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Justice 2012 – Stormont Castle proposals

After lengthy discussions and negotiations between the parties and in the absence of a consensus among all of the parties, the First Minister and deputy First Minister propose that:
Wednesday, 11 January 2012

  1. Without prejudice to the arrangements following the next Assembly election, or the outcome of the review required by the Northern Ireland (St Andrew's Agreement) Act 2006, the Assembly will be asked to pass a resolution to extend the present cross-community vote provision for the election of the Justice Minister beyond May 2012. Whatever measures are possible and necessary to ensure that the tenure of the Justice Minister is consistent with other Ministers will be put in place.
  2. Notwithstanding this resolution, alternative options including incorporating the allocation of the Justice Ministry by d'Hondt with a reduction in the number of government departments could be given particular consideration. The post election position should be considered as a matter of urgency as part of the PFG commitment to agree changes to the post 2015 structures in 2012 to allow for the introduction of any necessary legislation at Stormont or at Westminster.
  3. The number of departments will be reduced from 11 + OFMDFM to 10 + OFMDFM as soon as the necessary legislative and administrative processes have been completed.
  4. The functions of the present DEL will be divided principally between DE and DETI in an agreed manner.
  5. d'Hondt would be rerun following the Section 17 process and the necessary steps had been taken in the Assembly.

We are asking each of the parties to consider this proposal and provide any comments or alternative proposals, which they believe can command a higher level of consensus, by 5pm on Monday 16 January