Release Padraic Wilson Now
Speaking at a press conference in Stormont where he was joined by party colleagues Caitriona Ruane and Alex Maskey, party spokesperson on Policing Gerry Kelly called for the immediate release of Padraic Wilson.
Mr. Kelly said:
“I want to begin by reiterating our call for the immediate release of our party colleaguePadraic Wilson who was remanded in custody last Friday.
"We are also calling for the withdrawal of the bogus and politically motivated charges against him. This protest today marks the beginning of a campaign to bring this about.
"We want also to signal up again our determination to have removed from policing structures the small number of political detectives who are continuing to challenge the change agenda within policing.
"We have set ourselves the task of transforming policing,establishing new and fully accountable civic policing arrangements,of holding the policing structures and every single person within them to account. This includes the culture and mindsets which individuals within policing bring to their job.
"We will not be deterred from these objectives.
"When we embarked upon this task we anticipated a fightback from elements of the ‘old guard’ who remain within the policing structures.
"This fightback has manifested itself in various modes and at different levels in recent years.Particular examples include:
- the RUC role in the cover-up relating to who was responsible for the McGurk Bar bombing in 1971,
- the activities of SOCA
- the blocking of inquests
- obstruction of the work of the Police Ombudsmans office
- the retiring and rehiring debacle in which old guard RUC officers who retired with significant financial pay-offs were re-employed and allocated to investigations relating to Historical Enquiries
"The arrest and charging of Padraic Wilson is but the latest manifestation of lingering negative elements within the PSNI which must be removed.
"The agenda pursued by these individuals is political.It is designed to undermine the change agenda and the political processand to reverse the progress we continue to make.
"There is a particular opposition located within the Serious Crime Department which must be challenged. We will continue to challenge them and we insist that those within the senior ranks of the PSNI,in particular the CC,Matt Baggot,do likewise.
"Throughout the mid 90s and up until his release in 2000,Padraic Wilson played a pivotal role in building support among prisoners for the peace process.Since his release he has continued to play a central role in supporting and developing the Political Process. His arrest represents a very serious challenge to the political process. It has nothing at all to do with delivering justice for the McCartney family.”