[Sinn Fein]

25 September 2001

Reaction to Policing Board Appointments

Reacting to the announcement of the membership of the Policing Board Sinn Fein Assembly member Alex Maskey has said that `a number of the independent appointees are clearly political appointments and that the powers given to the Board fall well short of the Patten threshold, particularly in it's ability to deal with Human Rights Abusers'. Mr. Maskey said:

``It is clear that the appointment of Lord Brookeborough was a result of the intensive negotiations between the unionist parties and the British Secretary of State which have taken place since the SDLP elected to join the Policing Board. Many nationalists will be alarmed by the appointment of a man whose name and family are synonymous with the years of one party rule, discrimination and even more importantly the formation of the RUC.

``The core issue however is the lack of powers which have been given to the Policing Board under the current legislation. The Board cannot prevent Human Rights abusers moving from the RUC into the new service and more importantly cannot weed them out once they have joined.

``The Policing Board is a crucial element in the Patten Plan. However the Board, which has been launched today, is not the strong and independent body envisaged under Patten. Sinn Fein has made it clear that we will not nominate members to a Board which can be repeatedly frustrated by both the British Secretary of State and the Chief Constable.''

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