[Sinn Fein]

25 March 1998

Strengthened peace process is only way forward

Statement from Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin.

``Today's announcement of new security measures by Tony Blair is not the way forward. Repressive legislation, like that introduced in previous years, is wrong. It has succeeded only in creating the conditions whereby we have had a litany of miscarriage of justice cases such as the Birmingham Six, Guildford Four, Beechmount Five Casement Accused etc., as well as the Sallins Four and the activities of the `Heavy Gang' within the Gardaí.

``Over the last thirty years we have had internment, non-jury Diplock Courts, PTA, Torture Centres from Ballykelly to Castlereagh, supergrass trials and all of these failed to prevent conflict. The result of such repressive legislation has historically been the routine violation of human and civil rights and the resulting miscarriages of justice. Given the history of the RUC it would be an act of extreme folly to give that force additional repressive powers.

``This is what the sections of the `Good Friday Agreement' dealing with justice issues were meant to remove. They were designed to `deliver a fair and impartial system of justice to the community'. This is what the people voted for and that is where the two governments and all the political parties who signed up to the agreement should be directing all their energies.

``Full implementation of the `Good Friday Agreement' plus public opinion will do more to prevent a recurrence of the tragic events of Omagh than will any repressive security response.''

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