07/08/2002

SF renew attacks on SDLP over policing board

A war of words has erupted between Northern Ireland's two main nationalist and republican parties, with Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy accusing the SDLP of desperately trying to find "political cover" for joining the Policing Board.

Hitting out at the SDLP's policing role, Mr Murphy said: "In recent weeks high level SDLP supporters such as 'independent' Policing Board members Tom Kelly and Denis Bradley have tried to present an argument for Sinn Féin joining the Policing Board.

"These increasingly desperate attempts to provide political cover for the mistakes of the SDLP mirror the nervousness of many local SDLP councillors who are being forced onto the local District Policing Boards."

However, SDLP South Down MP, Eddie McGrady said a new policing service could not begin without Sinn Fein's involvement on the board.

He said that Sinn Fein should not only commit themselves by signing up to the Policing Board, but also condemn intimidation tactics currently being used against new recruits to the PSNI.

"The SDLP is in the business of creating a new policing service based on the Patten principles at Westminster, at Weston Park and in the Implementation Strategy, we are determined to create that new beginning," he said.

"Accountable policing won't be obtained through yelping from the sidelines, but through total participation in the detail of its implementation. A new policing service won't be constructed through abstentionism."

Mr Murphy hit back saying that Sinn Féin's position was "crystal clear".

"We will not look at endorsing policing until the British Government bring forward the legislation which they have admitted, along with the SDLP, Irish Government and ourselves, is required to bridge the current deficit in accountability. The reality is that the Police Board is unable to hold the PSNI to account," Mr Murphy said. "For two years loyalists have waged a sectarian campaign against nationalists. The PSNI appear to be powerless, or perhaps unwilling, to do anything to stop this sectarian onslaught. Policing Board deputy chair Denis Bradley and a large number of SDLP elected representatives have admitted as much."

Mr Murphy added: "Sinn Féin joining a toothless Policing Board will not bridge the policing deficit and the SDLP know this. Whether the British Government live up to commitments on putting the policing deficit right will be the basis of Sinn Féin's decisions on policing."

(MB)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

21 December 2021
New Energy Group Established
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons is encouraging people to apply for new posts that have been created in his Department's Energy Group. The Department for the Economy is seeking individuals with experience in the energy sector to take forward the important and exciting work on energy decarbonisation.
05 January 2022
New Cybersecurity Course Announced For NI's Farming Businesses
A new Key Skills Cybersecurity course for farming families in NI has been announced. Increasing use of the internet leads to increased opportunities and effort by criminals to access and steal your assets and farm businesses are not immune from fraud and cyber-attacks.
20 December 2021
New Research Projects Published On Transport Changes For Climate Action
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced the publication of four research projects exploring transport changes needed to help tackle the climate emergency.
10 December 2021
Stormont Officials Plan For Potential New Year Covid Restrictions
NI First Minister Paul Givan has said Stormont officials are planning potential further restrictions when the Omicron variant is expected to become more dominant early next year. Mr Givan said the transmission rate of the variant is causing concern for Great Britain.
29 November 2021
£150m Queen's Quay Development Consultation Launches
A new public consultation has been launched on the proposed £150m future development of the Queen's Quay area of Belfast's waterfront.