Her comments follow the Party’s refusal to sign a joint statement from Party leaders in Northern Ireland supporting recruitment campaigns and encouraging everyone to consider both the Prison Service and PSNI and valuable career opportunities.
The East Belfast MLA, who is also a member of the Policing Board said, “Sinn Fein have yet to offer a clear reason why Michelle O’Neill would not put her name to a statement signed by every other party leader. In all comments since then, the Party has focused on the actions of those who took down posters and condemning intimidation of police and prison service staff.
Those were clearly condemned by all other party leaders within the joint statement, but it went further to encourage people from all parts of the community to consider both the Prison Service and the PSNI as valuable career opportunities. By a process of elimination, it leaves a significant question whether Sinn Fein has a problem in offering such encouragement.
In 2020 Michelle O’Neill had her picture taken at the launch of a PSNI recruitment event. Has she now reneged from that position whilst at the same time claiming to be a First Minister for everyone. There is a current recruitment process underway within the Prison Service. It should be an easy question for Sinn Fein now to answer – do they offer their full encouragement for people from all parts of the community to participate in that recruitment process?
A former Chief Constable previously highlighted this issue specifically around Catholic recruits to the PSNI where he referenced “wider nationalism” and called for “politicians, civic leaders and church leaders to advocate for a career in policing”. Sinn Fein needs to demonstrate if it is capable of offering that leadership or to spell out exactly which part of the joint statement they could not sign up to.”