Belfast Telegraph

No apology needed over 'political huffing and puffing' for PSNI chief recruitment remarks, says Sinn Fein's McDonald

Mary Lou McDonald has refused to apologise for saying the next PSNI chief constable should come from outside the force as she had no confidence in any current senior officer taking on the role.

Mrs McDonald characterised the fall out from her comments as "political huffing and puffing".

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 which has sparked a major row.

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 and the Policing Federation. The Equality Commission also took the unprecedented step of intervening.

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

Since party officials have attempted to dial down the comments saying Mrs McDonald did not know many of the senior officers and she was saying she could not identify an officer, not there wasn't an officer.

Addressing the media in Dublin on Tuesday, the republican leader added: "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.

"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."

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