20 October 2005 Edition

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PSNI investigation of Reid slammed

Following compalints from unionists the PSNI is to investigate Fr Alex Reid with a view to prosecution following cotroversy over comments the priest made at a public meeting in a Belfast Presbyterian church.

Sinn Féin's Alex Maskey MLA condemned the probe and said the PSNI's actions would cause widespread anger within broad nationalism.

"This is further evidence of how out of touch the PSNI remain from our community. It is not the job of the PSNI to try and provide succour to individuals who simply do not want to have the debate about the origins of the Six County state and the sectarian discrimination which underpinned its very existence."

"Whatever the choice of language from Fr Reid, some sections of unionism are to a large degree in denial about the past and its role in the conflict over the past 30 years," said Maskey.

He went on: "Are the PSNI now also going to open investigation into the anti-Catholic statements articulated by unionist political leaders and the DUP in particular over the past 30 years, statements that were used by unionist paramilitaries as justification for the killing of innocent people over many years.

"Unionist politicians needed to have a debate about the origins of the Six county state, the institutionalised discrimination which existed and the role of all of this in creating the conflict. "Otherwise unionist communities will continue to view the moves towards equality demanded by the Good Friday Agreement with suspicion and hostility," said Maskey.

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