[Sinn Fein]

18th July 2002

Senior PSNI Officers - Threat to Peace

Speaking at a press conference in Belfast today Sinn Fein Assembly member Gerry Kelly said:

"Senior British Officials and senior members of the PSNI have been setting the public and media agenda for the British government. The danger is that they could be setting the British governments Political agenda as well.

"Against a backdrop of the now traditional sectarian violence against nationalists and Catholics from loyalists and supporters of the orange Order they were involved in an intense series of misleading briefings.

"Initially they deliberately sought to mislead Irish government officials about republican intentions in relation to the Orange Order march through Ardoyne. Myself and others were dealing with these officials in the days immediately before July 12th and they were being told that republicans were planning a violent response to the Orange Order march.

"Then these groundless allegations surfaced in the public domain when the PSNI's Belfast commander Alan McQuillan told a press conference that republicans in Ardoyne were preparing for a riot.

"When the fictitious riot in Ardoyne failed to materialise, despite the provocative behaviour of the Orange Order, the PSNI then manufactured a find of material which they claimed was evidence that republicans were stockpiling weapons for a riot.

"The alleged find was in fact security fencing on the roofs of the Ardoyne shops and Credit Union. This was procured by the PSNI and put on display in a desperate attempt to justify the spurious claims by the British officials and the PSNI.

"I have no doubt that the private briefings and the McQuillan press conference exacerbated an already charged atmosphere and could well have led to violent confrontation. The intention, I suspect, was to contrive a violent context as the backdrop to the statement from British Prime Minister Tony Blair next week.

"These activities are being directed by the securocrats in the British system. John Reid needs to stop members of his administration who are involved in activities which are damaging the peace process."

Contrived Expectations

Subverting Peace on our Streets

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