Irish Republican News · November 5, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: ARDOYNE POLICING WHITEWASH
ARDOYNE POLICING WHITEWASH

A report has endorsed a highly controversial police operation in Ardoyne on July 12th, when an Orange march -- including a mob of unionist paramilitary supporters -- was forced through three republican areas.

The PSNI’s actions, which openly defied a ruling of the Parades Commission, led to intense rioting. Baton charges by the PSNI and aggression by British paratroopers fuelled the anger of local residents, expressing frustration at the failure of the peace process to deliver change. Nore intense violence was only prevented through the direct invervention of Sinn Féin politicians.

But today’s report claimed the PSNI had complied with human rights legislation, which was published by the Policing Board. It concluded that a court ruling made days before the march had made the situation more difficult. It expressed concerns about a range of points connected to the parade and the subsequent violence.

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly said: “The report simply rubber stamps the PSNI operation which forced an anti-Catholic mob through Catholic areas and will cause further anger and offence within the broad nationalist community.”

He said his party had predicted that the report was “not about holding the PSNI to account but was simply a device aimed at taking pressure off the SDLP leadership in the face of mounting criticism from within their own ranks over their continuing support for this sort of failed policing. The contents of this report prove that to be the case. The report is little more than a whitewash and endorses the PSNI operation.”

“This outcome obviously raises very serious questions for the SDLP. Alex Attwood assured the nationalist community that the Policing Board would hold the PSNI to account over the Ardoyne operation. The opposite has proven to be the case. The report simply rubber stamps the PSNI operation which forced an anti-Catholic mob through catholic areas and will cause further anger and offence within the broad nationalist community.”

He challenged Alex Attwood to debate the contents of the report with him in Ardoyne. Mr Attwood accepted adding: “I am sure that he will agree that the debate should cover what the policing Oversight Commissioner refers to as ‘excellent progress’ on policing”.

© 2004 Irish Republican News