Irish Republican News · February 20, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Police forces to swap personnel

Garda police from the 26 Counties are to be exchanged with PSNI police in the North following a new agreement between the forces.

A new agreement is to be signed tomorrow allowing the PSNI to go on patrols throughout Ireland. Under the agreement Gardai will also be able to be seconded to the PSNI in the Six Counties.

Co-operation between the ‘Special Branch’ intelligence divisions, which previously took place in private, is now expected to become more public.

PSNI Chief Hugh Orde and Noel Conroy, Commission of the Garda Siochana will sign joint protocols to allow the personnel exchanges.

The signing, at Hillsborough Castle in County Down, will be attended by the British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy and 26-County Justice Minister Michael McDowell.

The move, just announced, is set to draw a mixed reaction.

Nationalists in the North have warned of continuing human rights abuses by members of the PSNI following the failure of the British government to fully implement policing reform under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. The PSNI is understood to be dominated by unionist elements with a strong anti-republican political agenda.

However, the forces have been seen to become closer as the political agendas of the Dublin and London governments have became increasingly aligned in recent years.

A long-standing goal of the two forces remains the defeat of the IRA.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News