Minister of Justice, David Ford MLA, and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, T.D have discussed ongoing North-South co-operation across a range of criminal justice matters under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Co-operation on Criminal Justice Matters.
The Ministers reviewed the range of ongoing cross-border initiatives in the areas of Youth Justice, Victims, Public Protection, Forensic Science, Registered Offenders and Criminal Justice and Social Diversity, and established a Programme to take forward work in these areas for the coming year. Discussions also took place about maximizing opportunities to access European funding for justice related initiatives.
David Ford said: “Co-operation between the two jurisdictions on justice issues is vital, as criminals do not recognise borders and will locate wherever they think they can operate to their advantage. Through close collaboration in policing and criminal justice we have shown real successes and I look forward to developing our links further through new projects.”
Frances Fitzgerald said: “North and South, we face similar challenges in combating crime, supporting the victims of crime and managing offenders. We continue to enhance cross-border co-operation to improve community safety for all on this island. This is a shared priority that delivers real results and we will continue to work closely together in achieving it.”
Ministers also discussed recent security incidents, including the attempted bomb attack on a PSNI officer in Eglinton. Following on from previous meetings, Ministers discussed ongoing investigations into sexual abuse carried out by paramilitaries and recent reports on how these were dealt with by the justice system in Northern Ireland.
Notes to editors:
1. The Intergovernmental Agreement on Co-operation on Criminal Justice Matters provides a framework for increasing and enhancing co-operation on criminal justice matters. Within the framework of the Agreement, the two Ministers oversee co-operation across the range of areas in the criminal justice field.
2. The development and enhancement of co-operation under the Agreement is taken forward by a number of Project Advisory Groups covering the areas of public protection, forensic science, youth justice, victims’ issues, managing registered offenders and criminal justice and social diversity issues.
3. Anyone affected by the issue of sex abuse who wishes to seek support should contact the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) Helpline for victims. The Helpline is set up to assist anyone wishing to raise concerns about child sexual exploitation. The dedicated Helpline number is 08003891701.
4. All media enquiries to DOJ Press Office on 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number: 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.