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Events of recent days a watershed moment for public confidence in policing – O’Neill

8 February, 2021 - by Michelle O'Neill

Sinn Féin Leas Uachtarán Michelle O'Neill has said the events of recent days mark a watershed moment for public confidence in policing. 

Speaking after leading a Sinn Féin delegation which included John Finucane MP, Deirdre Hargey MLA, and Gerry Kelly MLA to meet the PSNI Chief Constable, Michelle O'Neill said: 

"We had a forthright and frank meeting with the PSNI Chief Constable to discuss the turbulent events of recent days which have caused unprecedented anger in recent times as well as discussing wider concerns around policing. 

"I made it clear that the events of last week, both the arrest of a victim laying flowers on the anniversary of the Ormeau Road massacre and the PSNI's failure to intervene as dozens of masked UVF members roamed the streets have created a crisis in public confidence in policing. 

"The stark contrast between the policing operations in East Belfast and on the Ormeau Road has caused considerable anger and I reflected this to Simon Byrne. 

"I told the Chief Constable that what happened is not the new beginning to policing that society and the community had been promised. 

"I raised the arrest of Mark Sykes, a victim of the Ormeau Road Massacre, who was led away in handcuffs, and about what will happen next in that case.

"I left the Chief Constable in no doubt that the events of recent days are a watershed moment for policing and public confidence in policing. 

"We need to see a change in the culture and ethos of policing with the community and that needs to start immediately. 

"I also raised the frustration of the families of those killed in the Ormeau Road massacre and the need for the Police Ombudsman's report into the killings to be published as soon as possible. 

"There is a pressing need to address the legacy of the past and that needs to be done by implementing the legacy mechanisms of the Stormont House Agreement in a human rights compliant manner.”

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