed onto the police?
The report has been helpful in pointing out the deficiencies of the criminal justice system in dealing with terrorist cases. There are serious problems with all too frequent lax bail conditions, which reinforce a softly, softly perception within our criminal justice system. This must be dealt with to ensure there is protection of society and community life.
Highlighted within the report is remit of the National Crime Agency (NCA), and those who still refuse to accept its function. This is depressing and poses a real challenge to politicians who should be encouraging communities to accept the role the NCA play in helping to protect society in Northern Ireland from child exploitation and drug smuggling. By not accepting the role of the NCA, they are in fact frustrating the justice system in Northern Ireland, which only encourages terrorist activity and stalls the progress of moving forward in our Province.”
Mr Robinson added, “Let’s be very clear, Northern Ireland should not be allowed to be dragged back into the dark days of the past. Paramilitarism and terrorist activity should not be allowed to carry on in our communities. Anyone with information should bring that forward to the PSNI and should be allowed to do so.
I look forward to the NIO and Department of Justice bringing forward proposals that, as His Honour Mr Barker Q.C states will 'tighten the criminal justice system by streamlining criminal justice processes and faster committal proceedings'.”