A founding member of the Provisional IRA, Laurence O’Neill, has been threatened over speaking out on the policing issue, and has spoken out about the campaign of vilification against those who disagree with party policy. This follows the public letter by former director of elections for Sinn Fein, Tony Catney.
The Sunday Tribune is also reporting that Dominic McGlinchey, “until recently a strong Sinn Féin supporter who”, it is claimed, “was instrumental in organising meetings of republicans who believe Sinn Féin shouldn’t sign up to policing”, has been told by the PSNI that he is under threat from republican paramilitaries.
Is this becoming of a case of, ‘Support the PSNI or We’ll Kill You’?
The Tribune article rounds up the recent threats and resignations. Meanwhile, The Sunday Life is also reporting on the threats made to Laurence O’Neill, writing that the SF “leadership is ‘worried’ about the number of rank-and-file members who oppose plans to support the PSNI”. The article claims seven members of party in North Antrim, including Laurence O’Neill, have resigned.
“Recently policing had become a hot potato and I had been lobbying Sinn Fein, unsuccessfully, for the general public (our voters) to be given a platform to air their views.
“Coincidentally I was invited, by others of like mind, to attend discussions to arrange such a meeting. The first of which did take place in Conway Mill last Monday night. Two days previous I had a bar placed on me from attending this meeting by a two-man Sinn Fein deputation. Subsequently part of that same deputation attended and spoke at that same meeting.”
He said that Sinn Fein was now seeking “to cast a cloud over people with genuine concerns about policing” by unfounded and baseless accusations against him and others.
His quotes to The Sunday Life (SF braced for resignations):
“I was visited by two senior republicans and told to toe the party line on the issue of policing.
“I don’t want to name any names, but they also told me not to attend any debates on the issue which were not organised by Sinn Fein.
“I resigned after they told me I could not attend a debate at Conway Mill in Belfast last Monday. But those who barred me from attending went along and that is just hypocrisy to me.
“I’m disappointed I had to leave the party, because I have been a member of the republican movement since its formation.”
“There is a lot of unhappiness about this issue and I feel policing should have been resolved when the Good Friday Agreement negotiations were taking place.”
Laurence O’Neill, 62, was one of the founding members of the Provisional IRA and took part in the 1972 hunger strike that achieved ‘political status’ for prisoners in the North. He was jailed for 15 years after weapons were found on his farm in the Glens of Antrim in 1971. At the time, he was described as a leading figure in the organisation. (background quoted from the Sunday Independent article)