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Sinn Féin President elect Mary Lou McDonald TD gives her first major speech to party activists


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Sinn Féin EU Election Party Political Broadcast 2004

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP will be in Dublin on Sunday 6th June to canvas with the party's EU candidate Mary Lou McDonald.

Itinerary

11.15am - Finglas Market - Cappagh Road in Finglas at the Church of the Enunciation

12.45pm - Canvas in Drumcondra, Clonliffe Road and Ballybough Road areas (meeting on Drumcondra Road - at the Whitworth Road)

2.15pm - Croke Park to attend Leinster Senior Football Championship games

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Sinn Fein's candidate for Dublin in the forthcoming EU elections Mary Lou McDonald this morning joined other Anti-War candidates who will be contesting the elections in calling on voters to support parties who opposed the invasion of Iraq and who are committed to protecting Irish neutrality. She was speaking at a press conference organised by the Stop Bush Campaign in the ATGWU Hall this morning.

Ms McDonald said: "When tens of thousands of people marched against the war on Iraq last year the Government was arrogant enough to dismiss their concerns with platitudes and soundbites. Anti-War activists were arrested and prosecuted. The Coalition ignored the people and their conerns about supporting the US invasion.

"It is now clear that it is the Government that was duped, that Bertie Ahern believed lies about weapons of mass destruction and the US fighting a humanitarian crusade and was an active and willing participant in the invasion of Iraq.

"Sinn Fein is calling on the electorate to back only those candidates committed to protecting Irish neutrality and who opposed the war on Iraq. They should neither vote for, nor transfer to, parties that have an agenda of militarisation of the EU. And while we hope that people take their politics into the polling booth, we hope they will also come out and join us in the protest to mark the visit of George W Bush." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Transport Seán Crowe TD and the party‚s candidate for Dublin in the elections to the European Parliament, Mary Lou McDonald, have jointly called on Minister Seamus Brennan to produce a White Paper on Air Transport as a matter of urgency. Deputy Crowe said that such a paper should be "an essential precursor to any attempt to bring about radical change in the Irish aviation industry". Ms McDonald called on the Minister "to listen, instead of to lecture" and highlighted the importance of air transport to Ireland.

The Dublin South-West TD said: "There is no Government air transport policy beyond caving in to vested interests. There is no strategic and integrated approach to the development of the aviation industry in Ireland that takes into account issues of such fundamental importance as the future of state companies like Aer Rianta and Aer Lingus. The Government has no plan for creating an All-Ireland air transport policy that integrates the aviation infrastructure in the Six Counties or for future investment to cope with increasing passenger demand.

"Sinn Fein is calling on the Minister to produce a White Paper on Air Transport as an essential precursor to any attempt to bring about radical change in the Irish aviation industry such as the sell-off of Aer Lingus or the break up of Aer Rianta. He has provided no socio-economic rationale for his proposals and over a million Euros of taxpayers money has been spent paying for independent reports that have argued against the break-up."

Ms McDonald said: "For an island people the role of air transport is one of fundamental importance. Tens of thousands of jobs are directly dependent on it and vast numbers of people in areas such as tourism and trade are reliant on a dynamic and successful aviation industry. We are calling for Minister Brennan not just to begin work on a White Paper on the issue, but to change his entire approach to the creation of policy. We are asking him to listen, instead of to lecture." ENDS

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Sinn Féin local election candidate Daithí Doolan has said that the party will be going into councils throughout the country with a new dynamic for change after next Friday. Mr Doolan was speaking as the party launched its Local Government Manifesto in Dublin this morning. The candidate for Dublin‚s south-east inner city said that the party had "a proven track record in bringing about change in local government", and would be "building on this record by implementing the many proposals in its manifesto".

Mr Doolan said:

"In 2004 Sinn Féin is contesting more local authority seats than ever before. When we are joined by our new councillors after June 11th, Sinn Féin will be in a position to bring a new dynamic to local government and to implement all of the proposals set out in our manifesto.

"Our councillors have spoken out for the people who elected them, and have led many prominent local campaigns over the last few years, such as the bin charges campaign in Dublin.

"Our manifesto sets out the areas that we will continue to work and campaign on in councils throughout the country, including housing, health, the environment, education, planning and development, rural development, agriculture, justice in the community, the drugs problem, transport, enterprise and employment, domestic violence and multiculturalism.

„Our councillors will work for:

  • Housing - Local authorities to fulfill their responsibility to deliver adequate and appropriate housing for the communities which they represent, including the setting and implementation of targets for the elimination of housing waiting lists
  • Health - The retention and further development of the maximum range of services at local hospitals and the provision of quality hospital care for all, regardless of income or geographic location
  • Environment - A waste management policy which prioritises reducing the production of waste and an effective and comprehensive system of recycling and reusing waste materials
  • Education - Streamlining of existing projects designed to tackle educational disadvantage, with the funding allowances and planning powers centred under the remit of local government
  • Planning - Greater community involvement in the planning process as a basic starting point of all development plans
  • Rural development - Promotion of all-Ireland integration and co-operation
  • Transport - Implementation of cheap, reliable, accessible and public transport

"Sinn Féin's record in local government speaks for itself. Next Friday, we will hold even more influence on the various councils around the country, and we will building on that record, using this manifesto as the means."ENDS

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Sinn Féin North West EU candidate Pearse Doherty has said that the problems facing the Irish agricultural industry 'must be addressed on an All Ireland basis.' Mr Doherty was speaking last night at an EU debate on agriculture, organised by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) at the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon.

Speaking last night, Mr Doherty said:

"Sinn Féin recognises the central role that the EU plays in Irish agriculture. While we have been critical of many aspects of this in the past, we have made positive proposals in regard to how this can be improved. For example, during the debate about the proposed reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, Sinn Féin was the only party to positively engage in the process when all of the others were claiming to be totally opposed to the Fischler proposals but made no effort to change those aspects of the reforms that might have been harmful to Irish farmers.

"Sinn Féin wants to see a new strategy that will allow farmers to take advantage of the potential benefits of having a secure income based on the Single Payment, but also to secure higher incomes for farmers through production for the higher value added market.

"I believe that there are many problems which currently face the farming industry. We are opposed to the closure and downgrading of Teagasc facilities including Ballinamore, and call for increased investment in research and training to allow farmers adapt to the CAP reform. We are completely opposed to the introduction of Genetically Modified crops as harmful both to the quality of Irish food, and to the income levels of farmers as has been proven in the United States and Canada.

"We support the demand that the implementation of the Nitrates Directive be suspended pending a complete re-examination of the scientific evidence, and of the potential economic damage it may cause. We also call for the mandatory labelling of all food products entering this country to show country of origin.

"The logic of a joined up, All Ireland approach to the problems facing the agricultural sector is clear to see. Sinn Féin will continue to promote cross border co-operation at European and national level."ENDS

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Sinn Féin Cllr. Joe Reilly, speaking at the launch of the party's Local Government Manifesto this morning in Buswell's Hotel in Dublin said: "Sinn Féin has broad ranging proposals to transform local government in Ireland. These include new structures, powers and responsibilities and the reform of local government financing".

Cllr. Reilly said:

"Sinn Féin is campaigning for a strong system of local government, which is accountable, democratic, properly financed and has the maximum amount of powers devolved to it. Our Councillors have shown that what can be achieved if you work with local communities and have a work record second to none. We have delivered for our constituents and have been a leading, innovative voice for change in Sligo, Dublin, Belfast and my own county Meath.

"Reform of Local Government in this state is long over due. Local government has not been working to its full potential for many years now. Decades of corruption leading to planning chaos throughout the country have marred the work of councils. Local authorities also been deprived of the powers they need to represent and work for their constituents.

"Sinn Féin wants to see change in local government and our manifesto sets out our plans for its complete reform and this must involve placing local authorities on a sound and independent financial footing.

"Local government is about representing the people, and it must have the powers and resources to do this. At the moment, unelected city and county managers call the shots in the councils, not the democratically elected representatives of the people the councillors themselves.

Sinn Féin wants to see:

  • Complete reform of Local government with three tiers for local government in Ireland regional, county and city and district councils
  • The expansion of the powers and responsibilities of local authorities in the areas of education, employment, environment, health, housing and social services as well as the ability to raise tax revenue
  • The removal of the Minister of Environment‚s power to abolish local councils
  • Progressive increases in the proportion of Government spending on local government to reach a target of 20% by 2009
  • Appointment procedures to agencies such as Health Boards should come under the remit of local government instead of being the spoils of office of central government
  • Directly elected, full-time Cathaoirligh of City and County Councils who would take over many of the responsibilities, which are currently held by unelected city and county managers

"After next Friday, Sinn Féin will be in an even stronger position to work for all of these changes and more."ENDS

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Speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin's Local Government manifesto the party's spokesperson on the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Arthur Morgan T.D. slammed the Government's continued stripping of powers from local authorities and called for the democratisation and empowerment of Local Government.

Deputy Morgan said

"At the time of the last local elections in 1999 there were high hopes for the transformation of local government. There was an expectation that the constitutional amendment passed in 1999 which enshrined recognition of local government in the 1937 Constitution would mark the commencement of a process of reforming local government. The opposite has in fact been the case as the Fianna Fáil-PD coalition has stripped responsibilities from local authorities and implemented a policy of centralisation of power. Increasingly unelected city and county managers wield more power than local authority members who are elected by the people. This is both undemocratic and unacceptable.

"Sinn Féin is committed to maximising local democracy. We have consistently opposed legislation which the Government has introduced to diminish the powers of Local Government. We have repeatedly called for the reform of local Government to create an empowered, democratic and accountable system of local government. In our Local Election manifesto we outline our proposals for increased powers and responsibilities to be given to local authorities including control over education, employment, environment, health, housing and social services.

"We need a system of local Government which is responsive to the needs of the communities they serve. Empowered, effective efficient and democratic local government is the best possible way to achieve this.

"The Coalition Government announced a major independent review of local Government funding on the 14th February 2003, the findings of which are long overdue for publication. It is clearly not a government priority. Local Government remains chronically underfunded. This under funding has resulted in local authorities introducing inequitable service charges and excessive development levies while at the same time they do not have the funding to build social housing, to meet demands for disabled person housing grants or for the provision of other essential services and amenities. The real hardship felt throughout the State by the most vulnerable and disadvantaged because of the gross undefunding of Local Government is ignored by the Coalition and indeed the media.

"Sinn Féin is calling for progressive increases in the proportion of Government spending on Local Government to reach a target of 20% by 2009 in tandem with the devolution of powers and functions. We are also calling for a full review of the taxation system including the examination of the options for local government to be given equitable finance and taxation raising powers" ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said today at the launch of the party's Local Government Manifesto that "Sinn Féin is on track to make massive gains in the Local Government and after next Friday will have an elected representative in every county in Ireland working to deliver on our agenda for change."

Mr Adams said:

"A central part of our manifestos for Local government and for Europe is the desire for change, and the determination and commitment to deliver that change.

"In this manifesto we set out our proposals for the reform of local government and the strengthening of democracy at community level. This is the basis on which our new councillors on local authorities throughout the 26 Counties will work. Their task will be to maximise the benefits of local government for the people, within the limits of the present structures, while all the time striving to change those structures. Fundamental reform of local government will require action at central government level.

"Our councillors will be part of an All-Ireland team of elected representatives who are building a new Ireland. We are working to ensure that the corruption, neglect and mismanagement of the past is replaced by energetic campaigners, fighting for quality public services including empowered local democracy, accessible healthcare, housing as a right, improved transport, affordable childcare and education as the guarantee of equal opportunities for all.

"Sinn Féin councillors have a record in local government which is second to none.

"Sinn Féin is running 204 candidates for 253 seats throughout the 26 counties. 21% of our candidates are women and 23% are under 35 years of age. We have the most dedicated, hardworking, representative team of all the parties and after next Friday we hope to have an elected representative in every one of the 32 counties all of whom will be working hard to ahcieve the party's goal of making local government work for the people it is meant to represent."ENDS

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Sinn Fein North West EU candidate Pearse Doherty has said that the continuing failure of the government to meet its social obligations to support An Post threatens hundreds of Posts Offices and the rural post office network in particular.

Mr Doherty said:

"The failure of the government to recognise and meet its social obligations to financially support An Post threatens the future of the Post Office Network and rural post offices in particular. An Post cannot sustain losses, that since 2001 amount to some 67 million Euro, without there being a long term threat to postal and post office services.

"The loss of large parts of the rural post office network throughout rural the North West will have a devastating impact on rural communities.

"The long-term objective of the government, particularly the right wing agenda of the PDs, is to see the privatisation of An Post. This would signal the end of our postal services as a social service. Privateers would cherry pick the profitable bits of An Post while the rest of the services would whither and die. This would be the death knell for many rural postal and post office services.

"The Flynn report (2000) made it clear that the financial subsidy required to maintain the Post Office Network was significant. Taking into account the fact the 200 post offices are now run on an agency basis, the subsidy required to maintain the remaining post offices is some 24 million Euro.

"The government, despite a clearly stated rural policy, in failing to support the post office network is not living up to its obligations to rural Ireland.

"Following the Flynn report we have not seen the level of financial support it recommended. There has been only a single one-off payment of 12 million Euro to finance the conversion of Post Offices with a full range of services to agency basis with very limited services. 274 Sub Post Offices have been closed or 'converted' and there is a target to increase this to 440 by the end of 2005.

"Unless there is long-term investment, major new business and the development of existing services the future for the post office network is bleak. In many cases the current state of post offices actually inhibits the creation of new business or the expansion of existing services.

"The government needs to make a very clear commitment to both the Postal and Post Office Network. There is social obligation on the government to cost the implications of these commitments and meet them financially. Under EU legislation government subsidy for the protection of its social obligations is allowed and we already see them operating in terms of CIE, RTE, ESB and the regional airports. We need to see the government exercise its ability to meet these social obligations in repost of An Post." ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP will tour all five EU constituencies on the island over the next five days. Mr. Adams will be in Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Galway and Belfast canvassing with the party's Local Government and European candidates and calling on the electorate to support the Sinn Féin's agenda for change.

Speaking from Belfast this afternoon Mr. Adams said:

"It is now just a week to the Local Government and EU elections and the citizenship referendum and people will be deciding who they want to represent them and what type of society that they want to create. Sinn Féin wants to create an Ireland of equals and over the next five days I will be travelling throughout Ireland asking people to support our agenda for change and to strengthen our hand in the negotiations which will follow the elections. I will be asking them to come out and vote for the Sinn Fein candidates in their areas, and their respective EU election candidates. I will be asking them to vote No in the government's referendum, which is aimed at creating a completely unequal society for future generations. I will also be asking people to make sure they use their vote and not allow their future to be decided by others."ENDS

Itinerary

Friday

Launch of the party's Local Government manifesto in Dublin

Attending a series of events in Wicklow, Gorey, Enniscorthy and Wexford Town with EU candidate John Dwyer

Saturday

New Ross - canvas with EU candidate John Dwyer and events to commemorate the Battle of New Ross

Waterford - to attend radiotherapy protest with EU candidate David Cullinane

Sunday

Dublin - he will be canvassing in the Finglas area in the morning, attending the Dublin/Westmeath game and canvassing in the city centre with Mary Lou McDonald

Monday

Speaking at two public events in Galway City and canvassing the city centre with EU candidate Pearse Doherty

Tuesday

Canvassing in North Belfast with Bairbre de Brún

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Sinn Féin EU candidate for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald will attend a 'Stop Bush campaign' meeting tomorrow. The press conference will take place at the ATGWU hall in Middle Abbey Street, Dublin at 11.00am (04.06.04). Ms McDonald called for the electorate to "support the endorsement of anti-war candidates in the forthcoming Local and European elections".

Speaking today, Ms McDonald said:

"Sinn Féin is calling upon the electorate to support the endorsement of anti-war candidates in the forthcoming Local and European elections on June 11th. The electorate now have the opportunity to send a clear message to the current government, and those parties who implicitly or explicitly support the war, that the majority of Irish people oppose the continuing occupation of Iraq". ENDS

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Sinn Fein North West EU candidate Pearse Doherty has said that Sinn Fein offer the only choice for interests of the ordinary people to be represented in Europe.

Mr Doherty said:

"The choices for people living in our towns and rural communities throughout the North West in this EU election are becoming increasingly clear. People can either vote for a candidate that represents the failed politics of this government and the right wing agenda of people like the PDs, or instead they can vote for people who will make sure that the North West gets a fair deal and that ordinary people will be listened to.

"There are so many decisions now taken at EU level that impact on people's daily lives yet most of the key decisions are taken in Brussels and Strasbourg hundreds of miles away from the people that they impact on. Sinn Fein will not take what people think for granted. On every important issue we will engage with communities up and down the constituency. There is the commitment that we won't be disappearing off to Europe for five years.

"The EU structural funds that were promised have not materialised. The expected investments through the National Development Plan have not been made and the promise of jobs have not materialised. There has not been balanced development across the East West Divide in Ireland.

"Sinn Féin is the only party that will stand up to the vested interests within the EU and those in this government that have failed to deliver on commitments to the North West in terms of investment and in particular jobs.

"Sinn Fein have a realistic chance of winning the EU seat and standing up for the interests of ordinary people in our towns and rural communities - defending their interests in Europe." ENDS

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Lagan Valley Sinn Féin Representative Cllr. Paul Butler has expressed his shock at the killing of a man outside Oakwood Integrated Primary School this morning.

Cllr. Butler said:

" This morning a man leaving children off at Oakwood primary school in Dunmurray was shot and killed by a number of men. Whatever the motivation this killing was wrong and should not have happened.

" People in the area are deeply shocked at this morning's shooting especially given the fact that it took place in front of young children. I would wish to place on the record my own shock at this killing and extend my sympathy to the dead man's friends and family." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Equality Document 2004 download here.

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Dublin EU candidate Mary Lou McDonald was joined by South Down Assembly member Catríona Ruane and Dublin local election candidates Sorcha Nic Chormaic, Aíne Ní Gabhann and Bernie Quinn for the launch of the Sinn Féin Women's Manifesto in Buswell's Hotel in Dublin this morning. Ms McDonald said: "Our manifesto is simple. It demands equality for women in every area of their lives and it states the most obvious means to achieve it."

Ms McDonald said:

"Women do not enjoy equal status in Ireland today. This is reflected, not just in politics, but in the workplace, in the home and in every other area of a woman's life. According to the ESRI, "One in every four women in Ireland raising children or managing households on their own will experience poverty despite our economic boom." This society needs a complete sea-change, if women are ever to enjoy the rights that they are fully entitled to.

"One of the more visible areas of inequality is the political arena. Women are still not fully represented in either national politics or in local government. Women make up 51% of our population, but only 13% of TDs are women. 10 counties have no women TDs and only 15% of elected Councillors are women.

"Two of our five candidates for the EU elections are women and 21% of our local government candidates are women. While this represents an improvement, we are committed to continuing to work in this area until we achieve full gender parity.

"Sinn Féin believes that we cannot have a just and free society without equality for women. Our manifesto is simple. It demands equality for women in every area of their lives and it states the most obvious means to achieve it. For example, we're calling for:

  • State and public bodies to implement 60/40 gender quotas on boards of management and in the policy making arena, and the appointment of at least 40% women to the next EU Commission
  • An increase in the minimum wage and the elimination of the gender pay gap
  • paid parental leave
  • Extended maternity benefit from 18 weeks to 26 weeks
  • The abolition of the means test for full time carers
  • A central unit to co-ordinate Government strategy, policy and funding for childcare and reversal of the decision to withdraw the childcare allowance from single parents on the Return to Education programme
  • Adequate funding to local authorities for implementing targets for the elimination of housing waiting lists
  • A free and prompt national breast screening programme for all women over 40 and free and regular cervical screening for all teenage girls and women
  • Increased secure funding for local crisis and support services for women experiencing violence, and the enlargement of the network of refuges
  • old age pensioners‚ social insurance contributions to be linked to inflation
  • The introduction of a rights-based Disability Bill
  • The repeal of the Housing Miscellaneous Provisions Act that criminalises Traveller women
  • The introduction of legislation that allows for discrimination against non-national women or that violates our international obligation to protect refugee women, to be opposed.

"Until we have implemented all of these demands, women will remain the lesser partner in this society. Building an Ireland of Equals in one of Sinn Féin‚s core objectives, and as part of that we will continue to campaign for absolute equality for women." ENDS

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Speaking during a Women Into Politics sponsored EU debate entitled 'Why Europe matters To Women' Sinn Féin EU candidate Bairbre de Brún outlined the partys 'broad ranging and radical equality agenda'. The detail of that agenda is contained in the partys Equality manifesto which was launched this morning.

Ms de Brún said:

"Sinn Féin wants to build an Ireland of equals in a Europe of equals. This is not an empty phrase but a real aspiration, which we believe can be achieved.

"The EU provides us all with an opportunity to further and deepen the equality agenda at home, throughout Europe and indeed globally.

"This morning Sinn Féin launched our equality manifesto, and central to that is a series of proposals for addressing inequality across the EU. However it is important to remember that women are not only interested in women's issues strictly defined.

"Sinn Féin wants to see real and meaningful equality proofing put in place across all areas of EU policy formulation and decision taking. Whether it be programmes for tackling the crisis in our farming and maritime communities; the need for greater support for the community and voluntary sector; the need for greater access to training and employment to name but a few key issues, the gender impact of these issues needs to be addressed in a way that is fully consistent with the principles of equality of access and of outcome.

"Among the many policy commitments we have made in our EU manifesto are:

  • the introduction of a mechanism for equality-proofing all EU law and policy
  • the levelling-up of equality rights protections throughout the EU
  • full incorporation of the three existing EU Equality Directives into domestic law (the Employment Equality Directive, the Gender Equal Treatment Directive and the Racial Equality Directive), including their application to non-nationals
  • the introduction of more comprehensive EU anti-discrimination legislation with similar scope to the Racial Equality Directive, including:
  • new comprehensive Gender, Disability, & Lesbian & gay Equality Directives

Sinn Féin wants to play our part, working with others, to develop a comprehensive equality and human rights agenda throughout the European Union' ENDS

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Sinn Féin Representative for East Belfast Joe O'Donnell has said that the failure of the PSNI to identify which one of its members deliberately drove at residents in the Short Strand area to allow a prosecution to be mounted showed clearly that 'the canteen culture of secrecy and cover-up was alive and well'.

Cllr. O'Donnell said;

" The revelation that the PSNI have refused to identify which one of its members was involved in endangering the lives of residents living in the Short Strand by driving at them at high speed will come as no surprise to those of us who experienced their policing of this area during the disturbances two summers ago.

" This is a further demonstration that the canteen culture of concealment and cover-up is alive and well within the ranks of the PSNI. This revelation raises many questions for those who continue to provide support and political cover for this force and its Chief Hugh Orde The SDLP in particular can no longer continue to run away from these issues.

" They tell us that accountability and transparency are now paramount. Yet time and again we see instances where the PSNI deliberately and consciously engages in cover up. We have seen it with collusion and with the murders of Roaseanne Mallon and Pearse Jordan and now we see it with this case in the Short Strand.

" The SDLP and others should stop living in denial and should recognise what the majority of nationalists in the six counties believe, that what passes for policing here is not an acceptable or accountable policing service. Instead of providing support for a Hugh Orde charm offensive they should join with the rest of us in demanding the fundamental policing changes which are required." ENDS

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