Sinn Féin

SDLP have become extension of PSNI press office

Published: 7 October, 2004

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Kathy Stanton has described as 'unbelievable' a statement from the SDLP Policing Board member Alex Attwood endorsing the failure of the PSNI to arrest leading UDA figure Ihab Shoukri after he recently breached bail conditions.

Ms Stanton said:

" In the wake of Ihab Shoukri blatantly breaching bail conditions the local SDLP representative Alban Maguiness was rightly very vocal in criticising the PSNI and the DPP over their failure to arrest this man.

" However yesterday after what are being described as 'secret discussions' between the PSNI top brass and Alex Attwood the SDLP have announced that they accept the word of the PSNI and accept that Shoukri should not have been returned to prison.

" Far from holding the PSNI to account through membership of the Policing Board, the SDLP as evidenced by this U-turn and the clandestine nature of their engagement with senior PSNI figures far away from the eyes of the media, have become little more than an extension of the PSNI press office.

" Nationalists in North Belfast and elsewhere who have been the victim of an ongoing UDA campaign of violence and intimidation will be angered at the SDLP defence of the PSNI despite their blatant failure to deal properly with this situation. If the individual in question was a catholic, nationalist or republican I am quite sure that the approach of the PSNI would have been very different." ENDS

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