Chief Legal Post In Doubt Over Protection

There are fears the man designated to be the Northern Attorney General might not take up the post, because of personal security concerns.

This could lead to a crisis in the full implementation of the devolution of policing and justice to Northern Ireland.

The difficulty has emerged after the proposed new Attorney-General expressed doubts over taking up the position because of issues of personal security.

Belfast barrister John Larkin, who has been backed by the First and Deputy First Ministers, may not now take on the role because of the limited level of protection offered to him.

It is understood that Mr Larkin feels that he should be provided with increased security given the threat level from dissident republicans.

His view has been backed by NI Policing Board member Alex Attwood who said it's a difficult obstacle to overcome.

Many other figures in the criminal justice system are on a close protection list providing them with bodyguards.

However, the independent agency which decided who gets the protection have decided Mr Larkin does not need it.

It is understood Mr Larkin feels because of the importance and sensitivity of his post - and the threat from dissident republicans - that he should be provided with such protection.

This is little surprise as the Attorney General NI will be the Stormont Government's chief legal adviser with responsibility for appointing both the Director and Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions.


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