12 June 2003 Edition

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Ferris opposes Dáil/PSNI GAA match

Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris has called for a Gaelic football match between the PSNI and members of the Oireachtas to be called off. Deputy Ferris insisted on Monday that it was "entirely inappropriate" for TDs and senators to take part in a match with members of the PSNI.

The organiser, Kerry North TD Jimmy Deenihan said the game was a long standing arrangement and would go ahead as planned at the Kilmacud Crokes ground in Stillorgan, south Dublin on 17 June.

He claimed that Ferris's intervention was "undemocratic", saying the match was an opportunity to reach out to young northern nationalists in the PSNI as well as promoting sport within the Dáil.

Ferris hit back, saying that the Stevens' Inquiry revelations of complicity on the part of the RUC/PSNI in the killings of nationalists meant the PSNI "should not be granted the kind of respectability such an event would confer" until there was proper reform of the police.

"Apart from that, members of the PSNI and the British Army continue to harass members and supporters of the GAA," he said. "The most glaring example continues to be the illegal and unwarranted occupation by the British Army of part of the Crossmaglen pitch in south Armagh.

"Until such interference ceases, and until there is a properly reformed and acceptable police force in the Six Counties, it is not appropriate that the GAA and its facilities should be used to promote the premature rehabilitation of the PSNI," he added.

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