Policing debate opens up in West Belfast…

Sinn Fein’s Declan Kearney faced his party’s critics directly at a public meeting last night called Policing: a bridge too far… at Conway Mill last night after making something of a startling entrance after the event had started. The tightly packed event drew people not simply from West Belfast, but as far as Strabane and South Armagh most apparently hungry for open debate.

Update: The Irish News story is worth checking out. This from Kearney:

“We have identified policing as a site of struggle and our focus has been through negotiations to ensure that the issue of policing is centre stage. Sinn Fein is determined to end political policing in this state. We haven’t endorsed the PSNI. Sinn Fein’s position on policing is very clear. We have a negotiation underway when that the negotiation is concluded the debate with out [our?] party will commence”.By all accounts there was standing room only. Though it seems as though the biggest problem with policing was less on accountability than the feeling of many in the audience that ‘national sovereignty’ was incompatible with signing up to the PSNI. As one commentator put it: a case of revolutionary vs reformist discourse.

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