[Sinn Fein]

8th February 2002

Policing Board acceded to unionist agenda

Commenting on the report of the Policing Board Sinn Fein spokesperson on Policing Gerry Kelly said:

``The Policing Board is not a referee between the Ombudsman and Ronnie Flanagan. It's main function envisaged by Patten, is to make the police accountable. There can be no compromise with that accountability.

``The Board was not asked and has no function in prejudging whether the RUC could have prevented the bomb attack on Omagh. The inquiry into this is still ongoing yet the Board have exonerated the Special Branch on this vital issue.

``The Board has clearly acceded to the unionist agenda. Unionists have consistently voiced their opposition to effective scrutiny and accountability. That is why John Taylor wants the ombudsman to go.

``I am not surprised that Ronnie Flanagan welcomes the Board's findings. His report is not rebuffed nor is his control and authority challenged.

``The Special Branch will have no difficulties with this report. Their authority and control is untouchable. It was untouchable before the Police Board's investigation. They remain a force within a force and untouchable now. For example the Special Branch refused to hand over to the Ombudsman intelligence documents.''

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