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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 January 2007, 18:49 GMT
Reaction to Sinn Fein police move
Leading figures have been giving their reaction to the news that Sinn Fein has endorsed policing in Northern Ireland

GERRY ADAMS, SINN FEIN PRESIDENT

Gerry Adams
There is no going back - only going forward to a just society.

If we are to make progress as a people, as an island people, then republicans and nationalists and unionists will have to set the terms of our relationship.

Republicans - we who have assembled here and thousands like us - believe that the best way to achieve this is to take control of our own destiny.

This means persuading the British government to face up to its responsibilities - and that means the British government leaving Ireland.

BERTIE AHERN, IRISH PREMIER

Bertie Ahern

This a landmark decision which has opened the way to Northern Ireland power-sharing.

It is vital that we continue to maintain the momentum from the St Andrews agreement and the timetable set out in that agreement.

PETER HAIN, NI SECRETARY

Peter Hain

This overwhelming endorsement of the Sinn Fein leadership's support for policing and the courts puts Northern Ireland in a place where it has never been before.

What had always been a massive impediment to stable and lasting government has been removed.

We have always said that to make the breakthrough both Sinn Fein and the DUP have both to deliver on the twin pillars of support for policing and power-sharing. Now, that can be done.

SIR HUGH ORDE, PSNI CHIEF CONSTABLE

Sir Hugh Orde

Our view has always been that policing is a public service which every member of the community should be able to access on an equal and equitable basis.

I have always said that no ideology or individual should stand between the public and that service and that the community is entitled to have their public representatives hold this police service to account.

I believe that the community has recognised for some time now the value and importance of the professional and dedicated service provided by the officers and staff of the Police Service of Northern Ireland on a daily basis.

I recognise and pay tribute to the courage and determination of people both inside and outside the police service who have enabled us to arrive at this moment.

It marks another step along a road which has travelled through some difficult territory and visited pain and hurt on many families, including policing families.

SIR REG EMPEY, UUP LEADER

Sir Reg Empey
Today's vote is the inevitable outworking of the peace process begun in the mid nineties, requiring as it did that all parties commit to exclusively peaceful and democratic means.

The UUP has been saying for months that Sinn Fein had nowhere else to go as they had to sign up to the Pledge of Office to support law and order before joining any future executive.

It should also be noted that the decision of the SDLP to support policing in 2001 made today only a matter of time.

The tragedy is that it has taken republicans so long to wake up to change and play their last card.

DESMOND REA, POLICING BOARD

I welcome the decision taken today and look forward to Sinn Fein joining the Policing Board, which I trust will be sooner rather than later.

Full political and community support for policing will be for the benefit of the whole community.

SAMMY WILSON, DUP MP

Sammy Wilson

The ultimate test of this, because there is no trust in Sinn Fein, is will they deliver on supporting policing before they get into government?

They cannot get into government and not support the police.

DAVID LIDINGTON, SHADOW NI SECRETARY

We welcome this as a step forward.

Now we need to see evidence of actions on the ground to demonstrate the republican movement is matching words with deeds.

MARK DURKAN, SDLP LEADER

Mark Durkan
Mark Durkan said politics in Northern Ireland could move forward

They now need to sign with no ifs or buts. As Gerry Adams now accepts, nationalist areas need policing.

That's why it makes no sense to wait until the DUP accepts the devolution of justice.

The British and Irish Governments want to see powers over policing devolved to an Northern Ireland minister by 2008, a prospect leading DUP figures have ruled should not happen within a political life-time.




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