Aontú Raise PSNI Political Policing with the Taoiseach in the Dáil.
Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD raised the issue of what he called “PSNI political policing” in the Dáil this afternoon.
“2 weeks ago families gathered to mark the 29th anniversary of a gun attack on the Ormeau Road, in which five people were murdered by loyalists in February 1992. The PSNI descended on the scene in an extremely heavy-handed manner and came down like a tonne of bricks on survivors of that atrocity”.
“One police officer has been suspended and a second officer "re-positioned". The PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne has apologised for what happened. But this is just the latest example of increased political policing from the PSNI. Over the last few years an increasing number of Nationalist communities have felt the brunt of the increasing nature of Political Policing and an absence of real community policing”.
“SF and the SDLP have intermittently raised this issue but there has been no change or reform of the Police. Have you Taoiseach spoken to the Northern Secretary in relation to these events and the need to reform the Police Service in the North to ensure that the Police are acceptable to all sides of the community”.
The Taoiseach responded that what happened on the Ormeau Rd was wrong but that there is no need to reform the Police Service. Speaking after the Dáil debate An Teachta Tóibín stated;
“We need a complete root and branch reform of policing in the north of Ireland. The Nationalist community in the north of Ireland were promised a new beginning in policing. We were promised an impartial, unbiased, independent, and fair policing service which would attract and sustain the support from the whole community. That has not happened”.
“The Patten Report was published 22 years ago and has yet to be implemented in full. The police are not representative of the people they police and have failed to establish their trust as can be seen in the single most important measure - recruitment. Currently, only 31% of PSNI members are Catholics and there are reports of difficulties in retaining Catholic recruits”.
“We demand as part of a reform package the reinstatement of 50/50 recruitment, the establishment of a joint Irish/British Inspectorate and the removal of MI5 from policing. The parties of the Assembly including SF and the SDLP have continuously promised change in policing. This has not happened. We demand a complete overhaul of policing now in order to build a safe society based on equality and a shared future”.