It is with disbelief that I have watched the media and some politicians, including ministers in our devolved Government, tell us that policing and justice issues and powers are not on ‘ordinary people’s’ priority list.
That these ordinary folk are facing a hard time with their bills and increasing costs and all of those other issues are of little concern. I have five children, receive an average wage and, indeed, do worry about the costs of food and bills increasing what seems like each week.
However, in equal measure the accountability of the police service around me is of deep concern. This week sadly marks the anniversary of the vicious murder of Harry Holland and I, for one, reeled with horror when I realised the savagery of the circumstances of Eamonn Hughes’ murder — another truly decent Irishman taken heartlessly from his family and community. And there are many homes who are being touched daily by what seems like growing criminality and violence whose stories, for various reasons, are not public or headline grabbing but are still deeply traumatising and painful.
They matter every bit as much as the soaring cost of living. One cannot prioritise one over the other. However, there is little this devolved statelet’s Government can do about the global price of oil and its repercussions or the collapse of American banks we had barely heard of before. But it can, and must, step up to the challenge of devolving policing and justice.