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Sinn Féin Meets PSNI Chief Constable

16 February, 2007

A Sinn Féin delegation led by Party President Gerry Adams MP, and including Policing spokesperson Gerry Kelly, Caitriona Ruane, Michelle Gildernew MP and Alex Maskey met the PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde at PSNI Headquarters in Knock this afternoon. Speaking after the meeting Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said:

‘Sinn Féin’s focus in all of our engagements with the PSNI - indeed with all of the policing structures - will be to ensure that it carries out its duties and responsibilities in a fair and impartial way, as a civic police service, which is democratically accountable to the public.

Policing with the community needs to be the core function of any civic policing service and especially in relation to protecting the most vulnerable sections of the community. That is the elderly, women and children, and those subject to homophobic, sectarian and racist attacks and car crime and death riders.

Political, civic and community leaders have an important role to play here also.  Significant progress has been made in recent years and months to ensure that we have the necessary threshold for the new beginning to policing promised in the Good Friday Agreement. But like all new arrangements progress will be dependent upon the implementation of what has been agreed.

The recent report by the Police Ombudsman and the wider issue of Collusion meant that this issue formed a significant part of today’s meeting.

Another issue of concern which we raised with the PSNI Chief Constable is that of inquests. Today marks the 15 anniversary of the ambush at Clonoe in which four IRA Volunteers were killed by the SAS. The families of these men want truth about the deaths of their loved ones, and are worried that the PSNI may use Public Interest Immunity Certificates to withhold information and evidence from Coroners Courts. Dozens of inquests have been held up for over two decades.

Other matters we raised with Mr. Orde and his colleagues include the demilitarisation of policing structures, including the creation of a routinely unarmed police service. Our meeting with Mr. Orde covered a lot of issues. In the time ahead I would expect that other meetings will allow for more focussed discussions on specific matters.Sinn Féin is determined to get policing and justice right. We have been mandated by the Ard Fheis to drive forward this agenda. It is our intention and determination to do that.” ENDS

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