[Sinn Fein]

6 December 20006

Constantine Remarks underline need for amending legislation

Sinn Fein Assembly member for North Belfast and spokesperson on Policing Gerry Kelly MLA, commenting on today's suggestion by the Oversight Commissioner Tom Constantine that it could take ten years before police membership reflects the community balance.

Mr. Kelly said:

``The Mandelson Police Act does not cover the critical matter of a quota of nationalist and republican recruits to any new service.  The legislation only specifies Catholics, not nationalists and republicans.

``Currently 8% of the RUC is Catholic but these members are clearly neither nationalist or republican.  This is one of the more obvious serious gaps between what Patten recommended and Peter Mandelson has produced.

``And it is one more reason why the British government needs to introduce amending legislation in the British Parliament if we are to ensure that the policing legislation eventually implements Patten.''ENDS

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