Sinn Fein's real reasons for not accepting police?

Alban Magennis argues that after 11 years of (imperfect) ceasefires, questions have to be raised over Sinn Fein’s geniune reasons for continuing to boycott the PSNI:

…seven years after parties committed to the Agreement, courageous families are denied justice, crime and paramilitary gangs rob and racketeer, and people joining a changing police service are demonised? Why do some cling to the lawless way, which is not our way? People are very clear. They had hoped that all this would be ended 11 years after ceasefires. Terrible murders, continuing organised crime, recent drug arrests, and millions laundered means it is far from ended. This has been a deep breach of faith.

He draws his own conclusions:

The real reason why the provisional movement does not accept the new policing structures is not any issue about Patten, but that a lawful Ireland threatens their moneymaking and control over the lives of citizen and community.

The party has produced its own progress report in year four of Chris Patten’s ten year plan.

  • spirit-level

    I don’t know of any political/armed group in history fighting occupation that’s not up to its neck in lawlessness. It misses the point to continually focus on this.
    Let’s see if we can address/remove the causes of conflict; ie treat the cause not the effect.

  • Davros

    Interesting comment spirit-level – as SF are still fighting “occupation” you seem to be suggesting that they need not obey the law.

  • Scarlet

    Spot on, may even vote SDLP if they keep this up. SF and what is uphomistically called the Republican movement have absolutely no reason, political or financial, to welcome normality. Without conflict and division where would they be?

  • barney


    The six counties have never experienced political or financial ‘normality’ and never will. The whole thing was a joke from the start. These days the British taxpayer supports the ridiculous construct to the tune of 67% of it’s GDP, according to the Sunday Times. Is that the kind of ‘normal’ you want?

  • Scarlet


    I agree but having thugs and criminals having the run of the place does not help either.

  • middle-class taig

    One has to wonder about SDLP’s strategy. Why, having been electorally hammered twice on policing, do SDLP insist on putting it centre stage? Does anyone think new SF voters in NB are going to be swayed back by a law’n’order agenda?

    Alban must be running coverage for McDonnell. He can’t seriously be running this issue as a central plank of his campaign in North Belfast, where the biggest post-Patten failures of the PSNI have all been played out. I suppose they reckon Kelly will eat him alive in any event, so why not have him raise the banner so that Alasdair isn’t seen as running a one-man attack on SF.

    The SDLP were only at 1.2 quotas in NB in Nov ’03. Alban needs to watch his back door, esp if Martin Morgan is going to make a come-back.

    I wouldn’t mind so much, but I have Empey to beat Gerry Kelly on the Eastwoods match betting. Can someone in SDLP head office please raise this important factor with Alban 🙂

  • Dessertspoon

    Hey Barney if that’s true and I don’t doubt that it is. What makes you think that the ROI can afford us or even want to try? It might be a nice romantic idea but if the true costs of unification were given and the implications spelled out I’m pretty sure most in ROI would vote against.

    But that’s off topic because I think the normality Scarlet was talking about was the kind of day to day things like unarmed Police, no need for soldiers on the streets, no gangs affiliating themselves to whatever Headcase Paramilitary group they can find as a pretence for crime and if those gangs continue to exist that ordinary LAW ABIDING people can go to the police, report crimes and the police can do soomething about them. You know the kind of thing they have in lots of other countries.
    That said should the time come when a vote is required or appropriate for unification then more than the Irish patriots and Loyalist zealouts opinions will count. The economic viability and feasibility will have a much greater impact and the more “normal” and self sustaining Norn Iron can become in the meantime will be of benefit to both sides of the unification argument. This cannot happen in our current situation and the longer SF (and others!) perpetuate the divisions and continue moving goalposts the more likely it is that Norn Iron will go into a further period of stasis and eventually be so far behind ROI and GB no-one will want us. Of course SF joining the policing board won’t fix all of that but it’s a start and it shows a willingness to try.

  • spirit-level

    Dunno Davros
    “you seem to be suggesting that they need not obey the law.”
    It’s definately part of the paradox!
    I’m working on it, I’ll keep you posted.
    If I forget, I know you’ll keep reminding me 😉

  • Davros

    LOL spirit-level – the next installment – if and when the boot’s on the other foot, will Unionists be allowed to opt out of all-Ireland laws they don’t fancy ?

    Siesta time!

  • spirit-level

    LOL Brilliant

  • barney


    Nope, I’m pretty sure Scarlet was talking about political and financial normality – try reading his/her post.
    As for your views on law-and-order normality, are you describing the 26 counties?
    I don’t know if the Sunday Times article is correct but wouldn’t be too worried about Ireland maintaining the same level of support. The trick is, you see, for people to get off their arses and work for a living. That would quickly be appreciated when the handouts dry up.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    On this most rarest of occasions I actually agree with something coming out of the mouth of an SDLP member!

    I find it hard to fathom the levels of brainwashing that have gone on in the lives of “barney” and “spirit-level” however!

    How are the Rafia “treating the cause of the conflict” by ethnically cleansing housing estates of Protestants, such as, to name but a few, Torrens and Cluan Place in North and East Belfast, Rathenraw in Antrim, Dunclug in Ballymena and the Fountain in Londonderry?

    As for the “fighting occupation” remark. Is it any wonder that there is a lack of trust towards the wider Roman Catholic community on behalf of Protestants, when there are two different messages coming out from the nationalist/republican community!

    In the 1980s FitzGerald and Hume acknowledged that, (I quote from McKittrick and McVea’s book “MAKING SENSE OF THE TROUBLES”);
    “the key to the problem was not Britain but the Protestant community…the British presence was not imperialist but neutral…Irish unity could only come about with Protestant consent”.

    Constitutional nationalists were far-sighted enough to realise that the British presence was needed to keep law and order and that nationalists couldn’t bomb the Protestant, British people of Ulster into acquiescing to a 32 county Ireland!

    However “Spirit-level” and the armed republicans he supports obviously think this is still a legitimate tactic! An increase in votes for Sinn Fein/IRA will just deepen the levels of mistrust and waryness felt by the Protestant community.

  • El Matador

    “the key to the problem was not Britain but the Protestant community…the British presence was not imperialist but neutral…Irish unity could only come about with Protestant consent”.

    This is why only the SDLP can bring about a truly united Ireland, both geographically and in the minds of its inhabitants.

    Spin Féin have yet to realise that it isn’t just as simple as ‘Brits Out’.

  • Jim Bob

    “will just deepen the levels of mistrust and waryness felt by the Protestant community”

    You were like that when all you were facing was Civil Rights protestors and the SDLP, and you sought to baton them into the ground.

    Thank god someone had the balls to stand up to you

  • Jim Bob

    “Sinn Féin have yet to realise…”

    The SDLP have yet to realise that they have no support on the ground in the North.

    Perhaps they’d win a few seats in Dublin 4 or amongst O’Reilly’s journalists but that doesn’t really count.

    Pity no one told them that.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “Jim Bob”,
    So you’re saying that the majority of Roman Catholics in Ulster now think that the best policy for the realisation of Irish “unity” is coercion, rather than “reconciliation”, which is the rhetoric used by pastmasters of nationalism, FitzGerald and Hume?

    I didn’t believe all the FitzGerald/Hume pan-nationalist rhetoric, but at least they didn’t physically threaten or terrorise my community!

  • El Matador

    The SDLP have yet to realise that they have no support on the ground in the North.

    Usual Spin Féin crap. So the votes of ten of thousands of SDLP voters don’t count? So much for democracy. Roll on the Fatherland of Nazi Ireland, Herr Adams.

    The SDLP could have said the same of the provos when they were only getting 10% of the vote in the North, but John Hume still entered dialogue with them.

    Have some humility!

  • Concerned Loyalist

    El Matador,
    I’m a bit wary of the SDLP’s recent attempts to “out-green the Sinners”, but I still feel that they are more accommodating of Unionists/Loyalists than the Rafia, thus being a more acceptable face of nationalism for us to work with and attempt to bring about LASTING peace.

    Never say never, but I’m afraid the harsh reality is that I can’t see myself ever trusting the dregs of society that permeate the ranks of the Sinn Fein/IRA sectarian war-machine.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Another point “Jim Bob”. Although I accept that the RA probably didn’t “run” the “Civil Rights” Campaign, scores of their members were certainly participants in their various marches and rallies, which is the reason for Protestant distrust at the time!

  • spirit-level

    Concerned Loyalist
    You make some really good points there.
    You attack, but its not personal , so I respect you. As it happens I regard myself as a peaceful persuader for a United Ireland, I’ve have never seen a bomb or a gun , or even been to Belfast.

    I welcome GA’s invitation to pursue exclusively democratic means, and earnestly desire the purging of rogue elements within republicanism.
    Robbers and McCartney killers: they do nothing for the good cause.

    However I recognise “austere” unionism as more a class thing,like the Tories : Law and Order tops your agenda.

    Poor irish peasant folk (abroad) like me, have never had too much time for that kind of class morality you refer to.. too busy surviving!

    However the morality I do care about is righting the wrongs of British Cultural Imperialism.
    Those wrongs outweigh the wrongs of past IRA violence. That’s my view.
    I presume that’s where we part company.

  • barney

    When SF passed through 10% on the way up, they had something to say and a job to do. The SLDP, on their way through the same barrier in the opposite direction, have nothing to say and no reason to hang about. You have every reason to be humble, having divided the nationalist vote for so long.

  • Jim Bob

    “Another point “Jim Bob”. Although I accept that the RA probably didn’t “run” the “Civil Rights” Campaign, scores of their members were certainly participants in their various marches and rallies, which is the reason for Protestant distrust at the time!”

    That doesn’t fit with the history of the period.

    People who were very close to Paisley at the time were busy inventing an IRA that didn’t yet exist.

    The old one was defunct.

  • Jim Bob

    To Concerned Loyalist

    “So you’re saying that the majority of Roman Catholics in Ulster now think that the best policy for the realisation of Irish “unity” is coercion, rather than “reconciliation”,”

    Nope. They recognise that Sinn Fein are the only ones who can do a deal with Unionism which will sort the problem out once and for all.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Jim Bob,
    How can you ever expect to sort things out whilst you are maintainining the structures of your private army by:-

    1)actively recruiting members,
    2)fundraising i.e. robbing Securicor vans, the Northern Bank robbery etc
    3) murdering a man outside a Belfast city centre pub in cold-blood
    4)continuing targeting of Loyalists and security personnel.

  • El Matador

    having divided the nationalist vote for so long.

    What rubbish you talk. Have you ever read a history book. It was the SDLP that first UNITED the nationalist vote- previously it was split betwwwn NI Labour Party, Republican Labour Party, independents, etc.

    For thirty years the party dominated (in 1998 the SDLP was the biggest of any party- a feat which Spin Féin is unlikely ever to achieve.

    So don’t even talk to me about the SDLP splitting the vote. Don’t forget it’s the provos who, until they decided voting was a good thing, threatened to kill any nationalist who voted in an election.

    Or perhaps these historical facts don’t fit into your warped provo image of the political situation here.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    I understand, as a working class 20 year old student what you mean by “austere” unionism, and the issue of “class” and I agree that in mainstream Unionism it applies to the Ulster Unionist Party, but I feel less so to the DUP.

    For Westminster and the Assembly I would be a DUP voter, but in local council elections I would be a fervent supporter of the Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG).

    The top of their agenda is the regeneration of loyalist areas, which the Government seriously has to address, as for too long we have been treated as second class citizens to the nationalist community in this regard!
    The UPRG work tirelessly in the community to try and turn young loyalists away from the path of paramilitaries and into the path of education and the betterment of themselves so they can live a prosperous, peaceful and happy life.

  • beano;

    “The UPRG work tirelessly in the community to try and turn young loyalists away from the path of paramilitaries”
    I thought the UPRG were the paramilitaries on their day off..

    Although I agree with what you say, I’m not sure that loyalist areas have been seen as second class, merely that there has been less interest shown (from within as well as without) in regenerating them. In my experience the people in loyalist areas, the youth anyway (I’m a 21 year old student myself), have no pride in their areas beyond “keeping the taigs out”.

    I hope that from what you’re saying this is beginning to change, but I’ve only seen very small steps (such as the repainting of murals previously adorned by terrorists now with men from the Somme etc). I think one of the first things that should be done is removing all murals for the paramilitaries and replacing them (if you must have murals) with the Somme/Boyne/Seige of Derry etc to try and encourage people to take an actual interest in their history and culture.

    Sorry for going so way off topic but it’s rare I speak to anyone who seems to care about this.

    As regards the police, the IRA’s rampant criminality is one reason SF can’t join the PB – but the main factor, I think, is that if the police really were seen to be working for everyone, SF would have lost their number one thing to MOPE about! And where would they be without their own sense of victimhood?

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Are only moderators able to start threads?

    If I was able to initiate threads myself, this is the bread and butter stuff that loyalist communities care about, and I would be interested, as you yourself are, into what other loyalists, and indeed nationalists, think.

    As regards to loyalist murals, I know that areas like the Lower Shankill estate have whitewashed a mural of the “Trooper” that Johnny Adair and his C Company followers commissioned, as they felt it was too scary for the local children.

    I also can think of areas like Lincoln Courts in the Waterside,Londonderry, which had a UFF gunman and a painting of the dying ancient Defender of Ulster, CuChulainn as a mural, with the slogan “Champions of Ulster” above it, which has been decommissioned in the last year, replaced by a very good mural which takes pride in the Harland and Wolff shipyards of East Belfast.

    All in all, I feel we are becoming gradually more successful in making our cause more acceptable to international support. We are turning our back on the politics of fear and moving forward with a pride in our history and heritage, which we want to portray to outsiders looking in.

  • PatMcLarnon

    Tired old angle by Alban and perhaps suggests why he personally and the SDLP in general are on the slide. As a N Belfast resident I have been canvassed by SF twice and not at all by the SDLP. On the ground the SDLP simply don’t count.

    Note to the SDLP poster designers, a drop of makeup wouldn’t have gone amiss for Alban, that red conk on his posters is visible from outer space.

  • A.U.

    Are only moderators able to start threads?

    If you e-mail Mick with something you would like blogged Concerned Loyalist he will consider posting it for you.

  • harry

    I think Alban Magennis needs to address why the majority within the nationalist community vote for a party who believe the police service to be unacceptable.

    Sinn Fein does not accept the PSNI because this is what most Nationalists believe

  • Moyle rover

    Re Pats point above about canvassing, as far as I can see the SDLP are only canvassing the three westminster seats they have a chance in and have given up the ghost everywhere else. Did you see Danny O Connor on TV tonite, his election team is him and two others.

  • GavBelfast

    A bigger team than the RM’s in North Down by all accounts, Moyle Rover.


  • tra g

    The winner is…

    The SDLP in East Belfast

    No canvassers,no posters,no leaflets & no visible sign of the candidate

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    Concerned Loyalist: CuChulainn is actually one aspect of history I would like to see given more focus (although without the likening to the UFF gunman).

    Surely if the SDLP believe the police are or can be acceptable they should be passing that message on to nationalists and have a right to do so. The majority of nationalists I know want police force that is neutral and non-political and if the SDLP believe that the PSNI can be that force then why not show a bit of leadership and try to convey and justify that message?

    Political parties here have a responsibility to lead and not just to follow.

  • john

    “The majority of nationalists I know want a police force that is neutral and non-political”

    I believe everyone wants an accountable and neutral police force

    The majority of the Nationalist electorate do not however support the present policing arrangement

  • puzzled

    I’m puzzled.

    Exactly what war are Sinn Fein fighting?

    They have accepted patition and are happy to accept payment for their members elected to the queens parliment & assemblies and what ever grants are going for Daily Ireland etc.

    Time for SF to end their sham.

    Without the pretend conflict they have nothing to offer.