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Sinn Féin welcome renewed SDLP focus on plastic bullets

21 September, 2004

South Belfast Assembly member, Alex Maskey, has welcomed the SDLP's renewed focus on the issue of plastic bullets.

Mr Maskey said:

"Since they joined the policing board the SDLP have asserted that outstanding issues could be dealt with through that mechanism. Now they claim that they raised the issue at Leeds Castle. The reality is that they have singularly failed to make any impact on any of the outstanding matters through the policing board and on the emotive issue of plastic bullets they have accepted the continued arming of the PSNI with this lethal weapon. Over the past three years the Policing Board, with full SDLP participation, has spent almost £1 million on 120,000 plastic bullets.

"In contrast Sinn Fein has continued to insist that the use of plastic bullets must be ended. When it became clear that Sinn Fein was making progress on this issue, the SDLP cynically rushed to the media to claim credit. Despite this blatant opportunism, I welcome the SDLP's renewed focus on this issue and their acceptance that it has to be dealt with definitively by the British government. Our collective effort must be to bring the use of this lethal weapon to an immediate end." ENDS

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