As reported by BBC NI’s Vincent Kearney, Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey has been making veiled threats about reviewing the level of the party’s co-operation with the police unless an ongoing legal action taken by the brother of a former Sinn Féin candidate is resolved to their satisfaction. I say veiled threat because, despite Vincent Kearney’s best efforts on Evening Extra, Alex Maskey wouldn’t specify on air what it was the party was going to do.
From the BBC report
Sinn Fein, which joined the policing board three years ago after a long internal debate, has warned that it may withdraw co-operation with the police in nationalist areas if the matter is not resolved quickly.
Alex Maskey, Sinn Fein, said: “What we bring is the co-operation of tens of thousands of people and that should not be squandered.
“I presume it won’t be, but it is down to the chief constable to make sure people we represent understand that we have moved into a new era.
“Cases like this are examples of how we have not yet finalised the work of ending political policing, and we have got to do that.”
The policing board and the PSNI have said they cannot comment on the issue as it is the subject of ongoing legal action.
And a reminder of the issue at the heart of this story
Last month, Mr [Kevin] Kennedy failed in a legal attempt to gain access to the intelligence information on which the police based their assessment.
During a hearing at the High Court in Belfast, it was revealed that the Board was told during the summer of 2004 that Mr Kennedy failed security vetting because of historical and recent intelligence regarding his brother, Dermot Kennedy, which had been assessed as reliable and accurate information.
It said the intelligence was very sensitive and a matter of national security.
Dermot Kennedy is a former Sinn Fein Westminster and Assembly election candidate and has never been convicted of a criminal offence.