“..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…