Alliance councillor Geraldine Rice has slammed Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams for his ‘gross hypocrisy’ when he criticised the police for its use of plastic baton rounds while the IRA continues its campaign of paramilitary attacks.
Councillor Rice said: “Yesterday, Gerry Adams slammed the SDLP for supporting a police service which uses plastic baton rounds ‘to quell street disorder’.
“Fewer plastic baton rounds are being used now than at any other time in recent years, and I commend the SDLP for coming out in support of the new Police Service, although it did so belatedly.
“But it is an insult to the victims of paramilitary-style attacks for Gerry Adams to criticise the police for using PBRs while the IRA continues to maim and cripple young people with live ammunition it should have already decommissioned.
“No-one can fail to notice the gross hypocrisy evident in Gerry Adams’s statement. If Sinn Fein had the courage to sign up to the PSNI, there would be no excuses left for the IRA to carry on with its sick campaign of community intimidation.
“According to police statistics, between 1999 and 2001, 234 PBRs were fired at both republican and loyalist rioters, a significant reduction from 1996 alone, when over 8,000 were fired. During the same period, republicans shot 141 people with live ammunition.
“While rioters make a choice to place themselves in danger, paramilitary victims often have no choice in their fate, other than to accept a bullet in the back of the leg.
“It is long past the time for Sinn Fein to give the PSNI a fair chance to prove that the new police service is the defender of the whole community, and to use its influence to bring these attacks to an end.”