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SERVICES 
Saturday, 29 September, 2001, 16:16 GMT 17:16 UK
Police Board members announced
First recruits to new service will be on streets in Spring 2002
Recruits to new service will be on streets in Spring 2002
The nine independent members of the new Police Board have been announced by Northern Ireland Secretary of State Dr John Reid.

As widely expected, the business academic Professor Desmond Rea has been confirmed as chairman of the Board.

Denis Bradley, the former priest from Londonderry who had a mediation role in pre-ceasefire contacts between the government and the republican movement, has been appointed vice-chairman.

Mr Bradley said it was important to establish a new police service which was acceptable to everyone.


In carrying out their work, the members of the Board should seek to respect the sprit and intent of the Patten Report

Brian Cowen TD

"I think that is what people want in their hearts and I want it for me, for my children and for all the other people who live here," he said.

The other seven independent members are Viscount Brookeborough, Brian Dougherty, Barry Gilligan, Tom Kelly, Pauline McCabe, Rosaleen Moore, Suneil Sharma.

New beginning

The new 19-member Police Board replaces the Northern Ireland Police Authority and its role will be to hold the chief constable and the police to account.

The government's announcement was welcomed by the Presbyterian Moderator Alastair Dunlop.

"Agreement to join the Board by both unionist and nationalist politicans is a positive step," he said.

"I would encourage people from both sections of the community to apply for membership of the new Police Service of Northern Ireland."

Denis Bradley
Denis Bradley: Police Board vice-chairman

The Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Irish Republic, Brian Cowen, said the new Board members had taken on the responsiblitiy of "realising the new beginning to policing as promised in the Good Friday Agreement".

"On their shoulders rests an enormous challenge - the task of bringing about a fully accountable, representative and effective police service for all the people of Northern Ireland," he said.

"They have our full support for this hugely important work."

The nine independents will sit alongside politicians from the Ulster Unionist Party, the DUP and the SDLP.

Sinn Fein has refused to support the new policing implementation plan and will not take up any seats on the board.

Policing has been one of four main stumbling issues in the peace process.

However, the decision by the two main unionist parties to join the Police Board has been a big breakthrough in resolving the issue.

Nominees

The issue of IRA decommissioning remains the main stumbling block, but Dr Reid said the move on policing by the two main unionist parties was "a momentous step forward".

The SDLP was the first party to endorse the policing proposals.

The Ulster Unionist Party's nominees are John Taylor (now Lord Kilclooney), and assembly members Fred Cobain, James Leslie and Ivan Davis.

The DUP's nominees are assembly members Ian Paisley junior, William Hay and Sammy Wilson.

The SDLP has nominated its chairman and policing spokesman Alex Attwood, South Down MP Eddie McGrady and West Tyrone assembly member Joe Byrne.

The first batch of between 260-300 Police Service of Northern Ireland trainees - selected on a 50% Catholic 50% Protestant basis - will begin training in October and be on the streets by spring 2002.

See also:

21 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Assembly suspension looms
18 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Paisley holding back on policing
18 Aug 01 | Northern Ireland
'Upbeat assessment' of policing plan
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