23 April 2006

MI5's expanded role is dangerous — SDLP

Newshound

(William Graham, Irish News)

SDLP leader Mark Durkan has claimed the expansion of MI5's role will diminish those of the PSNI and Police Ombudsman

MI5's expanded role in Northern Ireland is "a dangerous move" which will diminish the roles of the police service, the Police Ombudsman and Policing Board, the SDLP has claimed.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan, speaking during the committee stage of the Miscellaneous Provisions Bill at Westminster, said that 'the securocrats' are relocating.

Mr Durkan said intelligence gathering structures inside the PSNI were being replaced.

"By expanding the role of MI5, which will go beyond the reach of the minister for justice, the Police Ombudsman, the Policing Board or any of us... unless the government rethinks its dangerous plans in this area."

Mr Durkan pointed to the example of Omagh and the confirmation last month that MI5 did not pass on a warning they received about the bomb which killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins.

"In fact they only bothered to pass the warning about this bomb to the PSNI Omagh investigation this year. Seven years after the bombing," he said "Will the head of M15 even meet with the Omagh families to discuss their concerns? No. She has refused.

"So much for accountability. So much for sharing of intelligence. So much for the protection of the public against terrorism," Mr Durkan said.

April 22, 2006
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This article appeared first in the April 21, 2006 edition of the Irish News.

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