What are a few more preconditions between new friends?

A Sinn Fein delegation headed by Gerry Adams is meeting with Sir Hugh Orde, Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. In interviews over the past weeks Sinn Fein representatives have outlined four preconditions on policing; a timetable for devolution, structure of the Department, no role for MI5 and no inquiries into past activities. Gerry Adams added a further two before the meeting; an end to ‘political policing’ and desisting in the use of plastic bullets:

“We will also raise political policing and the need for clear proof that this has ended or will end, an end to plastic bullets…”

However, it seems the earlier objection to MI5 operating in Ireland and to have a role in civic policing has again been reduced to solely civic policing:

“They can have no role in civic policing;”

  • Dec

    “They can have no role in civic policing;”

    Could someone please explain to me what role MI5 were intending to take in civic policing? And while they’re at it could someone also outline SF’s definition of civic policing?

  • Glensman

    These pre-conditions about policing are nothing more than a ruse to make Nationalists think they’re getting something out of this agreement.

  • Nevin

    The paramilitaries have their own civic police; the boys with the baseball bats and iron bars. Presumably Adams is hoping to use Orde as a persuader for the incorporation of the Sinner civic police into the category labelled CSO – Community Safety Officer.

  • nmc

    If you are referring to the IRA when you say paramilitaries, you are mistaken. They haven’t been seen in a long time.

  • Nevin

    Did you get that one from a Xmas cracker, nmc?

  • Mickhall

    Funny how the shinners go silent when policing is mentioned, that the majority of them will vote to take responsibility for the PSNI seems certain, thus I find it a bit strange that no one from SF seem willing to argue publicly in favor of this, especially on Slugger.

    Come on comrades convince me why your leaderships policy on PSNI is the thing for Republicans to support. You are always claiming the ‘dissidents’ have no policy, yet you do not seem willing to publicly argue yours through on policing.

    Could it be your only reasoning for accepting responsibility for the PSNI is to get ministers bums into seats, it is an argument I suppose, but you do not even wish to go there.

  • ingram

    Mick Hall.

    I thought you were on Christmas leave, you should lay off Sinn Fein they have enough problems internally without you adding to their woes.

    Merry Christmas from a reformed spook.

    Ingram

    PS. Only reformed till after Christmas. hoh hoh anic santa

  • Jocky

    A couple of questions if anyone can clairfy them for me:

    1) What does plastic bullets have to do with political policing, Is Gerry suggesting Tazers or something similar should be used?

    2) Is a timetable for devolution so the shinners (and the DUP) make sure they can think up more pre-conditions on time. We don’t want any more back of the fag packet ones like these.

    3) no inquiries into past activities. Is it just me or is this a bit vague? Does this emasns nada, zilch inquiries into pre 1998 crimes of anybody in N.I? no collusion inquiries? nada, zilch? Are they saying they will let HMG off the hook?

  • fair_deal

    Jocky

    The comment on no inquires is based on the following interview with Gerry Kelly:

    Noel Thompson: Will you, if and when you come on board policing, will you say we don’t want to investigate anything that has been before…
    Gerry Kelly: Yes. Yes.
    Noel Thompson: …this is a new beginning?
    Gerry Kelly: I have said it before a new beginning is a new beginning.

  • nmc

    Did you get that one from a Xmas cracker, nmc?

    No Nevin, from personal experience living in a very Republican area and from IMC reports. As you’ve asked where do you get your info from? Although what you’ve said is true, if applied to Loyalist paramilitaries:

    The paramilitaries have their own civic police; the boys with the baseball bats and iron bars.

    However I doubt that was your meaning, though I could be wrong. It doesn’t seem to bother people what the Loyalist paramilitaries get up to, it’s easier for them to attack the IRA.

  • Ulick

    For the nationalist electorate the issue is clear, if you want them to support the PSNI you have to prove the days of the unionist RUC and all of the partisan brutality that came with it is gone forever. The only way for this will happen is if a nationalist or republican minister is in charge of policing. For the Shinners to buy into policing without this would be electoral suicide. So if unionists want their devolved Assembly at Stormont, they’ll have to ante up.

  • ingram

    Fair_deal.

    Thank You for that clarification.Very helpful for future reference.

    I would like to see the Sinn Fein chief negotiator or party president make this NEW POSITION clear or even expand upon. It is yet another move from traditional Republican ethos BY THE PARTITIONIST PARTY.

    Any Republican who argues those involved in the murder of its own Volunteers or normal Republican/Nationalist is no longer in my understanding a REPUBLICAN. Even the Paisley clan worked that one out.

    Thanks again.

    Ingram.

  • JD

    I will try and answer some of the points and questions raised.

    MI5 is a secretive counter insurgency organisation which is accountable to no one (not even Tony Blair if truth be told) which has been up to its neck in collusion and state killing of its own citizens for decades. Yet just as some genuine accountability over poliicng structures can be achieved through the transfer of powers. The British are proposing to take some of the most controversial elements such as intelligence gathering on republicans out of the hands of policing and hand it to MI5. Not acceptable.

    Transfer is vital as the Policing Board is only one leg of a three legged stool in charge of policing and justice, the most significant power still lies with the Brit SoS, the NIO and Whitehall. Until that changes it cannot be claimed that there has been a new beginning to policing.

    Plastic bullets have killed children in this statelet and should abolished. These type of weapons or other less than lethal weapons should not be used in crowd control scenarios but could be used in scenarios such as seiges. However the key issue is still accountability, if each PSNI is genuinely accountable for his/her actions then the equipment available becomes less important. However there is a psychological legacy with plastic bullets in the nationalist community.

    I will pose a question for you all. What happens to the PSNI personnel and forensic scientists who have been demonstrated to have lied, tampered with eveidence, perjured themselves in the Sean Hoey case? Do they just drift back to duty once this case is concluded or will they be held to account?

  • JHR

    Is the policing issue being used as another ‘sackcloth and ashes’ by another means… to stick it to the Shinners by the DUP..?…do the DUP think that if they hold off and give no date of transfer and the rest…they can crash the shinner juggernout? Whats the game?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    mickhall,

    I was under the impression that you were at the Conway Mill discussion (could be mistaken) where Declan Kearney and others representing SF quite clearly put forward the SF position on policing.

    Given that is the case why call for public debate on policing when you are then going to ignore that very debate that you have been calling for quite some time.

    It is disengenuous to suggest that anyone is silent on the policing issue. Though going by Macker’s observation of the debate, as published in The Blanket, Gallagher and Mackey only had to turn up to answer there names to have persuaded Mackers. There are none so deaf etc etc.

  • ingram

    JD.

    They should be prosecuted. End Of

    ingram

  • starbuck

    Any Republican who argues those involved in the murder of its own Volunteers or normal Republican/Nationalist is no longer in my understanding a REPUBLICAN. martin ingram

    can you run this past us again ?

    also – how come your ramblings on here and on your blog are for the most part incoherent yet in newsprint and blanket etc. the wording and clarity of thought is much better. Is it passed through the intelligence chain of command 1st ?

  • DK

    Patten states that plastic bullets should be retained. So the removing plastic bullets is a new condition beyond Patten.

    “I will pose a question for you all. What happens to the PSNI personnel and forensic scientists who have been demonstrated to have lied, tampered with eveidence, perjured themselves in the Sean Hoey case?”

    Depends if Sinn Fein succeed in getting no inquiries into past activities.

  • Mickhall

    Pat,

    Must have had the old hearing aid off again, I was thinking of putting mine on ebay, as there must be quite a market for them these days.

    all the best.

  • JHR

    Was not at Conway Mill…but trying to look at the bigger picture..any takers…’policing issue is a sackcloth and ashes chestnut dressed up to beat up on the shinners by the DUP’

  • JD

    “Depends if Sinn Fein succeed in getting no inquiries into past activities.”

    Just before people get carried away, This Fair Deals interpretation of a Hearts and Minds interview. SF has never said that it will not be interested in inquiries into past activities, however this is a side issue.

    Patten recommended that plastic bullets be replaced and called for research into alternatives. However even if he didn’t I ahve no difficulty going beyond pattern my standards of policing and accountability may be higher than his.

  • ingram

    Star Buck.

    Any Republican who argues those involved in the murder of its own Volunteers or normal Republican/Nationalist is no longer in my understanding a REPUBLICAN. martin ingram

    I certainly will and thank you for highlighting the post.

    It should have read.

    Any Republican who argues those involved in the murder of its own Volunteers or normal Republican/Nationalist should not be punished or prosecuted is no longer in my understanding a Irish REPUBLICAN.

    Hope this helps you.

    Martin Ingram

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    JHR,

    Policing and the structures thereof were an integral part of the negotiations that surrounded the GFA so therefore predate any sackcloth and ashes rant from the DUPers.

    I find myself in sympatheic to the views of those within the anti GFA camp on this issue simply because they opposed the whole agreement from the very start. There are those in the republican movement who knew this debate and decision was coming and are now jumping ship under some cloak of principle. Eight years too late to be any way convincing.

  • Rory

    Long before the peace process had ever begun some of us were aware that eventually a negotiation to end the war would take place and one thing that was always understood was that sometime a line would have to be drawn and that, however painful it might be, all wounds and resentments, injustices of government and actions of combatants would have to be buried behind that line.

    Now, I think, we have arrived at that time and an end to investigation and prosecution for past actions should cease that they might lie in the past with all the other painful events and that we might now finally move on.

  • well blow me down

    Pat, are you feeling okay? Is that really you, Pat? Alright, what have you done with Pat McLarnon?!!

  • Nevin

    nmc, the loyalist and republican paramilitaries have their own ‘civic police’ and ‘community restorative justice’ systems. Sadly, it’s quite likely the governments will attempt to ‘legitimize’ both. Fascism rules, OK – or perhaps KO.

  • CS Parnell

    We have a choice. We can have no investigations and instead a TRC style approach or we can have investigations. Either way the approach will have to apply to the state’s killers and the extra-state killers. What the Shinners have refused to grasp is that if they let themselves off the hook they let the Brits off the hook too.

    Personally I’d be in favour of a TRC approach, painful for many though that would be. But it would cut both ways.

  • Nevin

    CSP, what is the point of a TRC approach when neither the governments nor many of the others are likely to reveal the truth.

  • seabhac siúlach

    Does ‘civic policing’ include the running of informers? Hardly. So Provo Sinn Fein appear willing now to concede that aspect as part of the broader remit for MI5, i.e., everything that is not civic policing (surely just the local ‘bobby’ on the beat, nothing more). This is to leave MI5 having a continuing malign influence on the internal politics of the six counties, running agents within political parties, etc. Is this what republicans voted Provo Sinn Fein in to do? This the ‘new beginning’? As for a timetable for devolving policing powers, and it being a precondition, well, it also appears to be a precondition for the DUP that this does not happen and that no timetable be agreed. As has happened so often in the past, when a DUP precondition meets a Provo Sinn Fein precondition, it is usually (is that always) to the benefit of the DUP (typically the status quo position). I see no reason to hope for anything else here.

    As regards the republican debate on policing…the group ‘Concerned Republicans’ is having a meeting in Toomebridge tomorrow. This is as reported in an article by Liam Clarke in the most recent Sunday Times.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2091-2496739,00.html

    The campaign against Provo Sinn Fein on this policing issue appears to be gathering some form of momentum. It is obviously something the ‘dissidents’ believe can damage the Provos and gain them support and they are milking it for all they are worth. They are discussing now the possibility of running candidates against Provo Sinn Fein. From the last Hearts & Minds opinion poll, there is a sizeable republican rump out there that does not support the Provos, which including Republican Sinn Fein (not part, significantly, of the Concerned Republicans bloc), amounts to 7.5% of the nationalist vote. This vote level may be enough to disrupt some ‘safe’ Provo seats in the event of new elections, assuming by that stage they have compromised on policing (a racing certainty).

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘The campaign against Provo Sinn Fein on this policing issue appears to be gathering some form of momentum.’

    Other then the odd meeting what is the evidence of this?

    ‘From the last Hearts & Minds opinion poll, there is a sizeable republican rump out there that does not support the Provos, which including Republican Sinn Fein (not part, significantly, of the Concerned Republicans bloc), amounts to 7.5% of the nationalist vote.’

    The only thing that counts is votes cast, where is the evidence of a sizeable rump? In previous years Sth Armagh was supposed to be the hotspot for ‘dissident’ activity. However, the evidence of the ballot box (ie the people) proved that to be a pack of lies. SF stormed to a series of victories in that area led by Conor Murphy.
    In fact that last gauge of the opinion of real people, not opinion polls, was the recent council by election in that constituency where SF once again incresed its vote.
    At least the media realising the error of their own unsustainable analysis have now the historical republican hotspot of Ballymena as the new area for ‘dissident’ activity and centre of all things anti SF. So sorry to deflate any notion of a sizeable rump.

  • bertie

    “..a line would have to be drawn and that, however painful” AND TOTALLY WRONG “it might be, all wounds and resentments, injustices of government and actions of combatants would have to be buried behind that line. “

  • Mickhall

    seabhac siúlach

    Whilst some dissidents may as you claim be milking this issue, a majority see it as somewhere they simply are not prepared to go.
    These police committees will never have control over things like informers and intelligence gathering, as these are operational matters and thus fall under the remit of the chief constable and the home office/NIO and not local polititians.[same throughout the UK]

    It is not possible either to separate the bobby on the beat from the aforementioned, as within a modern police force such things as gathering intel and kicking in doors are strategically linked. For example a beat officer may well collect information about who lives in a targeted house, access to it, low level intelligence from neighbours etc and also be included within the team that enters the targeted property. Plus any intel he gathers when out on his/her beat, if it has worth will be sent up the line, at times reaching MI5.

    What, [unless I am wrong,] Adams is suggesting is that the PSNI does not collude with MI5 or any other branches of the UK security services. He knows any such request is rubbish for the reasons I have already said. One only has to listen to John Reid prattling on these days to understand just how integrated the UKs security services, armed forces and police services are.

    Of course this is nothing new as it is the very reason Mr Orde and some of his predecessors not only became chief constable in the first place, but were able to settle into this position so effortlessly.

  • seabhac siúlach

    “Other then the odd meeting what is the evidence of this?”

    The meetings themselves (and their growing frequency) are evidence of this…as is the fact that the 32 county sovereignty committee and the IRSP are getting substantial media/political coverage for the first time in years…
    The story obviously has legs or the media would not touch it. I realise the media may be using these stories to damage the Provos, of course. The turnout at the meeting in Toomebridge tomorrow may itself be evidence of the growing momentum…we will have to wait and see…

    “The only thing that counts is votes cast, where is the evidence of a sizeable rump?”

    The opinion poll result is evidence of this ‘rump’. Votes cast is another way of measuring support, of course, but only if a candidate is put forward for election. If no alternative candidate is put forward, how can disparate political views be expressed through the ballot box? People can only vote for the least worst option in many cases, i.e., Provo Sinn Fein.
    In your example of S. Armagh what was the republican alternative to P.Sinn Fein, not counting, ahem, the SDLP? There were no other parties contesting that election that would allow a protest vote to be measured. For example, Republican Sinn Fein do not run candidates in the six counties due to some requirement or other in the electoral code that would require them to swear an oath or recognise something or other that they are not willing to do on a point of principle. So, your talk of elections is not sound when measuring the 7-8% of votes that appear to be available for a more radical (or should that be traditional) republican position.

  • SD

    As an Irish Republican who has been born and bred in the occupied six counties of Ireland the ongoing debate in regards to policing of the six counties continues to cause me great concern. Before I go on I support Sinn Fein and their leadership of the struggle over the past 35 years and in particular the leadership of the peace process since the mid 1980s. The peace process has brought gains to republicans once thought to be well out of our reach in the dark days of the war, our volunteers were risking life and liberty on a daily basis and it seemed the world was against. Sinn Fein devised a political strategy that has brought us from political wilderness and military stalemate to centre of all things political on this island. In the six counties Sinn Fein have overtaken the irrelevant SDLP and in the 26 counties Sinn Fein are in a strong position to become the kingmakers after the next general election.

    Over the past ten years Sinn Fein have delivered on numerous issues and concerns of nationalist in the six counties, the UDR and the RUC reserve have been disbanded. These two organisations were the military wing of protestant state that oppressed nationalists for decades. Sinn Fein have ensured that blatant political and religious discrimination in the six counties is a thing of the past. Sinn Fein have put British Withdrawal and a United Ireland on the agenda of every political party on this island for the first time ever. Sinn Fein is not post nationalist party but very clearly a united Ireland Party. Sinn Fein abolished the 11 plus, authorised the multi million extension to Altnagelvin, opposed the water charges, campaigned for the RPA and much more.

    So its with this in mind that I approach the policing debate. I am sure that Sinn Fein will deliver what they say the will. Sinn Fein have demanded three key issues, Transfer of Policing and Justice Powers from England to the Assembly within an Agreed Timeframe, and the Make Up and Workings of the Department.

    Mark Durkan is arguing that Sinn Fein should get on board now and help deal with the scourge of anti social behaviour that blights our communities. If Sinn Fein joined the PSNI tomorrow enmasse the scourge of anti social behaviour would not be eradicated from our communities. Anti social behaviour is a societal problem that we all have a responsibility for dealing with not just a policing or political issue that will be dealt with overnight with Sinn Fein or any other body supporting policing. Anti social behaviour and crime is much a problem in Irish Street as it is in the Bogside and for that matter it’s probably a bigger problem in parts of London or Dublin as it is in West Belfast. So the argument that Sinn Fein supporting or endorsing policing is a non-starter when it comes to anti-social behaviour and crime.

    Sinn Fein demands go a lot further than the SDLP or others ever thought possible. After Weston Park they told republicans get on board and change from within. Sinn Fein quite rightly argued that the structures that were in place at that time were inadequate to ensure that political policing was a thing of the past. We only have to look round us to see that, the PSNI and their agents were responsible for the collapse of the Assembly in 2002, the PSNI have been exposed on a daily basis of attempting to frame Sean Hoey in the Omagh Bomb Trial and the PSNI continually attempt to recruit nationalist and republicans who find themselves in trouble for minor motoring offences or the like. Political Policing is still part and parcel of the PSNI.

    If Sinn Fein is successful in the negotiations and manages to ensure that the balance of power rests in the Assembly and not in Whitehall it is my opinion that republicans should come at this issue with a very broad outlook. Sinn Fein are attempting to ensure that there will be no more Sean Hoey’s, no more diplock courts, no more supergrasses, no more plastic bullets and no more collusion or cover ups. All this is only possible when the power and the accountability over policing is in the hands of Irish people not faceless Brits in Whitehall.

    Republicans can come at this from an ideological position of never recognising British Rule in Ireland or we can come at it from the realisation that the Brits are here and how do we ensure that their influence is weakened as every day passes. The current Sinn Fein position does in my opinion if successful weaken the British grip on Ireland. My gut feeling on policing, like many republicans, is they are all black b******* but I am sure that not too many of them would fancy a pint with me either.
    It’s not about making friends or even reconciling enemies it’s about holding this state to account while we struggle to tear it apart.

  • bertie

    “our volunteers were risking life and liberty on a daily basis ”

    it was even riskier for their victims!

  • seabhac siúlach

    SD

    The first part of your piece reads like a party political message straight from Provo Sinn Fein…

    What you are emphasising in what you wrote is the difference between a reformist agenda and a revolutionary one. Once the Provos killed people in pursuit of the revolutionary agenda…let me say that it was a very high price to pay for abolishing the 11 plus, authorising a multi million extension to Altnagelvin, etc…
    I guess these type of ‘reforms’ were all that most people wanted, of course, back in 1969. But, then republicans were never supposed to be reformists…

    “Sinn Fein are attempting to ensure that there will be no more Sean Hoey’s, no more diplock courts, no more supergrasses, no more plastic bullets and no more collusion or cover ups. All this is only possible when the power and the accountability over policing is in the hands of Irish people not faceless Brits in Whitehall.”

    And, how will Provo Sinn Fein do this by conceding to MI5 the right to be in charge of all matters that are not ‘civic’ policing. If MI5 continue to be in charge of ‘special branch’ type operations in the six counties then there will be plenty more collusion and cover ups (and all the rest of the things you mention). History tells us this. Anonymous spooks in Whitehall and elsewhere in London (on the banks of the Thames) will continue to run agents in political parties and have a malign influence on the future direction of Irish democracy, e.g., Denis Donaldson, etc. How can we be sure what political agenda these spooks are working towards (would they really alllow a united Ireland to come about if this affected the strategic position of the UK?). To leave MI5 in charge of any aspect of policing in the six counties, based on their less than sterling record, is merely asking for trouble long term and, let me say, massively insulting to those families who had loved ones killed by MI5 controlled murder squads.

  • parcifal

    I’m with Rory, and wonder if holders of our views would be welcome in cosy B & B’s across the North?

  • Bob McGowan

    [i]it was even riskier for their victims![/i]

    Seems you forget that the facts as uncovered by Sutton show that there were more than twice as many innocent victims of violence on the part of the British security forces and the death squads with whom they allied themselves than of violence by the Provisional IRA.

    Civilian killed by the PIRA = 516
    Civilians killed by the security forces and their death squads = 1,063.

  • bertie

    Ah Bob’s back. I’ll feed the troll a wee bit today

    “Seems you forget ….

    Civilian killed by the PIRA = 516
    Civilians killed by the security forces and their death squads = 1,063.”

    I’m sure lots of fantasies seem real to you.

    Leaving aside the fact that your figures are total b*****x, how does the “it was even riskier for their victims! ” translate to my forgetting the victims of other organisations?

  • Realist

    Seems Bob is still choosing to forget that republicans didn’t take prisoners during their “war”.

  • Nevin

    Bob, deaths were most likely to be caused by militant republicans:

    “British Security 362
    Irish Security 5
    Loyalist Paramilitary 1020
    not known 80
    Republican Paramilitary 2056
    TOTAL 3523” … Sutton

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘The meetings themselves (and their growing frequency) are evidence of this…’

    We have had one. apparently there will be a second. Yip after 8 odd years to formulate a policy on this there political campaign is just as cutting edge as their military one.

    ‘I realise the media may be using these stories’

    Indeed.

    ‘The turnout at the meeting in Toomebridge tomorrow may itself be evidence of the growing momentum…we will have to wait and see…’

    Not necessarily, if the samw rump is bussed from one venue to another the debatte will be as tetarded as the Conway debate. Irp’s @nothing until a 32 county workers socialist republic, 32csm, probably another letter to the UN.

    ‘The opinion poll result is evidence of this ‘rump’.’

    Opinion polls do not constitute evidence of any type whatsoever.

    ‘If no alternative candidate is put forward, how can disparate political views be expressed through the ballot box?’

    people can stay at home, SF increased their vote, in a by election, compared to their vote in the full LGE. An unusual feat in any circumstances.

    ‘Republican Sinn Fein do not run candidates in the six counties due to some requirement or other in the electoral code that would require them to swear an oath or recognise something or other that they are not willing to do on a point of principle.’

    A long winded way of saying they are afraid to put their views and opinons to the nationalist/republican population.

    ‘So, your talk of elections is not sound when measuring the 7-8% of votes that appear to be available for a more radical (or should that be traditional) republican position.’

    Elections are the soundest way of testing public opinion, at least non one has thought of a better way. There is no evidence that the 7/8% of votes you claim to be available actually exist

  • bertie

    I think that Bob is actually a unionist and he’s here to paint nationalsits in a bad light. 😉

  • eranu

    this has been quite an interesting discussion to read. im glad to see the always pant wettingly amusing phrase “in the occupied six counties of Ireland” making a return to slugger !

    “My gut feeling on policing, like many republicans, is they are all black b*******”

    theres alot of talk about ideology and grand ideas. these things are undoubtedly important to the posters here, but i think that the main problem and fear of policing that republicians have is that alot of them will be going to prison. once the police get into estates and areas where everyone knows whos up to what criminal ‘handy crafts’, it wont be long before people get busted.

  • SD-

    “The peace process has brought gains to republicans once thought to be well out of our reach in the dark days of the war, our volunteers were risking life and liberty on a daily basis and it seemed the world was against. Sinn Fein devised a political strategy that has brought us from political wilderness and military stalemate to centre of all things political on this island.”

    Erm- if their current position is where the provos wanted to get to, surely they just could have just joined the SDLP in 1970 and had Sunningdale by 1973. And if we had have had peaceful powersharing then, where would we be now? Probably a damn sight closer to a reunited Ireland.

    What exactly was the point of “the dark days of the war”, where “volunteers were risking life and liberty on a daily basis”? To share power with the DUP? To have a handful of MPs and TDs in parliaments you officially don’t recognise? To be involved in a powersharing assembly within the Union? To accept the principle of consent?

    Say what you like about the SDLP, but at least they have been honest from the outset and stuck by their guns, so to speak. Plus no one died for them to get to their current position.

  • seabhac siúlach

    “Not necessarily, if the samw rump is bussed from one venue to another the debatte will be as tetarded as the Conway debate.”

    If all depends on how many buses they need to use!
    A fleet of them might be quite convincing, for example…

    So, P. Sinn Fein increased their vote in S.Armagh…an unusual feat, I admit.
    However, this on its own does not mean that a sizable percentage did not, as you say, stay at home…it might merely show that Sinn Fein were improving their ability to get out their vote. Would 7-8% be missed, for example. Was the turnout that high? 92-93% I doubt it…
    The opinion poll, while not being a completely verifiable measurement of support, is at least an indicator of a rump of support. What else is it? A statistical blip? These opinion polls are usually found to be, on the whole, reliable measures of support (within the errorbars). Are we to deny that there is opposition to P. Sinn Fein, bury heads in sand? The numbers are there…deny them if you will…

    “Elections are the soundest way of testing public opinion, at least non one has thought of a better way. There is no evidence that the 7/8% of votes you claim to be available actually exist”

    I believe people used to say the same thing about PIRA support before the hunger strikes of 1981, etc., that they had no support in the community, were gangsters, etc. It will be interesting to see what support these ‘Concerned Republicans’ do have
    come any future elections (if they put up candidates)…perhaps enough to wreck P.Sinn Fein’s post acceptance of policing plans…

    “A long winded way of saying they are afraid to put their views and opinons to the nationalist/republican population.”

    Perhaps, but there is also a principle involved, an unwillingness to forswear political violence or some such thing…
    Principles do matter to a party that still does not recognise the Dublin or Stormont parliaments.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    SS,

    we”ll agree to differ if a one off opinion poll, with no obvious indicator of a trend constitutes evidence.

    On the question of opposition being out there, it most definitely is, among the groups previously mentioned. As for burying ones’ head in the sand, in the past few months alone I have been involved in said by election; a local registration drive and a registration drive and canvass in the Dublin South East constituency and it hasn’t figured on the radar or is of grave concern to the ordinary people.

    As Declan put it rather succinctly to someone he described as a flat earther during the Conway Mill debate, ‘we are on the streets in every area, every day, talking to real people.’

  • joeCanuck

    I agree with Rory and Parcifal. No matter how painful for many on all sides, at some stage we have to learn to forget (we don’t have to forgive), or at least put it behind us with heavy hearts.
    And yes, that includes an end to ALL investigations.
    War is ugly; peace offers hope.

  • JC-

    “at some stage we have to learn to forget (we don’t have to forgive), or at least put it behind us with heavy hearts.
    And yes, that includes an end to ALL investigations.
    War is ugly; peace offers hope”

    Speak for yourself.

    No one can tell victims or victims’ families that they have no right to seek the truth behind violent acts that were perpetrated against them or their slain loved ones.

    A crime is a crime. Those of us with nothing to hide have no reason to want the sickening acts of the past airbrushed from history.

  • bertie

    “No matter how painful for many on all sides, at some stage we have to learn to forget (we don’t have to forgive), or at least put it behind us with heavy hearts.
    And yes, that includes an end to ALL investigations. ”

    No it doesn’t really matter how painful it would be. It matters that it would be wrong.

  • ingram

    El Matador.

    You are a wise man.I like you.

    Ingram

  • joeCanuck

    El Matador and Bertie,
    I was speaking for myself.
    An opinion is simply what it is, and as we’re not dealing with facts, it is neither right nor wrong.
    And before you ask, yes, I have had friends and relatives injured and murdered (by both sides to this nasty little war).

  • CS Parnell

    SD if the SDLP are so irrelevant why do you have spend so much of your message ranting about them?

    And the point of a TRC is that it has powers to indict those it feels are not telling the truth. But given that IRA “security” was in fact a wholly-owned subsiduary of the British Army for most of the last 30 years I can see why the Brits and the Ra might not be so keen on *that*.

  • bertie

    Joe

    we very much are deaing with right and wrong. Murder and maiming is wrong and failing to bring those who do it to justice is wrong and an infringement of human rights.

    “And before you ask, yes, I have had friends and relatives injured and murdered (by both sides to this nasty little war”

    My condolences, but why would I ask? Why would it be relevant?

  • Rory

    “I’m with Rory, and wonder if holders of our views would be welcome in cosy B&B’s across the North?”

    Why thank you, Parcifal but I really think we ought to get to know one another better before cosying up together in ” B & B’s across the North?”, don’t you?

    I am not so sure, despite Mr Hain’s best efforts, that the landladies of Cullybackey and Portavogie are quite ready for that kind of thing just yet. Besides which, Herself is mad possessive and a wicked woman with the skillet.

  • Dympna

    Getting back to the original post about todays meeting.

    I wonder what was going through Hugh Orde’s mind when he was talking to the Shinner leader.
    Other than the leader himself I’m sure that Hugh was the only other person in the room who knew exactly of the leader’s heroic past activities.

    Otherwise what have the intelligence services been doing over all those years?

  • joeCanuck

    Bertie,
    It is relevant.
    I’m prepared (somewhat reluctantly) to put this behind us.
    How many privates, lieutenants, majors, etc were tried for war crimes after WW11?
    Sure, we tried and put to death or gave lengthy prison sentences (later reduced greatly) to some of the most egregious b-a
    s-t-a-r=d=-s.
    The situation here is very murky indeed. Do you ever expect some of our leading politicians (on both sides) to stand trial?
    Welcome to realpolitick.
    It’s ugly.

  • bertie

    Joe

    I’m sorry but what you as an individual may have gone through is not in the least relevant. Just because you are prepared to put it behind you doesn;t make it right to do so. If it was right to do so again what you have personally suffered would not be relevant.

    This was not a war. One of the ugliest thing about it is the number of people ho are prepared to give up on justice.

  • joeCanuck

    Anger and Bitterness are very valid human emotions Bertie. I fully understand that. But neverending negative emotions are “usually” more harmful to the people who hold them rather than the people who caused them. Atrocities were committed by people on both sides.
    Can you suggest when we might want to put it all behind us,(if ever?).

  • realist2

    I see joe, lets all applaud the peelers because your family got justice? Well mine didn’t. any chance I could have your permission to have some negative feeling.

    jeese talk about subjectivity!

  • bertie

    Joe

    “Anger and Bitterness are very valid human emotions Bertie. I fully understand that.”

    Joe I’m not talking about anger or bitterness, I am talking about the difference between right and wrong.

    “But neverending negative emotions are “usually” more harmful to the people who hold them rather than the people who caused them.”

    In any case anger is not a negative emotion, channelling it into the persuit of juctice is very positive

    ” Atrocities were committed by people on both sides.”

    Totally and absolutley completley irrelevant

    “Can you suggest when we might want to put it all behind us,(if ever?).”

    The pursuit of justice should only end when it is delivered.

  • JHR

    Who are provo Sinn Fein ? Tut Tut…same genre as ulster resistance-third force DUP no doubt..not to forget the Clontibret Wanderers with Captain Peter Punt at the Helm…..sticks and stones….kettle, black etc…

  • joeCanuck

    Realist2

    I think your personal attack on me in your last sentence is totally uncalled for.
    I implied (and believe) that all human emotional reactions are totally justified.
    I simply made the comment (based on bitter personal experience) that continuing holding of that emotion can be self-destroying. That’s just my opinion, nothing more, nothing less.
    I had to go through extensive (and expensive) therapy before I got my mind right over a personal problem.
    Sorry if you’re upset.

  • bertie

    joe

    Can I say that I am really glad for you that you have found peace of mind. (and that is genuine BTW and not just a nice phrase), there are too many damaged souls about.

    At the same time I disagree with your conclusions, although it may be that we are using our ords differently.

    Anger is not hate (except for the deed) and justice is not revenge. I agree that hating people and revenge are soul destroying. At the same time it must never be treated on the same moral plane as the actions that caused the anger. In additon, people may have to hold on to their until THEY can let it go and that needs to be at their own time. FOr some at some stage, it is the hate that keeps them going and keeps them from facing the real emotion.

    Now that’s as philisophical as I want to get today 😉