Minister Cowen condemns continuing campaign of intimidation against nationalist members of the DPPs and the Policing Board
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen, T.D., has condemned in the strongest terms the campaign of intimidation which continues to be waged against nationalist members of the Policing Board and the District Policing Partnerships (DPPs.) The Minister deplored the most recent incident, in which a suspect device was placed, evidently by dissident republicans, outside the SDLP constituency office of Alex Attwood MLA in West Belfast.
The Minister said;
“Over the past number of weeks, we have once again seen members of the SDLP come under attack from cowardly thugs who wish to turn the clock back on policing reform. This morning, with the discovery of a suspect device at Alex Attwood’s office, we have seen another deplorable attempt to intimidate a Policing Board member.
“The members of the DPPs and Policing Boards are working tirelessly on behalf of their communities to create the police service which was promised in the Good Friday Agreement. Those who attack, intimidate and harass these representatives wish to bring nothing more to their communities than chaos and despair. Their aims and tactics are discredited and they will not succeed.
“The courageous decision of the SDLP and other nationalists to take their places on the policing board and local partnerships has been vindicated beyond any doubt. Their efforts have driven the process of policing reform, and the results are there for all to see - a more representative police force, working in local communities and being held to account by local people. Public confidence in the police service continues to grow stronger on all sides of the community.”
Minister Cowen concluded;
“The DPP and the Policing Board members have the full support of the Government. It is past time that they receive the support and respect of the entire community for their invaluable efforts.”