Mary Lou McDonald refuses to apologise for remarks on next PSNI chief appointment

Mary Lou McDonald refuses to apologise for remarks on next PSNI chief appointment

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has refused to admit she was wrong to say no senior PSNI officer is up to becoming the next chief constable amid fears political interference in the appointment could lead to legal action.

Ms McDonald would not apologise for the remark despite concerns her comments risk undermining the entire police force management in the north at a time when Brexit risks damaging the peace process.

The Northern Ireland Policing Board has said it has received advice warning any political interference in the appointment could lead to legal action.

Ms McDonald said the appointment is up to the PSNI.

"Any advice received by the Policing Board has to be considered by the Policing Board, they are meeting tomorrow and I think they need to be allowed space to pursue their job and any advice they received," she said.

"I'm more than happy to allow the Policing Board to do its job."

While the current chief constable George Hamilton is due to retire in June, the recruitment process to replace him has yet to begin, with Policing Board lawyers saying there will be a legal "vulnerability" if politicians interfere in the appointment.

The interview panel would normally include representatives of Northern Ireland's five main political parties, including Sinn Féin.

However, Policing Board members will meet with their own lawyers today to clarify what other recruitment structure options may be available.


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