6 February 1997 Edition
SF at Clinton speech
By Mick Naughton.
Speaking to An Phoblacht from Washington DC minutes after she attended the State of the Union address delivered by President Bill Clinton, Mairead Keane, Sinn Féin's Representative for North America said that Clinton assured his listeners, who included all the members of the Congress and Senate as well as judges of the Supreme Court that ``America has to continue taking risks for peace, whether it be in the Middle East or Northern Ireland''.
The event is when the newly elected President sets out the policies he intends to pursue over the next four years.
Keane, who has headed the Friends of Sinn Féin office in Washington since it opened in 1995, said she was pleased ``on behalf of Sinn Féin to receive the invitation from New York Congressman Peter King''.
``As a senior member of the highly influential `International Relations Committee', Congressman King with other members of the Congress, together with President Clinton have played a very supportive role in the search for lasting peace in Ireland. The President's reference to taking risks for peace should be noted in London. Surely if the President can take those risks, John Major, the British Prime Minister, can even at this late stage do the same,'' Keane said.
US slam RUC
A US government report has slammed the RUC for its conduct during the 1996 seige of Drumcree. An official State Department report on human rights around the world claimed the decision to allow the Orange Order to march at Drumcree ``damaged the RUC's reputation as an impartial police force''. It went on to say, ``many observers on both sides of the community perceived the government's reversal in the face of unlawful unionist protests as a victory of might over the rule of law''.
The report is also critical of the use of plastic bullets in crowd control, a practice ``widely criticised by human rights monitors and the UN Committee Against Torture''.
Other topics covered in the document were employment discrimination, RUC harassment, and improper treatment and torture in holding centres such as Castlereagh.