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Anger at PSNI investigation into Fr. Reid comments

17 October, 2005

South Belfast Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey has hit out at the PSNI after they announced they were investigating remarks made by Fr. Alec Reid last week on a foot of a complaint by prominent loyalist Willie Frazer.

Mr Maskey said:

" Surely after a summer which has witnessed a campaign of sectarian violence from unionist paramilitaries and in the very week that former Special Branchman Eric Anderson admitted on camera to stealing and possessing confidential PSNI files the PSNI would have more to occupy their time than going on a pointless witch hunt against a catholic priest on the foot of a complaint from an individual like Willie Frazer. This move by the PSNI will cause widespread anger within broad nationalism and is further evidence of how out of touch the PSNI remain from our community.

" It is not the job of the PSNI to try and provide succour to individuals who simply do not want to have the debate about the origins of the six county state and the sectarian discrimination which underpinned its very existence. Whatever about the choice of language from Fr. Reid some sections of unionism are to a large degree in denial about the past and its role in the conflict over the past 30 years.

" Are the PSNI now also going to open investigations into the anti-Catholic statements articulated by unionist political leaders and the DUP in particular over the past 30 years, statements that were used by unionist paramilitaries as justification for killing innocent people over many years.

" Fr. Reid has apologised for his choice of words last week in a heated public meeting and that should be left at that. However unionist politicians need to have the debate about the origins of the six counties and the institutionalised discrimination which did exist and the role of all of this in creating conflict. Otherwise unionist communities will continue to view the moves towards equality demanded by the Good Friday Agreement with suspicion and hostility." ENDS

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