‘Court move doesn’t add up’

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The closure of Lisburn courthouse and Lagan Valley’s perceived policing woes have seen Justice Minister David Ford come under fire locally.

TUV assembly election candidate Lyle Rea said that in 2010 the Secretary of State assured the Assembly and Executive Review Committee necessary finances were in place to ensure the devolved Justice Department would have sufficient money. “The total sum to be transferred to the Executive was £1.328 billion,” said Mr Rea, “with a number of further financial packages, one of which was for £132 million for the Northern Ireland Court Service. In addition, the Executive were to be gifted an additional £800 million agreed by the Prime Minister in October 2009.”

Mr Rea said the buck had to stop with David Ford, appointed Justice Minister in April 2010. He added: “Lagan Valley has also fared particularly badly on the policing front with the closure of Dromara, Dromore and Hillsborough police stations. Now, with David Ford announcing closure of five courthouses, including Lisburn, we are entitled to ask ‘Where has all the money gone?’”