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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 18:22 GMT
Sinn Fein backing 'joining PSNI'
Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams said he backed republicans joining the police
Young republicans have the backing of Sinn Fein to join the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the party's president, Gerry Adams, has said.

He was speaking in Dublin after a meeting of the Sinn Fein ard chomairle (executive).

At a weekend meeting his party voted to back the PSNI.

"If young republicans, or indeed any age of republicans, want to join it that's their right and we would support them doing that," he said.

"There's no point us calling upon people to work with the police if we are not also prepared to support those who want to join, but I think there's a big onus on the PSNI to win that sort of confidence."

Mr Adams differentiated between civic policing and the ongoing problems over "political policing", and said there were republican concerns about collusion.

He said "abusers" within the ranks of the PSNI needed to be "weeded out".

DUP leader Ian Paisley said he welcomed any move in support of law and order but still has serious concerns about the republican attitude to policing.

Referring to the murder of Belfast man Robert McCartney he asked: "What about McCartney?"

When asked about Prime Minister Tony Blair's expectation that the election will be to a power-sharing executive on 26 March he said that "was not a matter for Tony Blair" but for him.

The British and Irish governments have identified Sinn Fein support for the PSNI as crucial to persuading the DUP to share power in a devolved government with Sinn Fein by their deadline of 26 March.




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