IN the wake of the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, it was interesting to listen to the comments of John O'Dowd on the BBC's Question Time.
The Sinn Fein MLA condemned the killing and stated that: "From the Irish experience, we have to learn this: allow the police to do their job away from media agenda, political agenda, or any other agenda that may be out there and allow justice to prevail in these circumstances."
It is imperative that Sinn Fein apply the same logic to criminal cases involving republicans.
On the arrest of John Downey over the Hyde Park bomb in 1982, Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly said: "The decision to arrest and charge him in relation to IRA activities in the early-1980s is vindictive, unnecessary and unhelpful."
After the arrest of Padraic Wilson, in November 2012, over offences in relation to the murder of Robert McCartney in 2005, Gerry Kelly said: "It is my firm view that these charges are politically motivated."
When Brian Arthurs was arrested on allegations of mortgage fraud in May 2007, Francie Molloy, then a Sinn Fein MLA, said the charges were part of "a politically-driven vendetta against a number of republicans in east Tyrone". Arthurs later pleaded guilty to charges of obtaining a money transfer by deception and two counts of possessing criminal property. Sinn Fein must demonstrate in word and deed that they will let the police do their job.
CLLR TIM ATTWOOD (SDLP)
Belfast City Council