Sinn Féin raise doubts about holding Ard Fheis on policing

A short RTÉ report states “Sinn Féin has raised doubts tonight that the party’s special Ard Fheis on policing will go ahead because of what it says is the lack of a positive response from the DUP.” Adds That would be this response.. presumably.. And It seemed a strange condition at the time.. More Other issues to consider in the mix Update Interestingly the BBC report refers to “a series of discussions on policing with Tony Blair over recent days.”.. and on the comments from a senior government source, perhaps? Another report to noteFrom the last report noted above

DUP Policing Board member Ian Paisley Jr said Sinn Féin’s latest statement had an air of panic about it.

“Our party leader’s comment in recent days couldn’t have been any clearer,” the North Antrim Assembly member said.

“I think you can smell the panic in Sinn Fein from this latest statement. They know what republicans have to do.”

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  • gerry

    Also in the BBC report, the reporter mentions that there was no positive response to policing, and that no date for the AF had been set. Although earlier, on RTE, on the day of the AC Jan 25th had been said to be pencilled in as the day.
    Could this be an escape clause for SF? An easy way out of a ‘sticky’ situation over policing? Perhaps they didn’t think there was such strong opposition to it on the ground?
    If no AF where does SF go?

  • Miss Fitz

    On the other hand…. Radio Ulster reported earlier that Gerry Adams has been in daily contact with Tony Blair. Also Davy Hyland spoke about the Ard Feis to be held at the end of the month as something that had been agreed.

    We can speculate until the cows come home, get milked and get set out in the fields again. It will happen when it happens

  • jc

    and the obliging charlie bird or whoever in rte recycles without question every piece of nonsense the chucks feed him as he always has – remember the breathless radio reports:”my sources assure me decommissioning is just one bridge the ira will never cross”! – anyone who takes this report seriously needs their head examined! did they seriously expect the dup to be dancing in the streets? no, of course not. this is all part of the false ritual involved in signing up to the psni, fictitious death threats against the sf leaders being another part, so as to make it seem as if great burdens are being carried and huge obstacles removed/sacrifices made by the big lad with the (courtesy of the irish times) halo

  • ingram

    Gerry,

    As long Martin and Gerry have a hole in their A**e they will hold a AF and they will pass the final Rubicon.

    This is the end of the line and the cat is already out of the bag. Think about it? how could they and a few on this board go back to the old positions without looking real genuine 24 carrot eeejits.

    I accept the opposition to the british criminal justice system has been vocal and loud. That said, it is the only show in time and IF they did not hold a AF it would be a massive early Christmas present for the DUP and unwelcome going away present for our Tony.

    They are fecked if they go and they are fecked if they dont. Only those who have gained from the troubles can slide away from this with something tangible and worthwhile.

    Adams is playing games! nothing new or novel in this ploy. In fact very predictable.

    Ding Ding

    Martin

  • slug

    In fact, as Miss Fitz noted on this weblog, the DUP leader did give what may be described as a guardedly positive response.

  • Plum Duff

    I don’t know what planet ‘jc’ hails from but he obviously has not listened in depth to Charlie Bird or read The Irish Times editorials (and comment columns by (among others) by ex-staffie, Kevin Myers) since Geraldine Kennedy took over the helm. Nobody in their right minds could even hint at a pro SF/IRA line from either of these two sources. JC, you’re elevating Unionist paranoia to a fine art. Wise up.

  • slug

    “this is all part of the false ritual involved in signing up to the psni, fictitious death threats against the sf leaders being another part, so as to make it seem as if great burdens are being carried and huge obstacles removed/sacrifices made by the big lad”

    Does have a ring of truth to it to me, as a seasoned process watcher.

  • Sinn Fein will hold the AF the leadership will win a yes vote.

    Big Ian will agree to share power, but just before the elections, there will be a coup within the DUP,on the pretext of OTR’s, Justice ministry, Northern Bank, McCartny murder etc.

    Big Ian will retire, the new DUP leadership will call off the deal, saying, null and void, then reveal the one and only condition for sharing power with Republicans:

    “The DUP will only share power with Republicans when we see Lord Lucan riding Shergar up the hill to Stormont”

    The new Brit Prime Minister will be greeted by a new DUP leader, new round of many years negociations.

    Big Ian reveals in his memoirs this was a ploy all along, and he only agreed to say yes as a trigger for his own retirement.

  • fair_deal

    Walking your base half way up the hill then stopping would seem a bit odd. The ones you’ve annoyed will remain annoyed and those who’ve backed you will be peeved they have stuck their necks out for it to be put on a back burner.

    Maybe it is related to the senior civil servants ‘clarification’ of the SoS’s letter?

    However, they have used standard line no 1 so far on policing “Sacred Cow No.X must be slaughtered so we can get to a United Ireland”. Surely they go to standard line no.2 “The opponents of change should not be allowed to succeed or stop republicans for making the right strategic choices.”

  • jc

    plum duff
    after reading your reaction to my post i can see why you’ve chosen the pen-name plum duff as that is what your brain largely consists of – i never mentioned the irish times, so why did you bring it up – as for charlie bird, cite me one example in which he took a critical and/or sceptical line on sinn fein?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    The DUP said its moves towards power sharing would depend upon SF actions, not words, as it wanted tangible proof of SF’s commitment to policing.

    At the very least, I think it’s fair to say, this would have required the ard fheis to have passed the Adams motion. At that point, the DUP’s response would have been gauged by SF as to whether it was “positive” or not.

    So when SF said after the national executive meeting that the motion being put to the ard fheis was dependent on a positive response from the DUP (as well as the two governments), they were clearly planning for failure and to pass the blame to the DUP.

    What did SF expect from the DUP at that particular point after it had been operating on the basis of ‘actions, not words’ since they stuffed the UUP? A round of applause? Of course SF knew the DUP would maintain its ‘wait and see’ approach.

    By placing the fate of the ard fheis in the hands of the DUP, it was obvious SF was preparing a possible exit strategy. Now that the wheels may be starting to come off the wagon a bit, it’s not really a surprise SF is starting to implement their strategy.

    So in that respect Pete, I certainly did not regard this SF demand as “a strange condition” at all!

  • Henry94

    It is true that Ian Paisley gave a positive enough reaction but others in his party did not. We know Adams can deliver but can Paisley? Is he ready to face the kind of mindless abuse Gerry Adams is subjected to on a daily basis here and elsewhere.

    In short is he ready to lead.

    I think the Ard Fheis should go ahead. If the DUP fail to deliver then it will be clear where the problem is. Not IRA weapons, not support for the police but unionist inability to share power.

  • The whole thing about the provos planning their next move based on a ‘positive response’ from the DUP seemed odd to me. Surely a move on policing should be made by Sinn Féin because it is in the best interests of the community, not based on press releases issued by Ian Paisley’s party. Can the provos do anything without attempting to play party politics and make partisan gain? Must its every move be based on what Ian Paisley says or does?

  • slug

    I agree with Gonzo and El Mat that the idea of Sinn Féin demanding a ‘positive response’ from the DUP in advance of ard fheis seems a tad strange (and besides the comments of Dr Paisley were reasonably constructive). Hard to understand whats going on here. Would Sinn Féin really cross the rubicon then uncross it because Peter Robinson wasn’t gushing enough? The bottom line has surely been shown now its too late to go back.

  • kensei

    “The whole thing about the provos planning their next move based on a ‘positive response’ from the DUP seemed odd to me. Surely a move on policing should be made by Sinn Féin because it is in the best interests of the community, not based on press releases issued by Ian Paisley’s party. Can the provos do anything without attempting to play party politics and make partisan gain? Must its every move be based on what Ian Paisley says or does? ”

    When he is the block on power, yes. If there was no indication that the DUP were going into government then signing up to policing would probably not be in the best interests of the community as there would be no devolution of powers, and no accountability mechanisms with real teeth.

    Reckon they are just playing it up. DUP is at as well with power sharing. Calling a fucking electin straight after was probably not in anyone’s interest if you wanted to avoid all this.

  • D’Oracle

    poker classic ; your move, Ian

  • Belfast Gonzo

    kensei

    Did Sinn Fein ever complain about the election?

    D’Oracle

    Not quite sure that works in this case. As has been noted, the DUP has given a response, and no-one has described as particularly negative.

    Ball still in SF’s court…

  • kensei

    “Did Sinn Fein ever complain about the election?”

    No. But I am.

  • gerry

    Miss Fitz says it will happen when it happens.

    IF it happens. Like I said this could have been put in there as a get out clause. I do think they under estimated the depth of feeling among their grass roots and the wider republican family.

  • mark

    Gonzo, a repeat from another thread but relevant your ‘positive’ DUP line.

    Can someone explain this positive DUP response to me one more time?

    Before powersharing with Nationalists (nevermind devolved Policing and Justice) is accepted they have demanded:

    Republicans accept the PSNI and Justice system.

    That powers over policing and justice are retained in England for generations.

    An ‘IRA Army Council’ is dissolved – how do the DUP test this?

    The money from a large bank robbery is returned.

    That more than those already arrested over a murder are arrested.

    That an Irish language bill doesn’t occur.

    I don’t see anything other than preconditions and more preconditions at every turn. Spare me the positive Paisley welcome spin.

    If the DUP are making support for policing a precondition – total local accountability is a must.

    Their other preconditions clearly indicate they want the impossible before a deal on powersharing ie. they don’t want the deal at all.

    Anyone care to add to my DUP stalling wish-list that is being billed as a welcome?

    (btw: Happy New Year, drop me a mail sometime)

  • Comrade Stalin

    In fairness to the DUP, their official position (ignoring for the moment the line taken by party hardliners) has been consistent and refreshingly constructive, with the Doc despite clear evidence of dissent continuing to hold out the promise of devolved government involving SF.

    This latest statement from SF is somewhat disappointing and their attempt to offload the blame to the DUP does not seem credible.

    Henry:

    It is true that Ian Paisley gave a positive enough reaction but others in his party did not.

    We have to assume that Paisley retains the support of the party membership as the leader and therefore speaks on behalf of the party. Same with Gerry Adams. In both cases, a clear position taken by the party leadership shows that the direction that they intend to lead their party in.

    We know Adams can deliver but can Paisley?

    It’s not clear that Adams can deliver. I hope that he can, and historically he has proven himself adept at both judging the mood on the ground whilst managing internal criticism over groundbreaking moves taken by republicanism.

    Is he ready to face the kind of mindless abuse Gerry Adams is subjected to on a daily basis here and elsewhere.

    From my point of view Paisley and Adams have both taken fair digs on a fairly equal level here. One thing they both have in common is the massive u-turn on their own past that they both have to deliver. I think the scale of the problem faced by both men in bringing their people with them is more or less the same.

  • Pól

    Sinn Fein will do whatever it has to do to achieve the ultimate goal of a united Ireland.
    Even if that means in the interim, signing up to policing or siting in Stormont.
    It may suit a few people to say,the party has sold them out. Well they haven’t sold me out, or thousands like me who see the bigger picture.
    I have no love for the PSNI and have suffered at their hands. But the prise is too great to be squandered. So we need to stop pissing around and bed the process down so that we can build on what we hold.

    I will suffer the PSNI and Sormont, For now.

  • Pete Baker

    If you’re copying and pasting your comments, Mark.. here’s my, copied, previous response to your points –

    Mark

    As I recall, only the first item on that list relates to power-sharing in an Executive.

    That item is – “Republicans accept the PSNI and Justice system.”

    The conditions placed on Sinn Féin about the timetable for devolving policing and justice, before SF would accept policing and justice, were imposed by… Sinn Féin.

    And a reminder of that argument on devolving those powers

  • gerry

    cs says we know adams can deliver but can paisley?

    Surely adams is in this position due to weak negotations. The internal strife within the party clearly points to the fact that perhaps there is a question mark over adams ability to deliver.

  • Comrade Stalin

    mark :

    In the case of both the DUP and SF, I think that some parts of their public pronouncements are there to try to keep the hardliners on side, and are not really intended to be taken very seriously. In the case of the DUP, you’ve got the stuff you mentioned about returning the Northern Bank money, dissolution of the army council etc. On the SF side, you’ve got demands which are clearly unrealistic, such as the amnesty for OTRs, devolution of anti-terrorist intelligence (resistance to MI5) etc.

    BTW, kensei, I totally agree – elections in advance of the wheels being put in motion are a very bad idea. If there’s a deal, I’d rather let the parties just get on with it and go to the country on the strength of their achievements under devolution in a year or so. I fear, however, that both SF and the DUP want elections so that they can get them out of the way quickly before any serious opposition has a chance to organize itself and stop them.

  • Mick Fealty

    There’s another problem with that list Mark. Much of it pre-dates Monday and cannot be properly cast as a response.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The internal strife within the party clearly points to the fact that perhaps there is a question mark over adams ability to deliver.

    The usual republicans on Slugger who are close to SF are keeping schtum about inner turmoil, if there truly is any. In the case of Davy Hyland, CG said that the guy was just annoyed about being deselected, and he tried to use policing as an excuse. To me this is an entirely credible suggestion and nobody has been able to debunk it. It’s unsurprising that someone desperate to get a safe seat could use whatever political tools that were available to do so.

    Logically I would have thought that any inner turmoil would have been far worse over the IRA’s complete disarmament, compared with supporting police. If necessary, support for the police can be withdrawn again and boycotts reinstated overnight. The same is not true of the IRA’s arsenal, if republicans wished to “defend” themselves again (to use their terminology, I never saw the IRA’s dirty war as “defence”) they are stuck.

    I am not a republican and I regard their violent past as reprehensible. I expect them to stick with the rule of law. However, that does not mean that they must bring tea and biscuits out to every passing police patrol. In many countries, for many reasons, police are often unpopular. In Cockney slang the term for the police is “the filth”. In ordinary politics in other countries it is considered quite normal for elected politicians to criticize the conduct of the police and demand reform. In the UK right now they are even talking about having public disciplinary proceedings for police officers.

    It is clearly unreasonable therefore for people to (a) require unequivocal, unstinting support for the police irrespective of their actions, and (b) to believe that that is what SF are aiming for. In practice, by supporting the police SF are following in the footsteps of the ordinary nationalist electorate on the ground who increasingly rely on their services, and as with the SDLP by participating in policing rather than boycotting it they are allowing their electorate to have a say in how policing is run and held accountable.

    It’s the reckless ideology that has always messed this place up.

  • mark

    Stalin,

    Sinn Fein have no preconditions to sharing power with Unionism.

    Despite Mick’s nonsense about ‘Monday’ – the DUP have been given a chance to remove pipe dream demands and get real but have allowed senior member after senior member to trot out further precondition and restate old idiotic demands.

    If Mick is reassuring Republicans the DUP demands for powersharing have been reduced to one – I’ll add as my final contribution tonight, PROVE IT.

    They don’t seem to believe you.

  • Pete Baker

    “Sinn Fein have no preconditions to sharing power with Unionism.”

    Apart from Motion 395.. that is..

  • miss fitz

    Sammy Wilson said on December 29th:

    The DUP will be watching keenly over the coming weeks what happens on the ground in terms of tangible support for policing and justice, for it is only that kind of delivery that would contribute to creating the community confidence that makes the transfer of policing and justice powers achievable.

  • Mick Fealty

    That was Pete’s point Mark, not mine.

    VC on another thread suggested bad sequencing on the part of unionists was the problem. I’m not sure I buy that, but am happy to suspend judgement for now.

    But there seems little attempt at even allowing the DUP to visibly default here. Adams looks for a positive response on Monday, and then threatens to pull the carpet on Wednesday? That is hasty to say the least.

    I’m certainly not discounting bad faith on the part of the DUP, it’s just that given the events (recounted above) leading up to this, I’m having trouble discounting everything else.

  • kensei

    “Apart from Motion 395.. that is..”

    No, SF will and have in the past worked in a power sharing Assembly without this. They would do again tomorrow.

    The precondition is the DUP’s, and don’t be dishonest.

  • brendan,belfast

    why exactly are SF preparing to ‘cross the rubicon’ on policing? is it because they want their areas to receive proper policing? so that people can feel free to join and support the structuers of law and order? to have some influence over the way polcing is delivered?

    if it is these things, and more, then surely they should be doing it no matter what the DUP response. it is either the right or the wrong thing to do.