The Ulster Unionist Party’s Justice Spokesman Tom Elliott has condemned Sinn Fein’s refusal to agree to the National Crime Agency being allowed to operate in Northern Ireland.
Mr Elliott said;
"It is an absolute disgrace that Sinn Fein is blocking the operation of the National Crime Agency in Northern Ireland. The NCA will combat organised crime including gangs involved in drug and people trafficking like a British version of the FBI, and it would be outrageous if Sinn Fein were permitted to create a situation whereby Northern Ireland did not enjoy the protection afforded by having the NCA operate here.
I raised the matter with the Justice Minister at Stormont today, but his answer was less than satisfactory and he merely confirmed that no agreement had been reached but wouldn’t comment on who was holding matters up.
The Ulster Unionist Party received a great deal of criticism almost exactly two years ago when we voiced our concerns that the time was not right to devolve policing and justice powers to Northern Ireland.
Those who dismissed our concerns and brought about the Hillsborough Agreement of February 2010 need to step forward now and explain exactly how and why they have brought us to a place whereby not only are the citizens of Northern Ireland to be denied the protection of the National Crime Agency but there is a genuine risk that criminal gangs will be able to operate more freely here than in the rest of the United Kingdom and use Northern Ireland as a base from which to operate on the Mainland.
This incident will cause many to question Sinn Fein’s commitment to tackling crime. What other conclusion can be drawn from Sinn Fein’s refusal to accept the expansion of the National Crime Agency to Northern Ireland?”