Why did parties veto this agency?

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IT is all very well for the Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, and various political commentators to make claims that the constitutional position of Northern Ireland is settled and that we are now more British than at any stage, but where is the evidence to substantiate such claims?

In our devolved parliament at Stormont, unionists saw for themselves just how British they really are when Sinn Fein and the SDLP vetoed the decision which would have agreed to give the Westminster Government the powers to bring into force in Northern Ireland the National Crime Agency (NCA).

The NCA has been given the powers to operate in every other part of the United Kingdom. Why is Northern Ireland different?

The simple reason is that Sinn Fein do not want such an agency in place for a number of reasons.

It is the DUP which has brought Sinn Fein into government and is sustaining them in government.

The NCA, which was opposed by Sinn Fein and the SDLP, is an agency which was set up to deal with the following:

1 Tackle organised crime.

2 Strengthen our borders.

3 Fight fraud and cyber crime.

4 Protect children and young people.

Officers serving in the NCA would have the following powers:

1 The power of a police officer in Northern Ireland.

2 The authority to carry out searches and make arrests.

3 The ability to conduct surveillance operations.

4 The ability to recruit and run informers and agents.

5 The agency would also be responsible for recovering assets from criminals.

When we see the work that the NCA would be doing in Northern Ireland, why would any law-abiding citizen, or true democrat, oppose such an agency?

The fact that our parliament didn’t give authority for the Westminster Government to implement such powers shows quite clearly the dysfunctional Assembly that is in place at Stormont.

Walter Millar

Traditional Unionist Voice