“it is clearly important that this Ard Fheis is held as soon as possible”

While the point-scoring between the Unionist parties continues, RTÉ reports on Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s speech at the Annual Liam Mellows Commemoration, the full text is available here. As well as announcing that 16 Moore Street is to be declared a national monument, he adds a reminder of what should be obvious to most by now – “[Sinn Féin] now know that the path to shared government in Northern Ireland passes through a Sinn Fein Ard Fheis at which the policing issue is definitively and successfully addressed.”From the Taoiseach’s speech

I would like to conclude my remarks today by looking not to the past, but to the immediate future.

I believe that 2007 can be a year as historic as any in our past. For the first time in 400 years, since the Flight of the Earls and the beginning of the Ulster Plantation, there can be agreement between all of the representatives of all the people of this island.

The St Andrews Agreement sets out a clear direction, with clear milestones, for how this can be achieved. I welcome the developments since we met in St Andrews. While nothing is ever simple in Northern Ireland, I think everyone can see we have a clear basis for bringing the peace process to a successful conclusion.

It has been a long and at times frustrating journey. But the obstacles that stand in the way of final resolution are very, very few.

I call on all concerned to meet the challenge of the St Andrews Agreement and to take political responsibility for the future. Do not be persuaded to delay taking the decisions that are now necessary if Northern Ireland is to settle down and be at peace with itself.

I welcome the Sinn Fein commitment to address the policing issue. I know how sensitive this is for them. But they now know that the path to shared government in Northern Ireland passes through a Sinn Fein Ard Fheis at which the policing issue is definitively and successfully addressed.

Given the St Andrews timeline it is clearly important that this Ard Fheis is held as soon as possible thereby creating a new environment where policing in Northern Ireland, which since the Patten Report has been reformed comprehensively, is endorsed and supported by all.[added emphasis]

Just a couple of thoughts to add. The Taoiseach leaves room for Sinn Féin to respond with an argument that they will hold that Ard Fheis… just as soon as the demand for a confirmed date for devolving Justice and Policing is met.. while the reference to “the policing issue is definitively and successfully addressed” might be aimed at the suggestion that there was a “possibility that Sinn Féin might hold an ardfheis to approve an interim or conditional position on the PSNI”

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  • Bertie

    De Vallera II.

  • Nevin

    And silence from Ahern on the Sinners fitness for government in the RoI ….

  • Time will tell

    After reading the D.U.P mind-blowing private e-mails with a loyalist killer in todays Sunday Tribune it should be an interesting if not humourous Ard Fheis

    Yeah it will be fun to hear how they are going to negotiate the British out of Ireland again, how the unionists will bend the knee to the intellect of Sinn Fein and how they are going to get a Catholic about the place…….

  • T.Ruth

    Hypocritical is the word that springs to mind.Here is a man who requires Unionists-fellow members of the wider Irish nation as he perceives nationality- forced to adopt a system of government which he and his colleagues would consider repugnant were it proposed in the Republic.
    Unionists are being forced to admit terrorists into the Executive level of government as of right and these terrorists are using support for Law and Order and recognition of the PSNI as a bargaining chip. This is not the action of a party which aspires to be considered democratic.
    The devolution of Policing and Justice to an Assembly Minister will not/cannot take place until there is sufficient confidence in both Unionist and Nationalist communities for that to happen. It is entirely a matter for Sinn Fein to bring that day forward by creating the required level of confidence. They can do that by signing up to democracy and showing unequivocal support for the police.The DUP will judge the Republican movement on its behaviour and actions. No delivery-no devolution.The timing is not the key issue-the delivery is the key.
    Should Sinn Fein not deliver then the government should encourage all the other parties to press on with the Assembly with commissioners running the SF ministries until Sinn Fein can get up to the democratic standard of all equal under the Law.
    Only the extremes will benefit from a failure of the parties to take the necessary steps to create a better future for us all.No one will forget the terrorist atrocities-nor will it be easy to work with people who have directed the war and now seek to use the peace process to advance their project of a united Ireland from within the Executive.But Unionists must be prepared to accept that- It is a price to be paid because of past failures to unite and promote their case effectively and the previous betrayals by numerous Prime Ministers and Secretaries of State.
    But under the STA Proposals Unionists will be able to control the Irish dimension and unnacountable ministers as easily as the volume of the radio or tv.That is why they should be keen to deal if they get a deal which meets the majority of their requirements.
    This is the best opportunity that people of all persuasions have had in thirtyfive years to restore accountable democratic responsibility sharing government. Sinn fein should aquiesce quickly to the reasonable requirements of the DUP and cut a deal quickly while the door to democracy is open. The opportunity of a lifetime must be taken in the lifetime of the opportunity.

  • BeardyBoy

    The shinners should dump the whole idea – the very idea of supporting a British imposed police force, a British imposed justice system and all its attending trappings should be a complete anathema – I still cannot understand why any nationalist of any hue would want a Stormont – the only reason to go in is to get all institutions moved to Strabane and give/spend cash on nationalist areas, organisations and such – just as Unionists do.

  • Time will tell


    you are 100% right, go to the local shop and flick to the DUP e-mails story and just read what they send to each other in private.
    How they are planning not to share with anybody, the shinners are fools

  • Henry94

    It’s easy for Bertie to call for an Ard Fheis but it is more important that the issue is discussed properly and that the decision made is an overwhelming one.

    I do wonder why it appears such a big deal for unionism. With the UUPs PUP/UVF link and now these devastating DUP emails they clearly believe that it is possible to support the police and terrorists at the same time.

    Of course that was easy enough when the police and terrorists were working hand in glove.

    But these revelations make the Sinn Fein decision easier. It should be easy enough to commit to supporting the police to the same extent unionist do. That is when it suits them.

  • BeardyBoy

    No – it does not make the decision easier – how can we say we will accept British imposed solutions which are indeed the problem?

    What we will do is to exploit them – there is a difference.

    Simply stated again

    No to British imposed borders, laws, security forces, spies and spy rings and criminality.

    We will partake in these with one aim – destoy them by working them to our sole advantage.

    Expose this as an artificial state which is inherently instable by ensuring it remains so.

    We have the means to do it by the granting of PR here. The fools the fools the fools, they have given us our fenian votes, and while we have these votes Ireland unfree shall never be at peace

  • Henry94


    Can you accept a solution voted on by the people of Ireland? A solution with the greatest mandate ever achieved on the island.

    Our votes are only valuable if we are going to get what we voted for. That includes peace and the agreement.

  • BeardyBoy


    no can vote me our any other Irishman out of Ireland – so I do not accept it. The peole of the South were sold a pup by the powers to be.

    On a theoretical level they may have a legal right to vote for partition and hand over a part of the territory to a foreign potentate but it is against all forms of natural justice and so it will fail in the long run, again I say the real power in this situation is the power of the nationalist people of British Controlled Ireland. This place can only exist with our cooperation – without it it will lurch from crises to crises – and we should ensure this keeps happening.

    I do not accept anyone denying me my nationality no matter how many votes they garner.

  • Henry94


    I do not accept anyone denying me my nationality no matter how many votes they garner.

    Nobody does. You are Irish. The only question concerns the best way forward to a united Ireland. My objection to the armed struggle is that it won’t work. The agreement I believe will. Partition makes no sense and it will dissolve in the north-south bodies.