David Blackburn

Brown’s Northern Ireland settlement is to be commended

Brown's Northern Ireland settlement is to be commended
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Gordon Brown has just told the House of Commons that he is offering Stormont a financial settlement to increase funds for policing and judicial administration in Northern Ireland. Crucially, future emergency security costs in future will be met by the Treasury, and elements of the complicated settlement will stand until at least 2014

Northern Ireland has been badly hit by the recession. Power sharing became increasingly fraught as arguments escalated over budget allocations and the timing of judicial devolution. It is not an exaggeration to suggest that the recent escalation of violence might be related to rising unemployment and open political tension. Lasting peace and unified government have to be the constant aims in Northern Ireland, and this settlement will secure them by ensuring that Stormont can concentrate resources on tackling the recession and not become bogged down in the ever-contentious issue of policing and justice. This solution was probably self-evident; but nonetheless, it is a rare case of the well done Gordons.