Northern Ireland

David Ford 'could quit' over justice department budget cuts

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Media captionDavid Ford told the justice committee he would not rule out resigning over cuts to his department

David Ford has warned that budget cuts could be a resigning matter for him as justice minister.

Mr Ford was asked by the justice committee chairman Paul Givan if he would resign over the deepening cuts facing his department.

"If I believe my position is no longer assisting the welfare of the people of Northern Ireland I will not be putting up with this," he replied.

The justice department's budget was cut by £22m in the June monitoring round.

At the time Mr Ford said due to further cuts in October, his department faced total cuts of £47m.

He blamed the failure to move forward on the issue of welfare reform.

On Wednesday, Mr Ford said probation board funds are to be cut by £1m or 5.6%.

He warned of risks to safety due to the reduced number of probation officers and reduction in prisoner monitoring.

Meanwhile, the DUP's Mr Givan said the Department of Justice and the prison service is at risk of losing control of its prisons.

He said he had received information that the number of assaults on prison staff has doubled in the last three years and there were more than 1,000 prisoner on prisoner attacks in the same period.

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