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Europe

Northern Ireland's Justice Minister takes back powers‎

media A forensic officer examines the blast scene at the Palace army barracks … Reuters

Northern Ireland is appointing its first justice minister in 40 years - hours after key powers were transferred from London at midnight on Monday, in a handover clouded by a car bomb blast claimed by dissident militants. Lawmakers voted to appoint David Ford, leader of the cross-community Alliance Party.

The Real IRA has admitted it was behind a car bomb which exploded near the headquarters of Britain's domestic security agency, MI5, just outside Belfast.

The Real IRA are one of three dissident organisations opposed to the 1998 Good Friday peace and power-sharing agreement.

The blast came about 20 minutes after policing and justice powers were devolved from the British government in Westminister, to Stormont, for the first time in 38 years.

Q and A: professor of politics Richard Wilford, Queens University, Belfast 12/04/2010 - by Christine Pizziol-Grière Listen

Political scientist Richard Wilford at Queen's university in Belfast, told RFI that despite the violence by dissidents, politicians in Northern Ireland are wholly behind the peace process.

"On each occasion (of violence) all of the political parties in Northern Ireland, without exception, and indeed those in the republic of Ireland and across the United Kingdom have been united in their condemnation of each of these incidents," Wilford said.

He said the dissidents were a small number of people, numbering about 200 to 300, who have some capacity to disrupt the peace process, but not derail it.

"This is because of the view that there is only one way forward, and that is through power sharing between republicans, nationalist, unionists and loyalists in Northern Ireland. And I think that political consensus will prevail ... it will be shaken but it won't be upset."

 
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