1st June 2000
Sinn Fein lobby TDs and Senators on Policing Bill
Sinn Fein Vice President Pat Doherty, in Dublin today to meet with TDs and Senators regarding the British government's Policing Bill said that ``Sinn Fein cannot and will not advocate membership of or support for the police force envisaged in the current legislation. It is entirely unacceptable.''
Mr. Doherty said:
``We are here in Dublin today to meet with TDs and Senators regarding the British government's Policing Bill. This Bill falls far short of what was recommended in the Patten Report and doesn't even come close to the change envisaged in the Good Friday Agreement.
``For many nationalists and republicans the Patten proposals did not go far enough but we waited to see the legislation before making any definitive response. Our response to this legislation is unequivocal - it is entirely unacceptable. This is a view supported by the SDLP, the Catholic church and many community groups the length and breath of this country.
``The Good Friday Agreement is clear. What is required is a `new beginning to policing' which is `capable of attracting and sustaining' support from all sections of our people. The Patten Commission, established to bring this about, issued a report with over 170 recommendations.
``The Joint Letter from the two governments on May 5th committed the British government to implementing the Patten report. The Policing Bill does not fulfil that commitment.
``Instead it represents a major departure from the Patten Report on some of the most important issues including those on the name, symbols, and structures of the new policing service, human rights protection provisions and accountability.
``Sinn Fein cannot and will not advocate membership of or support for the police force envisaged in the current legislation. It is entirely unacceptable.
``What is required is a new police service acceptable to everyone and which nationalists and republicans can join - Peter Mandelson's Policing Bill will not bring that about. ''
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