What’s behind Sinn Fein’s sudden volte-face?

How quickly can a blog go out of date? Answer: within a few hours. I filed this piece for Comment is Free at about 5.30pm this evening, but by the time it went out three hours later the sub ed’s reasonable summation of the piece that there is “little prospect of outright rebellion” within Sinn Fein was severely tested by a very negative statement from the party itself and issued to press agencies this evening.

Update: More detail here. That statement accuses the DUP of a negative response to Sinn Fein’s leadership’s promise to hold an Ard Fheis to ratify the leadership’s recommended support of policing. However as Miss Fitz pointed out yesterday, the DUP leader’s Spring statement can hardly be interpreted as yet another of his often grandiloquent and, by now, world-famous “Noes”.

The general assumption in the media and elsewhere is that the Ard Fheis will be held before the end of the month, but only because the Secretary of State has said it must be if the next stage of the process is to be unlocked. There is no evidence they have either set a date, or issued invitations with the required two weeks notice before the event.

Which leads one to ask, what is really behind this apparently reluctance to make the jump? Well, it would seem there are several rather large needles in a rapidly diminishing haystack.

Francie Brolly’s confession of electoral anxieties within the party about its vulnerability if it were to ratify policing before an election to a Swiss paper on the 24th November takes on a rather different look in the light of what has happened since. Le Temps noted at the time that:

Francie Brolly Sinn Féin assembly member revealed to The Times that it is possible that the meeting of his party would not take place until after the elections, “It will take place quickly if we obtain a good result in the elections but perhaps only during the marching season.”

This makes it look like a botched attempt to revert to an otherwise unspoken Plan A, with an uncharacteristically hasty attempt to slap the blame on the DUP.

The second needle is the Secretary of State’s hardening of the deadline for Sinn Fein’s ratified position. Ken Reid’s laconic description of Gerry Adams’ demeanour on the day as ‘not happy’ belies what Slugger understands to have been unprecedented levels of flustered panic at Sinn Fein headquarters.

The one thing that does stand from my original Guardian piece (given we could be looking at a cancellation/postponement of the elections, the question of Sinn Fein’s electoral vulnerability may be neither here nor there) is the growing turbulence within the party itself. Internal pressure would appear to be the more plausible explanation for Sinn Fein’s apparently sudden reversal from Adams’ own warm noises on Monday.

All of which then brings us back to Frank Millar’s observation on the integrity of this whole process, back on 15th November:

Before travelling to Scotland, some senior British sources suggested that demanding it “upfront” was the problem, because “this would mean they are accepting the legitimacy of the state”. But if that is the case, the problem with the peace process may be much greater than has yet been realised. [my italics]

If this is still the case (and it is far from clear that it is), then this deal was never a realistic prospect in the first place. If, as I have been assured by several party members, the party was not going to endure all this pain and not do a deal, then Gerry Adams may be in serious trouble with his party.

Either way, the party appears to be stuck on the horns of a very nasty dilemma. And one, some would say, that is entirely of their own making.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    In a nutshell:

    • Sinn Fein is still awaiting a “positive response” from the DUP over its decision to hold a party conference to consider supporting the police – something that doesn’t quite ring true to me, as the DUP had been relatively positive and had stated their position as one of awaiting tangible results, rather than any stated intention on SF’s part

    • SF is still locked in negotiations with the British Government – probably about Peter Hain’s promise for a date for justice minister’s appointment, which probably isn’t in his gift.

    • It is not yet ready to set an exact date for its special conference after having indicated it would be the end of January. This may be jitters over dissent, but also a useful negotiating lever.

    • Internally, opposition to backing the PSNI has been expressed by former, current and deselected Assembly members. The party will be anxious to avoid any significant split, as has happened in the past.

    • Influential republicans outside Sinn Fein have expressed opposition to backing the PSNI.

  • jc

    what are you blathering on about fealty! – you write about ‘a very negative statement from the party itself’ which was issued to press agencies – there was no statement from the party, only an off-the-record briefing from one of the spin doctors which was off-the-record so that it can be denied later – this is just all part of the great hype the chuckies need to generate and which for success depends on the gullibility of those on the receiving end – in your case fealty, as on so many other occasions, that’s one thing the shinners can always rely upon! i mean how many times do they have to perform this time of trickery before the penny finally drops for you.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Mick

    As I read it, this is a straight forward enough case of negotiations hardball style, right up to the wire- as nationalists would rightly expect of Sinn Fein in their attempts to maximise concessions from the British and guarantees from the DUP about the outstanding matters.

    On Francie Brolly’s statement, I can assure you that republicans are quite confident of electoral gains in any forthcoming election, never mind setbacks- I wouldn’t read too much into Francie’s remarks a couple of months ago to a foreign newspaper.

    If it comes to the point that Sinn Fein delays an Ard Fheis, then it will have been because the British and DUP could not be tied down on the critical issues that have been identified throughout this negotiation.

  • Mick Fealty

    Gonzo:

    “This may be jitters over dissent, but also a useful negotiating lever”.

    In which case, is now an appropriate moment to ask: whom does this process serve? Or more simply, at what point should the process stop privileging the interests of those still left inside the negotiating process and declare an even playing field for all the people of Northern Ireland?

    I’m not sure I have an answer but the question must be worth asking?

  • Mick Fealty

    jc,

    You could be right. Now doubt time will tell.

  • Chris Donnelly

    In which case, is now an appropriate moment to ask: whom does this process serve?more simply, at what point should the process stop privileging the interests of those still left inside the negotiating process and declare an even playing field for all the people of Northern Ireland?

    Mick

    A bit strange, that. Commentators have been keen to point to the ‘strong’ position the DUP are in because they have played hardball politics all along, refusing to countenance movement unless on their terms.

    If republicans are reciprocating, then you won’t find many nationalists complaining, particularly if it secures movement on issues such as the devolution of policing powers. Progress on that front, as well as Annex E, are critical matters for grassroots nationalists and republicans.

    It’s a bit naive to suggest a process moves beyond ‘privileging those still left inside the negotiating process’ when all negotiations are conducted in a manner excluding bit players and the wider public.

    Indeed, those who elect political leaders expect nothing else.

    No, republicans are correct to make this move happen only when everything else is bedded down, as far as possible.

    For once the Ard Fheis has happened, the last move will be the DUP’s acceptance of an election, power-sharing and the devolution of politicing.

    Unless the DUP- or, by proxy, the British- are able to satisfy republican concerns about their commitment over these issues, then clearly the Ard Fheis should not be called.

  • Pete Baker

    They’ve played a consistent hardball, Chris.

    And there’s only a target date for devolving policing and justice, because there can only be a target date – not a deadline.

    The other point is that, if this is a continuation of negotiations then why the Ard Chomhairle meeting about a motion for the Ard Fheis?.. and what was the announced current consultation based on?

  • lurker

    Sinn Fein is presumed to be in a huff over a negative response from the DUP to its promise to put an unspecified motion to an unspecified ard fheis? I doubt it. If the DUP had been looking for an excuse to go hardball, it was the display of weaponry at the Brookborough rally to commemorate Sean South and Fergal O’Hanlon.
    The fact the the DUP said nothing about the display of guns shows that they are determined to avoid a showdown.
    The fact that Adams was prpared to be associated with a military panto shows that he had no reservation about provoking the DUP. So, it’s still the blame game, and both sides know it.

  • Mick Fealty

    Chris,

    I’ve no problem with hardball. It’s a sure sign of political health. But if the negotiating process is being used to protect an electoral position then the question surely is a valid one?

    I have to admit that Francie Brolly’s statement was puzzling at the time. But it fits now with a potentially re-trenched position of ducking an Ard Fheis before an election.

    Should we be listening for the ping of yet another dead duck deadline?

    Adds: Lurker’s point is interesting. What’s most remarkable about this unofficial statement is its sheer lack of plausibility.

  • VC

    Correct Chris,

    Paisley has bottled it in the face of the hardliners, commitments given about what their response would have not been honoured. With out commitment to acceptably timeframed and guaranteed devolution of policing and justice powers no Ard Fheis. Refer yourselves back to the original Ard Fheis motion. The key element in the delivery of a genuine new beginning to policing must be in place or no deal.

  • rintintin

    Hain -the-Pain has offered he Shinners a very good BRITISH side deal. Thats what is behind Sinn Fein’s sudden volte-face.
    The Shinners can’t turn a good offer down, as if you need ask.
    iT WOULDN’T SUPRISE ME IF THIS WAS THE bRITISH pRIME mINISTERS GOING AWAY PRESENT FOR SERVICES RENDERED BY Gerry, Martin and Co Ltd

  • Pete Baker

    On a timeframed and guaranteed devolution of policing and justice

    It ain’t possible.

    Feel free to argue otherwise.

  • Mark

    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?

  • Mick Fealty

    VC,

    What you say measures up to SF’s own self imposed conditions, but not to what they have negotiated heretofore. Trying to blame the DUP for that looks decidedly weak.

  • VC

    Sorry Mick,

    You do not know what they have negotiated heretofore, having your Christmas dinner like most others no doubt.

  • Pete Baker

    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.

  • Mick Fealty

    VC,

    That’s right, I don’t. But if they had, presumably we would not be having this conversation.

  • mark

    Pete,

    So all those DUP elected representatives are lying?

    Because you say so?

  • miss fitz

    Mick
    I’ve been looking everywhere, is there actually a statement?

  • Pete Baker

    That’s a weak response, Mark.

    I’m pointing out the stated precondition to power-sharing.. and the inability of the British government to deliver an enforceable deadline on devolving policing and justice.

  • VC

    It happened before Mick, unionists reneging on agreed sequencing, Trimble springs to mind. But its up to the Brits now and always has been.

  • miss fitz

    http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/breaking/2007/0103/breaking64.htm

    Pete probably has this linked somewhere, but I’ll stick it up again as it is the clearest indication of what is being said.

    One serious possibility is that we are about to see an implosion in Sinn Fein. As someone put it so eloquently on another thread, you cant lead them halfway up the hill and change your mind. I feel this has more to do with a raising of internal concern than anything to do with the DUP.

  • kensei

    “I’m pointing out the stated precondition to power-sharing.. and the inability of the British government to deliver an enforceable deadline on devolving policing and justice.”

    They can’t deliver an enforceable deadline is simply because they refuse to enforce it (or indeed, any deadline).

    You can argue about practicalities but if the British Governments decided to appoint someone in some way and kept to it regardless, it would stick because no one has any power to do anything about it.

  • Mick Fealty

    VC,

    Maybe so. We’ll see.

    miss fitz,

    It’s not in any of the obvious places (other than the news channels of BBC, RTE, UTV, etc). I’ll check my source in the morning.

  • Irish Republican in America

    Mark,

    I think you’re spot on. Anytime SF does anything the a member of the DUP cites any of the points on your list. There is always ONE MORE THING SF has to do for the DUP to share power. They will not do so. In my opinion the DUP sharing power with SF is a bigger obstacle for the rank and file DUP voters, than SF accepting the police is with their voters.

    Like everything else out there, dissention in SF is what the media/everyone talks about. Meanwhile, loyalists still have guns/commit crimes/leadership structures intact/murder Catholic kids/dissention in their ranks.

  • Pete Baker

    kensei

    “You can argue about practicalities but if the British Governments decided to appoint someone in some way and kept to it regardless, it would stick because no one has any power to do anything about it.”

    Apart from a fully functioning Assembly… which is the scenario we’re talking about.

  • Pete Baker

    Mick

    Miss Fitz is correct. It’s one of the additions to my earlier post.

  • miss fitz

    Irish
    On this occasion, I genuinely do not believe this is the case. I think you are right about the past, and there have been times I have felt despair about the barriers erected. But on this particular occasion, I really think this is an internal party matter.

    For instance, the statement that preceeded Paisley’s was Sammy Wilson’s, and I had to read it a few times to make sure it was really from him.
    http://www.dup.org.uk/articles.asp?Article_ID=2553

  • miss fitz

    It just struck me reading some of the comments, I had almost forgotten a recent incident that seems to have gone largely unnoticed! At a commemoration in the Markets in October last year, Gerry Adams made his first speech after the St Andrew’s Agreement.

    In his speech he said:
    ‘Of course, the DUP will try to portray any movement by them as a series of
    unionist victories. That is only to be expected. If there is to be agreement
    by the DUP to the governments proposals they will be sold by them in these
    terms. And probably in language that many people will find objectionable.But we have to be more mature than that.’

    So Adams was telling his people back then to expect stringent opposition from the DUP. However, within 8 weeks, he had changed from warning that the DUP would use ‘objectionable language’ to stating that the language wasnt suitably enabling.

    Confused anyone?

  • George

    Pete,
    “On a timeframed and guaranteed devolution of policing and justice

    It ain’t possible.

    Feel free to argue otherwise”

    The DUP agree to devolve policing, SF agree to devolve policing, the Secretary of State and the British government agree to devolve policing. All to a set timeframe. Then it’s a done deal.

    Or am I missing something?

  • Pete Baker

    You’re missing a lot, George.

    See more detail here

    Basically, unless all the main parties agree, it would be unworkable for the devolution to be imposed on a fully functioning Assembly.

  • Pete Baker

    The key is the difference between a target date and a deadline.

  • Crataegus

    Mick

    In which case, is now an appropriate moment to ask: whom does this process serve? Or more simply, at what point should the process stop privileging the interests of those still left inside the negotiating process and declare an even playing field for all the people of Northern Ireland?

    A very good question.

    A whopping majority north and south voted for an agreement. Many of us had severe reservations about specific aspects of that agreement, but it was if you like a contract for a way forward, and many voted in support in good faith.

    Since that day we have had a systematic re-writing of that contract without the specific approval of all the parties to that agreement. It is clear that some have viewed that agreement as simply a starting point for further negotiation and systematic change. Worse still those able to make change or influence the process has been severely restricted yet all are expected to be bound by whatever new manifestation it takes.

    I have long been of the opinion that we need to get back to the drawing board and sort out some of the glaring shortcomings and see if with the wisdom of hindsight we can’t now do a better job. We have moved forward and some of the major obstacles are out of the way. It should be a lot easier now, but it must be done in an open and inclusive manner.

    The wheels within wheels, side deals and spin are counterproductive and degrading. If nothing else they show the morale bankruptcy of some of the participants and in particular the British Government.

  • kensei

    “Apart from a fully functioning Assembly… which is the scenario we’re talking about.”

    It has no power to do anything about anything our colonial masters see fit. Parliament is sovereign, remember.

    British Government appoints a Minister for Justice, maybe inside, maybe outside Assembly. Unionism throws a hissy fit. What are they going to do? Collapse the Assembly. Her Majesty’s Government can keep it up if it wants. Protest? Anglo-Irish Agreement. Strike? Don’t think it would be 70’s style effective.

    Basically, if the British Government want to do it, and has the will power and balls for it, there is nothing anyone here can do about it. Squat, short of declaring independence or joining the Republic. The fact is they don’t have the cojones to do it to either side (or both at the same time).

    That’s why we have “target dates” and not “enforceable deadlines”.

  • Dualta

    Sinn Fein know that the northern Nationalist electorate is firmly pro-policing and are hungry for the a healthy relationship with the PSNI.

    They also know that there are enough current SDLP votes out there to be won by supporting the PSNI and engaging in the policing structures as they stand.

    Therefore, they know they can make up any lost votes if there is a drop-off in their own votes and membership over this issue. They’ll also be confident enough that they’ll win many of those votes back in the short to medium term.

    It all comes down to this. Adams and the rest of the current Sinn Fein leadership have concluded that the SDLP have been fundamentally right and that that the only way to achieve consensus with Protestants for to build a new nation on this island is to win their trust and partnership and then to win the argument for constitutional change.

    This will be bedded down by spring, even if there is a split or ‘scattered breakaway’ of membership.

  • Crataegus

    Daulta
    Adams and the rest of the current Sinn Fein leadership have concluded that the SDLP have been fundamentally right and that that the only way to achieve consensus with Protestants for to build a new nation on this island is to win their trust and partnership and then to win the argument for constitutional change

    I hope you are correct and I see a lot of sense in the line you put forward.

    I am not so sure that the remaining SDLP vote is that soft and I think there are divisions in SF that run a lot deeper than policing and have been around for some time. Much depends on how many leave, who they are and how well they can organise. In all probability they will fade, but that is by no means a certainty and from the wings SF is likely to be an easy target in the years to come if the course you outline is correct.

    If your argument is true the way it is being handled could be a lot better. It feels like a botch up and as if the problems are greater than expected.

    I can see the move as being beneficial in the sanitisation process in the South, and I suppose that is where the real tactical battle is. Their (increasing?) relevance in the South is the ace they have over the SDLP. I would imagine we have all sorts of possible TDs being paraded around back in Ireland.

    In the North it will be a very long time before the Unionists trust SF. If Nationalists want a working relationship with Unionists I would have thought movement towards the SDLP a more productive route. As you say their analysis has proven to be the better model for progress.

    Also if you are correct and the SDLP go into further decline and similar happens with the UUP it may create a bit of space for others and not just SF and the DUP.

    Be interesting to see how this actually goes, my money is on progress extremely slow, painful and begrudging unless someone takes effective control of the process.

  • Dualta

    Crataegus,

    I agree with you on the problems that SF will have in the short to medium term with building trust with Protestants and Unionists. I wonder if they ever will while they celebrate and commemorate the armed struggle.

    I also agree with you that Nationalists would be best backing the SDLP if they want to build a working relationship with Unionists.

    My concern is that the SDLP is not organisationally capable of building the momentum towards ending the Union. This concern may be addressed by an electoral shot-in-the-arm, but I’m not so sure.

    My long standing criticism of the SDLP is that they lack a fire in their collective belly. They’re too tame. They don’t inspire me, even though they have been correct in their analysis all along. If they don’t inspire me and I agree with them, how could they ever inspire Protestants to leave the Union?

    Right now, I’m impressed by the movement achieved by the current leadership of Sinn Fein, but I dispair at many of the methods. They need to go a lot further than they have to date to complete the project they are currently pursuing and they will not do it in the short-to-medium term.

    That said, what they are doing now is moving us closer to ending the Union than armed struggle ever did or could have and they deserve immense credit for that.

  • Crataegus

    Daulta

    I think it will be another generation before Unionists even start to trust SF (if ever). Certainly the existing leading lights are too closely associated with the past. Would Catholics trust a political organisation associated with say the UVF? It is folly to think that they would. I am not a Unionist but I would never vote for or transfer to anyone associated with a pointless armed struggle.

    I agree there are lot of problems with the SDLP, but when they and the UUP were in pole position SF with their veto screwed everyone and made dammed sure that they were centre stage and the British Government allowed the perception that the SDLP were irrelevant to form in their utterly inept handling of the process. The irony of it is that the SDLP’s parity of esteem turned into minority veto as many had warned them. In many ways SF has made progress against the SDLP rather than the Unionists and years were wasted in that process. Post Paisley we may see major shifts in Unionism and greater cooperation and who knows how that will evolve. The current years may with hindsight be regarded as squandered.

    I would think the SDLP need to steal some of SF’s clothes, for a start they need a southern partner, but who? Certainly if it were one of the major parties they would leap in relevance, but such an association would bring baggage and problems of its own. However the difference it could make to Nationalist perception would be considerable.

    Secondly they need to build up constituency support and target SF seats. They need to do more than defend, but threatening SF can be unpleasant, or at least it was at one time.

    Another problem may be the age profile of the membership and perhaps they need to deliberately promote young candidates. Certainly the Party seems to more resilient than many of us thought and their Westminster election result was good all things considered.

    As for SF they have a good hold on working class areas, but they are moving from that base and are trying to be a broad church held together with the dream of a united Ireland. In the pragmatic process they are going to lose support. Also as they are in lead Nationalist position and are going to be in the firing line for criticism and the Unionists are going to make their life utter hell. The DUP will not take their word on anything; they will require results rather than rhetoric. The DUP are expert at making much out of doing nothing and criticising anything anyone does. It is going to be hard going for SF. They are going to make mistakes.

    If the SDLP can get its act up a gear or two and if some of the dissidents start making progress on the left SFs fortunes may start to reverse and that is a physiological hurdle that many of its activists are not familiar with. In the South their onward march seems to be faltering and it is difficult to see them as anything other than peripheral in that context.

    If people want a united Ireland they would probably be better voting SDLP. SF are probably a hindrance, an obstacle in that process, given that a certain amount of Unionist cooperation will be required to achieve that goal in a satisfactory manner.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    I think we are seeing a further outworking of the extremes in NI Politics.

    Once we has a large middle ground with the SDLP UUP and Alliance, then we had the smaller middle ground with DUP and SF.

    The DUP and SF leadership have moved into the middle ground, but a substantial proportion of their supporters have not.

    The question is will the DUP ans SF leadership move away from the centre again to hold their parties together and risk voters moving back to the middle ground UUP and SDLP or will they risk losing votes to, for example, the UKUP and dissident republicans.

    This is not about what is right and wrong or good and bad for NI, it is solely about what is good for the DUP and SF in terms of electoral success and the abilibity to shift the blame elsewhere.

    I see a very rapid slippage as the parties look after their own interests and hold everyone up.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    If true, the decision by SF to delay calling the special AF is a welcome development and the British and DUP only have themselves to blame.

    During the negotiations leading up to Adams call to the AC it was believed a sequenced arrangement was in place that once the decision was ratified by the AC the British and DUP would make specific announcements on the timetable for devolution on justice and policing.
    The onus naturally fell on the DUP given the endless number of statements from potential leadership figures about the dates for the devolution of justice and policing. It was a time to find out who actually ran the DUP and whether the actions of the ‘Dirty Dozen’ had neutered Paisley completely.
    It is now clear that Paisley is trying to claw back what had been agreed as his statement quite obviously didn’t come up to scratch.

    Given the flanker the British tried to play over the OTR legislation it is clear that SF will not move until what was agreed in the negotiations is publicly endorsed by first the DUP and then the British.
    The DUP now have to try again and it will be interesting to see if they come up to the plate.

  • DK

    So Pat, is a specific timetable for devolution of powers now a definite precondition for Sinn Fein calling an AF to discuss the possibility that they *might* support the police?

  • Dualta

    Pat,

    Taking this off-thread a bit I strongly suspect that the SF leadership took it as a given that the Brits would want their amnesty too while Republicans got the OTR legislation, but that they underestimated the SDLP being able to play a blinder on it.

    If there hadn’t been the backlash against it the SF leadership wouldn’t have batted an eyelid. Blaming the Brits for ‘playing a flanker’ I think has been disingenuous to say the least.

    Crataegus,

    I do agree that the best bet for Irish unity is by voting the SDLP, but that’s not saying much, given what we’ve agreed on the chances of SF pulling it off.

    They need the major changes which you have suggested and more, but what is more necessary than anything else is a new leadership for the people of the north. What is on offer does not have what it takes. We need to make massive changes to our society to make it right and we need a special person, or group of people, to emerge to bring it about.

  • Crataegus

    Pat

    SF are dammed if they make progress and dammed if they don’t. Trying to make any responsibility stick on the DUP is going to be difficult. Do nothing and the DUP say told you so. Make progress and they will move the goal posts and it will be more pain. What SF is going to get is a large helping of what it dished out when the Assembly was first set up. Also given previous position on Policing and now we are, perhaps we will and them we might not and all of a sudden you begin to sound a little unclear like Trimble. There is no alternative to move forward now, the alternative is look very stupid and all the internal machinations and ill will for nothing?

    FD

    This is not about what is right and wrong or good and bad for NI, it is solely about what is good for the DUP and SF in terms of electoral success and the ability to shift the blame elsewhere.

    I see a very rapid slippage as the parties look after their own interests and hold everyone up.

    I think that is a fair conclusion.

    Will the electorate eventually decide to punish? Another 5 years of nothing and goodwill may disappear. Who does doing and achieving nothing fall easiest on? Probably the DUP for they are elected on the concept of not an inch whereas SF ‘will’ deliver a new united Irish utopia.

  • darth rumsfeld

    in response to some wibble-“Posted by Irish Republican in America on Jan 04, 2007 @ 12:16 AM”

    …er, what is the point of contributions from people like this? I mean, are there really any people from NI blogging on neocon sites in Portland as “American Republican in Northern Ireland”? Probably not, because they would realise that it’s a lovely sunny morning, unseasonably warm, and they have things to do. for those people who have a life, worrying about their own country takes quite enough brainpower without proxy pontification about some far off place of which we know little.So Mr republican, scoot off and busy yourself denouncing your own president, and we’ll promise not to interfere in your problems

  • Crataegus

    Daulta

    but what is more necessary than anything else is a new leadership for the people of the north. What is on offer does not have what it takes. We need to make massive changes to our society to make it right and we need a special person, or group of people, to emerge to bring it about.

    Totally agree. Unfortunately don’t see anyone or group on the horizon. But sometimes these things happen suddenly, I live in hope.

  • gerry

    In essence I agree with miss fitz. this is an internal party matter rather than anything to do with the dup. Jeffrey Donaldson, did welcome this move by SF, in so far as it goes, Paisley too. What we have here is the result of poor negotation on behalf of sinn fein, and internal strife within the party.

  • That ‘flanker’ was not a result of anything Hain or the NIO did: it fell in parliament. I suspect that the British government is just not the safe pair of hands it once was. Which would appear to be another con for Sinn Fein in considering whether to collapse its own deal at this point.

  • fair_deal

    Mark

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

    Simple the IRA disbands itself in line with its internal rules and the IMC verify it.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    DK,

    whether it is a pre-condition or not I don’t know, suffice to say the contradictory statements from a number of the DUP leading lights over the date for devolution of powers isn’t good enough and a more specific committment from the DUP leadership was expected.

    Dualta,

    ‘Taking this off-thread a bit I strongly suspect that the SF leadership took it as a given that the Brits would want their amnesty too while Republicans got the OTR legislation,’

    I know this not to be true. As for playing a flanker I posted quite a bit on this at the time.

    Crataegus,

    you are right that moving forward is the only option. The only people to move forward with are the British and the representatives of unionism (DUP). On previous posts you have commented on the complete lack of trust among unionism for SF, there is every bit as much unease and distrust among nationalists for the DUP and British Gov.

    In that respect SF are right to nail down the DUP on this issue. Internal difficulties (no matter how exaggerated) are irrelevant at this point. The SF leadership gave a committment on this issue and will go to the special AF. My understanding is that the DUP also gave committments on statements they would make that would publicly tie them to specifics on the timetable for devolution on policing and justice.

  • Pat, you have it in one here:

    “Internal difficulties (no matter how exaggerated) are irrelevant at this point. The SF leadership gave a committment on this issue and will go to the special AF”.

    But this is actually the nub of the party’s internal difficulty. It looks like it has made a promise internally it may not be able to keep.

  • Dualta

    Pat,
    As a quid pro quo, it was a given. The PRM leadership must have known that in order for those within their ranks guilty of crimes against the people to get off the hook that the Brits would want no less for themselves.

    If the PRM leadership didn’t expect that then they were inept and that is one thing we know they are not. They may not have expected it to be included in the OTR legislation, but they expected it all the same.

    And my point stands, that if no-one had objected to the move by the Brits to include themselves in the legislation, the PRM leadership wouldn’t have objected to it either.

    Let’s be straight about it. Even when they saw the legislation in its full written form, they continued to try to sell it until they finally buckled under the weight of the backlash.

  • gerry

    If the sf leadership have given a committment and are going to go ahead, then why is adams making a song and dance about it?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Mick,

    ‘But this is actually the nub of the party’s internal difficulty. It looks like it has made a promise internally it may not be able to keep.’

    In one fell swoop you do away with the notion that the outcome is pre-decided etc etc. The AF will decide if the motion is accepted.

    Dualta,

    I see no point in re-arging a point was was done to death at the time. I am sure it is in the archives somewhere.

  • Miss Fitz

    Ian Paisley junior made a good point on the Nolan debate this morning. I listened to it in the context of the unrealistic statements being made by Hyland and O’Dowd. Paisley said that the perception of the power of devolved criminal justice might fall far short of what the Shinners have of it.

    Some of the other language was also remarkable in its extreme naievity. A ‘people’s police’? Come on guys, time for a reality check.

    I support law and order, but I dont like getting nicked! Supporting law and order in principle means that you accept that breaking the law, either by speeding, or robbing, or smuggling, or anything else will make you accountable to an impartial service. It doesnt mean that you can bend and mould the law according to your needs.

    In short, this has obviously been a huge reality check for Sinn Fein, and they would not appear to like what they see in the brave new, ordered world

  • mickhall

    “What a tangled web we weave, when we first decide to deceive.”

  • Miss Fitz

    Hi Mick
    I couldnt agree with you more. Or ‘you can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time’

  • gerry

    Donalson isn’t there to help adams anymore. i expect he was missed by adams. and then his son in laws brother threatens people from speaking their minds. this is the old split from 86 coming back to haunt adams. mcintyre in his article is spot on, for the first time since then this leadership are answerable. they’re running around like headless chickens. its of their own making they deserve it.

  • Dualta

    Pat,

    You brought it up in the way that you did. You’d best let sleeping dogs lie if you don’t want your heals nipped again.

  • URQUHART

    What I find most depressing about all this is the fact that Sinn Fein are treating the nationalist people with absolute contempt and there isn’t a word about it.

    Ordinary working nationalists want politics out of policing, but that doesn’t suit Sinn Fein this morning, so that doesn’t matter. When I think of the pensioners afraid to open their doors, it makes me sick with frustration.

    And another thing, are the Sinn Fein posters here not embarassed by their leader saying he’ll throw the toys out of the pram because Paisley won’t kiss his arse?

  • DK

    One thing missing from this equation is the PSNI themselves. So far they are progressing well with becoming a fair and impartial police service and even have regular meetings with their comrades down South (such as the recent gaelic game).

    Anyone else get the feeling that while Sinn Fein and the DUP are stalling, at least the Police are moving on!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Dualta,

    my bringing up of the subject was simply to underline the fact that SF believe it was in fact ‘flanked’ by the Brits on the issue of the OTRs.
    That is why the current stasis of the AF is here. It is topical in that SF don’t trust the British. It is the element of trust and once bitten twice shy that are the subject not the actualities of the OTR argument.
    If you are going to try nipping I suggest you find a set of teeth first.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘What I find most depressing about all this is the fact that Sinn Fein are treating the nationalist people with absolute contempt and there isn’t a word about it.’

    What I find most depressing is your arrogance in assuming the conscience of the nationalist people all to yourself. People vote and the majority of the nationalist people who do vote do so for SF. Thats democracy get used to it.

  • Pat,

    “In one fell swoop you do away with the notion that the outcome is pre-decided etc etc.”

    Would that it were in my gift to do such a thing. To my knowledge, I have never subscribed to the view that it is a done deal. And any close reading of the original would confirm that.

  • DK

    They took nearly a decade to get round to decommissioning, I suppose it might take another decade from today before they support the police. And what did they get in return for stalling on arms – the rise of the DUP. What will they get for stalling on the police – the rise of the SDLP?

  • Dualta

    Pat,
    I make a fair and decisive challenge on your position regarding the OTR legislation. SF were not flanked by the British government on the issue, both you and the Brits were flanked and routed by the SDLP. It was a joy to watch.

  • reality check

    If the sf leadership have given a committment and are going to go ahead, then why is adams making a song and dance about it?

    Where have you been the whole peace process? That is Adams M.O.

    This is window dressing for the internal difficulties, but has little or nothing to do with them. It has everything to do with SF’s strategy of dragging things out for maximum effect. The Ard Fheis will happen, and the vote will be in support of the police.

    The only thing that this current song and dance may change is when. But this is not a U-Turn in policy for SF – they are still going to make their moves on policing.

    That everyone, this late into the game, having it seen it time and time again, still buys the same horse, is what is amazing. But that’s probably why they keep selling it.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    DK,

    ‘What will they get for stalling on the police – the rise of the SDLP?’

    Lazarus had a better chance.

    Dualta,

    you are trying to re-hash an old argument that was challenged at that time. The OTR legislation fell when SF withdrew support, only then. Then as now the SDLP are irrelevant and outside the loop.

  • Ian

    Pat:

    “My understanding is that the DUP also gave committments on statements they would make that would publicly tie them to specifics on the timetable for devolution on policing and justice.”

    Probably the most important part of Paisley’s speech dealt with the timing issue but this was not reported on by any of the media outlets, as far as I can see:

    “As a consequence of our proposals for policing and justice we have changed the context of the debate on when policing and justice powers are devolved by proposing that the minister be appointed by a cross-community vote rather than by the d’Hondt system. This would ensure that only someone who has widespread support and enjoys community confidence could hold the post. Consequently, only someone whom we support can be chosen for the post.

    The DUP proposal, while acknowledging that the Assembly needs some time to bed-in, PUT NO RESTRICTIONS ON WHEN THE POWERS COULD BE DEVOLVED [my emphasis]. This is achievable with delivery [by SF].”

    My interpretation of the above is that, having reached agreement with the government and SF about a possible MODALITY of devolution of justice (minister(s) elected by cross-community consent), the DUP no longer have a hang-up about the TIMING of devolution of justice.

    The IMPLICATION is that the earlier talk of lifetimes and political generations passing before devolution of justice powers, has now been negated because of the potential agreement on a justice dept model that would command cross-community support.

    Pat, is it your view that the sticking point is merely that Paisley’s statement was not EXPLICIT enough in agreeing that the May 2008 deadline is achievable? If so, I don’t think the gap is that wide between what you wanted to hear and the wording in the New Year speech.

    A bigger gap in the agreed sequencing, to my mind, is that the UUP and possibly the SDLP might throw the toys out of the pram and refuse to take up the ministry(ies) at the appropriate time in a clumsy attempt to embarrass the two big parties, thereby jeopardising the whole deal.

  • Dualta

    Pat,
    I’m making a valid point, which is as valid now as it was back then, that SF withdrew its support for the OTR legislation because the SDLP forced it to.

    Had it not been for the SDLP and those others who turned the heat up on you, SF would not have challenged the British on their insertion into the legislation clauses which would have seen the human rights abusers (as your party so often calls them)in the PSNI and the British army and establishment walk away without answering for their crimes against our people.

    The legislation was obscene yet your party supported it, even when it was obvious what the British government was trying to pull.

    You withdrew your support from it only when the SDLP exposed the two primary offenders in this conflict conspiring together to protect themselves from having to answer to the victims of those crimes.

    Not bad work for an irrelevant party who were outside the loop.

  • Plum Duff

    Reading several of the above fantasists, it’s quite obvious that a lot of the criticisms of the current SF position are based on a wish-list-of-doom rather than any objective view of the present situation.

    IMO, Seamus McKee got it right on this morning’s news programme when he suggested to Nigel Dodds that the reason for SF’s caution/negativity or ‘their reluctance to jump’ was that a ‘sequencing’ of events was not being followed through. Dodds went into overdrive in a general attack on SF but he didn’t (as you would expect) directly answer the question. However, I think that’s where the mystery lies in SF’s (some used the word ‘unusual’) claim that their actions (ie, in calling an AF) resulted in a lack of ‘a positive response from the DUP’.

    In other words, somebody didn’t follow up on the two-to-tango rule.

    And now Blair has come home early from his freebie holiday. Seems like there’s trouble at’ mill, Mabel.

  • Very interesting PD.

  • If there are legs in that, then Blair might have at least one card at this disposal: disclosure of all (or I guess if he wants to play nasty, just some) of the side deals.

  • Ian

    “In other words, somebody didn’t follow up on the two-to-tango rule.”

    But it takes more than two if the agreed way forward involves justice powers being devolved to third (and fourth) parties (SDLP/UUP)!

    The big problem here could be if the usual negotiation procedure of sidelining all but the two biggest parties has been employed, yet the agreed sequencing emerging from such negotiations relies on the goodwill of those parties that have been sidelined signing up to the deal (by taking on the ministries that DUP/SF have made the subject of a “mutually self-denying ordinance”).

  • ingram

    Pat Mc.

    quote”my bringing up of the subject was simply to underline the fact that SF believe it was in fact ‘flanked’ by the Brits on the issue of the OTRs.

    After a moments reflection regarding your above statement I would be pleased if you could consider the followiing point.

    On many occassions on this board you remind me and many other bloggers in a forceful and passionate way that Sinn Fein TODAY is a purely democratic political party that operates within the boundaries of the law.It has severerd the link to militant Republicanism and DOES NOT represent the IRA?

    You argue the old IRA has gone away and no longer is a feature within the political argument and most certainly Sinn Fein does not represent them in negotiations with the British Government and the other parties.

    Could you please explain why if that is so! WHY Sinn Fein continues to represent the Old IRA type figures who are believed to be responsible for many crimes in the North and are currently avoiding the due procees! In other words the On The Run Terrorist. OTR!who are currently in hiding either in the North,Eire or America?

    Surely if you are the new political party you claim then you would decline to represent this small section of the broad republican community.

    That would be a good indicator that you have indeed left the past behind you and that your truly able and willing to work within the BRITISH CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYTEM.

    You can then leave those OTR`s to the criminal justice system !.

    The system your party now supports.

    Martin

  • URQUHART

    Pat McL
    Your point about PSF being the majority nationalist party is a fair enough one and isn’t disputed. But are you suggesting that nationalists don’t want policing? That they don’t want to feel safe in their homes? If so, why the ‘historic move’ last week??

    My frustration comes from the fact that we now see that the ‘historic move’ is able to be taken off the table if the ego of Sinn Fein is not sufficiently massaged / if it is not in the electoral interests of the the party. To my mind, that shows total contempt for the people.

    If signing up to policing is the RIGHT thing to do, surely it’s the right thing to do, no matter what shite the DUP, the Brits or anyone else comes up with????

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Ian

    ‘Pat, is it your view that the sticking point is merely that Paisley’s statement was not EXPLICIT enough in agreeing that the May 2008 deadline is achievable? If so, I don’t think the gap is that wide between what you wanted to hear and the wording in the New Year speech.’

    Explicit in that a definitive response was expected. RTE are also reporting that the DUP response was short of what Blair anticipated.

    Dualta,

    ‘that SF withdrew its support for the OTR legislation because the SDLP forced it to.’

    This was argued by people like you at the time and was rejected by people like me at the time. That is why we are in a circular argument at this juncture something I intimated might happen in an earlier reply to you.
    The SDLP were as irrelevant on the OTR issue as they have been found to be on the MI5 issue.

    Ingram,

    you attribute ideas and pronouncements that I have no recollection of making, please put your question in a more coherent manner and I will try to respond.

  • George

    Pete,
    “You’re missing a lot, George.

    See more detail here

    Basically, unless all the main parties agree, it would be unworkable for the devolution to be imposed on a fully functioning Assembly.”

    I read that. Why are all the main parties needed for any deal? Would the DUP and SF not be enough if both accounted for over 50% of “unionist” and “nationalist” which they would most likely do after a March election?

    Where do “all the main parties” come in? Surely if the DUP, SF and the British govt agree to devolve, it’s a done deal?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Urquhart,

    SF pledged to meet their committments on policing when certain hurdles were jumped by both the DUP and the British Government.
    These have been expanded upon at length and the British and DUP know what is expected. SF thought they had everything tied down thus the call for the special AF.

    A policing service is needed, virtually no one is arguing against that, but the SF argument is that it must be overseen by locally based politicans. The checks and balances needed for civic policing overseen by a locally elected minister.

    Failure to devolve those policing and justice powers therefore cuts a swathe through SF policy on the issue. As argued earlier, given previous perfidity on other issues only definites will do this time.

    If the Assembly fails to meet the nationalist electorate will have ample opportunity to vote on the leadership SF have offered on this issue.

  • kensei

    “If signing up to policing is the RIGHT thing to do, surely it’s the right thing to do, no matter what shite the DUP, the Brits or anyone else comes up with????”

    Does it end with proper accountibility?

    Yes – RIGHT thing to do.
    No – WRONG thing to do.

    Depends on the DUP and the Brits, don’t it?

  • Pete Baker

    George

    That would be “main” as in sufficient for a majority in a cross-community vote in the Assembly.

  • ingram

    Pat.

    I will try and make it easier for you.

    Shall we start with your comment.

    That is contained within the quotation marks and I will put your name alongside.

    Pat quote”quote”my bringing up of the subject was simply to underline the fact that SF believe it was in fact ‘flanked’ by the Brits on the issue of the OTRs”. Unquote

    Hope we are Ok to this point. You will need to concentrate at this point Pat.

    My point is a simple one.

    It is contained within this post.

    On many occassions on this board you remind me and many other bloggers in a forceful and passionate way that Sinn Fein TODAY is a purely democratic political party that operates within the boundaries of the law.It has severerd the link to militant Republicanism and DOES NOT represent the IRA?

    You argue the old IRA has gone away and no longer is a feature within the political argument and most certainly Sinn Fein does not represent them in negotiations with the British Government and the other parties.

    Could you please explain why if that is so! WHY Sinn Fein continues to represent the Old IRA type figures who are believed to be responsible for many crimes in the North and are currently avoiding the due procees! In other words the On The Run Terrorist. OTR!who are currently in hiding either in the North,Eire or America?

    Surely if you are the new political party you claim then you would decline to represent this small section of the broad republican community.

    That would be a good indicator that you have indeed left the past behind you and that your truly able and willing to work within the BRITISH CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYTEM.

    You can then leave those OTR`s to the criminal justice system !.

    The system your party now supports.

    I will for you benefit Pat, detail a brief summary of the points I would like you to confirm or explain.

    A. Sinn Fein does not represent the IRA?

    B. Sinn Fein supports law and order.

    c.In response to you statement repeated at the start of this post WHY does Sinn Fein continue to represent the OTR community. It is a very very small part of your community that is wanted for crimes. It would seem to fly in the face of your parties recent desire to support and uphold the British criminal justice system.

    I hope you grasped the points at issue this time. If you did not, you are welcome to ask for further clarification.

    Thank You.

    Martin

  • gerry

    The AF will happen and the vote will be in support of the police.

    If the negotations fall at this stage there will be no AF. Why would there be? The posturising of adams and his party, may well have served him in the past, but not this time, this time too many big reputations are on the line. Blair wants to bow out and have history say he made peace in NI and that he wasn’t a total war monger. Hain, wants to progress to DPM,Paisley won’t go down in history as a lundie. Adams this is his baby, would like to bed this down and retire. And if it is not sorted out now, adams project is either in jeopardy, or in for a long period of stagnation. Either way ALL backs are against the wall, not only the backs of one party. Thats why Adams song and dance won’t carry him this time. This time its different. The old M.O. has become redundant, and of course this time Adams is potentially in trouble with his own party.
    Thats why blair is on his way.
    Reality check?

  • Ian

    George:

    “Why are all the main parties needed for any deal? Would the DUP and SF not be enough if both accounted for over 50% of “unionist” and “nationalist” which they would most likely do after a March election?

    Where do “all the main parties” come in? Surely if the DUP, SF and the British govt agree to devolve, it’s a done deal?”

    It’s the nature of the deal that’s been done, George. The other parties come in because it would be they who would have to take up the Justice Ministry post(s). This is the biggest hole in the potential deal. Suppose the UUP, SDLP and Aliance in a fit of pique refuse to take the ministerial posts. If the DUP and SF have mutually agreed to exclude themselves from the posts, then who is power over justice matters devolved to? Could be a problem down the line.

  • Ian

    Pete Baker:

    “That would be “main” as in sufficient for a majority in a cross-community vote in the Assembly.”

    Except it goes beyond that because of the peculiar nature of the deal, whereby parties A and B have agreed that parties C and D will perform certain resopnsibilities that parties C and D haven’t agreed to (see my response to George that crossed over your response). Hardly a sound basis for a lasting, sustainable deal!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Ingram,

    ‘On many occassions on this board you remind me and many other bloggers in a forceful and passionate way that Sinn Fein TODAY is a purely democratic political party that operates within the boundaries of the law.It has severerd the link to militant Republicanism and DOES NOT represent the IRA?’

    Could you please provide a link where I have used any such type of language? You are creating straw men, yet again.

    ‘You argue the old IRA has gone away and no longer is a feature within the political argument and most certainly Sinn Fein does not represent them in negotiations with the British Government and the other parties.’

    Again I have never used that type of language. Though I have stated that at the negotiating table SF only represents those who vote for it.

    ‘Could you please explain why if that is so! WHY Sinn Fein continues to represent the Old IRA type figures who are believed to be responsible for many crimes in the North and are currently avoiding the due procees! In other words the On The Run Terrorist. OTR!who are currently in hiding either in the North,Eire or America?’

    SF have stated that the OTR’s should be dealt with and given the early release scheme are an anomally that should be cleared up (and will be) quite quickly.

    ‘Surely if you are the new political party you claim then you would decline to represent this small section of the broad republican community.’

    There is no contradiction present.

    ‘That would be a good indicator that you have indeed left the past behind you and that your truly able and willing to work within the BRITISH CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYTEM.’

    SF does not have to prove its bona fides re the OTRs. At this interim stage of the unification process no retrospective support of British Legislation is required or needed.

    Anything else?

  • Dualta

    Pat,

    [i]This was argued by people like you at the time and was rejected by people like me at the time.[/i]

    You’re arguing that black is white Pat. Simply rejecting arguments without disproving them isn’t good enough. You’re as unconvincing now as your party was then.

  • ingram

    Pat.

    I am pleased you understood the point in question at the second try.

    In summary.

    This is what you were asked.

    A. Sinn Fein does not represent the IRA?

    B. Sinn Fein supports law and order.

    C.In response to you statement repeated at the start of this post WHY does Sinn Fein continue to represent the OTR community. It is a very very small part of your community that is wanted for crimes. It would seem to fly in the face of your parties recent desire to support and uphold the British criminal justice system.

    In response you answered as far as I understand it, although you are welcome to correct my interpretations.

    a. Sinn Fein does not represent the IRA? or individual members of the IRA in any negotiations.

    b. I am confused by your reference to the early release scheme. All individuals convicted or offences would be required to serve a period of time in jail and then considered for early release UNDER LICENCE.

    The recent case of the police investigation into Kevin Fulton is a clear reference to that point. Fulton if convicted for similar crimes that IRA OTR`s are accused of would have been required to do ” some” time and then released under licence. Is that what you are refering to? or are the IRA OTR`s a special case?

    Could you give one example of an individual either Republican or Loyalist who has been convcted of a crime and immediately released under the scheme you suggested?

    c. You answered. There is no contradiction present. I would agree with you on that point Pat. BUT there would be the moment the AF agrees to support the criminal justice system.

    I take it then that Sinn Fein either wrap up the OTR`s issue prior to the AF or it is a deal breaker for Sinn Fein?.

    My point would be that you are then risking a lot for a handful of individuals who are not reflective of the wider hopes and aspirations of the nationalist community.That would be a shame and not very democratic nor accountable.

    Thank You for you answers Pat. Have a good day mate.

    Ding Ding

    Martin

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Ingram

    a. agreed then.

    b. I brought up the early release scheme as an example of prisoners not serving their full sentences. In my opinion it is one small step to not having to complete any sentence at all.

    Scenario; Police looking for X about the killing of Y. Meeting arranged between X and his solictor and the PSNI.
    ‘X where you involved in the killing of Y’?

    ‘Nope wasn’t me’.

    Case closed.

    I think that covers C as well and thus there would be a clearing of the decks in that regard.

    Dualta

    ‘You’re arguing that black is white Pat. Simply rejecting arguments without disproving them isn’t good enough. You’re as unconvincing now as your party was then.’

    Supplant my name with yours and you can see that this argument can go on forever. It is what you believe yourself in such matters.

  • Dualta

    Pat,

    That’s unreasonable. I’ve made arguments and you’ve simply rejected them out of hand. I’ve outlined what I think happened and you have merely said that I am wrong and not why I am wrong. I can’t dismiss your argument if you haven’t made one, can I?

    I think the line that you’re taking is merely an attempt to back out of this losing as little face as possible.

    If I’m wrong, then outline to me how you think SF were ‘flanked’ by the British government on the OTR legislation and tell me why did your party continued to support the legislation even after we all knew what the Brits were trying to pull and then tell me why exactly your party then dropped it’s support for the legislation.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Dualta,

    the legislation was called the OTR legislation, everyone refers to the OTRs. No one ever refers to the ‘scheduled offenders’
    Given that is the case then it was an expectation that the legislation would refer to those actually ‘on the run’.
    Now , it is generally accepted that the only people actually on the run are republicans. Hain then tried the flank stating it included all scheduled offenders ie Brits etc. Despite trying to get Hain to change his mind he proceeded with his plan and after SF withdrew their support the legislation fell.

    Topically the British tried the same with the MI5 annex at the St Andrew Talks. Again after the intervention of SF it looks like this plan has been dropped.

  • Dualta

    Pat,

    We are not in disagreement over the fact that the Brits pulled a move. My point is though, that SF continued to argue for the legislation even after it transpired that the British were moving to include themselves in the legislation.

    That tells me that they would have been happy let the legislation go through even with the British government’s addition regarding scheduled offences had it not been for the massive public pressure brought to bear by the SDLP who played an uncharacteristic blinder.

    That said, we’ve made our points well enough for other’s to judge whose are more valid.

  • Keith M

    My apologies, I previously put this into the wrong thread.

    So SF/IRA might not now hold a meeting to agree to support policing. The reason they seem to be giving for this about-face is that the DUP didn’t cheer on their initial decision to have a meeting. It appears that nowadays it’s the DUP and not Adams are noe dicating SF/IRA’s policiy towards the police.

    This raises an interesting little conundrum. If SF/IRA were serious about supporting the police and it wasn’t just a political stunt, then surely they would make up their own minds irrespective of what the DUP said or did.

    If on the other hand they aren’t serious about supporting the police and are only playing a political game, then they have proved that the DUP’s scepticism was spot on.

    Game set and match to the DUP.

  • ingram

    Pat.

    Thanks mate .

    Given that you admit Sinn Fein does not negotiate for either the IRA or any member of that organisation then Sinn Fein really has no business to attach any strings to the important negotiations.Like you say Sinn Fein does not represent the IRA men and women who are currently on the run avoiding justice.It therefore should NOT BE A DEAL BREAKER

    In relation to the OTR`s. No matter what you wish for, the present system which has worked since the GFA was signed is clear!The OFFENDER admits to the crime or is convicted and is then sentenced to a short period for those crimes.He or she is then released upon licence like any other criminal who has had his or her sentence reduced.Very simple and uncomplicated.These individuals whether they be loyalist/Republican / Brit or Greek Turkish methodist are known as Schedueled offenders.

    A good example is Ken Barrett. One of the killers of Pat Finucanne. He did a about 18 months and then was released on the early release scheme ON LICENCE.

    Could you tell me what is the difference between Barrett and Pat Finucanne`s brother Dermott who is currently OTR for serious offences including murder.

    What you are hoping for is a completely different set of rules for the IRA OTR`s, WHY SHOULD THAT BE SO PAT? please explain.

    Sinn Fein should not be risking the rights and aspirations of the electorate on the back of twenty or so people.

    Let them face what the others have had to face since the GFA was signed and your party agreed to.You and your party do still support the GFA dont you Pat?

    Ding Ding

    Martin

  • ingram

    Pat,

    you seem to have missed this last post. Could you please explain why IRA OTR`s are a special case. Thank You

    Pat.

    Thanks mate .

    Given that you admit Sinn Fein does not negotiate for either the IRA or any member of that organisation then Sinn Fein really has no business to attach any strings to the important negotiations.Like you say Sinn Fein does not represent the IRA men and women who are currently on the run avoiding justice.It therefore should NOT BE A DEAL BREAKER

    In relation to the OTR`s. No matter what you wish for, the present system which has worked since the GFA was signed is clear!The OFFENDER admits to the crime or is convicted and is then sentenced to a short period for those crimes.He or she is then released upon licence like any other criminal who has had his or her sentence reduced.Very simple and uncomplicated.These individuals whether they be loyalist/Republican / Brit or Greek Turkish methodist are known as Schedueled offenders.

    A good example is Ken Barrett. One of the killers of Pat Finucanne. He did a about 18 months and then was released on the early release scheme ON LICENCE.

    Could you tell me what is the difference between Barrett and Pat Finucanne`s brother Dermott who is currently OTR for serious offences including murder.

    What you are hoping for is a completely different set of rules for the IRA OTR`s, WHY SHOULD THAT BE SO PAT? please explain.

    Sinn Fein should not be risking the rights and aspirations of the electorate on the back of twenty or so people.

    Let them face what the others have had to face since the GFA was signed and your party agreed to.You and your party do still support the GFA dont you Pat?

    Ding Ding

    Martin

  • ingram

    Come on Pat let`s be having a answer?

    Ding Ding

    Martin