From a statement released today by Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly:
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Policing and Justice Gerry Kelly today said that ‘intense and detailed negotiations between Sinn Féin and the British government in recent weeks have secured the reversal of the British government’s proposal to integrate the PSNI and MI5.’
Mr. Kelly said:
“Our objective has been to secure accountable and representative policing. We have made considerable progress in that over recent years. At St. Andrews however the British government proposed the integration of MI5 into policing structures in the north which the Irish government acquiesced to and which the SDLP claimed as a victory.
“This was a fundamental mistake on their part. Sinn Fein rejected these proposals and undoing the damage done has been a primary issue for Sinn Fein over the Christmas negotiations.
“Our objective has been to firewall local policing from the malign and corruptive control of MI5. The proposals today remove MI5 from policing structures in Ireland.
“For decades people across this island have suffered enormously as a result of the activities of MI5, which has been responsible for collusion and state sponsored killings in Dublin and Monaghan and across the north.
“The St. Andrews proposals would have embedded MI5 into civic policing with the real potential of again creating a force within a force.
“The fact that the Irish government did not oppose the inclusion of these proposals and did not assist in their removal is staggering, particularly given the extent of collusion which has now been confirmed by Justice Barron in his reports.
“The SDLP also publicly supported these proposals and bizarrely claimed them as a victory. Sinn Fein rejected the St. Andrews proposals on MI5.
“The new statement by the British government today abandons their proposals to integrate MI5 into policing structures. This means that there will now be:
- No secondment of PSNI members to MI5
- No PSNI members will be under the control of MI5
- MI5 will have no role in civic policing
- All PSNI members accountable to the Policing Board and other Patten mechanisms and upon transfer to the Justice Ministers.
- All party representation on the Policing Board special purposes committee
- The Police Ombudsman will have statutory access to all information held by PSNI and statutory powers to hold PSNI members to account. Arrangements will be made that she will have access to information held by MI5 where this is necessary to the discharge of her duties.
- Annual Review role in the north for Lord Carlisle in consultation with the First and deputy First Ministers and future Justice Ministers.
“Sinn Féin is determined to achieve a new beginning to policing. One of our key demands in these negotiations was to stop MI5 having any role in civic policing here. Today’s proposals will go a long way towards achieving that objective and go far beyond the proposals agreed by the SDLP at St. Andrews.”