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SDLP challenged over CS Gas complaints

18 October, 2004

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Human Rights Caitriona Ruane has said that the SDLP are sending mixed signals on their approach to repressive policing issues. Ms Ruane's comments come after the SDLP in Derry raised concerns about the ongoing regular use of CS gas by the PSNI in the city.

Ms Ruane said;

"Recently when I publicly challenged the rising use of CS gas by the PSNI the SDLP policing spokesperson Alex Attwood attacked my remarks and said that CS gas was not repressive and was perfectly legitimate.

"Now only a matter of weeks later the SDLP in Derry are demanding meetings with the PSNI over its use and raising public concerns.

"People are at a loss to know exactly what the position of the SDLP is in relation to CS gas. They sit on the Policing Board and rubber stamped along with plastic bullets its purchase. Alex Attwood has defended the PSNI from criticism from political parties and human rights organisations about its ever increasing use.

" The SDLP cannot have it both ways. They cannot be part of a Policing Board which purchases with their support CS gas and then complain when it is used on our streets. Like plastic bullets it seems that the position of the SDLP in the privacy of the Policing Board duffers greatly from their public position afterwards." ENDS

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