09 April 2006

Row erupts over Orange Hall venue for meeting

Belfast Telegraph

By Lisa Smyth
08 April 2006

Ballymoney District Policing came under fire this week as a local Sinn Fein councillor accused it of excluding the nationalist and republican community from an upcoming public meeting on policing.

Daithi McKay said the decision to hold a DPP meeting on the PSNI's annual report in Stranocum Orange Hall shows yet again that policing in Northern Ireland "still has a long way to go".

He said that it again endorses the stance Sinn Fein has taken on policing.

"For the PSNI and District Policing Partnership to host a meeting on the PSNI's annual report in an Orange Hall shows quite clearly that they have no notion of impartiality in policing," he claimed.

"This is quite clearly a meeting about a one-sided police force."

He continued: "The DPP has distributed posters to the public inviting them to talk about policing in an Orange Hall and quite obviously they, nor the PSNI, see anything wrong with it. Expecting the nationalist and republican community to accept a force still engaged in political policing is one thing, expecting them to feel welcome in an Orange Hall, however, is more ludicrous still."

However, a spokesman for Ballymoney District Policing defended the decision and said it is the aim of the DPP to ensure that all members of the community are represented.

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