19 September 2002 Edition

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Church criticised for Policing Board ad

Sinn Féin's North Antrim representative, Philip McGuigan, has criticised the Catholic Church in Ballymena for carrying an advertisement for the new District Policing Partnerships in its monthly bulletin.

"How a parish bulletin can be used in a clearly political manner and circulated to the people of Ballymena is beyond belief," said McGuigan.

According to McGuigan, "the Catholic Church should be calling for an end to the regular harassment of Ballymena nationalists by the RUC\PSNI, instead of calling on people to support them".

McGuigan said he believed until there is an acceptable police force in the North, people should stay away from the Policing Board and DPPs.

Last year, the Catholic Church voiced its support through the North's bishops for the Policing Board and DPPs, saying that sufficient grounds now exist to give real hope for a new beginning into policing.

Sinn Féin picketed a public meeting held by the Policing Board in Ballymena on Wednesday night, 11 September. Around 30 members staged the protest outside the Tullyglass House Hotel, where about 100 people had turned up to hear information on the District Policing Boards. A spokesperson said the protest was organised to show the dissatisfaction in the nationalist community regarding policing.

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