Irish Republican News · March 24, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Sinn Féin set to join Policing Board
Sinn Féin set to join Policing Board

Sinn Féin will participate fully in the Policing Board and other structures once the power-sharing institutions in Belfast are restored, party president Gerry Adams has said.

With Monday’s deadline looming, Mr Adams appeared to yield to DUP demands that his party confirm its support for the British PSNI police.

The DUP has rejected the party’s palicy, passed at a special Ard Fheis conference in January, which linked support for the PSNI to the continuation of the peace process.

The DUP has said it wants proof that Sinn Féin is encouraging people to pass information to the PSNI on the activities of breakaway republican armed groups.

In an interview this week, Mr Adams said that his party would fully participate in all policing structures including the controversial Policing Board “as soon as the institutions are re-established”.

“All Sinn Féin ministers will endorse the pledge of office on 26 March including the commitment to fully endorse the PSNI. There is nothing conditional in that,” Mr Adams pointed out.

“The Ard Fheis motion commits Sinn Féin to fully support the PSNI and the criminal justice system.

“Sinn Féin is delivering on policing: we have been delivering on what we promised and we will continue to do so. We have been actively giving support to the police by encouraging those with information on crimes to go to the PSNI - that has been happening since the Ard Fheis.”

“The failure of the police to behave in a fair and non-partisan way in the past constituted political policing.

“The Ard Fheis motion commits Sinn Féin to holding the police to account on the basis of fairness, impartiality and objectivity. That means legitimate criticism and challenge if particular actions by the police appear not to live up to these expectations, as unionist politicians have asserted in the past.

“Our expectations are shared by citizens generally. They are for policing as a public service. That is the responsibility of politicians and the Policing Board - to hold the police to account. That is what the leadership of the PSNI expects from us.

“Sinn Féin will participate fully in policing structures, including the Policing Board, once reconstituted and the DPPs [District Policing Partnerships].

“I will propose that to the Ard Chomhairle [party leadership] as soon as the institutions are re-established. This becomes possible in the context of the restoration of the political institutions and the Ard Chomhairle’s satisfaction that policing and justice powers will be transferred away from London.”

PSNI Chief Hugh Orde said he looked forward to Sinn Féin taking its seats. He said next week would be critical.

“If everyone holds their nerve we have a huge potential for moving forward,” Orde said.

Board chairman Desmond Rea said Sinn Féin taking its seats would be “the last piece in the jigsaw being put in place”.

Mr Rea confirmed the new board would have four DUP, three Sinn Féin, two Ulster Unionists and one SDLP member in line with the d’Hondt process.

© 2007 Irish Republican News