Playing politics with the law is sending all the wrong messages to all the wrong people

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One of the defences (and it is legitimate as far as it goes) is that Unionists were perfectly entitled to protest the reduction of the flag flying hours at City Hall, and take to streets. But, as we’ve seen in the limited terms of the highly circumscribed democracy we have in Northern Ireland when senior government parties take to protest, the politics of the streets returns.

Malachi O’Doherty focuses on Republican activism around the arrest of party ‘friends’:

Gerry Kelly, a former junior minister, called for Wilson’s immediate release and accused the police of being “politically motivated”. He said: “…someone who was crucial to bringing people along in the peace process and political process is now behind bars, where he should not be”.

This is not the sort of language that abjures the principle of political interference in policing; it’s precisely the opposite. Gerry Kelly seems to think that, if you have been a peace-processor, you should have a waiver on (alleged) criminal activity. Imagine how that reads in Dee Street.

I don’t doubt that real problems exist for Sinn Fein. Either the climate within wider Republicanism is changing (evidenced in the ongoing attempts of dissident paramilitaries to restart what SF believed they had finished), or an attitude of mind is changing within the judiciary.

As Steven McCaffrey of the Detail, as the politics of the Peace Process™ dribbles away, something dark is crawling out from underneath.. Cartoon by Ian Knox..

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    Sinn Fein has always believed that as both peace processers and victims they have permanent immunity from both criminal and moral scrutiny. The trouble with an ethnic conflict like NI’s is that usually both sides believe themselves to be victims. And judging from past loyalist adoption of republican iconography and organization we can soon anticipate similar arguments from North and East Belfast as well as the Shankill. After all the PUP and the UDP did participate in the peace process as well. If Wilson is given special treatment then we can expect it to be demanded for the likes of John White and maybe even Michael Stone.

  • socaire

    The first thing that some of the ‘citizens of the world’ need to understand is that it is only a crime to be a Republican/be in Sinn Féin/be in the IRA ONLY because our British masters deem it to be. Like before seatbelt wearing became law, it was not an offence before it became law and homosexuality is now legal whereas it didn’t use to be. The British government have no right to make laws binding us and vice versa ( so no sitting in Westminster :-))

  • Mick Fealty

    I think the fact that no one bothered to challenge speaks volumes Soc… What you mean is “men in uniforms don’t take ord…”

  • socaire

    Does that mean I’m right or maybe they’re all at tea. You can challenge.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The first thing that some of the ‘citizens of the world’ need to understand is that it is only a crime to be a Republican/be in Sinn Féin/be in the IRA ONLY because our British masters deem it to be.

    Eamon De Valera must have been a British master then, given his enthusiasm for rounding up and interning the IRA and essentially eliminating its existence south of the border.

  • socaire

    De Valera was only following in Collins’ footsteps when the British warned him that if he didn’t ‘deal with’ the IRA then they would come over and deal with them. All about power. Look at the Adams/McGuinness bloc. Now a terrorist – now you’re not. The nearness of power turns many a head and the purists become fewer and fewer. The Irish like to back a winner and if the conditions change and Oglaigh na hÉireann improve – who knows what will happen. This is only a temporary accomodation, don’t forget!

  • aquifer

    “is only a crime to be a Republican/be in Sinn Féin/be in the IRA ONLY because our British masters deem it to be”

    Na. Its all the bloody murder used as a first resort, not a last.

    Most jurisdictions have a problem with that.

    They don’t want to set a precedent by giving in to one cult of murdering blackmailers for fear of more arriving with another ideology that failed the election test, or with some religion that is not sufficiently worshipped.

    Lets quit with the perp and victim games and just admit that we are citizens in a very democratic and tolerant environment, almost republican, bar Mrs Sachs Coburg signing stuff off. How many times has she dropped the biro?

  • socaire

    You obviously don’t remember when it was a ‘crime’ to wear an Easter Lily? They, seemingly, have already given in to a cult of ‘murdering blackmailers’. I presume you refer to our government in Stormont? I am merely railing against the involvement of J Bull in my country.

  • socaire

    See, Mick. There’s at least two who are not well into their 2nd bottle of fíon dearg.

  • JoeBryce

    I would be genuinely interested to know from Socaire what he considers to be the moral difference between OnE and #flegs. Both seem to me in my bourgeois decadence to be almost identical in their pigheaded coat-trailing inability to live with difference; fascism, in other words. Gerry & Martin have a strategy for building a new Ireland, by extending the hand of understanding to their neighbours. Left to develop – i.e. so long as the Armed Struggle is not resumed – it might even work. What have you got?

  • Reader

    Socaire: The first thing that some of the ‘citizens of the world’ need to understand is that it is only a crime to be a Republican/be in Sinn Féin/be in the IRA ONLY because our British masters deem it to be.
    Are you just talking about membership, because the first two aren’t crimes anyway. Does the third actually have any members at the moment?
    Actions are somewhat different. And as for the way the law changes over time – if republicanism gets control, will they first acknowledge Kingsmills then legalise it, or first legalise it then acknowledge it?

  • Comrade Stalin

    socaire,

    IRA membership remains a crime in the Irish republic for which you can be convicted on the word of a senior police officer. I am not sure what any of that is to do with the British.

  • Jack2

    Geez, you have allowed yourselves to be dragged into a tangent.

    Politicians from all sides are giving political coverage to those who break/suspected of breaking the law.

  • Mick Fealty

    Socaire,

    Thug mé an t-alcól suas do Charghais, agus taitneamh a bhaint as sé go mór.

    B’fhéidir is é sin an fáth nach bhfuil moran foighne fagtha agam do a bheith ag piocadh níos mó ná mion tadhlaíocha.

  • socaire

    I’m not that old and I can remember when it was an offence to wear a beret or be a member of a Republican Club. Who said so? Why, the fascists, that’s who! A Mhicheail, gabh ar ais ag ól. Beidh tú níos foighní.

  • son of sam

    Profile for Socaire states”Born in Ireland and inhabiting the mythical Republic”Sounds like a parallel universe!

  • Comrade Stalin

    There are none so blind as those who will not see.

  • Coll Ciotach

    son of sam – seems to be ad hominem- no doubt you will retract and mick will delete that post

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    Is this playing politics with policing or does this not count as its shinners????

    I must admit I did like the bit were it was said that “They complained that police took five hours to search Sean Hughes’ house and that they did not make him aware that they were coming in advance”.

    I did not know there was an aragement were the psni told IRA members that they were coming to search their house??? Do the psni routinely search IRA members houses by appointment only. Now there’s interesting.

    “The Sinn Fein members walked out of the meeting,” he said. “One of the independent members, Declan Murphy, led the walkout over what they said was an attack on Sean Hughes. They complained that police took five hours to search Sean Hughes’ house and that they did not make him aware that they were coming in advance. But my view is that nobody is above the law. If the police have suspicions they have every right to search a property.”

    “Three or four Sinn Fein councillors and a number of the independent members then walked out,” Mr Moffett said.

    The Policing Board confirmed that four of the nine independent members on the Newry and Mourne partnership have formally declared membership of Sinn Fein, which it says is acceptable practice.

    Sean Hughes from Jonesborough was arrested on March 1 and charged with IRA membership. He was arrested in relation to the murder of Robert McCartney outside a Belfast pub in 2005, which caused major repercussions for Sinn Fein.

    Sinn Fein MP Conor Murphy was in the public gallery for Mr Hughes’ court hearing and later released a statement hitting out at the charges”.

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/headlines/sinn-fein-walk-out-in-protest-at-ira-charges-1-4905356