Sunday, 25 September 2016

Justice Minister attends the National Police Memorial Day service

Justice Minister, Claire Sugden today attended the National Police Memorial Day service in St Paul’s Cathedral paying tribute to officers who have died in service. 


His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, patron of the event, attended the service along with representatives from police services across the United Kingdom, members of the Northern Ireland policing family, a number of former police chiefs, as well as police representatives from 18 other countries. 


Claire Sugden said:  “It is an honour to attend the National Police Memorial Day service to pay tribute to the sacrifice of police officers from across the United Kingdom who have died while serving and protecting their local communities. Today will be especially poignant for the families, friends and colleagues of those who have died and my thoughts are with them all.  


“I was touched to hear the personal stories of some of the officers honoured today.  In particular, I commend the bravery and service of the officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.    


“I would like to express my gratitude to all police officers for their dedication and commitment. Northern Ireland can justifiably be proud of the courage and professionalism of its police officers, often in the face of challenging and hazardous circumstances."


Continuing the Minister said: "This is a significant day in our calendar when we can stand with those who mourn and remember.  My thoughts and prayers are with all those in the policing family who have lost a loved one throughout the years.”


More information on this year’s event is available online at:


Saturday, 24 September 2016

Foster and McGuinness welcome Twaddell/Crumlin Road Agreement

First Minister, the Rt Hon Arlene Foster MLA and the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MLA today welcomed the local agreement bringing an end to difficulties surrounding parades and protests in the Twaddell/Crumlin Road area.

The First Minister Rt Hon Arlene Foster MLA said: "The agreement reached between three Orange Order lodges in North Belfast and Ardoyne residents representatives comes about following engagement in a local dialogue process.
"The understanding they have reached is a welcome development and is a significant step given this has been an initiative between the Orange and local residents.
"I said at the start of the summer that we all have a responsibility to show leadership and to continue to seek resolutions to contentious issues through discussion and to ensure any difficulties are identified and resolved peacefully.  By doing so we become stronger as a community and a country.
"I thank all those involved.  We want to build a future that is respectful, inclusive and vibrant.  Northern Ireland can have a very bright future built on respect and celebration of diversity." 
The deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MLA said: "An agreement that has the full support of the three lodges and the Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association is something I welcome and support.
"I commend the Rev. Harold Good and Jim Roddy who have worked positively and considerately with everyone in the local community to reach this agreement.
"We must resolve disagreements regarding parades, identity, culture and tradition through dialogue so that difference is celebrated and respected. 
"The next phase of our political and peace processes must be the development of a real reconciliation process. 
"As leaders we will work with Executive colleagues to ensure tolerance, equality and mutual respect are key tenets of our new shared future."
Notes to Editors:
Media enquiries to TEO press office on 028 9037 8283. Out of office hours, please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.

Minister welcomes Twaddell dispute resolution

Justice minister Claire Sugden has welcomed the resolution to the Twaddell Avenue parades protest.

The minister said: “I want to pay tribute to the facilitators and all those involved for their tireless efforts to achieve this important agreement to resolve the Twaddell parades dispute and thank them for all their work on making this agreement possible. I look forward to seeing this new agreement implemented and an end to the protest.

“I also wish to take this opportunity to thank the Chief Constable and his officers who were at the frontline policing this situation over the course of the last three years, for their impartial and impeccable support to protect the entire community at the Twaddell interface.”

Notes to Editors:

All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Statement on the appointment of Executive Press Secretary

17 September 2016

A spokesperson for The Executive Office said: "Following the recent Assembly election the First Minister and deputy First Minister have been considering how best to restructure Executive communications.  In light of the formation of the new Executive, as well as other parties opting for opposition roles, Ministers have made clear more normalised processes of conducting business will apply.  This includes the creation of a new post of Executive Press Secretary and the subsequent appointment of Mr David Gordon to fill it.  

“It is normal practice in politics in London and Dublin as well as other devolved governments for Ministers to select the people who provide them specialist communications advice.  Those trying to throw dirt know that very well.  

“The appointment of the Executive Press Secretary is in full accordance with the powers at the disposal of the First Minister and deputy First Minister and they make this Order under the powers conferred on them by section 23 (3) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.  The Civil Service Commissioners (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2016 is not subject to scrutiny by the Assembly.  The Executive Office has supplied this Order to any media outlet that requested it and has provided media with details of the legislation under which the appointment was made since it was announced. 

“It is interesting to note the panic and hysteria of opposition MLAs following the appointment of the Executive Press Secretary. Their reaction, though not surprising, was expected from parties  who are struggling to cope with the new political framework at Stormont.  Parties who, in government, had no hesitation in appointing their own specialist advisers are now, in opposition, expressing feigned outrage.

“The reality of opposition, and its powerlessness, is now starting to dawn on those who failed to persuade the electorate that they could be trusted to lead." 

Notes to editors:

Media enquiries to The Executive Office press office on 028 9037 8201. Out of office hours, please contact the duty press office via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.