Ní Chuilín: vote SF to decriminalise republicans

North Belfast Sinn Féin councillor Carál Ní Chuilín told an Easter memorial crowd that republicans would resist attempts to criminalise them:

The leaders of the 1916 Rising were branded as criminals. The political prisoners in the 1970s and 1980s were branded as criminals, and ten men died to show that republicans are not criminal. We will not allow our struggle to be criminalised by enemies who fear Sinn Féin and our increased vote. That is another reason why people need to maximise our vote in May.

She went on to insist that all the blame for the breakdown of negotiations last December related to the DUP’s insistence on photographs of IRA decommissioning.

  • Davros

    This is confusing – is she saying that the IRA men who killed Robert McCartney were NOT criminals ?
    Cake and eat it.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    Don’t be silly Davros, you can’t be a criminal if you have a mandate, it’s just not possible. Ask Jeffrey Archer.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    In effect, voting Sinn Fein sends out a clear message that 300,000 odd people support killers. Is it any wonder our communities hate each other!?

  • Davros

    It’ll be interesting to hear Pat on this – do the IRA\have a mandate via SF Pat ?

  • PS

    The IRA do not stand in elections, therefore they do not have an electoral mandate.

    Davros, what this refers to is the attempt by the British and Irish government to criminalise all Republicans with regard to their pathetic, baseless allegations and punishments leading from the Northern Bank affair. To answer your question, whoever killed Robert McCartney is a criminal.

  • spirit-level

    Trouble is Davros
    chanters can’t explain mantras!

  • Davros

    OK Paddy – I know you are sincere – why are the killers of McCartney “Criminals” and yet the McCabe killers “not Criminals” ?

    This is cake and eat it time mate. When we hear the nonsense spouted about no republicans being criminals it shows that many in your movement are just as dishonest as those who say ALL republicans are criminals.

    Some of your guys were caught out. Take your medicine. If you want respect, when people are caught out don’t go into denial, address the problems.

  • Circles

    Hmmmm – it seems you fellas are still having trouble with this one.
    OK so its like this – republicans do not consider it a crime to be a republican, thats the first point.
    For the physical force tradition it is also not a crime to take up arms against the forces occupying Ireland and their “allies”. Therefore attacks on the british army and the ruc were not criminal activities, they were political acts. I’m not condoning these – just making the point.
    Now you may see this another way – but thats something else entirely.
    I’m surprised though at the reaction from both Davros and EU. Firstly Davros, she didn’t mention the McCartney case – which was not an IRA operation (political act) but a murder (crime) – so bringing that up is mere diversion tactics from the issue at hand. Secondly Beano, I can hardly believe that you buy that old line from the Thatcher days that people who vote for Sinn Fein are actually voting for killers – that goes beyond criminalising the party to criminalising a community. As you said, with people ready to label 300 odd thousand people criminals for actually voting, is it any wonder our communities hate each other.

  • Davros

    Whoa circles – are you saying that the Adare robbery
    WAS an IRA (political) act ?

  • Circles

    Don’t want to sound like any of the shinners, because I actually really do mean it when I say – “Davros, I don’t speak for the IRA”.
    So I’m not going there at all (and know honestly too little about the McCabe case to get into it). But I think you get my drift about what cpould be a crime and what most certainly isn’t for the physical forcers.

  • Davros

    Circles – this is an interesting topic. On the one hand we have Martin et al saying that republicans cannot be criminals and at the same time admitting that some ARE criminals , yet sending the drones out to set up straw men about people trying to say that all republicans are criminals – laying down huge clouds of smoke.

    The RM has been caught out and should take it’s medicine.

  • Circles

    Hold on Davros, I may have missed something.
    When did anybody say republicans cannot be criminals (such nonsense can only be laughed at if true – did McGuinness really say this, I find that hard to believe)?
    They are 2 MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE things, being one does not have anything to do with being the other – its like saying policemen can’t be rapists, or drug dealers can’t care for small animals. Being one has nothing to do with being the other.
    I don’t see how this means the RM have been caught out though. Could you maybe elaborate a bit on that?

  • Davros

    Circles , Go back to this thread Jan 13 this year.

    “The IRA are not criminals, never were criminals and in my[McGuinness’s] opinion never will be criminals”

  • Circles

    I think that rather undermines your point rather than supports it though Davros. Here McGuinness is talking about the IRA (and presumably IRA sanctiponed operations), which, in being political in nature, are not criminal.
    He did not say republicans are not criminals.
    There is a very, very clear difference.

  • Circles

    Hold on just to rephrase that – he did not say that republicans cannot be criminals.

  • Mark


    So from a republican point of view, the McCabe killers aren’t criminals because their crime was a political (sanctioned) one? While the McCartney murder is a crime because it wasn’t sanctioned?

    That must be a great comfort to the McCabe family.

    If that is the case, then from a republican point of view how would they classify the destruction of evidence and intimidation of witnesses following the McCartney murder? Surely that would be a crime even if it was sanctioned by senior IRA men?

    Btw if that’s the way some republicans think, it’s bloody shocking.

  • Amicus


    Please take some time to clarify this political/criminal business.

    Ok, so I don’t like some political activity local to me, say the Council Tax; I then recruit a few like minded people, give ourselves a punchy name, say, T.W.A.T.S. and declare ourselves a political entity. We then plant a bomb in the local Town Hall, kill the Mayor, the Town Clerk and a few other workers.
    According to your logic, Circles, this was not a criminal act?

  • Jacko

    “For the physical force tradition it is also not a crime to take up arms against the forces occupying Ireland and their “allies”.”

    For allies read then “every unionist voter”.

    As for the logic of Circles argument, it is perfectly clear: Republicans have ceded unto themselves alone the right to decide what is or isn’t a crime. (They are after all the legitimate Government of Ireland. With Slab, presumably, as Minister of Finance).
    It is a crime if they say it is and not if they say it isn’t. Quite simple, really.

  • Jimmy Sands

    “Strengthen hand of Party” has a certain North Korean ring to it as headlines go, don’t you think?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    “Strengthen hand of Party” has a certain North Korean ring to it as headlines go, don’t you think?

    do all parties who contest elections not use phrase such as that? The lynch mob mentality of some posters is almost manic.

  • Jimmy Sands

    It struck me is evocative of a slightly different politicial tradition. Perhaps its just me. Also it is, ostensibly at least, not a party slogan but a newspaper headline.

    No need to be quite so thin-skinned Pat.

  • IJP

    There is a clear distinction between political violence (aka terrorism) and criminal violence. Everything, from the purpose of the violence to the position and background of the perpetrator, is different. The only similarity is the unnecessary human suffering and social upheaval both cause.

    It is also clear the IRA has been involved in both.

    In fact, it’s never been entirely clear to me that Loyalists ‘paramilitaries’ were ever involved in the former.

  • Young Irelander

    “Sinn Fein is actively campaigning for the Irish government to bring forward a paper on Irish unity.”

    It might as well be toilet papaer for all the use it will be.This is the kind of nonsense that characterises Sinn Fein.It might sound good, but it will achieve nothing.Ni Chuilin is talking rubbish.

    “It is essential that, in future negotiations, Sinn Fein’s hand is strengthened further and everyone can play a role in ensuring that will happen.”

    Strengthen Sinn Fein’s hand?For what?So they can have a green paper on Irish unity?
    Meanwhile the border on the map stays and Direct Rule continues! I find it absolutely extraordinary that nationalists would find it beneficial to vote for Sinn Fein and to strengthen their hand.

    In effect, they will only be strengthening the border.

  • jamesquigley

    judging by some of the comments people would seem to forget about the loyalist death squads abd security forces who spoonfed them…

  • Davros

    Simple question for you then Jamesquigley – how did the existance of “loyalist death squads abd security forces who spoonfed them” mean that the IRA abducting a boy with learning difficulties from School and killing him wasn’t a crime ?