Irish Republican News · April 26, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Policing issues unresolved

Sinn Féin has said it will vet any new legislation on policing before a decision is made to change its policy at a special conference.

The proposals by the British and Irish governments for the power-sharing institutions only mentioned one aspect of the policing issue.

The “proposals for a comprehensive agreement” detailed a plan to transfer justice and policing powers to the assembly.

This would coincide with Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams recommending his party endorse the new arrangements.

However, the document did not address some issues republicans have cited as being part of the reason why they have not endorsed the new policing arrangements.

While a key demand was for control of policing and justice to be transferred to Belfast, Sinn Féin had also wanted the removal of Special Branch as a ‘force within a force’ and a ban on the police use of plastic bullets.

Sinn Féin policing spokesperson, Gerry Kelly, confirmed the controversial use of the killer bullets has yet to be resolved.

“As you can see by reading it Gerry Adams has said he is willing to go to an ard chomhairle and call a special ard fheis.

“We have to see the legislation before Gerry would sign up to go to an ard chomhairle.

“There is a letter on a number of issues including plastic bullets, sent separately to Gerry Adams. The issue of plastic bullets has not been resolved and we will continue to try to get them entirely banned.

“However, we have made some advance in that area with the British government and we will build on that.

“The Special Branch issue has more to do with tenure than anything else. There are issues outstanding which are not legislative.”

Clara Reilly, chairwoman of human rights group Relatives for Justice, which has campaigned for plastic bullets to be banned, said:

“The banning of plastic bullets, like resolving the legacy of shoot-to-kill and collusion which lie at the heart of any settlement in terms of policing, must be comprehensively addressed.”

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© 2004 Irish Republican News