Sinn Féin - On Your Side

SDLP continue to dodge core Policing issues

16 July, 2004

West Belfast Sinn Féin Assembly member Michael Ferguson has accused the SDLP's Alex Attwood of 'dodging the core issue of the conduct of the PSNI over the past week'.

Mr Ferguson said:

"For nationalists and republicans the issue of the PSNI is very clear. The vast majority of the nationalist and republican community have endorsed the Sinn Féin position in successive elections. The SDLP endorsed and are continuing to endorse flawed and unaccountable policing.

"In the past few weeks the PSNI have hemmed in nationalist communities on the Springfield Road, Ardoyne and Lurgan in order to facilitate anti-Catholic parades through those areas. In Ardoyne they attacked and assaulted local people including the Assembly member for the area Gerry Kelly.

"Alex Attwood's senior colleague on the Policing Board Des Rea absolved the PSNI from any blame for the breaches of the Parades Commission determinations or for the attacks on the nationalist community. This from the head of the body Alex Attwood claims will hold the PSNI to account.

"Instead of following the line from other senior SDLP representatives including Martin Morgan that the SDLP should review their position on Policing Alex Attwood continues to defend the PSNI and instead turns to attacking Sinn Féin. The defend the indefensible position being adopted by Alex Attwood will further anger nationalists and republicans who have witnessed the activities of the PSNI over the marching season.

"The fact is that the PSNI is still unionist in its ethos and make-up and when it comes to a decision between Orange demands and nationalist rights the PSNI will always adopt the unionist position. It would be more productive for Mr Attwood to admit this and join with Sinn Féin in attempting to get policing right." ENDS

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