07 February 2006

US special envoy to North criticised

Daily Ireland

**Via Newshound

by Ciarán Barnes
06/02/2006

The leader of an influential Irish-American pressure group has criticised the US special envoy to the North for his praise of the PSNI.
In a letter to Mitchell Reiss, Irish National Caucus president Fr Sean McManus, said recent comments by Mr Reiss could lead some people to view him as a “recruiting sergeant for the PSNI”.
Speaking last week, Mr Reiss said the PSNI is among the best police forces in the Europe.
Responding to this assessment Fr McManus called on the US official to be “more critical and cautious”.
The Washington-based priest said: “Many of us wish your support for the PSNI were a little bit more critical and cautious. It would be a pity if your good work for Ireland became overshadowed by your exuberant and uncritical support for a police service about which there are still many profoundly disturbing questions.”
Fr McManus said Catholics would have difficutly with Mr Reiss claiming the PSNI is among the best police forces in Europe, especially when former CID officer Jonty Brown claimed last week that he was being targeted by his former colleagues.
He said: “No Catholic from the North can read that quote without profound resonance. You have remained silent on matters like this, while being quite vocal about other accusations regarding republicans.
“I feel it is very important that you avoid any appearance of a double standard. So I urge you to speak out on these matters so that your good work for Ireland will not be overshadowed by headlines like ‘PSNI the best in Europe’ – and, yes, I know you don’t write the headlines. It would be a profound tragedy if the honest broker title of the special envoy for Northern Ireland came to be replaced by that of recruiting sergeant for the PSNI,” he said.

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