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Special Branch Managed To Collapse Political Institutions

8 December, 2005

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness said that PSNI Special Branch
operation alleging a spy ring in Stormont exposed as a sham in a Belfast
court this morning damaged the lives of ordinary people through the collapse
of the political institutions.

Mr McGuinness said:

" There never was a Sinn Féin spy ring operating from Stormont. This was a
carefully constructed lie created by the Special Branch in order to cause
maximum political impact. Its effect politically has been to collapse the
institutions and personally it has damaged the lives of the four people
originally charged and their families. This operation is as blatant an
example of political policing as you are likely to find.

" Sinn Féin said very clearly at the time that eventually this case would
fall apart. There was no evidence to sustain it. However that was not the
motivation of those responsible for carrying out this operation. Their
motivation was to collapse the political institutions and stall further
progress on policing change including of course the transfer of power to
locally elected and accountable politicians.

" The effect of this operation was to stop the work of the Executive in its
tracks. At the time as Minister of Education I was involved in important
work including the autism centre planned for Middletown and the review of
post primary education.

" At a policing level very serious questions now need to be addressed by the
British government and the PSNI. At a political level those who eagerly used
this operation to walk away from the political institutions need to reflect
long and hard on their position." ENDS

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