Minister Cowen Condemns Continuing Intimidation of Nationalist Members of the District Policing Partnerships and the Policing Board
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen, T.D., condemned the ongoing campaign of intimidation directed toward nationalist members of the District Policing Partnerships and the Policing Board. Minister Cowen described the attacks as a bullying tactic aimed at undermining the success of the new policing reforms.
The Minister said:
“There have been a number of incidents in recent weeks in which SDLP members have been victim to further attacks by cowardly thugs opposed to their courageous support of the new policing structures. Bullets have been received by these members at their homes and places of work. Threats have been aimed at them and their families. Those responsible for these gutless attacks should recognise that their efforts are without justification, and should desist immediately”.
“Policing reform continues and will continue irrespective of this intimidation. The 10th Report of the Oversight Commissioner published last week clearly illustrates the progress toward the new beginning to policing envisaged by the Independent Commission. Public confidence in the PSNI continues to gather support from both sides of the community. The representative recruitment drive continues, and the accountability mechanisms are helping local people to have their say in local policing issues”.
“The DPPs and the Policing Board are a vital part of the new beginning to policing promised by the Good Friday Agreement. The importance of the SDLP and other nationalist members in representing the views of the nationalist community on policing matters cannot be underestimated. Their decision to take their place on the DPPs and the Policing Board, for the benefit of their electorate, has been fully vindicated by the transformation within policing in Northern Ireland. Those who attempt to undermine their role through violence, intimidation and coercion will fail. They will not break the resolve of those determined to make a contribution toward a peaceful future in Northern Ireland.”
The Minister concluded: “The DPP and Policing Board members have the full support of the Government and British Government, and deserve the support and respect of the entire community for their invaluable efforts”. Top