Northern Ireland Affairs Committee: Press Notice

Session 06-07

24 January 2007

Press Notice No 7

Publication of Report, Chairman's Comments:

Draft Protocol for Community-based Restorative Justice Schemes

After an inquiry which involved taking evidence in both private and public in both Northern Ireland and Westminster, meeting amongst others, the Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde, Members of all the political parties in  Northern Ireland not  represented at Westminster and the former Taoiseach, Dr Garret FitzGerald, Sir Patrick Cormack, Chairman, said today:

 “This Report is the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee’s response to the Government’s consultation on its Draft Protocol on Community Restorative Justice. The Committee is unanimous in underlining the necessity for all community restorative justice schemes to work closely with the PSNI if they are to be officially recognised and registered. There is no place anywhere in the UK, and least of all in Northern Ireland, for alternative policing systems, or for any community to seek to exercise any form of discipline or restraint, without being part of the criminal justice system. Nevertheless, we are also unanimous in recognising that such schemes can play a significant part in improving community life, as we have seen for ourselves.”

NOTE FOR EDITORS:  The Committee is appointed under Standing Order No. 152 of the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Northern Ireland Office and associated public bodies.  It has the power to send for persons, papers and records.

The Committee Members are:- Sir Patrick Cormack, MP (Chairman) (Conservative, South Staffordshire), Mr David Anderson, MP (Labour, Blaydon), Rt. Hon John Battle MP (Labour, Leeds West), Mr Gregory Campbell, MP (Democratic Unionist Party, East Londonderry), Rosie Cooper, MP (Labour, West Lancashire), Mr Christopher Fraser, MP (Conservative, South West Norfolk), Mr John Grogan, MP (Labour, Selby), Mr Stephen Hepburn, MP (Labour, Jarrow), Lady Hermon, MP (Ulster Unionist Party, North Down), Dr Alasdair McDonnell, MP (SDLP, Belfast South), Mr Denis Murphy MP (Labour, Wansbeck) Mr Stephen Pound, MP (Labour, Ealing North),Mr Sammy Wilson, MP (Democratic Unionist Party, East Antrim)