Decisions, decisions..

RTÉ reports that Sinn Féin are still discussing whether to call that Ard Comhairle meeting to discuss policing this weekend.. and, perhaps, MI5.. and the BBC’s Mark Devenport has heard whispers about the government’s suggestions on any eventual ministry. Meanwhile, with DUP MP William McCrea tapping his watch, the DUP’s Nigel Dodds has been emphasising that any target date, for devolving policing and justice, say May 2008, will only be a government-set target – the legislation from St Andrews doesn’t set it down as an enforceable deadline and the current mechanism requires everyone to agree on the timing.. whenever the conditions are right. Over to you, Gerry..

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  • gerry

    interesting to see what way he will jump, as gorman says, will he try and fail, or fail to try?
    Has anyone heard if the meeting is over and what the outcome of it was?

  • Pete Baker

    No white smoke yet..

  • Kathy_C

    posted by kathy c

    hi all,

    I can just hear gerry adams…for the sake of peace blah blah blah…we have to join the policiing….and anyone republican who doesn’t want that is a disident who never wanted peace.

    or …another way of gerry adams saying ….

    it’s his way or the highway and if anyone objects…they get labeled a traitor and kicked out of the party….but I have to ask…who is the real traitor and who should get kicked out…I say gerry adams.

  • Connie Z

    Just looking at RTE, so is there to be movement tonight afterall?

  • gerry

    I don’t think there’ll be any meeting about a meeting tomorrow, if there’s nothing from the meeting tonight. I wonder where it is being held. Of late sf have taken to having them in hotels rather than sevastapol st or connolly house. If there’d been anything old charlie bird or tommy gorman would have gotten hold of it.

  • Plum Duff

    I’ve a feeling this is one of Pete’s better wind-ups. After tossing over the net all of the DUP’s objections/conditions to entering a power-sharing executive with SF, (well, to date, ‘all’ that’s currently on their agenda – but, once those are satisfied, you’ll just have to wait and see what’s demanded next) he (Pete) also bowls a googly by dead-panning, ‘Over to you, Gerry’.

    Apart from my mixing up metaphors, games of sport and the English language, I also have to throw in another leisure activity for illustration purposes, as in,’Are you dancing?’, ‘Are you asking?’ In other words, it takes two to tango.

    The fault does not entirely lie on one side as some contributors would like to think.

  • parcifal

    indeed plum duff, vis-a-vis talking and dancing; the trick is knowing when to lead and when to follow !

  • Pete Baker

    Actually, Plum Duff, it’s a ‘state of play’ post.

    But if you disagree with any of the points made about that state of play by all means argue your case.

  • gerry

    I see the bah humbugs are out early this year!

  • Plum Duff

    Pete, OK, I’ll accept that it was a ‘state of play’ post – but only for the most part. As I read it, however, your ‘Over to you, Gerry’ comment rather changed the context of what went before. That’s why I thought it was a wind-up. But it also baldly invited comments, imo. When another contributor took your invitation up to diss Adams as if SF were the only ones at fault I made my observation about it taking two to tango. My own view is a sort of *non-selective* ‘plague on both their houses’ but I would also agree with Parcival except that I would insert ‘miracle’ re his ‘leading’ and ‘following’ rather than ‘trick’ as I’m afraid that is what it will take.

    Having spoken to a few Shinners in recent days, they are very despondent as to any positive developments from the DUP. They believe that that the hardliners are raising the bar ever higher with more and more outrageous demands thus making it impossible for SF to ever join the club. Brian Feeney’s recent Irish News piece also raises the DUP backwoodsmen as a major stumbling block. The Government is not helping either, if Martin Ingram, on another recent thread, is to be believed on the possible/probable make up of MI5 personnel in NI (ex SB and RUC officers). Hardly a blueprint for success when the accountability of MI5 is outside the loop and when one of the core SF demands was the disbanding of SB. How this one could ever get off the ground given the near hysteria in some government departments vis a vis Islamic terror, apart from our own little skirmishes, however, remains a mystery to me.

  • Pete Baker

    Plum Duff

    “When another contributor took your invitation up to diss Adams as if SF were the only ones at fault I made my observation about it taking two to tango.”

    *shakes head*

    The state of play is that Sinn Féin are currently deciding whether or not to hold an Ard Comhairle.. hence the “Over to you, Gerry..” comment after noting the current position of the DUP and the legislation that is already in place – as well as what that legislation means.

  • Plum Duff

    “When another contributor took your invitation up to diss Adams as if SF were the only ones at fault I made my observation about it taking two to tango.”

    Sorry, Pete, I should have said ‘… took your invitation up *and used it as an excuse* to diss Adams…’ My original statement put the invitation to diss squarely on your shoulders. This was not intended.

  • ingram

    Plum Duff.

    The issue about MI5`s role in policing is an interesting one. Sinn Fein has long argued for a very long time that the PSNI SB should not have control over Intelligence collection within NI.

    The Old RUC SB is no different than todays PSNI version except for the odd new rule courtesy of Patten but in essence the personnel remained in place at the point of transition.The reason for that is very simple. The pool of experienced officers is small. There are a few ex FRU men in the PSNI SB today. One is currently under arrest waiting a decision if he should be charged for offences uncovered by Stevens.

    The same is true of Box 500 taking over Republican Intelligence collection. You cannot just spirit new totally clean officers in from out of Mongolia.The pool of available staff remains those that have worked in this arena for years. Agents tend to like continuity. They trust a good Handler with their life.The risk to the supply of quality Intelligence could be compromised with drastic changes.It will NOT HAPPEN.Many of my old Agents have told me they are expecting to continue with no change to their point of contact. i.e. Handlers.

    In the new period of peace the collection of reliable, quality Human Intelligence will be as always vital in providing an insight into the progress or otherwise of the stabilty and viability of the peace .

    MI5 will be keen to maintain the pressure upon Republicans.They will not take any risks and the long term strategy they are working towards is to make the transition from PSNI to MI5 seamless.

    In my world that makes good sense.Sinn Fein know the score, this issue is resolved, Chris Gaskin made that point on this board recently. They can hum and rrrr but believe me this deal is signed sealed and delivered.

    Sinn Fein have no options anymore.The leadership of Sinn Fein have brought the movement along this chosen pathway, it was their choice. The days of ducking and diving are over.This is the end Game.

    Game , set and Match.

    or in military speak.



    PS. Sinn Fein could if they had been a genuine negotiator made the obvious point that this MI5 involvement is pure discrimination. UDA/UVF/LVF/General biggoted prods on murder missions will remain under the control of the PSNI? surely Sinn Fein could have seen the logic of arguing this was unfair?.

    The police would have walked a million miles before releasing resonsiblity over Loyalist terrorist.They are vulnerable on this point.

    WHY? We all know why? dont we.

    Merry Christmas to all. May 2007 be a great year for all.

  • parcifal

    in the same way that st’patrick rid ireland of all the snakes, next year one will come who will rid ireland of all the union jacks.

    I have studied the gyres for 22 years.

    Souls sometimes feel chosen … their mission echoing through the gyres from source … “Consciousness”.


    Its a mathematical certainty 🙂

  • ingram


    Well mate you would have more chance of a United Ireland with the services of a snake charmer than you will with Pinky and perky.

    Merry Christmas mate and stay of the Sherry!.The Union Jacks will be on show for a very, very long time to come. Gerry and Martin made sure of that.

  • parcifal

    gerry and martin and merely minor pieces on my chessboard, ready to be sacrificed at the appropriate hour. I’ll opt for Gerry as a Knight and we’ll have MMG as a Bishop.
    as to the real enemy, I wouldn’t even give them the stink off my shit mate.
    merry xmas, it will be a year to remember 2007.

  • Plum Duff

    Apart from the last few flights of fancy – well, given the spirit of the times, heh! – possibly too much of! – re GA’s and MMcG’s elevation, which is an even faster route to ‘suicide’ than the famous past Labour manifesto, Martin Ingram’s comments have given me much to ponder upon

    Martin, the reason why I mentioned your comments from an earlier post (on the SB/MI5 connection) was that they made such an impression on me. Your latest one goes on to expand this premise and has given me even more room for thought. Common sense, of course, dictates that a government is not going to throw out, in the form of an intelligence-gathering branch of the security forces, a very important baby with the bathwater. They can call it what they want but there will always be a need for it. You know it as a former player; I, as a non-player, know it and, immediately I saw through the fatuity of SF’s original demand, I knew it even more. Furthermore, as you’ve recognised, bottom dollar is that there are no better people than SF themselves to accept it as fact given their ‘colleagues’ own mastery of Kitsonian techniques over the years.

    I can also accept the need for a ‘certain’ amount of continuity in intelligence personnel. But, and it’s a very large BUT, given the nature of our conflict over these last few decades, plus the virtual exclusion/alienation of the Catholic population, never mind the Nationalist/Republican sector of same, in the half century before the first UVF killings in 1966, it should not cause any wonder that at least there’s an attempt to obtain a more balanced playing field. Let’s face it; both (combatant) sides were out to kill each other. Unfortunately, the Catholic population, as a whole, suffered the backlash – either from the British Army or the RUC/SB through their Loyalist paramilitary henchmen. [Please understand that I am not, under any circumstances, justifying the ‘armed conflict’]. Nonetheless, thereby lies the ongoing problem. Can we accept that these same police/SB/MI5 personnel will not in the future, as they have in the past, lock up, fit up or dispose of people they do not trust to run their idea of a state? Christ, Harold Wilson – the bleeding Prime Minister – was once looked on as a subversive by a similar bunch of paranoids!

    Your ‘PS’, by the way, encapsulated all the above fears:
    ‘… UDA/UVF/LVF/General bigoted prods on murder missions will remain under the control of the PSNI?…’ and ‘The police would have walked a million miles before releasing responsibility over Loyalist terrorists’.

    SF may, in the final analysis, be indulging in a certain sleight of hand to bring on their supporters in this whole policing mess but I would be very much surprised if it’s as much ‘done and dusted’ as you’ve stated. I don’t disbelieve you but time will tell and there’s too much at stake for SF to blow such an important issue. They are on shaky enough ground, as it is, even to get basic policing accepted within their community. And I’m not only talking about the SF electorate. The SDLP, despite its membership of the police boards, has voiced similar reservations on the accountability issue as has, of course, the Human Rights Commissioner, Monica Williams. Recent memories of naked State and RUC sponsored sectarianism are still too raw to wipe the slate clean just yet.

    Merry Christmas to Slugger and all his contibutors.

  • shelly madden

    Surely power sharing should include controlling or having power over policing. Maybe in a facist state, or bannana republic one would need to swear allegiance to an armed force, but surely not in a democracy. Don’t police need to swear allegiance to upholding the law, the law being passed by the government not vice versa?

    With devolved government, government over the police force must alos be devolved. So the Dup should accept this. Regarding the republican position, should not nationalist areas have a police force? The IRA neither has the will or the means to police nationalist areas, so who then?

    Perhaps a 50/50 police service that is accountable to a deveolved legislature sans M15.

    I am I missing something?

  • Plum Duff

    You’re not missing a thing Shelly, keep dreaming.
    ‘Fairy tales can come true, they can happen to you….’

  • ingram

    Plum Duff.



    I was pointed to your last posts by a mutual friend.I make the following points in reply.

    The point that you both miss is an obvious and simple one.

    MI5 is not carrying out any task in NI that it is not tasked to do so in any OTHER PART OF THE UNITED KINGDOM.

    Its job is to protect the BRITISH NATIONAL interests against any organisation or indeed individual that POSES A RISK TO BRITISH INTERESTS. republicans are considered a potential threat to BRITISH INTERESTS in contrast Loyalists are not viewed as a threat to BRITISH INTERESTS and consequently they remain under the watching eye of the local police.

    This situation remains so for the remainder of the UK.

    Should Sinn Fein agree which I understand is a done deal they will be a part of a British structure designed to protect the British national interest. Those interests may not be the same as Northern Irelands. They are the broad British national interst.

    Shelly the devolved legislature you remark upon is initself subservient to the British parliament.Any decisions taken in Stormont CAN BE OVERTURNED in the mother parliament. That is what is being offered.It will not be operated upon any different than Manchester, Aberdeen or indeed London.That is the United Kingdom.

    The GFA cements the constitutional question.Sinn Fein accepts that basis .Any legislature sans MI5 is not going to happen.


    Merry christmas

  • lib2016

    The South is knee deep in MI6 and sooner or later, preferably sooner, so shall we be. That’s the price of doing business with a police state run by a ‘secret’ government stupid enough to flaunt itself by erecting a modern palace on the Thames.

    The British will do what the incoming Democratic administration tells them to….that’s what puppet governments are for.

  • shelly madden

    Okay Martin,
    You could also say that the Queen of England has utimate power to rule England, but she generously bequeathed the same to the British legislature, so could not the “mother of all parliaments,” bequeath the same to the devolved legislature in NI. The letter of the law does not always reflect the spirit, or the reality of the law. Does anyone think that the governor general of Australia, of Canada has any real power, is the crown’s writ exercised in the “dominions.” Techinically yes, realistically no. Again am I missing something? Maybe M15 operates in Canada too, but it does not have official headquarters there. And yes I know that Canada is not part of the UK, but it once was part of the “empire.” until they recieved devolved government (British North America Act, now superseded by the Canadian Constitution). Canad did have to go to the British parliament to re-patriate its constitution, but if they said no, the reality was Canada would have to go it alone. Now in Ireland it seems that her majesty herself (technicaly) through her parliament is saying that justice and policing should be devolved to Northern Ireland, and it will happen, when we all say, as Captain Picard says sometimes aboard the Enterprise, “Just make it so.”


  • ingram


    The British parliament unlike the Queen in State affairs has a history within the last 100 years of taking direct control over Northern Ireland affairs.

    The major powwer broker in legislation is and will remain even if power is devolved to Stormont, HMG exchequer.British Parliament will set the rules for expenditure and will govern all matters involving taxation whether that be direct or indirect.The issue over water rates is a classic example. Stormont could not stop that act even if Stormont was sitting today.

    Policing will aslo be controlled and governed and funded by the Home Office.The miltary will stay in very large numbers Republican policing issues will remain an issue for London not Dublin nor Belfast even when power is devolved to Stormont.

    The issue of Canada is a completely and utterly different case.The former colonies enjoyed something completely different to what Northern Ireland is being offered and is not even remotely like “limitted” devolved powers to Stormont.

    Canada can raise its own finances and stand on its own in the world.Northern Ireland cannot even raise a flag without an argument never mind raise taxes.Northern Ireland currently draws a very large subvention from HMG. That will continue. That is why Gordon Brown was consulted upon the recent issue of corporation tax in the context of a single rate for the Island of Ireland.He refused.Stormont would be unable to reverse that decision unless Parliament agreed.

    The people of Ireland voted overwhelmingly for the Union to continue(GFA) until such a date a majority wished to change that status. Today we are light years away from that position.

    It is like comparing a Mini with a Rolls Royce, two different classes of motor vehicle.

    Northern Ireland is not Canada, Australia, India nor Hong Kong. It voted recently to remain a member of the United Kingdom.That vote cemented the Union, you and I may not like it BUT that is the reality and what is being offered and Sinn Fein IS willing to accept is completely different to what you understand.

    Anything else?


  • WindsorRocker

    “Maybe in a facist state, or bannana republic one would need to swear allegiance to an armed force, but surely not in a democracy. Don’t police need to swear allegiance to upholding the law, the law being passed by the government not vice versa?”


    The problem is that in every other liberal democracy, anybody who takes office is asked to swear an oath of allegiance to the constitution of the country that they are taking office in.
    If this was a normal part of the UK all of our office holders would be asked to swear an oath of allegiance to the head of state (the Queen). In doing that they then pledge support to the institutions that she is a figurehead for… parliament in Westminster, the army, the police etc….. it’s like one big package….

    However in Norn Iron 2006, certain parties don’t want the whole package and people are considerate enough to realise this. What people want in the absence of a holistic oath of allegiance is a pledge by all parties that they can support the fundamental tenets of law and order… which includes the PSNI.

  • shelly madden

    Windsor Rocker,
    Not to digress too much, but maybe England needs a constitution, like most other liberal democracies, including human rights etc. , rather than swearing an oath of allegiance to an heridatary heir.

  • shelly madden

    Is there anything else?

    Well you are firmly entrenced in your position and have much knowledge to share with others. This is good. But be careful, there is an old Yiddish proverb, “Out of two possible solutions always choose the third.”

    Hope this proverb might help you understand others and help others understand you.