“Peter Hain understands our position fully and so should everybody else. He is playing politics with the policing issue. We have seen, even as I stand here, the difficulties he has got himself into by playing politics with victims, playing politics with the Orange Parades, playing politics with equality and other issues.
“We are not about playing politics with policing. We are about depoliticising policing. I don’t think anyone would expect us to take responsibility for policing without there being executive authority.
“However other parties, and I think particularly the SDLP, have bought into MI5 involvement in the PSNI, they have bought into no timeframe at all on the transfer of powers of policing and justice. Sinn Fein has a different position. We believe in civic policing – the vision which was outlined in the Good Friday Agreement.
But his sign off line is intriguing, to say the least:
“We think we can get there and rather than Peter Hain asking us for clarification, he should provide clarification on these matters so we can have depoliticised civic policing where every citizen can be given some sense that every police officer will be held accountable in the mechanisms outlined.
Hmmm… That line may cause some discomfort within the McCartney household… but it is also considerably more concrete than anything placed in the public domain on the vexed issue of policing by Sinn Fein heretofore.
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