07/04/2006

Rea re-elected Chairman of NI Policing Board

The Northern Ireland Policing Board has announced the re-election of Sir Desmond Rea as Chairman and the election of Barry Gilligan as the Board’s Vice Chairman.

The new Policing Board came into effect on April 1 and as their first duty was required to elect a Chair and Vice Chair. The election took place at a Limavady hotel on the first day of a two-day Residential Induction.

Speaking on his election, Professor Sir Desmond Rea said: "I am pleased to have been elected to serve the Board and I look forward to doing so along side my Vice Chairman, Barry Gilligan.

“While the membership of the Board has changed, the Board’s responsibility to ensure for all the people of Northern Ireland the delivery of an effective, efficient, impartial and accountable Police Service that builds the confidence of the whole community, has not. In my role as Chairman, I am committed to that.

“The foundations for the new beginning to policing were firmly laid by the first Policing Board and I trust this Board, through its work, will strengthen and build on them. We still await full political support for policing and while this is not in the gift of the Board, it is vital if policing, and Northern Ireland, is to continue to move forward.”

Sir Desmond said that Policing and the Northern Ireland Policing Board have been the one real success story of the Good Friday Agreement and the political path of Northern Ireland must be sorted out and within that lies the future devolution of policing and justice.

He concluded by saying that this was a matter for the politicians.

Newly elected Vice Chairman of the Policing Board, Barry Gilligan, added: “I am delighted and honoured to be elected Vice Chairman and, as with the last Board, I look forward to playing my full part in the life of this new Board and working closely with the Chairman and all Board Members. Policing effects everyone in the community immaterial of their outlook and ensuring that we have an effective and efficient police service is a priority for the Policing Board."

Mr Gilligan continued: "The Patten Report and its implementation has transformed policing and the experience of policing in Northern Ireland and I have been proud to have played a part in that process.

"As the Board faces new challenges it is my hope that the consensus, which hallmarked the practice of the previous four and half years, continues. We do have an obligation to hold the police to account in the delivery of their service to all the people of Northern Ireland."

He said that there should be no part of Northern Ireland beyond the reach of law and order and that no community should be isolated or cut off from the feeling of security and safety.

Speaking earlier, Secretary of State Peter Hain, congratulated Sir Desmond Rea and Mr Gilligan on their appointments.

He said: “Both Professor Rea and Barry Gilligan have already made a significant contribution to the success of the last Policing Board and I have no doubt will continue to do so in their new roles”.

“As I said when I announced in March the new membership of the Policing Board, it is one of the success stories of the Agreement. Now that the Chairman and Vice Chairman have been appointed the Board can get down to its vital work in ensuring an effective, efficient, impartial and accountable police service which will enjoy the support of all sections of the community. I wish the Board every future success.”

The Chairman and Vice Chairman have been elected to serve for a period of two years.

Members will meet in private session again tomorrow to appoint the Chairs and Vice Chairs to the Board’s five committees.

(EF/SP)

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