Sinn Féin must reconsider PSNI - Reiss
Sinn Féin must reconsider PSNI - Reiss

George Bush's new envoy to Ireland has clashed with Sinn Féin over the party's refusal to support the PSNI policing in the North.

Mitchell Reiss accused Sinn Féin of `massive untruthfulness' over its portrayal of the PSNI, formerly known as the RUC.

Sinn Féin's refusal to sign up to policing - articulated in the advertisement and by party president Gerry Adams in Washington DC last week - centres on three areas: the continued existence of Special Branch, the failure to devolve justice and policing powers to an assembly, and the use of plastic bullets.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams predicted earlier this week that the US government would strongly row in behind the British and Irish governments on the issue of policing.

Mr Adams said: ``It has to be remembered that during the worst years of collusion, torture and human rights abuses these governments actively defended and praised the RUC, authorised co-operation with it and urged nationalists to join it''.

There had been a failure on the part of the British government to implement what has been agreed. He said that, to achieve the new beginning to policing promised by the Good Friday Agreement six years ago, resistance to change'', particularly by the PSNI Special Branch, had to be overcome.

Reiss said he would be happy to go down ``point by point with a rebuttal to each of the allegations and justifications that Sinn Féin have for not joining the Policing Board. There are massive untruths there, and they need to reconsider their position as soon as possible'', Reiss said.

Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness described Mr Reiss's criticism as ``strange''. He said he had spoken to Ambassador Reiss in Washington earlier in the week and he did not raise his criticisms at that time.

Republicans have argued that British securocrats -- those that colluded with the unionist death squads throughpout the conflict -- are now in the most senior positions in the PSNI.

They have pointed out that those calling on Sinn Féin to endorse the PSNI also supported the discredited RUC, and that their position has been endorsed by a clear majority of northern nationalists in the November Assembly elections.

The party has listed what it sees as being the main obstacles to a new beginning in policing:

-British securocrats still control policing;

-Partisan political control of policing remains intact;

-British securocrats still retain ultimate control of policing and justice through the NIO, the British Secretary of State and PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde;

-the transfer of powers on policing and justice to the Assembly;

-The PSNI remains unrepresentative of the community it polices and is unacceptable to nationalists.

-The British government has yet to produce a coherent strategy for ensuring representation of nationalists and republicans;

-Military policing and repressive legislation continues;

-Plastic bullets need to be withdrawn from use;

-Repressive legislation continues to be used by the PSNI, as it was by the RUC;

-PSNI stations and vehicles have not been demilitarised;

-Human Rights Abusers transferred en masse to PSNI;

-Key positions in the PSNI are held by human rights abusers involved in collusion with loyalist paramilitaries to kill citizens;

-Ongoing interference and opposition to inquiries and inquests;

-The PSNI Chief Constable continues to withhold vital inquest evidence on controversial killings involving British state forces;

-The Special Branch has transferred unhindered from the RUC into the PSNI.

-Political destabilisation at key points in the peace process, has been effected by the police Special Branch, which has been at the centre of politically damaging leaks and briefings to the media or actions by PSNI;

-The families of a number of Protestants killed recently by loyalist paramilitaries have publicly stated that Special Branch agents were involved in the killings and have been given immunity;

-DPP failing to act;

-The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), a branch of the failed status quo in policing and justice, continues to prevent prosecutions against human rights abusers in the PSNI;

-The DPP and Special Branch continue to interfere with forensic evidence and the activities of the Forensic Science Agency, particularly in politically motivated prosecutions;

-Policing Board not holding PSNI to account;

-The Policing Board has failed to use its own powers to instigate an inquiry. The Policing Board is failing to fulfil its primary function -- to hold members of the PSNI fully to account.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News