Sinn Fein’s policing preconditions, an opportunity for the DUP?

On BBC Newsline (Realplayer reqd) Conor Murphy has made clear Sinn Fein’s preconditions for the special Ard Fheis:

“The transfer of policing and justice powers – a timeframe for that, the type of department that those powers will be transferred to. Those are the issues that need resolved. Those can be resolved quite quickly and allow us to take our decisions on policing.”

The lack of clarity on the future of the PIRA and the related absence of an exclusion mechanism are among DUP concerns with the St Andrew’s Agreement. Is there not an obvious quid pro quo? The PIRA disbands. This reduces significantly the need for an exclusion mechanism. It also boosts public confidence, necessary for devolution of policing and justice powers.

  • Jeremy

    There may well be a quid pro quo required. As there is in all negotiations but I dont believe the disbanding of the IRA is part of it. I find it hard to believe a DUP that has switched from its catch phrase of Sinn Fein/IRA to simply Sinn Fein is intending to move back to negotiating over the IRA. I believe the IRA is now out of the equation. I dont expect there to be further movement on that issue. The two govts. or (and this is subjective) the DUP dont seem to require it.

  • Mayoman

    I agree totally Jeremy, but who knows what depths the DUP and its apologists will sink to find a new pre-condition/hurdle? Of course, its totally logical to make an organisation that has veriafiably decommissioned and is accepted as no longer being a threat to the status of a stummbling block while the DUP continues to connive with and provide tacit support for active drug dealers and murderers. You couldn’t make it up!

  • parcifal

    the exciting thing about your post is this:
    Lets all get down to business and work this out over face to face meetings. There really is now no excuse whatsoever for not doing such.
    Good to see you favour that then!

  • Bemu s ed

    Good point Fair Deal. Was it only me who found it a bit bizarre that in the aftermath of the highly trumpeted final act of decommissioning and statement announcing the end of the war that there then followed various statements from the IRA about not being a threat to the process/not having killed Denis Donaldson etc.? My understanding had been that the IRA was to be no more, that they were to ‘leave the stage’. I can’t see any credible argument against disbandment at this stage. The other point that I have always felt would have bolstered public confidence in the process relates to prisoner releases. The clear (and in my view entirely sensible) thrust of the release provisions sold to the electorate prior to the referendum were that they were the ultimate quid pro quo.i.e ‘we’re letting you all out lads, but any of your organisations acts the bollocks even slightly and it’s straight back to Maghaberry with you’ – how the hell did this get transformed into just letting everyone out on individual (rather than organisational) licence???

  • Chris Donnelly

    Nice try, FD.

    Wouldn’t it be better, in the light of today’s events, for the DUP to spend some time securing the decommissioning of loyalist weaponry and/ or disbandment before seeking to erect yet another obstacle to power-sharing?

    The excuses are beginning to wear thin…

  • fair_deal

    CD

    As is clear from the quote it was Conor who raised preconditions not the DUP.

  • exuup

    Wouldn’t it be better, in the light of today’s events, for the DUP to spend some time securing the decommissioning of loyalist weaponry and/ or disbandment before seeking to erect yet another obstacle to power-sharing? –

    chris unlike catholics – protestants choose not to vote for paramilitaries, as a result they will have to wait until theyre house trained before they can stay in the house. No support for the police + british courts then no government for the shinners.

    we can wait

  • George

    Fair_Deal,
    I hear a new pre-condition every day from the DUP about powersharing so all I want to hear now is when.

    I now hear that the IRA needs to disband while a while ago Ian Paisley said it could be an old boys organisataion. I have heard that Sinn Fein need to repent, I’ve heard they need to wait a lifetime, I’ve heard they could be in power by May. I hear something new every day.

    I am fed up with all this and I’m not even from Northern Ireland.

    Please tell me what you think is missing for unionism to share power with northern nationalists (at the moment that means Sinn Fein)? I want everything listed clearly and simply so I know where things stand for future discussions.

    P.S. What constitutes disbandment? What happens if the PIRA disbands and a new IRA reconvenes 24 hours later? Or an IRBS, a new Irish Republican Brother and Sisterhood? Would that suffice?

  • aquifer

    The IRA is disbanding but Sinn Fein cannot claim this publicly while the fenian fractions are about. If the DUP see this as an excuse for postponing democracy they should be interned as a threat to UK security.

    Ian Paisley in an orange boilersuit, -why not.

  • I can’t see any credible argument against disbandment at this stage.

    How would the IRA prove to the DUP’s satisfaction that it had disbanded? They’ve made clear they won’t take the word of the IICD or the IMC on decommissioning.

    It’s just another case of unionism moving the goalposts.

  • chuckie a laaa!

    If there is a trade off – wouldn’t the obvious trade off be a time frame for the devolution of policing and justice in exchange for the ending of enforced all party coalition?

  • lurker

    The IRA sees itself as the legitimate government of Ireland and can not stand down until all new constitutional arrangements are completed to its satisfaction.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Rome and burning come to mind when the DUP and SF continue to try to get the upper hand.

  • Truth and Justice

    I think that Sien Fein are in a fix they did not expect the DUP to do enough yesterday and they are now on the back foot, they are firmly in the firing line for March!

  • Doreen

    Truth and Justice,

    I agree, and I can see no point in having an election before Sinn Fein agrees to support the police and law and order. The electorate will need to see the full and final package on which it is to vote.

  • fair_deal

    wednesday

    “How would the IRA prove to the DUP’s satisfaction that it had disbanded?”

    Simple the PIRA disbands in line with its constitution (ie calls an Army Convention) and the IMC confirms it has been decided and acted upon.

  • As I said earlier Fair Deal, the DUP don’t believe the IMC on decommissioning – so why would they believe the IMC on disbandment?

  • Reader

    Wednesday: As I said earlier Fair Deal, the DUP don’t believe the IMC on decommissioning
    It was the IICD that they didn’t believe. I don’t remember them having similar objections to the IMC, which expressed doubts about the completeness of IRA decommissioning at the time.