“..not a response to unionist demands.”

An interesting difference in emphasis between RTÉ and the BBC in their reporting of the Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams’ speech this evening – a speech that the SF website helpfully describes as significant. Despite RTÉ’s description as wide-ranging, and the BBC’s focus elsewhere, it’s his comments on policing – accurately described by the BBC as lacking detail – which will be examined most closely.. especially given the other statements and rumours flowing around today.He begins his comments on policing by repeating the new SF mantra on “the Rule of Law”, and claims that any movement will not be due to the demands of others.. even though those demands have been repeated throughout the year

Republicans are for policing. Republicans are for the Rule of Law. Republicans are law abiding people who want a fair and equitable policing and justice system that is transparent and accountable.

Our support for policing and law and order is not a response to unionist demands.

Neither is it a tradable commodity to be retained or given away as part of a deal.

Sinn Féin wants acceptable civic policing, which is democratically accountable and free from partisan political control.

We want fair, impartial and effective delivery of law and order.

But Adams also describes policing as “an area of struggle”, perhaps signalling it as an area in which they could, or perhaps should, engage.. although it could also be interpreted in a less benign way..

For Sinn Féin Policing is an area of struggle. We come to it in the same way as we have come at other issues.

Strategically, in order to advance our struggle, and because those we represent deserve to have full rights on all matters, including the issue of policing.

I have no doubt about how big an issue this is for many of us. That is why I am setting out these options for you tonight. You have a right to know what our intentions are, to understand and to be part of our rationale.

Sinn Fein is opposed to criminality of all kinds. Those who profit from crime have to be effectively challenged and put out of business. So too must those who target the elderly and vulnerable. Rapists and racists can have no refuge and our communities should not have to put up with the scourge of death drivers, or intimidation and lawlessness by criminal groups.

[Does that include those “good” republicans? – Ed]

I don’t, by the way, see much in the way of options in the references to policing…


  • Belfast Gonzo

    Arguably, republicans have always been in favour of policing, just not by the police.

    However, it was another line that caught my eye that was intended as much for the DUP, I suspect, as it was for the Europa crowd: “There is no going back to the old days.”

  • parcifal

    Mr Baker,
    For someone so concerned with law and order and justice, do you think its right and proper to make snide remarks on Murphy?
    He has the right to trial, and if the police discover he’s been breaking the law, he will be arrested, charged and tried.
    Is slugger’s about trial by blog-media?
    Baker’s witch-hunt? Hmmm….

  • Pete Baker


    Snide remarks? Pshaw..

    Off-hand, there is this continuing news.. events may have developed further since then..

  • DK

    Well it sounds to me like SF are starting to discuss policing in NI beyond simple stereotypes of the “orange militia”. So that’s got to be good news, and possibly unavoidable as the catholic % of police continues its inexorable rise, as does the implementation of Patten – only 2 recommendations of which have not been started. The disbanding of the RIR is another plus for the republican movement (side note – if you want to join the army in NI, which regiment will you end up in?).

    In any case, it sounds like momentum gathering for some sort of deal on policing and crime. I would expect a bill where SF join policing on the understanding that “on the runs” can return and they have amnesty for “crimes” commited by republicans pre November 2006.

  • smcgiff

    ‘accurately described by the BBC as lacking detail’

    a.) the details are for the meetings in Scotland.
    b.) the outcome of the meetings of Dr Paisley and the Catholic Archbishop were even less detailed.

    I’d be tempted to suggest that again the wrong story gets emphasised – but this IS the angle to take when your agenda is to blog a political agenda. So, no surprise here then.

  • Pete Baker


    If you think I, or RTÉ, or the BBC, have mis-interpreted the speech, then feel free to argue your point.

  • smcgiff

    It’s the emphasis on what to report is what I had in mind.

    There’s always several ways each story can be tackled, and it usually betrays the authors viewpoint…

    Small Earthquake in Peru. Not many dead. No Americans.


    Another Earthquake devastates a village in Peru, up to 30 people have been killed, devastating dozens of families.

  • Pete Baker

    Yeah, ’cause I haven’t been focussing on what everyone has been saying, or doing, on the issue of policing at all recently – ie for the last year.

    Neither is it a pivotal issue at this point.

    My reaction to the comments by Adams is there in the original post, with linked references.. as I said before, feel free to disagree and argue with that reaction.

    Or you can pick up on any of the other comments made in the linked speech.

    On the other hand, if you’re just intent in playing the man rather than the ball I’ll leave you to it.

  • smcgiff

    Nope. I’m done. Can’t think of how to make my point more clear.

  • paid

    Whether it was in Patten or not, I suspect the Shinners will not sign up unless the PSNI can be equally knows as SPTE i.e. Seirbhís Póilínteachta Tuaisceart Éireann; just to spite the DUP at the last.

  • smcgiff

    Paid, you should know that there’s no Irish for Northern Ireland. 😉

  • Glen Taisie

    PSNI Possibly Soon Not Immediately

    Adams knows!!!!!!!!!!