[Sinn Fein]

19 May 2000

Sinn Fein pickets Department of Justice HQ in Dublin in protest against joint Garda-RUC boxing team

Sinn Fein picketed the Department of Justice headquarters at St Stephen's Green in Dublin this evening in protest at Gardai joining an RUC boxing team in Belfast tonight. Councillor Larry O'Toole said:

``When nationalists in the North cannot join the RUC because of its appalling human rights record and its political role in enforcing the rule of the Orange state, it is inconceivable that Gardaí can join an RUC representative side.''

The Dublin councillor accused the Garda authorities of ``mixing politics with sport'' because the RUC team ``is an official representative side, representing all that the RUC stands for and has been responsible for, including its long history of human rights abuses''.

``Does anyone think the Garda authorities could get away with ignoring the human rights record of the Serbian Police and play sport with them?'' Councillor O'Toole asked. ``The Garda are mixing sport with politics by lending credibility to and endorsing the police force with the worst human rights record in Western Europe.''

Councillor O'Toole said this week's announcement that no RUC officer is to be prosecuted for issuing death threats against murdered human rights lawyer Rosemary Nelson would have caused outrage in official circles in any other country. ``That decision alone should cause the Department of Justice and the Garda boxing authorities to think again.'' ENDS

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