[Sinn Fein]

26 February 2001

RUC Special Branch and British Military Intelligence collusion with Loyalists central to Policing debate

Sinn Fein Chairperson, Foyle MLA Mitchel McLaughlin today said that RUC Special Branch and British Military collusion with Loyalists was central to the policing debate.

Mr McLaughlin said:

The issue of collusion between RUC Special Branch, British Military Intelligence and Loyalists goes to the heart of our concerns about the creation of a new beginning to policing.

The removal of the RUC Special Branch as a force within a force, in line with Patten, and the balance of power between the British Secretary of State, the Chief Constable and the proposed Policing Board are two of the key areas where there remains considerable distance between what is proposed by the British government and what is required.

We are calling for a full independent public Inquiry into collusion. It is vital that all previous reports into collusion the Stalker Report, the Sampson Report and the first Stevens Report are brought into the public domain. Sinn Fein are also concerned that the second Stevens Inquiry has clearly run into problems.

John Stevens should stand aside and offer full support and co- operation to a new public inquiry that should crucially have the power to compel witnesses to give evidence and the power to protect witnesses that come forward. These are two areas where the Stevens inquiry has run into serious difficulties.

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