Alliance Party expected to claim justice ministry

Alliance Party leader David Ford is expected to announce that his party will take the justice ministry in Northern Ireland later today.

He has been favourite for the post when security powers are transferred from London to Belfast after Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionists said they would not fill the controversial role.

Under the Hillsborough Castle Agreement the responsibilities are to be devolved by April 12.

Progress was announced this week on a cohesion and integration strategy demanded by the Alliance Party as part of their price for taking the justice position. The party met in Antrim last night and a decision was taken, a spokesman confirmed.

A parades working group of six senior DUP and Sinn Féin assembly members has also reported back to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

There is expected to be a public consultation on the measures this spring.

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