Follow these links to find out more: https://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/55727
Follow these links to find out more: https://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/55727
Follow these links to find out more: https://www.change.org/p/irish-government-support-for-a-border-poll-referendum-on-a-united-ireland
The revelation came after loyalist paramilitaries threatened protests if Northern Ireland’s status in the UK is “diluted” after the UK leaves the EU. The warning led to calls for greater engagement with the loyalist community.
In a series of tweets yesterday, journalist Brian Rowan alleged that Mrs Foster, along with other senior DUP colleagues, met with Jimmy Birch, Jackie McDonald and Matt Kincaid, who have previously been named as senior UDA figures.
At a separate meeting, organised through the auspices of the Action for Community Transformation project, Mr Rowan stated that alleged senior UVF members Winston Irvine and Harry Stockman were present.
The former BBC NI security editor said it was his view that it was important that loyalists are “involved/included in legacy and other dialogues, including Brexit”. A loyalist source told the journalist: “Whatever is going to happen, they [the DUP] need to answer the questions before they are asked. Is it a good deal? Is it a bad deal? Is it the only deal?”
The source continued: “If Sinn Fein thinks it’s all right [any Brexit deal] loyalists will think it’s all wrong.”
Mr Rowan also tweeted that he was told that loyalists are exploring ways for their concerns to be heard outside Northern Ireland and that a “mechanism/means” to achieve this is currently being explored.
According to the Sunday Times, sources within the UVF have said it is planning to organise demonstrations and protests using proxy groups if the government attempts a Brexit compromise by aligning Northern Ireland and the Republic in any customs arrangement.
A DUP spokesperson said: “The Party engages with a range of stakeholders about a range of matters on an ongoing basis in the interests of moving Northern Ireland forward.”
Meanwhile, the UDA in west Belfast were said to be adopting a “wait and see” approach until the specifics of any Brexit deal are announced.
In response, the Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie had said he believes that the loyalist community has not been engaged with enough on Brexit issues.
Commenting on the alleged meetings between the loyalist representatives and the DUP, loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson said there was “nothing controversial” about the largest unionist party engaging with a “significant section” of the unionist and loyalist community.
“I don’t think there’s anything overly significant about that; however, I do think the DUP should be listening to the voices of the grassroots in the unionist and loyalist community,” he added. “I do think in the past number of days we have certainly seen a change from the DUP’s position last week where they were ultimately almost signing up for an economic united Ireland. I wasn’t present at any of these meetings. However, I think that engagement within all shades of unionism is always a positive thing.”
With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph and Ralph Hewitt for the original story
“British-Irish cooperation is written into the Good Friday Agreement, it is at the top of the agenda of its East-West institutions and is also a primary function of the NIO under devolution” Newton Emerson
THE latest outburst from Downing Street chaos strategy is to threaten withdrawal of security cooperation from EU countries that facilitate a Brexit extension.
This caused a little more chaos than intended when was denounced by Julian Smith, the Secretary of State for the North of Ireland. In a very public rebuke, Smith said: I am clear that any threat on withdrawing security cooperation with Ireland is unacceptable. This is not in the interest of the North of Ireland or the Union. He could have added that British-Irish cooperation is written into the Good Friday Agreement, is at the top of the agenda of its East-West institutions and is also a primary function of the North of Ireland Office under devolution. Withdrawal of such cooperation would be a clear breach of the agreement than Brexit itself.
With many thanks to: The Irish News and Newton Emerson for the original story
In 626 internal investigations in three years, 210 allegations were substantiated
Almost all of the investigations into alleged serious misconduct by Home Office staff relate to immigration matters, the Guardian has learned.
Although the department also has responsibility for policing and counter-terrorism, 96% of its internal investigations focus on immigration matters. Scores of these investigations have substantiated allegations against staff made internally or by the public.
The Home Office’s professional standards unit (PSU) investigates only the most serious misconduct allegations against teams or individuals within the department, or contractors such as those working in detention centres. A general complaints procedure deals with more minor matters that are not investigated by the PSU.
Areas of investigation by the PSU include allegations of crimes such as assault, sexual assault, racism, theft, fraud, harassment or “any behaviour likely to bring the Home Office into disrepute”.
The Guardian obtained a freedom of information response which revealed that in the past three years there have been 626 PSU investigations, with 210 allegations substantiated. Of the areas of the Home Office’s work investigated, 96.4% of the allegations related to borders, immigration and citizenship, with only a handful relating to other important areas such as policing and counter-terrorism.
The shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, said the disclosures showed the Home Office’s immigration and nationality department was “not fit for purpose” and called for an immediate review.
The PSU has the power to request witness statements, CCTV footage, notebook entries, texts and voicemails on Home Office-issued mobile phones. Matters investigated may be referred to the police or other agencies where appropriate.
Home Office guidance states that the issues considered by the PSU have “potential for serious reputational damage to the Home Office as well as potential legal action taken against us. An assessment of each case will be conducted by the PSU to assess for the potential risk and if there is a risk of adverse publicity.”
In an answer to a parliamentary question last year, the then immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, revealed there had been 25 allegations of sexual assault made by detainees against staff in immigration removal centres between 2014-15 and 2017-18. She said in her response: “Any allegations of serious misconduct made by a detainee against staff in an IRC are also referred to the Home Office PSU for investigation.”
The Guardian requested information about recommended actions against individual members of Home Office staff contained in PSU investigation reports, but was rejected on the basis that each report would have to be examined individually and this would take more work than allowed under freedom of information request time limits.
However, the Home Office guidance states that the PSU’s Lessons Learned team tracks progress made on implementing recommendations in PSU reports and that there are quarterly Lessons Learned reports produced internally.
Home Office ‘doomed to repeat the mistakes of Windrush’
Abbott said: “These figures show just how entrenched ‘hostile environment’ practices are in the Tory Home Office. The Windrush scandal has taught them nothing as they continue to rack up internal investigations with no real consequence and no substantial change. This culture is destroying lives and families every day and cannot be allowed to continue. The immigration and nationality department of the Home Office is clearly not fit for purpose, and the government must call an immediate review into its continued failings.”
Toufique Hossain, a director of public law at Duncan Lewis, which has obtained disclosure of some of these internal PSU reports as part of legal challenges against the Home Office in immigration matters, said: “Grave concerns are raised as to Home Office failings on a daily basis. A government body essentially investigating itself, put simply, will never hold itself accountable.
“The burden is very much placed on the individual under the Home Office’s control, more often than not with the assistance of publicly funded lawyers and NGOs, to ensure that the Home Office is held to account. Only through these mechanisms can vulnerable individuals access courts in order to vindicate their rights.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We expect the highest levels of integrity and professional conduct of both staff and contractors. The number of complaints investigated by the professional standards unit has fallen by more than 25% since 2016-17.
“Borders, immigration and citizenship system teams have the greatest interaction with members of the public so it is to be expected that there are higher numbers of complaints than for other non-public facing Home Office teams.”
With many thanks to: The Guardian and Diane Taylor for the original story
The Chief Constable Simon Byrne has told Boris Johnson the PSNI will not police any customs checkpoints on the Northern Ireland border after Brexit.
Mr Byrne had a 30 minute video call with the prime minister last Friday.
He also told Mr Johnson he had “no plans to put police officers on any one of 300 crossings” along the border.
Speaking after a meeting of the policing board in Belfast, Mr Byrne said the PSNI does not want “to be dragged into another type of policing”.
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The prime minister submitted his Brexit offer to the EU on Wednesday .
It would see the North of Ireland to stay in the European single market for goods, but leave the customs union – resulting in new customs checks.
The PM’s Brexit plan also set out details of a replacement for the Irish border “backstop” in the current Brexit agreement.
The backstop is the controversial “insurance policy” that is meant to keep a free-flowing border on the island of Ireland but which critics – including the PM – fear could trap the UK in EU trading rules indefinitely.
Under Mr Johnson’s proposals, customs checks on goods traded between the UK and EU would be “decentralised”, with paperwork submitted electronically and only a “very small number” of physical checks
These checks should take place away from the border itself, at business premises or at “other points in the supply chain”
The chief constable has taken legal advice on what he can be asked to do.
He did state, however, that the PSNI would be obliged to support customs or border force staff if they found themselves under risk of attack.
Mr Byrne added he did not want “to interfere in negotiations” involving Mr Johnson and the European Union (EU).
Last year, the PSNI was given money to hire 180 extra officers to help prepare for Brexit .
It now wants government funding for 300 more officers next year, as part of a push towards eventually achieving a police service comprised of 7,500.
Officer numbers are currently around 6,800.
The policing board is fully supportive of the PSNI’s request for increased manpower.
Withmany thanks to: BBCNews and Julian O’Neill BBCNEWS NI Home Affairs Correspondent for the original story