John Blair: McDonald remarks on chief constable replacement begs question as to whether Sinn Fein can sit on interview panel

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton pictured after a meeting with a Sinn Fein delegation at Stormont Castle in Belfast in August 2017.'Mary Lou McDonald does not have confidence in the current PSNI leadership team to take the reins when he goes. Picture by: Arthur Allison: Pacemaker Press.
PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton pictured after a meeting with a Sinn Fein delegation at Stormont Castle in Belfast in August 2017.'Mary Lou McDonald does not have confidence in the current PSNI leadership team to take the reins when he goes. Picture by: Arthur Allison: Pacemaker Press.
Share this article

The Sinn Féin president has said she doesn’t believe George Hamilton’s replacement should come from within the PSNI.

Mary Lou McDonald does not have confidence in the current leadership team to take the reins when Mr Hamilton steps down.

Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

This was a careless and irresponsible thing to say.

It would be the ideal scenario to have as broad a representation as possible on the selection panel which interviews candidates and decides upon George Hamilton’s replacement.

However, this intervention from Mary-Lou McDonald now begs the question as to whether any Sinn Féin representative can sit on that panel.

Undoubtedly the PSNI have questions to answer over recent serious revelations around the failure to pass information on killings to the Police Ombudsman and I have requested a special meeting of the Policing Board to discuss this matter directly with the chief constable.

In addition, we recognise and acknowledge the challenge of maintaining and securing cross-community support and engagement for policing.

However, we should not allow the recruitment process for a new chief constable to become undermined, as it has with these comments.

John Blair, South Antrim MLA, Alliance Policing Board member