While the row over Denis Bradley’s comments rumbles on, with both SF and the DUP attempting to score political points, neither party appears to have seen the Irish Times report yesterday in which Denis Bradley did expand on his comments.It may have been because the Irish Times report was headlined as, Blair ‘optimistic’ on agreement (I’m paraphrasing) but there are direct quotes from Denis Bradley that are pertinent to the policing issue.
Speaking to The Irish Times last night, Mr Bradley said: “To continue under direct rule with no consequences is a dangerous analysis. The people for whom it is most dangerous and burdensome and the people who have taken the most strain in recent years are mainly Catholics and nationalists from the Border areas and for Catholics who have joined the police.”
He said because of verbal attacks by Sinn Féin and physical attacks by dissident republicans, many police recruits who are Catholics cannot return to their homes. “They are getting it in the neck from Sinn Féin on the one hand and the dissidents on the other.”
Direct rule is not an option, he said, and another form of rule which gives “cover” to both unionists and nationalists was needed in the event of no deal being secured to restore Stormont.
“There is no Plan B, and never was,” he claimed, and the two governments should come up with one.
Do SF still believe that, as the article puts it, “Sinn Féin said Mr Bradley’s argument underscored its decision not to endorse policing.”?
The article carries a comment from SF’s Mitchel McLaughlin, and a response from Denis Bradley –
Mr Mitchel McLaughlin, the party chairman, said: “This is an admission by the vice chair of the Policing Board that Patten has not been implemented and that the current arrangements do not meet the demand of the Good Friday agreement for an accountable policing service. Sinn Féin have been saying this for the past three years when Mr Bradley, along with the SDLP, jumped to endorse flawed policing arrangements.” Mr Bradley dismissed this as “inane”.(my emphasis)