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Sinn Féin challenges SDLP on Policing

18 November, 2003

West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty has described the SDLP performance on policing as a record of failure and misjudgment.

Mr. Doherty said

'Sinn Fein wants to see effective, civic policing. Sinn Fein wants to support and be part of democratically accountable policing structures. We want to get policing right.

That has been our consistent focus.

The SDLP made a serious mistake in prematurely endorsing policing arrangements which fall far short of the Good Friday Agreement

They settled too soon for too little. They shattered the nationalist consensus, which could have delivered further change. Sinn Fein has been left to make this argument alone.

The SDLP are now part of policing arrangements which includes;

  • The Special Branch;
  • Plastic Bullets;
  • Militarised Barracks;
  • Interrogation Centres;
  • Repressive Legislation;
  • Human Rights abusers;
  • Impunity for those who directed loyalist death squads through collusion;

policing that is;

  • Armed;
  • Unaccountable; and
  • unrepresentative.

The SDLP also welcomed the appointment of Ronnie Flanagan and said that he was some one they could work with. They now claim that they got rid of Ronnie Flanagan.

The SDLP claim that we have the new beginning promised in the Good Friday Agreement. The reality on the ground is entirely different. Sectarian harassment continues. Loyalist gangs operate with impunity, flooding their own communities with drugs and attacking nationalist families.

How and when is the SDLP going to deliver:

  • Transfer of powers from the securocrats in London;
  • Demilitarisation of policing;
  • A routinely unarmed policing service;
  • A service representative of the whole community
  • The banning of plastic bullets;
  • An end to repressive legislation;
  • A policing service with human rights at its core;
  • An end to Special Branch control of policing;
  • The removal from the PSNI of human rights abusers and those involved in collusion with loyalist death squads;
  • An end to the PSNI practice of withholding evidence from inquests;
  • An end to politically partisan policing;
  • An end to the tolerance of loyalist gangs and an end to the tolerance of sectarian attacks on nationalists.

Sinn Fein wants to get policing right. We have made progress. We now want to finish the job of creating the new beginning to policing promised in the Good Friday Agreement. We can only do so by facing up to the RUC old guard and the securocrats. By pretending that all the problems have been dealt with the SDLP is being less than honest with the electorate." ENDS

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