East Belfast Alliance MLA and Belfast DPP member Naomi Long has challenged Unionists to come clean on their stance on policing.
Responding to the continued failure of Unionists to take up seats on the Belfast District Policing Partnership (DPP), Cllr Long stated: “It is a total hypocrisy for Unionists to stay off the DPP, effectively at the behest of terrorists. They say that they are waiting for guidance from the North and West Belfast Parades Forum, which we all know has significant paramilitary input. Unionists are effectively putting paramilitaries before policing.
“Furthermore, how can the DUP complain about the Government wasting money while its own representative, Cllr Newton, is prepared to take an £8,000 annual allowance for chairing the DPP, and then refuses to turn up? I challenge Cllr Newton to hand the money back to the government immediately.
“This farcical stance is reflective of Unionists’ total failure to take on the responsibility of community leadership. Instead of standing for a better police service, they are standing against the legitimate forces of law and order altogether, and shirking responsibility for improving matters.
“Everyone accepts we have some way to go to achieve the best possible police service. However, for Unionists to shirk their responsibility to help attain this and then accuse others of standing outside the law stinks of utter hypocrisy.
“Unionist leaders have to decide whether they want the communities they represent policed by police officers, or by other elements. It is a straight and simple choice.”
For further information, contact Naomi Long MLA on 078 1039 6566 or via the Alliance Press Office on 079 5604 5764.