31/05/2007

Policing Board announces committee members

The Northern Ireland Policing Board has met today to announce a number of appointments to the Board's various committees, that for the first time includes members of Sinn Fein who have taken their seats.

Alex Maskey, Martina Anderson and Daithi McKay will be presenting the party, which voted to back police in Northern Ireland for the first time.

Sir Desmond Rea and Barry Gilligan were unanimously re-elected as Board Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively.

Speaking after his re-election, Sir Desmond Rea said: "This is an eventful time for Northern Ireland and I am honoured, along with my Vice Chairman Barry Gilligan, to have been re-elected.

"For nearly a decade policing has been one of the central issues of the peace process and of the political negotiations that have brought us to this point. While this is the third Policing Board to have been established since November 2001, it is the first that includes the community's elected representatives from across the whole political spectrum."

Mr Gilligan echoed Sir Desmond's comments, saying: "Policing in Northern Ireland still faces many challenges but my fellow Members have indicated their full commitment to the job in hand. Engaging communities and building public confidence in policing will be a priority for the new Board - particularly where communities have been disaffected.

"The board has made a significant contribution to the policing reform process to date; and as we move forward, I along with my fellow Members, look forward to playing the part in helping make our communities safer and ensuring the delivery of a policing service which meets community needs," he said.

Under the Policing Board's Standing Orders, Sir Desmond and Barry Gilligan were elected for a two year term. The first public session of the new Policing Board will take place on 6 June at Waterside Tower, Clarendon Dock, Belfast.

(JM/SP)

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