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Sentencing for Terrorist Offences: Northern Ireland Executive

Volume 708: debated on Tuesday 8 February 2022

3. What recent discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on sentencing for terrorist offences. (905498)

I have had no recent discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive on sentencing for terrorist offences. While sentencing is a devolved matter, the Department continues to engage in discussions with the Department of Justice on devolved matters where helpful and relevant.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland makes huge efforts to bring to justice those responsible for terrorism there, but the chances of convicting those offenders are undermined by excessive delays in the criminal justice process. Will the Minister work with the Northern Ireland Justice Minister to try to address this problem, so that we can hold to account those who still seek to use violence to achieve political ends in Northern Ireland?

My right hon. Friend speaks with great expertise on these matters. She will be aware that justice and policing are devolved matters, and the Northern Ireland Executive recently reaffirmed their commitment to speeding up the criminal justice system in the New Decade, New Approach agreement. At the end of last year, the Northern Ireland Assembly passed the Criminal Justice (Committal Reform) Bill, which contains measures that will simplify the current system, remove some avoidable delays and ensure the quicker progression to court of some of the most serious cases. I welcome this significant step forward in reforming the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland.