[Sinn Fein]

17th June 2003

Sinn Fein amendments to Police Bill in line with implementation of Patten

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Justice Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD will this evening propose a number of amendments to the Police Cooperation Bill that if passed will ensure that the Bill can only be enacted when the recommendations contained in the Patten report on policing are implemented in full. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said these amendments are necessary if we are to get the new beginning to policing promised under the Good Friday Agreement.

The Dublin South Central TD said: ``It is absolutely unacceptable that the Government is going to guillotine the Police Cooperation bill this evening after only about 40 minutes of debate. It begs the question whether this guillotine is being imposed to facilitate the proposed Gaelic football match involving members of the Oireachtas and the PSNI taking place this evening. If it is then it is a cynical abuse of the political system and does a disservice to those of us who are working hard towards delivering an acceptable police service to the Six Counties.

``Sinn Fein has tabled a number of amendments to the Police Cooperation Bill. In them it is clear that we are not against Police cooperation in principle. We do however want all-Ireland police cooperation to begin on the best possible basis and involving the best possible practices. We believe that the current bill is premature and does not take into account the fact that we have not yet achieved the new beginning to policing in the Six Counties as promised under the Good Friday Agreement.

``When we are talking about police cooperation it is crucial that we ensure everybody can be confident in the officers that are serving them. All officers on secondment or appointment must be fully trained in human rights and must be screened for misconduct. We cannot and must not settle for a cosmetically changed but ultimately unreformed RUC operating north or south.'' ENDS

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