Secretary of State, Owen Paterson MP has pledged that the government will continue to stand by Northern Ireland through the severely challenging economic circumstances.
Speaking at the launch of ‘Policing the Narrow Ground’ a book which reflects on policing in Northern Ireland 10 years on from the Patten Report, Mr Paterson said:
The creation of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the other policing institutions - notably the Policing Board - was not only one of the great achievements of the political process it was central to that process taking root and growing.
We all face the challenge of reducing the huge financial deficit that we inherited and we have to bear down on the small but dangerous groups who threaten the whole community. We don’t underestimate the threat they pose. But working together we will never allow them to succeed.
Co-operation between the British and Irish governments, the local Justice Minister, the PSNI and the Garda, is at its best ever. As David Cameron made clear last week, we’ll tackle these criminals with every means at our disposal. We’ve stood by the £800 million funding package agreed by the previous government and already since the election we’ve secured an additional £12 million from the reserve.
The government will not take risks with the economy or the safety and security of the people.
Mr Paterson went on to say that it was important that everyone understood the context in which the Spending Review was taking place.
The seriousness of the economic position we are all in cannot be overestimated. Anyone who suggests that the huge deficit built up over the last decade or more can be reduced at a leisurely pace is deluding themselves and misleading everyone else. We simply cannot go on borrowing £270,000 a minute or pay £43 billion a year in debt interest.
During the Deputy Prime Minister’s visit last week we discussed the particular circumstances of the Northern Ireland economy. He understands the issues as does the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
While there will be difficult decisions for the Executive to take, I have no doubt that we can work together to rebalance the economy and Northern Ireland will emerge stronger and well able to face the future with increasing confidence.