Paramilitarism is still prevalent in our society and this is why local government and NILGA, in partnership with the Department of Justice, are seeking to explore and tackle these issues.
Between 2016 and 2017 alone there were 94 victims of paramilitary style attacks in Northern Ireland and figures from the Department of Justice show that there has been a 60% increase in paramilitary style attacks over the last four years. Paramilitarism is still prevalent in our society and this is why local government and NILGA, in partnership with the Department of Justice, are seeking to explore and tackle these issues.
The Northern Ireland Local Government Association, together with the Department of Justice, hosted the ‘Developing a Safe and Just Community’ Summit in the City Hotel, Derry-Londonderry today (Friday 28 September).
This event was the first of its kind and explored how the partnership between central and local government and partner agencies can be enhanced. With no Executive in place, local government is the only opportunity to see political decisions made and policy development in Northern Ireland. Due to this democratic deficit, it is essential that local government does everything possible to move these issues forward and NILGA will facilitate the conversation about how partner agencies, the PSNI, Councils and the community can work in unison.
The event included:
• An address from Anthony Harbison, Director of Safe Communities, Department of Justice, on ‘Tackling paramilitarism and embedding a culture of lawfulness’;
• Panel Debate entitled ‘Working in partnership to end the harm’;
• An address from Michael McAvoy, Department of Justice, on ‘Reducing offending, increasing opportunity’;
• Panel Debate entitled ‘Working in partnership – Community Planning and PCSPs as key drivers for reducing offending’;
• Address from Derek McCallan, Chief Executive of NILGA, on the next steps for PCSPs and Councils.
Derek McCallan, Chief Executive of NILGA, said:
“The issues that are being explored at this event, including focusing on developing a safe and just community, are extremely important issues in Northern Ireland. With the legacy of the conflict still ongoing, these issues are intergenerational and impact on every town, city and person. It is important that this chain is broken, and partnerships are evolved so work can be done to end the dominance of paramilitarism on our streets and in our communities.”
“With the continued absence of a functioning Executive, local government is the only opportunity to see political decisions made and policy development in Northern Ireland. This is why NILGA is facilitating and working in partnership with organisations to lead the way in relation to tackling paramilitarism and how to embed a culture of lawfulness.”
“It is essential that we all work together to improve and better our community. This includes building relationships with key partners and working together to find effective solutions to these challenging issues and working in tandem with the same aims.”