15 February 2006

DUP attacks all-Ireland police intelligence agency proposal


14/02/2006 - 15:44:17

The SDLP’s call for an all-Ireland police intelligence agency was described today as the most blatant attempt to politicise policing.

Democratic Unionist Assembly member Stephen Moutray launched a hard-hitting critique of the proposal and a new SDLP document calling for closer cross-border links across a range of policy areas.

“This is one of the more blatant attempts to politicise policing in recent years,” the Upper Bann MLA said.

“The SDLP have had a long standing opportunity to take action itself as a way to counteract paramilitarism and criminality.

“The DUP has put onto the table an invitation for the SDLP to send out a clear and unambiguous message that those who are not committed to exclusively peaceful and democratic means must face necessary ensuing consequences.

“The SDLP could have taken sides with other democratic parties and entered into a voluntary coalition in Northern Ireland which would have stood together in stating that there can be no place in the heart of any democratic government or executive for those who are engaged in criminality.

“Instead of doing so the SDLP chose to place the whole of Northern Ireland on hold – with all of the attendant difficulties for our economy for our infrastructure and for our population – and forced everyone to wait for some day in the never never when Sinn Féin/IRA might decide to become proper democrats.”

In its 24-page document entitled North-South Makes Sense, the SDLP claimed the all-Ireland intelligence agency, involving Police Service of Northern Ireland and Garda Siochana personnel, would be an effective tool to take on criminals and terrorists north and south of the border.

The paper also called for:

:: An all-Ireland Criminal Assets Bureau to target criminals and paramilitaries who have been profiting from cross-border crime.

:: An all-island sex offenders’ register to prevent criminals from exploiting different jurisdictions.

:: An all-Ireland Law Commission to study and promote the harmonisation of laws on both sides of the border;

:: Joint co-operation between the Human Rights Commissions in the North and the Irish Republic, completing work on an all-Ireland rights charter as envisaged by the Good Friday Agreement;

:: Full implementation of the North-South Criminal Justice Treaty and more exchanges of personnel in the policing and criminal justice sides, including prison officers, court clerks and even members of the judiciary.

The document, which was welcomed by the Republic’s Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern and Sinn Féin general secretary Mitchel McLaughlin, also called for closer cross-border co-operations across the economy, health, education, farming and fisheries.

Mr Moutray said today the SDLP’s document was little more than a feeble effort to out-green Sinn Fein.

He continued “(SDLP leader) Mark Durkan uses the combination of folly and bumptiousness to tell us all that unless we adopt this document ‘we are all losers,’ when the real truth of the matter is that the very production of this paper is just an indication that the SDLP have lost out to Sinn Féin/IRA and are frantically trying to claw their way back, no matter the cost.”

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