Concerns grow on policing
BY SEAN BRADY
Republican and nationalist concerns at the British government's watering down of the Patten proposals has grown over the past week. Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said the Policing Bill introduced to the British House of Commons by Peter Mandelson did not keep pace with the Patten report.
``On the contrary,'' said Adams, ``his Bill emasculates these recommendations by diluting every proposition which aims to introduce democratic accountability. We will only be able to have faith in the utterances of the British Secretary of State if he changes the legislation.''
The Policing Bill entered the committee stage at the House of Commons on Tuesday, 13 June.
As part of Sinn Féin's ongoing lobbying campaign against the dilution of Patten, Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast, Gerry Kelly, was in London for a series of meetings this week. He met British and Irish government officials on the matter and accused Peter Mandelson of allowing securocrats to ``tear the guts'' out of the Patten proposals.
At a Westminster press conference on Tuesday, 13 June, Kelly said: ``If we don't reverse the direction in which we are going, then the Good Friday Asgreement is in deep trouble.
``In terms of the confidence of nationalists and the undermining of the Agreement, this is a cumulative thing and has to be treated as an issue of urgency.''
He added: ``What unionism is doing, helped unfortunately by Peter Mandelson... is trying to recreate the RUC, and if they do that, they recreate a massive problem.''