30/04/2002

Nationalist party leaders discuss divisive issue of policing

The leaders of Northern Ireland’s two nationalist parties have held a breakfast meeting to discuss their divisions on policing.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams and SDLP leader Mark Durkan met early on Tuesday April 30 to discuss the division between the two parties over support for Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The SDLP became the first party to publicly endorse and back the new Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Sinn Féin have failed to accept the new police force and have so far refused to accept their two places on the Policing Board.

They have said the police reforms do not go far enough to meet the changes detailed by former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten in his police reform report.

The war between the two parties over the policing issue has grabbed headlines in recent weeks, particularly with the two parties clashing regularly in Derry City Council meetings. The SDLP has accused Sinn Féin of disrupting council business in the city and of vilifying its councillors.

In response Sinn Féin has accused the SDLP of supporting flawed policing structures that do not have the support of most nationalists and republicans.

(AMcE)

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