Naomi Long returns as Justice Minister for Northern Ireland

Naomi Long has been re-elected as Justice Minister for Northern Ireland.

Feb 6, 2024
By Paul Jacques
Justice Minister Naomi Long

She now plans to meet with those working across the justice system in the coming weeks, including frontline staff in policing, prisons and forensics, as well as those working in courts, probation and the voluntary and community sectors.

Ms Long was elected on a cross community vote in the restored Northern Ireland Assembly. She previously held the Justice portfolio from January 2020 to October 2022.

Ms Long said: “It is an honour and privilege to be returned as Minister of Justice in Northern Ireland.

“Since 2020 the Department of Justice has delivered some significant pieces of legislation including new laws for domestic abuse and stalking.

“A large focus during those years was of course on the impact of Covid and the recovery from the pandemic.

“I look forward now to leading the Department into a new era and to considering other significant legislation that needs progressed, including reform of sentencing and a hate crime bill.”

In addition to the legislative programme, she said work continues on the major transformation projects, including the vision for a modernised courts and tribunal service and the continuous improvement programme Prisons 25 by 25.

Ms Long added: “I remain committed to improving the outcomes for people in our society which in turn may ease the pressure on the criminal justice system.

“There are many socio-economic factors which are contributory elements on crime here and I look forward to working with my Executive colleagues to deliver a coordinated and joined up approach to tackling these issues.”

She also sent her “heartfelt and sincere thanks” to all staff within Justice who have progressed some key issues, workplans and preparations in the absence of ministers.

“I have no doubt it has been a demanding and challenging time and yet the expertise, dedication and commitment is evident and is hugely appreciated,” she said.

“I have no doubt there will be many challenges ahead, but I am ready to meet them and keen to get on with the job.

“I remain committed to working towards a strong, safer, and shared community for all, one which respects the rule of law and one in which we respect each other.

“I look forward to leading the Department and the wider justice family to a new and brighter chapter.”

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