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SF's Gerry Kelly: I have supported people in joining PSNI

Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly has said he has supported people from the nationalist and republican community in joining the police.

He was responding to claims from the SDLP that his party had not done enough to encourage people to join the PSNI following the comments made by ex-policeman Peadar Heffron.

Mr Heffron spoke of being ostracised by his GAA club and community when he joined the police at the time of its formation in 2000. He was later the victim of a car bomb attack and was invalided out of the service.

Speaking on the BBC, the SDLP's Justin McNulty said Sinn Fein's response that "no one should be marginalised" by joining the PSNI was "too ambiguous".

"There is an unwritten rule in the GAA, which is part of my experience, that you leave your politics at the door," he said.

"Young Irishmen and woman who join the Garda are Irish police. Young Irishmen and women who join the PSNI are Irish police," he added.

"They should be admired by the community for the service they provide."

Responding Sinn Fein policing spokesman Gerry Kelly said he had supported young people considering joining the PSNI.

"I don't know where the ambiguity is," he said. "They are Irish people in an Irish police service.

"I was challenge you to point to any time where I've been on the media that I haven't condemned, not only attacks on police but on dissident activity entirely.

"There's no ambiguity at all."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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