O’ Dowd to meet Assistant Chief Constable Dave Jones
Sinn Féin MLA John O’ Dowd is to meet Assistant Chief Constable Dave Jones Rural Region to discuss a number of poling issues relevant to the Banbridge and Lurgan areas today.
Mr O’ Dowd said;
“Sinn Fein have sought this meeting with ACC Jones to discuss a number of issues of concern around the PSNI failure to prevent the erection of flags by loyalist in Lurgan town centre which has seen a rise in sectarian tensions in the area.
“We have already met local area commanders about the matter and are dissatisfied with their response. The PSNI need to ensure that gangs of loyalist are not allowed to take over our towns and villages to erect flags where they are not wanted .
“The scenes in Banbridge on Tuesday evening of Loyalist gathering in their hundreds to remove Tricolours are a worrying repeat of the scenes from Coleraine in May which led to the murder of one man and the attempted murder of another.
“On this occasion the PSNI did act and what could have been another terrible chapter in our history was averted. However I will be raising with PSNI the need to ensure that those responsible for such actions are dealt with and that they clearly understand that the age of isolated nationalist communities being vulnerable to such intimidation is over.
“Unionist political leaders also need to stand up these mobs instead of pandering to them and in some case negotiating on their behalf.
Concluding Mr O’ Dowd said;
“The meeting is timely coming in the wake of the appointment of a new Chief Constable who has been a promoter of community policing and involvement with the community in policing. I will be using today as opportunity to discuss with ACC Jones the need to ensure that policing in Banbridge and Lurgan despite the challenges is community focused and orientated.