No ex-RUC payments if justice not devolved

PAYMENTS to former members of the RUC parttime reserve will only be made if policing and justice powers are devolved, the Government has confirmed.

A 20 million payment to compensate individuals who served in the parttime reserve was negotiated as a 'side deal' between

the Government and the DUP late last year.

Since the announcement in November, several members of the part-time

reserve have queried when the payments will be made.

Yesterday a spokesman for the Northern Ireland Office told the News Letter that the payment, which will come from the Treasury in London, would not be available if policing and justice powers are not devolved.

Ulster Unionist Ross Hussey, chairman of the RUC George Gross Part-Time Reserve Association, said that former part-time reserve officers deserved the money, irrespective of whether policing powers are devolved.

"Our view has always been that the money should be treated as a standalone issue — it was Her Majesty's Government which chose to tie it into the deal," he said.

"We have the support of all the democratic parties and the Northern Ireland Assembly to get the payment and it is unfortunate that the Government have tied it to policing and justice."

Mr Hussey, who spent 26 years in the part-time reserve, said that he met

with First Minister Peter Robinson and DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson last year to discuss the issue.

But he warned that it could be the end of June "or maybe even later

before the Government get their act together and make the payments".