Sinn Fein hoping Blair will undo MI5 proposals…

Here’s an interesting line from Gerry Kelly, as official party spokesman on the Irish Times Breaking News service. According to the report he is “awaiting with interest the Prime Minister’s statement which he hoped would undo the proposals in the St Andrews Agreement“. Ahem… when is an agreement, not an agreement…? Answer: when it covers a potent battleground with your closest political rival, perhaps:

“The proposals which the SDLP claimed to have negotiated at St. Andrews were completely unacceptable,” the North Belfast Assembly member said. “They would have embedded MI5 within the PSNI. This would have generated the potential to create once again a force within a force. There can be no integration of MI5 and the PSNI. All PSNI members must be fully answerable to the Patten accountability mechanisms, hard won in negotiations.”

Expect fireworks from SDLP over who (if anyone), in local terms, holds a rapidly expanded MI5 accountable, if Blair goes the way Sinn Fein wants tomorrow!

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  • Justin

    I believe this is in reaction to the increasing dissent within SF. I think the MI5 bit is what is breaking the grassroot’s backs. Get rid of that clause, and policing will go through. imo.

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s not easy Justin. It looks like the strongest interest SF is having to face down here is that of the British government themselves.

  • Justin

    MI5 is one issue but it isn’t the only one.

  • Justin

    You’re correct, I am over simplifying the subject. While it’s not the only issue, I believe it’s the one that’s “speaking” to a lot of the grassroot supporters. I could be very wrong in this one.

  • I don’t think you are wrong it’s just that there are other issues “breaking the grassroot’s backs”

  • Alan

    “Get rid of that clause, and policing will go through. imo.”

    As will bombs on the border, guns across the sea, and nefarious experts through the airports – if we rid ourselves of that clause.

    Don’t forget that under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the state has a responsibility to protect the citizenry from terrorist and other threats – whether that state is the UK or the Republic.

    We’re talking grown up politics here, not hyped up Felons bluster.

  • Yokel

    He hopes? i would assume he should know roughly whats in it.

    Whatever comes out, the British will not drop what they dont like. They’d lie first.

  • Justin

    Alan,

    Pardon me for intruding on your grown up talk. The nerve of me to input my opinion on the matter. I’ll leave it to experts like yourself in the future.

  • ingram

    Kelly ,

    Either he does not understand or more likely he is trying/hoping to pull a fast one.

    UK.(Pecking order)

    MI5 responsibility for all threats to UK National Interest.

    Local Police forces.

    During the troubles or at least from 73 the Police had ” Primacy” and the military returned to MACP.

    The police during that period seconded one or two units of the military under their direct operational control.They also Had the use of MI5 technical officers.

    ( The GFA ensured those non policemen could not and were not subject to the Ombidsman that was specifically outlawed)

    The only exemption to “Primacy”was the FRU.the FRU was not controlled by any Police unit.

    This arrangement was negotiated by Politicians back in 1980. The year the FRU was formed.

    Sir John Stevens in his report backed up my reporting to the Sunday Times of the presence of MI5 in both G2 HQNI and within the operations office of the FRU.

    They( MI5) also had a seat upon TCG.

    The difference today and it applies to the WHOLE OF THE UK is MI5 are to assume responsibilty for all terrorsist threats.

    Sir Hugh Orde has confirmed Loyalism will be dealt with by the PSNI.

    Republican matters will be dealt with by MI5.

    The simple reason is clear.

    Loyalism is not a direct threat to the British National Interest. Republicans potentially could pose a real threat to those interests.

    Gerry Kelly knows that the expanded role now being undertaken by MI5 as meant they have had to expand vastly to cope with the work load previously carried out by the PSNI SB.

    To plan for that hand over ( 2 years) has meant a recruitment drive. Experience in these matters is everything. As you would expect they have recruited many of the old faces from both the FRU and SB .

    For Gerry Kelly to suggest quote”They would have embedded MI5 within the PSNI. unquote

    is to misrepresent the problem.

    The police are not embedded in MI5 or vice versa they are two distinct Agencies.With two different roles in the overall strategy.

    MI5 IS not CURRENTLY subject to ( local)ministerial control nor the Ombudsmans office.

    If Tony Blair was to change that position he would require NEW legislation.

    Over to you Tony and Gerry.

    Ding Ding

    Martin

  • Pól

    alan

    (Don’t forget that under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the state has a responsibility to protect the citizenry from terrorist and other threats – whether that state is the UK or the Republic).

    Does that mean all its citizens or just the ones it likes. I seem to remember the state has been involved in terrorism hear for years. So who will protect the citizens from the state and its death squads. Surly not the PSNI.

  • Churchill

    “the state and its death squads” – lol more typical republican hyperbolic language. Sad really how so many of you oirish have been
    seduced by the dark powers of sinn fein/Ira.

  • Ian

    Sinn Fein’s rationale for separating the PSNI from MI5 in this way is so they can move to support a police service that will (ultimately) be answerable and accountable to the Assembly only.

    Clearly MI5 will never be so accountable, so presumably Sinn Fein won’t be in the position of offering support for MI5 even after devolution of justice.

    SF would argue that since MI5 don’t operate in accordance with the rule of law, their refusal to support MI5 wouldn’t constitute a breach of what is being required of them i.e. full support for RoL.

    The question is, will Unionists use this as a further excuse to delay powersharing? How can support for MI5 be proved? It’s not like cooperating with the peelers on the ground, MI5 by its nature operates in such a secretive fashion that it would be impossible to even define what ‘full support for MI5’ entails?

    If rejectionist unionists were looking for another hurdle to erect for Sinn Fein to jump over, they couldn’t come up with a more unsurmountable one than this and they know it. So if it does get raised as the next bar on progress, then we’ll know that Unionism really isn’t ready for powersharing.

  • URQUHART

    Alan: “nefarious experts through the airports ”

    Would they be coming in or going out?

  • ingram

    Ian,

    The UK criminal Justice system includes ALL the states agencies.

    I have mentioned this previously. Sinn Fein cannot CONDITIONALLY enter the system.

    All the Agencies form part of the overall protection afforded to the British state.

    Civic Policing is not an issue for MI5! They dont normally instigate Burglaries or rapes .Monitoring and disrupting terrorist activity is. If Republicans play the game they will not come into contact with MI5. If they dont they will. SIMPLE.

    Ingram

  • ingram

    That slip above should read investigate not instigate. LOL

  • Ian

    Ingram:

    “Civic Policing is not an issue for MI5! They dont normally instigate Burglaries…”

    … except of the offices of outside investigators from the Met probing into allegations of collusion between the security services and loyalists, of course!