Policing hole getting deeper?

Brian Feeney believes Sinn Fein is justified in maintaining its arms length policy regarding the police, and hints that the government’s move to put the intelligence operation into the hands of MI5 could put another ‘comprehensive agreement’ on a very long finger.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Another surprising poor effort by Mr Feeney.

    “Joining the Policing Board before the legislation is through Westminster would be like going to the bookies to collect your winnings with your horse in the final furlong of a steeplechase.”

    …or like letting the prisoners out before decommissioning, or like setting up the executive before obtaining a commitment to exclusively peaceful means, or like inviting people onto the Policing Board before they’ve endorsed the police…

    I’m afraid that Mr Feeney put very little thought and no analysis into this article. It might as well have been faxed over from the Sinn Fein press office. Frankly, he isn’t earning his keep as a commentator with this sort of stuff. The party line is already avaiable for free.

  • It’s strange argument from Brian Feeney, although strictly speaking it’s not an argument – more of a ‘Gerry’s right!’ piece.

    Waiting until legislation is passed before joining the Police Board was Adams’ line at the weekend.. and in the interview he gave to the BBC before that he indicated an even longer wait – as noted here

    Because it’s not the NI (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill that Adams is talking about, it’s the secondary legislation that is, perhaps eventually, to follow it. And as the Miscellaneous Bill points out that requires the Assembly to vote in favour of devolving policing and justice powers first.. and to agree the way those powers are to be exercised.. in other words, what Adams proposes as his party’s strategy is, in fact, stalemate.

    It also, interestingly, tallies very closely to the scenario set out by Vincent Browne, back in July last year – in his “ball of smoke” article

  • Chris Donnelly

    Feeney is, once again, spot on in his analysis of where nationalists stand on policing.

    It is normal for many media outlets here to present the Policing issue as one of Sinn Fein intransigence running contrary to wider nationalist opinion, as if republicans are somehow spoiling the enthusiasm within the nationalist community for the PSNI.

    The truth is, however, somewhat different. There remains a large chasm between nationalists and the PSNI: the continued endorsement of Sinn Fein’s stance on policing at the polling booths is testament to this.

    I have pointed out in recent times how the PSNI’s unwillingness to attribute a sectarian motive to loyalist violence- never mind tackle loyalist violence- sends a powerful message to nationalists that there remains a rotten core to this shiny, new policing outfit.

    Feeney correctly highlights the list of informers being protected by forces within the Police/ MI5 and alludes to the incredibly lenient approach of the judiciary when known loyalist leaders appear before them as further examples of why nationalists remain to be convinced about this new policing service.

    Feeney’s list is far from exhaustive. Last Summer we witnessed an incredibly inept response by the PSNI to loyalist activity in north Antrim, with the PSNI only shaken into action after a very public outcry by nationalists and high-level complaints from the Irish government.

    More recently, the same begrudging approach from the PSNI was to be found in the aftermath of renewed sectarian attacks in Stoneyford village.

    I have no doubts that policing will eventually be sorted out, with republicans at some stage publicly endorsing the new arrangements. But Brian Feeney is absolutely correct to indicate just why a clear majority of nationalists remain full square behind the cautious approach of Sinn Fein.

  • aquifer

    The GFA allowed NI to remain part of the UK until a majority wished otherwise. Whose intelligence services did Gerry think he was going to get -Bolivias?

  • Shore Road Resident

    All true Chris – but none of it explains why SF won’t co-operate with the Policing Boards, apart from the same soret of gutless intransigence that stops the DUP co-operating with Sinn Fein.

    Adams has spent ten years banging on about everyone else’s obligation to “take risks for peace”. What’s his excuse for holding back in a huff until everything’s perfect?

    SF’s line on policing is just that – a line, a negotiating tactic that transfers risk onto others. Feeney is seriously damaging his credibility as a commentator by swallowing that line whole and regurgitating it without a second thought.

  • DK

    Was the motion in the Ard Fiess that bans SF members being memebers of the British army, police or associated boards passed?