Different policing rules should not apply to politicians, says Gilmore

Tánaiste calls Adams arrest ‘significant’ but says outcome should not be prejudged

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said that different policing rules should not be applied to police investigations involving politicians. Photograph: Frank Miller / The Irish Times

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said that different policing rules should not be applied to police investigations involving politicians. Photograph: Frank Miller / The Irish Times

Fri, May 2, 2014, 12:16

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said that different policing rules should not be applied to police investigations involving politicians.

Speaking after Sinn Féin criticised the PSNI’s decision to arrest party president Gerry Adams, describing it as “political policing”, Mr Gilmore said, while the outcome should not be prejudged, “we have to be very clear that there are not separate rules for politicians”.

“This is a murder investigation that has been going on for some time and there is another person arrested and charged in this murder investigation,” he said.

“I don’t think Sinn Féin or anybody else should seek to have a different rule applied to someone because they are a politician.”

Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the “dark side of policing” was implicated in the arrest of Mr Adams and that he viewed the development as “a deliberate attempt to influence the outcome of elections” due to take place in the coming weeks.

Speaking to reporters in Glenageary in Dublin today, Mr Gilmore said that when the police want to interview somebody in connection with a murder investigation “they are perfectly entitled to do that”.

“If that person happens to be a politician or leader of a political party, so be it. There isn’t a separate rule and I don’t think Sinn Féin, with all due respect, should be seeking some kind of separate rule to be applied here because the person is a politician.”

Asked if the development could destabilise community relations in Northern Ireland, Mr Gilmore said “it’s a very significant event obviously, the leader of a political party being questioned by the police service, but I think it’s important we don’t prejudge the outcome of that questioning one way or another”.

“As far as I’m concerned and as far as the Irish Government is concerned, the Police Service of Northern Ireland is an independent police service with a job to do...it’s a matter for them to decide in looking at the investigation they are conducting who they want to talk to and I don’t think we can be drawing distinctions because the person is a politician.”