Police board threats blamed on dissidents
Police board threats blamed on dissidents

Sinn Fein has dismissed suggestions that mainstream republicans are behind threats against nationalist district policing board members.

Senior PSNI police officers told a meeting of Cookstown District Policing Partnership that the IRA plans to intimidate all nationalist members. SDLP and independent members regarded as Catholic were urged to step up personal security.

One nationalist recently resigned from the Fermanagh District Policing Partnership Board following a similar death threat by a dissident group.

However, it is thought the police officers in Cookstown did not distinguishing between the mainstream IRA and the dissidents who made the threats.

The District Policing Partnership (DPP) Boards were set up as part of the process of police reform which saw the PSNI replace the hated RUC. Republicans have refused to support the policing boards until the full reforms of the Patten Commission are implemented.

Today, PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde urged Sinn Fein to speak out against the threats, which he admitted were made by dissidents.

``The point the dissidents need to realise is this won't work,'' he said. ``Violence doesn't work, it never has worked in Northern Ireland and that's why we are where we are today because we have beaten it to a large extent.

``These people (DPP members) are brave people, they have made brave decisions and they're not going to be intimidated out of this.''

Fermanagh/South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew condemned the most recent threats and called for it to be withdrawn.

``I know myself what it is like living under the shadow of a threat and I don't believe that anybody should have to live with that hanging over them and their family,'' the Sinn Fein MP said.

``We have to stand up to these people. They don't have a mandate.

``They are not representing anybody and I believe that they should not be allowed to carry on in this way. They should be disbanded.''


Meanwhile, British prison authorities have moved a number of republican dissidents into separate accommodation at Maghaberry jail in County Antrim.

About twnety have now been moved to a separate block at the top-security prison-

The move is an interim measure following a declaration last week by the British government that a new regime would be introduced at the prison following the recommendations of the Steele review of prison safety, which was set up after a summer of disturbances.

Prisoners have been involved in clashes, roof-top demonstrations and a `dirty protest' as part of demands for segregation. Campaigners for the prisoners warned last month that some were prepared to die on hunger strike.

Maghaberry has had a policy of integration since it opened in 1983 although special arrangements were made for notorious loyalist Johnny Adair and others.

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