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North Antrim Sinn Féin Assembly member Philip McGuigan has claimed that PSNI policy in the area is being decided by the Orange Order. Mr McGuigan's comments come after local PSNI Commanders confirmed to residents in Dunloy that they would be sealing off the town during this Sunday's Republican parade as a result of demands being made by the Orange Order.

Mr McGuigan said:

"This weekend in Dunloy a series of events are being held to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the killing of IRA Volunteers Henry Hogan and Declan Martin by the SAS in the town. These will culminate with a parade through the town on Sunday.

"The parade has the support of the local community and will pass off without incident. The PSNI are aware of this yet they are insisting on placing a ring of steal around the town on Sunday. When pressed about this by march organisers the local PSNI Commander said that the decision to mount this offensive operation came about as a result of pressure being applied by the Orange Order.

"It seems that policing policy in this area is being dictated by the demands of a secret anti-Catholic society. So much for the supposed accountability of the PSNI. This revelation poses very serious questions for the PSNI and for those nationalists who continue to argue support for the current flawed policing arrangements" ENDS

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Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has added his voice to those demanding that the British Direct Rule Minister Ian Pearson ends the bullying of the Nipsa workers engaged in industrial action and instead sits down with union representatives and resolves the dispute.

Mr Adams said:

"The bullying attitude being adopted by the Minister Ian Pearson regarding the Civil Service workers currently engaged in industrial action is unacceptable. This sort of Thatcherite, cavalier approach to industrial relations will not work.

"Mr Pearson needs to sit down with Nipsa and find an equitable solution to this dispute through dialogue. Threatening or suspending workers involved in this action does not contribute to an environment in which this dispute can be resolved." ENDS

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Sinn Fein President and West Belfast MP Gerry Adams speaking this evening at an event in West Belfast attended by the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said:

"I welcome the Taoiseach's visit here. I have read his remarks in Coleraine and I welcome these also. I am broadly in agreement with the broad thrust of his comments, especially his reiteration of 'the Government's role as co-guarantor with the British Government of the Good Friday Agreement'.

"But the Taoiseach should know that Republicans and Nationalists, particularly here in the North will ask what does that mean in terms of their lives and their rights and entitlements as Irish citizens. They want delivery on these issues and they look to our government, as a co-guarantor, to ensure that delivery.

"So what are the issues that require delivery? I won't rehearse all of them here but they include crucially the suspension by the British Government of the institutions, they include the gutting of the electoral register and the denial to citizens of the right to vote.

"There is also huge dissatisfaction at the British Government's refusal to publish the Cory Report despite commitments to the families involved that this would be done. In fact the Taoiseach should be aware that the issue of collusion remains a huge issue.

"Attacks by loyalist elements continue. Last night's attack on a woman of 105 and others in the north of this city are sad proof of that. There are also issues which are directly the responsibility of the Irish Government. This includes the status of the Irish language and proper funding and resourcing for it. It includes the issue of prisoners and most importantly the right of Northerners to have representation and participation in political institutions in Dublin.

" I note Taoiseach you are aware of all these issues and others. Your visit today gives you the chance to discuss at first hand the concerns and hopes of people here. It also gives you the opportunity to hear the details of the social and economic needs of the citizens in the West Belfast partnership board area".

The Sinn Fein West Belfast MP also spoke about the Partnership Board and the problems faced by the people of WB.

" The level of deprivation and social need outlined in the report is an urgent call to action. Many of the problems faced by West Belfast can be found in communities across Ireland. We have much to share and learn from these communities. The difficulties facing West Belfast have been exasperated by decades of structured political discrimination and conflict. There is a need to address all of this, as well as the socio-economic issues on an all Ireland level. And so it is welcome that the Taoiseach is here today

"The 'statement of need' demonstrates the scale of resources required to address need in West Belfast and a new way of delivering public services. This will require public services, government departments, community representatives and the private sector working to redress decades of discrimination and disadvantage.

"These issues can be resolved by True Partnerships.Partnership at the Governmental/Executive level, Partnership at a city and

constituency level and partnerships delivering local public services. The experience of the West Belfast Economic Taskforce shows that the

Partnership approach can deliver. Following our lobby the Executive sponsored the initiative and established a partnership of departments, community representatives and private business.

"This process allowed everyone to think outside their respective boxes and address complex interrelated problems.Through this process, the Taskforce developed creative solutions to the economic problems across all of West Belfast.

"While there was a delay in delivering these recommendations we have now secured £8 million for Job Assist Centres, £27 million for redevelopment of Mackies and we are currently completing a bid in excess of £20million from the new Integrated Development Fund.

"While theses are large scale interventions more needs to be done. We need £30million over the next 3rys to deal with educational underachievement (figures from BELB). We need 4200 new houses over the next 5 years. (NIHE)

"The Taskforce process demonstrates the ability of partnerships to create solution and oversee change.However for a partnership to be successful we now know that we require to departments willing to truly engage and must have budgets to allow for the implementation of their recommendations.

"For the power of partnerships to be unleashed will require a change in the delivery of public services. A change which I believe is happening. And it will require the allocation of additional resources to meet the challenge of regeneration.

"A first step would be to resource the West Belfast Partnership Board and its member groups so, along with political representatives, the communities view for can be heard.

"I would hope that the production of the statement of need is another step in addressing the multiple deprivation experienced in West Belfast.

Thanks to the West Belfast Partnership Board".ENDS

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Speaking today at the Queens University sponsored European Liaison Seminar Series, Sinn Féin spokesperson on European Affairs Bairbre de Brún has called for a greater focus on the impact of the EU on the day-to-day lives of people across the Six Counties.

Speakers in the debate include Evelyn Collins from the Equality Commission and Seamus McAleavey of NICVA.

Ms de Brún called on politicians, statutory and voluntary bodies and the media to do more to ensure that people here have a real voice in EU affairs.

Ms de Brún said:

"Up to 70% of all legislation affecting the North of Ireland originates in the EU. Despite this fact, many organisations and people only come to understand the impact of this when it comes to implementing the legislation locally. In other parts of the EU there is a substantial and lively engagement with EU issues well before the eventual passing of laws in national or regional parliaments.

"There is a great need for a more open and democratic engagement with the role played by the EU in the lives of ordinary people here. Politicians have a crucial role in advocating and publicising key issues which affect the ordinary citizen, whether they be the future of structural or community support funding, equality measures or the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.

"Equally the media have a valuable contribution to make, by giving greater prominence to EU issues. We need to be discussing issues while they are in the early stages of development, rather than after the decision has been made. This will enable citizens to input into policy making in a more meaningful way.

"The Women's Sector and the Farming Community here are clearly ahead of other sectors in their level of engagement, and offer a model for others to follow. However this kind of activity requires support and resourcing if the interests of communities are to be promoted and protected in Brussels and Strasbourg.

"For too long, people here have paid too little attention to the impact of the EU locally. In light of the ongoing negotiations on the EU constitution and the impact of enlargement this attitude needs to change." ENDS

Note to Editors: The seminar is organised by the QUB Centre for European Studies, will take place on Thursday 19th Feburary in the Senate Room, QUB, Belfast from 11am.

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North Belfast Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly has said that last nights sectarian attacks in Cliftondene Gardens and Cresent and in Cliftonpark Avenue were carried out by loyalists and mark a very worrying development.

Mr Kelly said:

"Last night homes in Cliftondene Gardens and Cresent were attacked with bricks and paint, including the home of a 105 year old woman, and in Cliftonpark Avenue homes were attacked with petrol bombs. The attackers were seen running back into the Glenbryn estate.

"I have no doubt that loyalists were behind these attacks and they mirror almost exactly attacks carried out by the UDA in this area 12 months ago.

"Last nights attacks are clearly a very worrying development and I hope that this does not mark the commencement of another wave of sectarian attacks on Catholic homes in North Belfast by loyalist groupings." ENDS

Editors Note: Mr Kelly is available for interview at 12 noon at the corner of Cliftendene Gardens and Oldpark Road (Corner after Alliance Avenue)

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Sinn Fein's EU Candidate for Dublin, Mary Lou McDonald today accused the Irish Government of having "no backbone over the 'Big Three Summit' meeting in Berlin". Germany, France and Britain are holding the summit meeting today (18.02.04), to discuss a range of European issues. This meeting will take place just in advance of a major meeting of the European Council in March.

Responding to the Berlin Summit, Ms McDonald said:

"Sinn Fein is concerned that the three most powerful nations in Europe - Germany, France and Britain, are holding a meeting regarding key European issues such as economic growth, immigration and the European constitution. This meeting will be held behind closed doors, and without consultation with the other member states".

"The very fact that the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern does not seem unduly concerned by this meeting, serves to highlight the attitude of the Irish government towards the increasingly elitist and exclusive private club that the EU is being transformed into. Indeed, his lack of concern is not shared by many of his EU counterparts, as both the Spanish and Italian Premiers have protested about their exclusion from the talks. During the Irish Presidency, Mr Ahern should be ensuring a more inclusive dialogue between member states, rather than supporting exclusive meetings by powerful nations. It has become quite clear that Mr Ahern has shown no backbone over the 'Big Three Summit‚ in Berlin, nor indeed any compulsion to try to halt the emerging two-speed‚ Europe.

"This is not the first time that such meetings with selective agendas and selective invitees have occurred. The changing structures of the EU, through the Draft Constitution, facilitate and indeed, encourage such elitist activities by the larger nations. Sinn Fein is concerned that the two tier Europe which we have consistently argued against, is increasingly becoming a reality." ENDS

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Reacting to proposals from Policing Board Chairperson Des Rea and the Vice Chair Denis Bradley regarding the issue of truth recovery, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice issues Gerry Kelly said:

"In a sense there are two issues raised by Des Rea's comments. There is the issue of human rights abusers within the current policing structures and then there is the separate issue of developing a truth recovery process.

"Des Rea is the Chairperson of the Policing Board. The fact is that the RUC moved en masse into the PSNI. This means that at the heart of the current policing arrangements are those human rights abusers who organised and participated in a campaign of terror against the nationalist community. These people should not be involved in the current policing arrangements. If Des Rea's announcement today is about protecting these people and maintaining their role within existing policing structures then that is totally unacceptable.

"The proposal for a commission to report on this issue will in effect become another stalling mechanism. In the case of Pat Finucane all of the key people involved were British agents and we have already had 15 years of stalling aimed at preventing the truth emerging. The British State is desperately trying to hide the truth. Are the senior figures in the Policing Board including Denis Bradley now telling the Finucane family and others that they support continued stalling.

"Last September Sinn Féin attempted to begin a debate around the issue of truth when we published a consultation document on the issue. That work is continuing under my colleague Philip McGuigan.

"Different families of those killed throughout the past three decades have different models in mind to find the truth or closure. Some families want inquires and others want prosecutions. Many of the families I have spoken to want to know who was politically responsible for orchestrating and developing a campaign of State sponsored murder in the North.

"Sinn Féin has consistently supported families and we will continue to do this.

"Sinn Féin's position is that we want to see the truth and the development of a victim based process to achieve this." ENDS

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Sinn Féin Assembly Group leader Conor Murphy has said that a report by the Police Ombudsman finding no evidence of wrongdoing regarding the PSNI political raid on the Sinn Féin Offices in Stormont was flawed.

Mr Murphy said:

"In my opinion this determination from the Police Ombudsman is deeply flawed. It simply repeats information given to it by the PSNI and passes no judgement on its reliability.

"The Ombudsman seems content to believe a cock and bull story from the PSNI that hundreds of PSNI personnel happened to be wearing riot gear at 9am in the morning when they were supposedly drafted in at the last minute to take part in the raid.

"They quote the apology from Hugh Orde but fail to identify the wrongdoing for which Mr Orde was publicly apologising.

"The fact is that the raid on Stormont was part of a politically motivated operation carried out by Special Branch to undermine the political process. The street theatre at Stormont with armoured jeeps and riot police was an essential part of the overall operation.

"I will be taking this matter back to the party's legal advisers and I intend to proceed further with this case." ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLAs Bairbre de Brún and Alex Maskey this afternoon met with US Congressman Jim Walsh at the US Consulate in Belfast. Speaking after the meeting Ms de Brún said that the meeting provided 'a valuable opportunity to update Congressman Walsh on the current state of the Peace Process and present him with a briefing document on the shredding of the electoral Register here in the North'.

Ms de Brún said:

"As the Chairperson of the US Congress Friends of Ireland Group Congressman Walsh has been a strong supporter of the development of the Irish Peace Process over many years. Today's meeting provided us with an opportunity to update Congressman Walsh on the current state of the peace process.

"We impressed upon him our belief that there is an effort being made to present the current difficulties as a problem of IRA violence and of the parties refusing to share power. This is false. Sinn Féin has set our face against violence, and the parties which refuse to share power are the unionists.

"An added difficulty is the refusal by the governments, especially the British, to deliver on their commitments and we again raised the issue of collusion and the failure to act on the Cory Report at today's meeting.

"We presented Congressman Walsh with a briefing document detailing the decimation of the Electoral Register and the damaging effect this has had in undermining confidence in the electoral process at a time when all of our efforts have been on establishing the primacy of politics in the North." ENDS

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Speaking during the Report stage of the Aer Lingus Bill 2003 Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Seán Crowe TD accused the Minister for Transport of blindly pursuing a privatisation agenda in relation to the sell off of Aer Lingus and of deliberately initiating confrontations with public sector unions. Deputy Crowe said:

"Sinn Féin is completely opposed to plans to sell off Aer Lingus. This Government, and the Minister himself in particular, present a clear danger to semi-State companies with their blind faith in market forces and in privatisation and sell-off as the solution to our economic problems. In less than two years the Minister has managed to initiate confrontations with a variety of public sector unions and exacerbate the situation by refusing to negotiate except through media soundbites.

"The legislation gives the Minister for Finance the power to sell off the company any time he sees fit. When the decision is made, the general principles of the Bill, which could be as vague as the Minister desires, and judging by his proposals to break up Aer Rianta and CIE we can expect a high level of vagueness, will be voted through by the voting fodder on the Government backbenches after the Opposition is allowed some time to talk about what a bad deal it is.

"It is because the amendment made no real difference to the ability of the Government to sell off the company that Minister Brennan had no difficulty accepting it. Whether the Minister for Finance can sell shares at the drop of a hat or has to come to the Dáil for a rubber stamp does not make a great deal of difference in the end of the day. This Bill is still primarily about the desire of the Government to sell off Aer Lingus, using the employee share ownership plan as a cover.

"Aer Lingus is an extremely successful, and profitable, company and a valuable state asset. This Government is not capable of exercising the powers that would be granted it under this legislation and so my amendments are designed to restrict its abilities to do so." ENDS

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Speaking during the report and final stages of the Industrial Relations (miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2003, Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Enterprise Arthur Morgan criticised the Social Partnership Process for failing to deliver any real improvements to the lives of the workers of the State.

Deputy Morgan said:

"As I have said in this house on previous occasions, this government is anti-union and it is no surprise that it is anti-union in that it is presided over by the man responsible for the introduction of the most vicious piece of anti-union legislation on the statute books - the Industrial Relations Act 1990 which was designed to crack down on Union activity. This Bill merely represents the scraps from the IBEC table thrown to workers during the most recent round of Social Partnership talks.

"The Government and employers' organisations are making workers bargain or more accurately beg for rights, which are justly theirs, as part of the wider social partnership deal. These are not concessions. Employer recognition of unions, compliance with labour legislation and the fulfilling of statutory redundancy rights are all basic workplace rights. These should not even be on the negotiating table. Legislation to enshrine Union recognition in law is long overdue and many will draw their own conclusions from the fact that Social Partnership has failed to deliver this most fundamental workers' right. This Government must do more to tackle low pay and ensure that workers in this State receive a living wage.

"This Bill should have been used as an opportunity to enshrine Union recognition in law. That it has not done so is profoundly unsatisfactory. This Bill makes no meaningful change to existing legislation." ENDS

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Sinn Féin TD for Louth and spokesperson on the Environment and Local Government Arthur Morgan responded today to the increase in motor taxation saying it "represents yet another attempt by this government to raise revenue through inequitable taxes."

Deputy Morgan said:

"Sinn Féin has time and again addressed the Government's habit of addressing revenue shortfalls through stealth taxes rather than through the general taxation system. There is no concern at Government level of the impact that measures such as this unwarranted increase in motor tax will have on the less well off. All policies and in particular tax policies should be poverty-proofed to asses their impact.

"We strongly support public transport and believe that proper funding for public transport must be a government priority. This government needs to begin the process of enabling people to move away from the excessive use of private vehicles which is both damaging to the environment and causes huge traffic problems. However because this State has a severe deficiency of public transport - particularly in rural areas - people are unable to make the change to public transport. Rural citizens suffer disproportionately as a result of measures such as this motor tax increase as they have absolutely no choice but to use private transport. Young motorists in particular are currently crippled by insurance, tax and increasingly by tolls on the State's motorways.

"Rather than introducing this increased taxation on all motorists, the Minister should be introducing measures linked to usage, such as a carbon tax, which would encourage people to move towards public transport. Such a move is urgently needed to reduce CO2 emissions in this State, which have grown well beyond the limits permitted by the Kyoto protocol. The State is facing enormous fines or alternatively spending huge amounts of revenue on emissions trading.

This State should take its responsibilities seriously and should not resort solely to emission trading. The national exchequer will benefit from any actions which result in a reduction in emissions."ENDS

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Sinn Féin Assembly Member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly along with party colleague Paul Butler this morning attended the launch of the Coiste na n-iarchimí (Republican ex prisoners groups) proposals for the future of the Long Kesh site.

Mr Kelly said:

"I welcome the launch of this document by Coiste na n-iarchimí a group which represents 20 separate ex prisoner projects across the island. It is right and proper that former prisoners, many of whom spent many years in Long Kesh, have their say on the future of the site.

"It is Sinn Féín's belief that at a minimum one of the cages, the hospital block, a H-Block and the administration area should be retained as well as any documentation or records relating to the Hunger Strike period for use in a future museum.

"It would be our intention to meet with the committee tasked to bring forward proposals for the site in the coming weeks and publish our own ideas for the future of Long Kesh at that time." ENDS

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Commenting after a Belfast court dismissed an application by UPRG representative Frank McCoubrey for a Judicial review aimed at unseating West Belfast MP Gerry Adams, party Councillor Paul Maskey said:

"It was evident from the start of this case that it had no basis in law or indeed fact. Gerry Adams has consistently represented people from all areas of West Belfast. He was elected at the last Westminster election with one of the largest majorities in the six counties.

"The application for a Judicial Review taken by loyalist Councillor Frank McCoubrey was this morning dismissed in court. This decision was inevitable given the shallow nature of the case which included a petition signed by people listing various public houses and drinking clubs in North and West Belfast as their addresses and by leading members of the notorious UDA C Company including Johnny Adair.

"Gerry Adams will continue to represent all of the people of West Belfast. The constituency service which his office provides in second to none a fact which can be confirmed by the people in unionist areas of West Belfast who have had occasion to use it over the years." ENDS

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Sinn Féin MLA's including Housing Spokesperson Fra McCann (West Belfast), Kathy Stanton (North Belfast), John O‚Dowd (Upper Bann), Francie Brolly (East Derry), Willie Clarke (South Down), Michelle Gildernew (Fermanagh South Tyrone) and Geraldine Dougan (Mid Ulster) will be briefed by the Chief Executive of the Housing Executive Paddy McIntyre and Head of Client Services Colm Mcaughley on housing issues tomorrow, Thursday 19th February, at 10am in Stormont Buildings.

Issues that will be addressed in the meeting include: -

· Anti-social Behaviour

· Homelessness

· Disability Adaptations

· Rural Housing

· Housing Sales Scheme

· Grants Scheme

· Housing Need/New Build

· Affordable Housing

Speaking ahead of the meeting Fra McCann said:

"There is a housing crisis facing us. Across the board it is clear that many aspects of housing policy are failing to meet need, particularly on the issue of dealing with problem tenants and the anti-social behaviour legislation, the homelessness strategy and the demand for more social housing." ENDS

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Commenting on reports that the PSNI are seeking to build their new training facility in Cookstown, local MP Martin McGuinness said that many local people would be uneasy at the proposal given the many outstanding questions which need to be resolved over policing.

Mr McGuinness said:

"The overwhelming majority of people in this area support the Sinn Féin position on policing. They would be uneasy at the construction of a PSNI training facility while the business of achieving an acceptable policing service is still ongoing.

"In recent times we have read the report into the murder of Sean Brown in Mid Ulster, we have seen the PSNI refusing to co-operate with the inquests into the killings of Roasanne Mallon and nine others in Tyrone. There is the continuing issue of the British government failure to publish the Cory report and their failure to demilitarise policing in the north.

"It can also be assumed that any PSNI college will be used to train recruits in the use of plastic bullets and other repressive measures and it will not have at its core the Human Rights ethos demanded by the Patten Report.

"Sinn Féin's focus will continue to be on getting policing right and we will not be distracted from that task by speculation surrounding the siting of the new PSNI training facility." ENDS

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Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew has demanded that Ian Pearson 'stop acting like a bully boy' and begin proper negotiations with the Civil Service union. Ms Gildernew's comments come after reports that a member of staff involved in the industrial action has been suspended.

Ms Gildernew said:

"Ian Pearson claims to belong to a Labour party. Yet he is prepared to stand by and watch Trade Union members involved in industrial action be suspended from their jobs.

"It would be more appropriate for Mr Pearson to stop acting like a bully boy and sit down with the Union representatives and negotiate an end to the current dispute." ENDS

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Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD has welcomed the decision by the EU Committee on Petitions to examine the issues raised by retired Irish farmers who feel that they are being hard done by under the Single Farm Payment. A number of groups who represent farmers who took part in the Early Retirement Scheme have raised concerns about the manner in which their entitlements are being established under the new decoupled payment.

Deputy Ferris said: "While I have welcomed full decoupling as part of the reform of the CAP, I have been aware for some time of the difficulties that are facing those farmers who took part in the ERS. They now feel that they are going to lose out due to the manner in which their entitlements will be established over the reference years chosen by the Department.

"This has come up before the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture where Minister Walsh and his officials, and members like myself, have been made aware of the problems that exist. The Committee will be making recommendations regarding the operation of the scheme to which I will contribute. However, I also hope that the immediate issues regarding the Single Farm Payment will be addressed in a substantial way by the Department. Hopefully, the examination of the petition will help to clarify some of these." ENDS

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West Belfast Sinn Féín Assembly member Michael Ferguson has accused the PSNI of engaging in a stunt after they distributed questionnaires throughout the Andersonstown area seeking the views of the community on the closure of their military spy base in the area and he also raised concerns about where information gathered will end up.

Mr Ferguson said:

"The decision of the PSNI to post out questionnaires in the Andersonstown area to seek the views of the community on the future of their military base in the area shows just how out of touch they are with the community they are supposed to serve.

" The people of West Belfast have made it abundantly clear what they think of having a spy post in the heart of the local community. It should be closed down and the land passed to the local community for the benefit of all.

" Given the track record of the PSNI and the RUC in gathering information and passing it on to the unionist death squads many people believe that this trawl for information may have sinister motives. For these reasons it is my belief that the vast majority of people will simply ignore this sort of PSNI stunt." ENDS

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Responding to the publication of the Garda Siochána Bill 2004 today, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said he "recognised that improvements had been made" to the Minister's original proposals but that the Bill was still deficient. He went on to say, "We need to get this critical area of public policy exactly right, not partly right".

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"We are still considering this lengthy 86-page Bill. We recognise the changes and welcome the improvements that have been made since the Heads of the Bill were published last summer but having said that, we want to give it the detailed consideration it deserves.

"It is clear that some of these changes have been introduced as a result of the proposals put forward by both Sinn Féin and human rights groups who have taken an active interest in this issue.

"And while we welcome the increased powers the Minister intends to give to his 'Ombudsman Commission', from my reading the Bill still falls far short, particularly in relation to one area of specific concern - that is the lack of power to conduct retrospective investigations. If we are to redress the legacy of the deficiencies that have existed in relation to the Garda Complaints Authority, the power to conduct retrospective investigations is crucial.

"We are also not convinced that the Minister's reforms will provide for sufficient civilian oversight, transparency and local accountability. We acknowledge that he has introduced some changes to his original proposals but both the Minister and the Garda Commissioner still retain too much discretionary power under the Bill as published.

"This is a critical area of public policy. We must get it exactly right not - partly right.

"We believe it is still possible to achieve a Bill that is based on international best practice and which could achieve consensus support across all political parties, and the endorsement of the human rights sector, including the Irish Human Rights Commission. And while we recognise that improvements have been made, we are not there yet. This Bill is still deficient." ENDS

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