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Wednesday, September 13, 2006


D'oh #2

I was driving to work this morning (ironically in deepest East Londonderry) and for a little light relief tuned into Stephen Nolan on BBC Radio Ulster. Interestingly enough he was interviewing the local MP, Gregory Campbell.

So far so good, Campbell is a first class politician with an excellent campaigning record. I know the constituency well and know his hard work has made the seat safe. Given this I nearly drove into the River Roe when he came out with this (reported here):
Mr Campbell said the prisoners would have to show they did not advocate criminality.

If they did, he said, they could be considered for membership of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

"They have to demonstrate that they are repentant and they have to show that they do not advocate that sort of activities," he said.

"If so, they could then be considered, only if they demonstrate that, if they don't, they should not."

The response from DUP HQ was swift
"DUP policy in relation to policing is that there can be no question of a two tier policing system, particularly where terrorists, past or present are attempting to establish their own systems of justice through Community Restorative Justice Schemes," the statement said.

"We do not advocate or support the weakening of vetting procedures for the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the party does not support terrorist prisoners with convictions for murder and other serious criminal offences joining the police."
All politicians drop the ball occasionally (examples here) and whilst this might not be in the "feeding ones' daughter a BSE burger" category, in terms of what currently passes for NI politics it is a pretty big clanger. Perhaps Gregory Campbell should admit he made a mistake and row in behind what is clearly party policy. Otherwise this could run and run.

I think that Gregory got a little carried away with his personal beleif that no one is beyond redemption, which is a different thing than what is needed to ensure the integrety of a Police Service. It shouldn't really fit on the rador in comparison with things like "internal housekeeping"
Agreed, but when the USP of the DUP is to be better than what went before a gaffe, any gaffe, is regretable.
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