Towards a social future, or a deadlocked past…?

Interesting piece from Joe Brolly, the RTE sports pundit and former Derry GAA player, who is lining out for St Brigid’s GAA against the PSNI, seriously underplayed squad, on Thursday evening. The move is significant, since the only team the PSNI has played before was that of the Garda Siochana. Brolly, who’s father is a Sinn Fein MLA and mother is a former Mayor of Limavady, speaks with some authority on the likely reaction of the Republican constitutency:

“It would not cause my father and mother to blink that we are playing against the PSNI. You must be joking. I was brought up to be broadminded and liberal. Our household has always been absolutely anti-sectarianism and to be broadminded. The whole process Sinn Féin is at is to get to a situation were lads in republican areas will be joining the police force. I have it for fact that it is part of Sinn Féin’s policy that in the event of conditions being right, they will propose at an Ard-Fheis that they join the policing board and they will move towards encouraging young people to join the police force.

Joe is clearly not an official spokesman for the party, but it would be interesting to know if this thought on the pragmatic limits of Sinn Fein’s constitutional struggle is one widely shared within the wider Republican constituency:

You can bet your life on it that ten years down the line people from staunchly republican areas will be joining the police without anybody batting an eyelid. As well, Sinn Féin will be sitting in Stormont probably no closer to a united Ireland and we would have a much better society for all of that. [my italics]

He contrasts that with the firebombing tactic of the CIRA in Newry recently:

“Should we all be joining the Continuity IRA in droves and burning furniture stores in Newry? Is that the way forward for us? What is wrong with showing plenty of confidence and optimism about ourselves and letting our fellow man live the way he wants to live?”

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty