PSNI, MI5 on election agenda
PSNI, MI5 on election agenda

A Sinn Féin delegation last week took part in a conference on policing organised by the Policing Board amid continuing controversy over the issue ahead of next week’s election.

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on the issue, Gerry Kelly, said the party’s focus is “to ensure that we have a policing service which carries out its duties and responsibilities in a fair and impartial way and which is democratically accountable to the public.”

The event, which took place on Tuesday at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, was seen as a first step for Sinn Féin in taking its places on the Policing Board, which oversees the PSNI police.

A separate conference on collusion was held a nearby hotel to coincide with the Policing Board event.

Mr Kelly said Sinn Féin was working “to ensure that the type of policing of which collusion was an integral part never happens again, or of it does, that it is promptly exposed and expediently dealt with”.

Peggy O’Hara, the Independent Republican candidate for Foyle, said the PSNI was “irreformable” and called for the establishment of an all-Ireland Commission of Truth, as used in other countries such as South Africa.

“The RUC/PSNI has, since the murder of Samuel Devenney in 1969 through the heyday of its torture centres in the 1970s and 1980s and barefaced collusion with murder gangs, continued its conspiracy of silence,” she said.

“This is very evident in the wake of the recent disclosures of collusion issued by the Ombudsman’s office.

“Can anyone doubt that the targeting and murders of leading H Block / Armagh committee members like Noel Lyttle, Ronnie Bunting, Miriam Daly, John Turnly and the attempted murder of Bernadette Mc Aliskey (as British Paras looked on) were sanctioned at the highest level with Thatcher’s approval?

“These are only the tip of the iceberg. They must be held accountable. And accountability does not begin by joining the very regime that committed these acts.”


Meanwhile, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has accused the rival nationalist SDLP of engaging in stunt politics after it staged a protest against operations of British military intelligence (MI5) in the North.

SDLP politicians Alex Attwood, Dolores Kelly, Declan O’Loan and other party candidates erected a sign stating: “MI5 - Spooks Headquarters” outside the secret service’s new 20 million pound headquarters at Holywood, County Down.

They staged the protest after meeting PSNI Chief Hugh Orde to protest the fact that MI5 remained “unaccountable and uncontrolled” in Ireland.

SDLP Upper Bann candidate Ms Kelly said Sinn Féin “instead of pretending that they have won something on MI5” should be working to ensure that the Patten proposals on police reform were fully implemented.

She said neither Mr Adams nor Sinn Féin’s policing spokesman Gerry Kelly gained any concessions from British prime minister Tony Blair in discussions on MI5.

“Gerry Kelly said that the Blair/Adams deal on MI5 gets us ‘a very major step closer’ to getting MI5 out of Ireland. In fact what we are getting is a huge new headquarters and MI5 agents able to operate without any accountability to [police ombudsman] Nuala O’Loan.”

Mr Adams, who was canvassing in Belfast city centre yesterday, was dismissive of the SDLP protest. He said he remembered the last Assembly election when the SDLP claimed it would stop the DUP making political progress.

“How did they deal with that? Mark Durkan stood like an eejit in the middle of the road with a ‘Stop’ sign. So, these are little stunts. They are not serious politics. They are only posturing. What we are about is our agenda. We took MI5 out of civic policing. The SDLP put them into it.

“We don’t want MI5 to play any role in the life of this island. We want civic policing. We want policing as a public service and that’s a concept a lot of people need to get their heads around.”

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© 2007 Irish Republican News