Northern Ireland news

SDLP backs Nuala O'Loan's comments on Karen Bradley appointing new police ombudsman

Secretary of State Karen Bradley claimed that killings by security forces during the Troubles were "not crimes"
Brendan Hughes

AN SDLP MLA has backed Baroness Nuala O'Loan's comments that Secretary of State Karen Bradley is "not an appropriate person" to appoint the next police ombudsman.

Ms Bradley has faced calls to resign after telling MPs at Westminster that killings by security forces during the Troubles were "not crimes" and were carried out by people "fulfilling their duty in a dignified and appropriate way".

The Northern Ireland secretary later apologised for her "deeply insensitive" and "inaccurate" remarks.

The current police ombudsman Michael Maguire is due to retire in July after seven years in the role. In Stormont's absence, the secretary of state will appoint his successor.

Former police ombudsman Baroness O'Loan is among those calling for Mrs Bradley to step down.

Former Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan. Picture by Hugh Russell

In yesterday's Irish News, she said Ms Bradley's involvement in appointing a replacement for Mr Maguire would undermine trust in the police watchdog.

The SDLP's Dolores Kelly, the party's policing and justice spokesperson, said they have been clear that Ms Bradley should resign after her remarks.

"If Ms Bradley is unfit to continue in her role as secretary of state, then she is absolutely unfit to appoint a new police ombudsman," she said.

SDLP assembly member Dolores Kelly

However, UUP MLA Doug Beattie said Ms Bradley has apologised for her "ill advised" comments.

He said that while Baroness O'Loan has spoken about this, she "said nothing" about a Sinn Féin rep sitting on the Policing Board panel overseeing the recruitment of a new PSNI chief constable.

Mr Beattie was referencing how Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald faced criticism after saying there was no-one in the PSNI she thought should become the new chief constable.

UUP assembly member Doug Beattie. Picture by Cliff Donaldson

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