[Sinn Fein]

15th September 2000

Adams Warns on Policing

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP, MLA speaking in Dublin this morning at a conference entitled, `Hope and History' warned that `failure to produce a civic policing service acceptable to nationalists and republicans will seriously subvert confidence in the integrity and credibility of the peace process.'

Mr Adams added:

``The onus is on the British government to prove that it is committed to bringing about the changes necessary for the success of the peace process.

Many people, especially activists, are increasingly sceptical about whether Mr. Blair and Mr. Mandelson are prepared to bring in these changes. The best example of this is on the question of policing. The failure to demilitarise is another. And Peter Mandelson's'draft paper on flags is a clear breach of the Good Friday Agreeement.

A peace process requires all political leaders facing up to their responsibilities. This includes British political leaders and especially those in government. They have to take charge and keep their commitments. They have not done this''.

The British government approach so far to the ``touchstone issue of policing as disastrous''.

``It is true that since the initial publication of the Policing Bill there have been changes to the Bill. This reflects the widespread criticism it attracted from across nationalist opinion in Ireland, as well as in the United States.

Sinn Fein has played a full part in that opposition. We have held numerous public and private meetings with both governments, tackled the issue in a very focused fashion and dealt in detail with amendments if the Bill is to be successfully changed to represent the Patten proposals.

While there have been a number of improvements there remain deep-seated problems.

For example:

These are just some of the remaining areas of serious concern.

Regrettably the British government has turned the policing issue into a battleground. It didn't need to be like this. However, it is our view that there is still the time to resolve this issue and create a new policing service which is democratically accountable, will work in partnership with all citizens, and will uphold international standards of human rights. A policing service that reflects the goals set within the Good Friday Agreement and which is supported by the whole community.

That is our goal. Sinn Fein has, and is, working hard to ensure that there is a new policing service. We have doing this because one logical outcome of the peace process, if it is to be successful, must be a policing service which republicans can join and encourage others to join.

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