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Blair questions whether Sinn Féin can remain on Chief Constable interview panel

Alliance Policing Board member John Blair MLA has questioned whether Sinn Féin can remain on the interview panel to appoint a new Chief Constable after Mary-Lou McDonald said she didn't believe George Hamilton's replacement should come from within the current PSNI leadership

The Sinn Féin president said she didn't have confidence in the current leadership team to take the reins when Mr Hamilton steps down.

"This was a careless and irresponsible thing to say," said South Antrim MLA Mr Blair.

"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."