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7 June 2007 Edition

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Policing - a new site of struggle

Sinn Féin members took part in the first public meeting of the North’s newly constituted Policing Board this week. Sinn Féin is on the Board to deliver accountable and acceptable policing and to ensure that the brutal experience of policing since the foundation of the Six County state is banished firmly to the past. For this to happen, a strong republican presence on the Board is imperative. Sinn Féin has clearly- defined objectives, which it intends to deliver through membership of the Policing Board and the local DPPs, and the party’s arrival means that the days of the PSNI having its decisions rubber-stamped are over.
The policing and justice systems in the North have been power bases of an exclusive Orange state since its inception. Sinn Féin members on the Policing Board are now giving a voice to a community that has for generations borne the brunt of a sectarian, paramilitary police force which was used by the state as a weapon to repress nationalists and republicans.
Transitional to a single policing service for the entire island, Sinn Fein’s aim is to build an accountable and representative policing service that will impartially serve all sections of the community in the North.
Sinn Féin is anxious to confront all of the issues of concern to the community.
These include policies that have caused the deaths of hundreds of people over the past number of decades, such as collusion between the police and unionist paramilitaries and the use of plastic bullets. They also include the continued legacy of a sectarian culture within the police. The Policing Board must become more relevant to the community by opening itself up to victims’ groups, human rights organisations and the community sector.
Republicans intend to shape future policing in the Six Counties. Sinn Féin will now hold the PSNI to account. There is much work to be done, as evidenced by recent reports from the Ombudsman’s Office which show that those involved in collusion with unionist paramilitaries still hold senior positions in the PSNI.
Meanwhile, the formal moving of a motion on the Report on Devolution of Policing and Justice Matters in the Assembly this week represents an important step in the process of devolving policing and justice powers from England to the North of Ireland. Sinn Féin has consistently sought legislation to enable the transfer of these powers, agreement on the time frame, the detail of powers to be transferred and agreement on the model for a Justice department. Progress towards the devolution of policing and justice powers by early 2008 has now begun.

An Phoblacht Magazine

AN PHOBLACHT MAGAZINE:

  • The first edition of this new magazine will feature a 10 page special on the life and legacy of our leader Martin McGuinness to mark the first anniversary of his untimely passing.
  • It will include a personal reminiscence by Gerry Adams and contributions from the McGuinness family.
  • There will also be an exclusive interview with our new Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald.

Buy An Phoblacht magazine here

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