Republican News · Thursday 13 September 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Noraid Speaks out on policing

The chair of the national executive of Irish Northern Aid (Noraid) in the United States, paul Doris, has called on Peter Mandelson, and the British government, ``to immediately stop playing politics with policing reform and to make all the changes necessary to bring the current police bill into line with the Patten Commission recommendations.

``On 10 September,'' said Doris, ``Peter Mandelson, made a scurrilous attempt to divert attention off the police reform issue and back onto IRA weapons. He called for the IRA to open its arms dumps again, soon, to the international inspectors in order to boost people's confidence.

``After a summer of loyalist rioting and violence, public displays of loyalist arms and no movement whatsoever on loyalist disarmament, Mandelson has said the IRA should re-open its dumps to `ensure that arms and explosives have not been used'. The British government needs to ``boost people's confidence.

``The only organization that has consistently offered and kept confidence building measures is the IRA. This is Mandelson's feeble attempt to throw a curve into to upcoming debate on the police bill. It is time the British government get real about what they have committed to do in regards to the Good Friday Agreement.

Irish Northern Aid calls upon Tony Blair to keep his word. And, along with the rest of the Irish American community, we believe the current legislation, which Mandelson authored, to be grossly inadequate. A new policing service, which has the confidence of all sides, republican, loyalist, nationalist and unionist, must be established if there is to be impartial, non-sectarian justice. Only then will lasting peace be truly enshrined.

``We, as Irish Northern Aid activists, must be vigilant against any and all attempts by the British to divert or water down the issue of police reform. We have tremendous bi-partisan support in the US on this issue, the RUC have been de-cloaked, and we must continue to ask our law makers to apply their influence to a complete change in policing for the Six Counties.''

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