‘Justice cannot be delayed any longer’ – McDonald

Families of victims can no longer be denied access to truth and justice, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has said following meetings today with the PSNI Chief Constable and the Lord Chief Justice.

 

Mary Lou McDonald led a Sinn Féin delegation including Deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill and the party’s policing spokesperson Gerry Kelly MLA and victims spokesperson Linda Dillon MLA.

 

“This was my first meeting with PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton since becoming party President and it was a constructive engagement,” she commented.

“We pressed on him the importance of ensuring there is no repeat of the intimidation in Belfast last year when people were driven from their homes in mixed developments.

“This kind of paramilitary intimidation, which often begins with the erection of flags that are intended to intimidate, is intolerable and there must be a sustained policing effort to tackle it.

“The impact of budget cuts, Brexit and the need for more co-operation with An Garda Síochána were also discussed and we expressed concerns at the PSNI’s sustained under-resourcing of the neighbourhood policing teams, which is tending to erode the core Patten concept of policing with the community.

“The delay in implementing the legacy mechanisms agreed at Stormont House featured prominently in our discussions with both the Chief Constable and the Lord Chief Justice.

“And while the delay is the responsibility of the DUP and the British Government, clearly there is growing frustration at the failure to progress this issue.

“Some families have been waiting almost 50 years for the basic right of a proper inquest to be held and the Lord Chief Justice has put forward a plan to clear the backlog.

“The Courts have already ruled that Arlene Foster acted unlawfully in blocking this plan so this blatant denial of truth and justice must now be ended.

“This outrageous foot-dragging is entirely unacceptable. The money to fund the inquests must be released immediately and that is the message we will continue taking directly to the British Government.”