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Sinn Féin to protest at Dublin Plastic Bullet conference

19 October, 2004

Sinn Fein has called for the immediate removal of plastic bullets ahead of a conference being held today in Dublin by Jane's Defence about the use of these and other weapons. Sinn Fein will join a protest this evening at the "Less than lethal weapons" conference which is being held in The Berkley Hotel, Ballsbridge, on Tuesday 19th and Wednesday 20th October.

Aengus O Snodaigh, TD, said that the

"Sinn Fein has consistently demanded that these lethal weapons are withdrawn. There is no more debate required on this issue, only action. It is a sad reflection on the thinking of those involved in policing in Ireland today, that this conference is being held to discuss the tactical advantages of plastic bullets and other weaponry. Since the organisers do not want to listen to the voices of human rights campaigners inside their event, then we are left with no option but to make our voices heard outside today‚s event. Our message is simple: stop using plastic bullets against Irish citizens. Plastic bullets have no role to play in policing in any part of Ireland."

Gerry Kelly, MLA, Sinn Fein spokesperson on policing and justice, said :

"Plastic bullets are lethal weapons. They have no use in a human rights-based, community policing service. 17 people have been killed by plastic bullets, 8 of whom have been children, and many more people have been injured. The Patten Commission supported the call by human rights campaigners and community activists for use of plastic bullets to be stopped immediately. Instead, the PSNI and the Policing Board have continued to purchase these deadly weapons over the last two years spending almost £1million on 120,000 plastic bullets. At Leeds Castle negotiations, Sinn Fein again pressed the British government to honours it commitment to remove plastic bullets from use. Alternatives to plastic bullets must be found immediately and these must be non-lethal. There is no point replacing the current plastic bullets with a new plastic bullet. They must be banned once and for all. Sinn Fein, in solidarity with human rights groups, will continue campaigning to achieve that goal. "


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