Sinn Fein leader refuses to backtrack on Chief Constable comments

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by Q Radio News

Mary Lou McDonald has refused to apologise for voicing opposition to any current police commander in Northern Ireland succeeding the retiring chief constable.

The Sinn Fein President said she would not be retracting her controversial comments about who should replace George Hamilton when he steps down in June.

Mrs McDonald has faced calls to apologise from a policing representative body while her comments have also sparked a wave of condemnation from political rivals.

On Monday in Belfast, Mrs McDonald said she would not have confidence in any current member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland's senior leadership team taking the helm of the organisation.

Addressing the media in Dublin on Tuesday, the republican leader said: "There's nothing to apologise for, there's no retraction to be made.

Mrs McDonald said she would have no role in appointing the new chief constable.

The PSNI's oversight body - the Policing Board - makes the appointment. A Sinn Fein member will be on the board panel that makes the decision.

"On the issue of the chief constable I have no role in the appointment of a chief constable," said the Sinn Fein President.

"I was asked could I identify someone from the senior team who I thought ought to be chief (constable) and the truth is I can't.

"Be clear on this, I am not going to decide who the chief constable is. Yes, we make appointments to the Policing Board and when people are appointed to the Policing Board they act in accordance with the statutory scheme, the rules and regulations - the letter of them.

"And I would expect and insist that any Sinn Fein appointee behaves in that manner."

Mrs McDonald characterised the controversy as "political huffing and puffing".

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