In the Belfast Telegraph Liam Clarke notes Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly’s ‘lukewarm’ response to Chief Constable Matt Baggott’s generous offer to speak at the next SF ard fheis. From the Belfast Telegraph article
Gerry Kelly, the party’s policing spokesman, said: “While it is an interesting suggestion, and presumably the party will give it due consideration, the ard fheis is not until next May, so it’s far too early to suggest who will be invited.”
Mr Kelly amplified his criticism of the Chief Constable and questioned his stated commitment to community policing.
He said: “Matt Baggott’s credibility rating among the nationalist community is fairly low at the minute. His willingness to attend a Sinn Fein ard fheis sometime next year will not resolve that, nor should it be allowed to distract from significant issues which he has yet to adequately address.”
He went on to claim that Mr Baggott’s “dismissal of criticism by the Police Ombudsman’s Office into the RUC investigation of the McGurk’s atrocity, and also the failure of his organisation to properly investigate the Loughinisland massacre, are just two of many areas of concern”.
And he probably wouldn’t be as fulsome in his praise as certain other supernaturalists…
Still, it’s an improvement on the response his predecessor got. Even if that 2006 refusal was soon followed by a leadership only meeting. [To deliver preconditions! – Ed] Indeed. And how did that all work out? From the Belfast Telegraph article
Mr Kelly also questioned PSNI riot control tactics, including what he described as “the continued and unacceptable use of lethal plastic bullets”.
“How he (Mr Baggott) can reconcile this with his apparent commitment to community policing is beyond me,” he stated.