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Call For Orde To Get Special Branch Off the Backs of the Community

1 June, 2004

Sinn Féin Assembly member for West Belfast Michael Ferguson has accused the PSNI Special Branch of 'still conducting its dirty war against the nationalist community'. Mr Ferguson's remarks came at a press conference in Belfast where he was joined by two local men who had been pressurised to work for the Special Branch in recent weeks.

Mr Ferguson said:

"The stories told by these two men and other similar reports received by Sinn Féin about this sort of PSNI activity across the six counties

demonstrates clearly that the Special Branch's dirty war against the nationalist community continues.

"This sort of activity is bound to raise questions for those who have been so vocal in their support for the current policing arrangements.

Arrangements which clearly have at their core the Special Branch still active, still running agents, still trying to recruit agents and still trying to spy on the broad nationalist community. This sort of activity is not compatible with a new beginning to policing.

"This is not he sort of activity that we will hear members of the Policing Board discuss. The reality is that they are powerless to do anything about it and they know that to be the case.

"I am calling on Hugh Orde to get his Special Branch off the backs of these two men who have come forward and off the backs of the nationalist and republican community as a whole. He should end his media charm offensive and face up to the fact that what currently passes for policing here is unacceptable and incompatible with the demands of both Patten and the Good Friday Agreement." ENDS

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