[Sinn Fein]

13 February 2002

Kelly Meets Cowen

Speaking after a meeting with the Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Brian Cowen in Dublin this afternoon Sinn Fein Assembly member for North Belfast and spokesperson on Policing Gerry Kelly said:

"I met with Brian Cowen this afternoon at my request. I have been requesting this meeting for some time. We discussed the ongoing UDA pogrom against Catholics in North Belfast which I have been involved in attempting to end through a process of community dialogue, and the current situation with regard to policing.

"Sinn Fein wants to see the achievement of an acceptable policing service. The current policing arrangements do not meet the promise of the Good Friday Agreement across a range of crucial areas - accountability, representiveness, freedom from partisan political control. At the core of all of this is the activities and malign influence of the Special Branch.

"Yesterday we had a report published by US Human Rights Lawyers into the murder of Pat Finucane.

This again shows that;

"These are not old issues. The people involved in the Special Branch at that time are still there. They are still at the heart of the police force. Their influence goes to the very core of the PSNI. Patten required that human rights abusers be dealt with and that effective mechanisms are put in place to prevent or expose such abuses in the future. Neither of these absolute requirements are happening. This can only ensure that the new accountable policing service promised under the Good Friday Agreement will never be delivered.

"This issue needs to be got right. Sinn Fein will not accept half measures and we will continue to engage with the two governments and the US to ensure we get the sort of policing service our community deserves and expects."

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