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SDLP Attempting To Shift Focus Away From PSNI Operations

22 July, 2004


Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty MP has accused the SDLP leader Mark Durkan of 'attempting to shift the focus away from the disgraceful PSNI policing operations in Lurgan and Ardoyne last week, onto the role and remit of the Parades Commission'.

Mr Doherty said:

" Over the 12th and 13th July in both Lurgan and Ardoyne the PSNI deliberately overturned determinations made by the Parades Commission. This was nothing to do with the powers or lack or powers the Parades Commission had. It was to do with unionists within the NIO and unionists within the PSNI deciding that Orange Order demands would always triumph over the human rights of nationalist residents.

" It is clear that the actions of the PSNI in Ardoyne and Lurgan have thrown the SDLP policing policy which supports that force into considerable disarray. Senior members of the SDLP have called for a rethink of their policing position.

" The SDLP have consistently claimed that accountability would be derived through the Policing Board. Yet the response of the Chair of the Policing Board Des Rea was to request a report from the PSNI to discuss in September while at the same time praising the PSNI operation and absolving the force of any blame.

" With it blatantly obvious that the Policing Board and the local DPPs were unable to hold the PSNI to account the SDLP then followed the Sinn Féin lead by making representations to the Irish government, British ministers and the Police Ombudsman to seek answers around the actions of the PSNI in Ardoyne and Lurgan.

" It is obvious that Mark Durkan conscious of the contradictions in the SDLP policing position in the wake of Ardoyne and Lurgan is simply attempting to shift the focus away from the disgraceful PSNI policing operations last week and onto the role and remit of the Parades Commission." ENDS

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