Won’t support policing? Just be hypocrites! – Hain

It may seem a harsh assessment, but the practical reality of what the Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland, Peter Hain, is reported to be suggesting to Sinn Féin in the Sixth Annual John Hume Lecture at the MacGill summer school today is that the political rhetoric would remain the same in public, while co-operation with the police would take place on the ground. That sounds like hypocrisy to me. From the Sunday Times report:

“I would strongly urge the republican leadership to draw a distinction between constitutional endorsement of the structures of policing and support for the practical service of policing in the community.”

Update Peter Hain’s full speech can be read here.. some elements may merit closer examination.Another point from the report worth looking at. Liam Clarke states that:

When the House of Commons rises on July 25 the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which allows for the devolution of policing, will pass into law. This will allow for co-operation between the police and Sinn Fein.

Not quite as simple as that. We’ve had the promotion of this legislation as a watershed moment, when SF will be able to change their stance on policing, but it’s not the legislation that some seem to think it is.

It allows for the devolution of policing, but only after the quadruple lock is navigated.. SF’s stated position on policing, subject to revision, requires much more than the mere ability to devolve policing powers.

Denis Bradley’s speech tomorrow might be more interesting..

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  • Belfast Gonzo

    Meetings between SF and the PSNI in the autumn. My goodness, that’s a lot to squeeze in before November 24.

  • Pete Baker

    September’s going to be a very busy month if all the reported events ever actually take place..

  • lib2016

    Kelly has been preparing the Sinn Fein electorate for this and it is badly needed on the ground.

    Hain is right not to insist on silly ‘loyalty oaths’ or whatever. If it helps law and order it’s needed now before things get even worse on the ground so let Sinn Fein get on with it.

    The majority of the youth, especially the kids without qualifications or hope come from nationalist areas. That’s where policing will be needed in the coming years since that’s the section of the population where most of the crime comes from.

  • Pete Baker

    Perhaps you might want to reconsider that comment, lib?

    I know some would prefer it if the issue of policing and SF was not mentioned, or examined, at all.. but are you really saying that “that’s the section of the population [nationalist areas] where most of the crime comes from.“? ;p

  • lib2016


    As the survivor(?) of a maintained school I can confirm that the emphasis used to be on providing ‘the leaders of the future’ which is perhaps why they are so keen to do away with selection now.

    More young people leave the maintained sector without qualications and that is the section of society where the crime comes from, furthermore there are simply more young nationalists.

    More nationalist hoods = a bigger need for policing in nationalist areas.

    There are lots of contributory factors but I believe that’s the important issue and one which we should be honest about.

  • willis


    Thanks for that observation, and I have to say you are probably right. As the theme of this thread is hypocricy, you are right to ask for honesty about achievement in the nationalist non-grammar sector.

    As for SF hypocricy re. policing. I would rather a little hypocricy in the cause of peace than the 30 years of hypocricy in the cause of death (see Disappeared thread)

  • Pete Baker

    I’ve added a link, in the original post, to the actual speech by Peter Hain.

  • Occasional Commentator

    The question isn’t whether republicans are prepared to sign up to locally accountable policing, but whether the DUP are. Until the triple/quadruple/whatever lock is put in place, we don’t have locally accountable police for republicans to sign up to.

    It appears as if the Westminster parliament is finally prepared to revoke any right to interfere in local policing and justice (such as internment), but the DUP are determined that the Secretary of State for Wales should continue to run NI policing. So it’ll be the DUP that’ll have to move over the next few months, not SF.

    Which leaves the thorny issue of the British intelligence services continuing to operate in Ireland.

  • Pete Baker

    Not convinced by that argument OC.

    SF have painted themselves into a corner on policing with the demand for, at least, a time-table on devolved powers, and in other moments actual devolving of those powers, before they will countenance supporting the police – that’s a stage only reached beyond most, if not all, of the quadruple lock.

    Hain attempted to provide political cover for a retreat from that position in this speech – cack-handedly as usual.

    SF’s response has been to call his suggestion patronising.. which it is – both to SF supporters and everyone else.

    But the DUP’s position is, and has been for some time, that without substantial movement on policing from SF there will be no Executive.

    And only a restored Executive can turn the first key in that lock.

  • Occasional Commentator

    I don’t see how SF have ‘painted themselves into a corner’ over this. Why would they even want political cover to support the PSNI if there doesn’t seem much likelihood of the powers ever being devolved? What I’m saying is that nothing’s agreed until everything is agreed and that the DUP have to move as much as SF, if not more so.

    I myself am unsure exactly what SF/PIRA will do about crime and law and order (and other issues) if they get power, and I therefore don’t expect to be voting for them any time soon. But on this particular issue of supporting the PSNI I don’t see much wrong with their position.

    Maybe it’s just a case of sequencing? Do SF support this particular police force just before or just after the DUP agree to make that police force fully accountable to Irish people?