Policing Service Crisis - Onus on British
Sinn Féin Assembly member Martin McGuinness MP and colleagues
Conor Murphy, Mary Nelis, Dara O'Hagan and Alex Maskey released
Sinn Féin's detailed assessment and critique of the
Blair/Mandelson Policing Bill on Friday, 2 June.
``Sinn Féin, which yesterday lobbied TDs in Leinster House and MPs
in the British Parliament, is stepping up its opposition campaign
to the Police Bill. In the material we are providing you with
this morning, we spell out clearly those areas of the Bill which
need amendment (see An Phoblacht, pages 10/11).
``Quite clearly, the onus to end the crisis over this aspect of
the Good Friday Agreement lies with the British Prime Minister.
He made commitments on this issue. He must now honour those
``The main focus in the controversy surrounding the Policing
legislation has been on the concessions which appear to have been
given by the British government to the Ulster Unionist Party.
``This has tended to distract away from, or to disguise, the
amount of damage that has been done to the goal of a new policing
service by those within the British system who have a much more
strategic view than the unionist politicians, and who have been
permitted by the British government to emasculate the Patten
``I am referring in particular to the RUC insiders, to the
securocrats and to the NIO officials who have succeeded, at this
stage, in subverting the establishment of a civic policing
service. They are obviously intent on preventing democratic
accountability or real influence from the community on policing.
Sinn Féin has given our detailed assessment of the emasculation
of Patten to the British Prime Minister, to the Taoiseach and to
the US government.
``But it is the British Prime Minister who holds the key to
resolving the controversy around policing.
``The Joint Letter issued by the two governments on 5 May committed
the British government to `implement the Patten report'. In what
became known as the Hillsborough initiative, the IRA leadership
responded positively to this and other commitments in the Joint
Statement by the two governments and the letter they sent to
``The Policing Bill, produced 11 days later by the British
government, bears no resemblance to Patten.
``We therefore need to persuade the British government to honour
its commitments under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement and
the deal that was hammered out at Hillsborough on 5 May.