5 March 1998 Edition

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SDLP `propping up the RUC'

by Michael McCracken

Sinn Fein councillor Michael Browne has attacked the SDLP on Belfast City Council who recently voted with Unionists on a number of votes which have assisted unionist discrimination against Sinn Fein.

At the full Council meeting on Tuesday 3 March the Unionists proposed that the council seek the analysis of RUC boss Ronnie Flanagan on the relationship between Sinn Fein and the IRA. The SDLP voted for the unionist motion.

Browne has argued that the result shows the SDLP are in disarray on the council and attacked the SDLP's willingness to accept the views of the leader of ``a discredited force''.

Browne said: ``SDLP councillors should familiarise themselves with the publicly stated position of their party leadership with regard to the RUC. They would do well to act in accordance with the wishes of the nationalist community and join with the rest of us in demanding the RUC's disbandment, as opposed to throwing this discredited force a lifeline at every opportunity''.

The latest vote comes a week after SDLP representative, Catherine Molloy, voted with the Unionist/Alliance bloc, in favour of the council defending itself in court against a Sinn Fein writ to have party members represented on outside bodies such as the Housing Executive.

Although the SDLP supported Sinn Fein in a second vote on the issue during Tuesday's meeting, the motion was lost and the council will defend itself.

Browne accused unionists and Alliance councillors of ``maintaining a discredited policy. They should desist from wasting taxpayers money trying to justify systematic discrimination against Sinn Fein''.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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