Public not allowed into emergency policing board meeting over On The Runs

Chief Constable Matt Baggott
Chief Constable Matt Baggott

An emergency Policing Board meeting to get answers from Chief Constable Matt Baggott about the PSNI’s involvement in the ‘letters of comfort’ to IRA members is to be held behind closed doors, it has emerged.

On Monday, a request from DUP, UUP and independent board members, asked for an extraordinary meeting of the body which oversees the PSNI.

That meeting will take place today head of a scheduled public meeting of the board tomorrow.

However, yesterday the board said that today’s meeting will be in private.

When asked why that was the case, a spokeswoman for the board said that “board business is generally conducted in private session”but that questions about the on the runs revelations could be raised in public at tomorrow’s meeting.

Last night the DUP’s group leader on the board, Jonathan Craig, said that he was not happy with the meeting being held in private and had spoken to the board’s chief executive about the issue.

“The feeling between the chair and the chief executive was that the police will be more open in private but my gut reaction was that it should be done in an open and transparent way.

“If the PSNI has nothing to hide, then they should be coming out and saying that and saying that very publicly.

“But it will come out. All that they gain from this is a 24-hour period.”