US Congress discusses Patten
The powerful International Relations Committee of the United States Congress will today, Thursday, 7 September, discuss a resolution in support of the full implementation of the Patten Commission's recommendations on policing in the Six Counties.
This is the first of two resolutions on Patten to be tabled in the US House of Representatives and Senate. In the next couple of weeks, a second resolution, tabled by Senators Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodds, will go before the US Senate. It is expected that the resolution will be put before the full Congress before the end of the month.
In a statement to members of the International Relations Committee before the debate, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams welcomed the ongoing interest of the US Congress in the peace process and on the critical issue of policing. He told the members of Congress: ``A new beginning to policing was promised in the Good Friday Agreement. An Independent Commission was established to decide on the most appropriate way to fulfill this requirement and to provide a blueprint for the way forward.
``The outcome of this arbitration, the Patten Report, represents a compromise position which is the absolute minimum required in terms of change. The absence of recommendations in relation to repressive legislation and lethal plastic bullets and the absence of a comprehensive programme of demilitarisation create huge difficulties for nationalists and republicans. Like policing, these too are critical matters which must be redressed if we are to have peace, democracy and acountability.
``What is required is a new civic policing service representative of the community as a whole, democratically accountable, working in partnership with all citizens, and upholding international standards of human rights; a policing service that reflects the goals set within the Good Friday Agreement and is supported by the whole community.''