“and when the Ard Chomhairle is satisfied that the policing and justice powers will be transferred.”

Sinn Féin have published the text of the motion to be put to the Ard Fheis on January 28th, and the conditions under which the Ard Chomhairle will be authorised to implement it... leaving a question for the Secretary of State to answer..From the Sinn Féin text

The Ard Chomhairle recommends:

That this Ard Fheis endorses the Ard Chomhairle motion. That the Ard Chomhairle is mandated to implement this motion only when the power-sharing institutions are established and when the Ard Chomhairle is satisfied that the policing and justice powers will be transferred. Or if this does not happen within the St Andrews timeframe, only when acceptable new partnership arrangements to implement the Good Friday Agreement are in place. [added emphasis]

That would seem to answer one question..

and it would indicate that SF intend to campaign for an election whilst futuring..

The question now is can the election go ahead on that basis?

Adds Does, for example, what is being suggested fit with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s previous description – “[Sinn Féin] now know that the path to shared government in Northern Ireland passes through a Sinn Fein Ard Fheis at which the policing issue is definitively and successfully addressed.”

, , ,

  • joeCanuck

    Pete

    Given the present circumstasnces, that statement/motion is the most that could have been hoped for.
    There are a lot of naysayers and beggar your neighbour type people on both sides.
    But, don’t lose sight of the big picture.

    We are continuing to inch forard even if only at a glacial pace. But we are going in the right direction.

  • Rubicon

    Why not?

    SF backed themselves in to a corner with their AF’s specifics on P&J. I read the May ’08 requirement as a consequence of SF being uncharacteristically revealing on the outcomes they wanted – prior to negotiuating. SF supporters/members can put me right on this – it may have come about through hard negotiation but nonetheless left the SF leadership with the noose the DUP have played.

    In terms of unionist response the DUP seem to have responded well. SF stuck out their chin and they didn’t miss the offer of delivering a sucker punch.

    But, with some considerable pain SF appear to be getting out of the corner they put themselves in – subject to the 28th of course and the election results of March 7th.

    This election was required by the DUP most of all. The StAA didn’t require it – a referendum could have been held instead. Elections can be cruel to divided parties and I’m not sure the DUP have learned all the lessons of UUP past mistakes. Internal party divisions are more easily managed during a referendum than an election.

    It may not be only SF who have stuck their chin out. In the DUP’s favour, there is no sign of revival, purpose or capacity in the UUP. Yet – what is the unionist voter being asked to endorse or support? Will the unionist parties present clear choices? Can they avoid doing so? How can a DUP that opposed power sharing with Fitt now propose it with Adams?

    Some say there’s no evidence of DUP splits – I suppose it depends on what you consider evidence.

    We’re weeks away from finding out and SF’s ‘conditionalities’ will not (IMO) cause a hault to the election the DUP demanded.

    Fair enough – let the game play on.

  • Glen Taisie

    Take it easy boys it’s the biggest U-TURN in history.

  • Bemused

    We’re getting there – slowly but surely. Maybe some day our kids’ grasp of the northern conflict will only need to be as poor as this….

    http://www.bebo.com/FlashBox.jsp?FlashBoxId=2934743581

  • parcifal

    peteb,
    try to see:
    Opportunities in Difficulties
    and NOT
    Difficulties in Opportunities

    your mentor
    parci 😉

  • obsever

    once again SF have failed to meet the challenge. There will be NO definitive decision to support the psni etc after jan 28th.

    SF are still dodging the issue.

    Time to roll the process on without them. The Dup just need to see through the elections without any promises. If SF cant swear the oath on march 26th theyll exclude themselves from power…everybody wins !!!

  • Rubicon

    Observer – you’re suggesting SF won’t undertake to swear the oath. Before suggesting a reaction from the DUP to that – can you wait to see if your fears are realised?

    I suspect SF will undertake to take the oath and the DUP will then be left with accepting that – or adding new conditions – as have already been muted by DUP leading spokesmen.

    Who knows – you could be right and SF will allow the DUP excuse. I can’t see them going through this pain and emerging magnanimous to the DUP. If you think that you have a higher sense of Adam’s humanity and generosity than I possess myself.

  • obsever

    rubicon , according to the motion to be put, SF will only support the psni “only when the power-sharing institutions are established and when the Ard Chomhairle is satisfied that the policing and justice powers will be transferred.”

    thats after and not before powersharing and they are satified about the tranfer of powers

  • Rubicon

    Observer, I agree with you partially. If SF sticks to exactly what you say – they can’t take Executive office. In order to establish the institutions SF will need to take the oath. As for the AC being ‘satisfied’ I think it might be better to assess the position on the basis of what is not there – rather than on what is. This ‘satisfied’ has no date and no AF.

    I might be wrong of course – but the absence of these matters is unlikely to have occurred by chance.

    For me, it points to a difficult time ahead that has little to nothing to do with improving the lives of people. Much as the ‘people’ bitch about this – they’re not minded to change their vote – or vote.

    Fair enough. We get the politicians and politics we deserve.

  • Rory

    If BBC Radio4 News this evening is any indicator of the UK government’s stance on this – and any seasoned listener would know that indeed it was a government driven piece of pure propaganda – then the government and Hain in particular are very gung-ho and welcoming, citing Sinn Fein’s courage etc and promising ( this from Hain) that Ard Comhaitle acceptance would erase the final barrier to the implementation of a local policing authority and ultimate handover on the date envisaged.

    No mention of an oath. Nor, do I imagine, will their be. Irish history has already had enough misery over the insistence of the British on an oath and progress will not be permitted to founder on that rock of spiteful arrogance which would deter possibly a very large minority, at least, if not indeed a majority of English, Scots and Welsh UK citizens ( happily, subjects no more).

  • BonarLaw

    Rory

    I think you have the wrong idea about the oath of office- a pledge to support the rule of law and the police is all that is required not a promise of everlasting loyalty to HM.

    Perhaps your spiteful arrogance remark was inspired by woeful ignorance?

  • Henry94

    The Ard Fheis motion proposes to authorise Sinn Féin ministers to take the ministerial pledge of office which would require them to give their backing to the PSNI.

    So that’s that one sorted.

  • Tkmaxx

    Of course this is the start of back door acceptance of policing by Sinn Fein! Yet to be honest if its sincere it has to be welcomed. Ironically Davy Hyland once said they would not go in by the back door but that is exactly what is happening. But then again Davy is exiting by the backdoor too.
    Whatever SF determine or the DUP decide – the public have an absolute right to be told what they being asked to endorse at the forthcoming elections – it should be clear and unambigious.

    The British Government has a responsibility to tell us, otherwise what is the point if it risks collapse in March ’08?

  • obsever

    The Ard Fheis motion proposes to authorise Sinn Féin ministers to take the ministerial pledge of office which would require them to give their backing to the PSNI.

    So that’s that one sorted.
    Posted by Henry94 on Jan 14, 2007 @ 09:41 PM

    thast the thing Henry , are SF going to drag this out until the election before giving their backing to the PSNI

    To do so on the day following election would be far too little and far too late.

  • Henry94

    observer

    The DUP are still refusing to even meet Sinn Fein or to say publicly that they are willing to see policing devolved. So if SF are forced to operate in a DUP created political fog they must of necessity proceed with due caution.

  • obsever

    Its quite clear that if this is passed onthe 28th, SF will STILL NOT support the police at that point, but ONLY at some future point when devolution occurs

  • obsever

    observer

    The DUP are still refusing to even meet Sinn Fein or to say publicly that they are willing to see policing devolved. So if SF are forced to operate in a DUP created political fog they must of necessity proceed with due caution.
    Posted by Henry94 on Jan 14, 2007 @ 10:50 PM

    Henry the DUP have said policing will be devolved when there is cross community support. Whats wrong with that.

    Either its right to support the PSNI or not. Its not just a tactic to become DFM

  • Pete Baker

    Tkmaxx

    “The British Government has a responsibility to tell us, otherwise what is the point if it risks collapse in March ‘08?”

    Peter Hain kinda has though..

    May 2008 is a Government objective… but it’s unenforceable..

    So, reading between the lines, he [or his successor] will probably be blaming someone else..

  • Henry94

    observer

    If the DUP agree to it then there is cross-community support now. What they are really saying is they will agree to it when they agree to it. That is sophistry. The DUP need to talk straight on this issue now.

  • obsever

    henry… there is no support within unionism to see this, so there is not cross community support. Republicans just have to live with the fact that unionists are going to give them what the want , when they want.

    come the 28th and SF arent able to support the PSNI , even if this motion is passed, the whole deal will be off

  • Henry94

    The motion before the Ard Fheis mandates the Ard Chomhairle to carry out certain things if and when the Ard Chomhairle is satisfied that the policing and justice powers will be transferred. But the actions to be taken by the Ard Chomhairle are outlined in the second half of the motion.

    The first part does not depend on the Ard Chomhairle doing anything as I read it.

    Sinn Féin reiterates our support for An Garda Síochana and commits fully to:

    * Support for the PSNI and the criminal justice system.

    * Hold the police and criminal justice systems north and south fully to account, both democratically and legally, on the basis of fairness and impartiality and objectivity.

    * Authorise our elected representatives to participate in local policing structures in the interests of justice, the quality of life for the community and to secure policing with the community as the core function of the PSNI and actively encouraging everyone in the community to co-operate fully with the police services in tackling crime in all areas and actively supporting all the criminal justice institutions.

    * The devolution of policing and justice to the Assembly.

    * Equality and human rights at the heart of the new dispensation and to pursue a shared future in which the culture, rights and aspirations of all are respected and valued, free from sectarianism, racism and intolerance

    To achieve this the Ard Chomhairle is hereby mandated to:

    * Appoint Sinn Féin representatives to the Policing Board and the District Policing Partnership Boards to ensure that:

    – a civic policing service, accountable and representative of the community is delivered as quickly as possible, – the Chief Constable and the PSNI are publicly held to account,

    – policing with the community is achieved as the core function of the PSNI,

    – political policing, collusion and “the force within a force” is a thing of the past and to oppose any involvement by the British Security Service/MI5 in civic policing.

    * Ensure Sinn Fein representatives robustly support the demands for:

    – equality of treatment for all victims and survivors,

    – effective truth recovery mechanisms,

    – acknowledgement by the British State of its involvement in wrongdoing including collusion with loyalist paramilitaries,

    – to ensure that there is no place in the PSNI for those guilty of human rights abuses,

    * Resolutely oppose the use of lethal weapons in public order situations

    * Authorise Sinn Féin Ministers to take the ministerial Pledge of Office.

    * Achieve accountable all-Ireland policing structures.

    The Ard Chomhairle recommends: That this Ard Fheis endorses the Ard Chomhairle motion. That the Ard Chomhairle is mandated to implement this motion only when the power-sharing institutions are established and when the Ard Chomhairle is satisfied that the policing and justice powers will be transferred. Or if this does not happen within the St Andrews timeframe, only when acceptable new partnership arrangements to implement the Good Friday Agreement are in place.

  • Tkmaxx

    I agree that its likely that the Government will find another Secretary of State who will say in 2008 – that any misunderstanding between the parties on transfer of power on policing and justice- did not happen on their watch. Sinn Fein is not in difficulty over the policing issue. Having just watched a dissident on TV – they say they want to send a message to SF – vote for dissidents and then back to SF – now that sounds a tad tactical.

  • Pete Baker

    Tkmaxx

    Well, they’re in difficulty in the sense that their declared support for policing is one of the government’s twin pillars..

  • Pete Baker

    Henry

    You may want to read that text again..

    “the Ard Chomhairle is mandated to implement this motion only when..”

  • Tkmaxx

    Pete – twin pillars in Government terms are the pillars built on sand – the real test will be the SDLP or another party – reversing the SF route map SF have proposed for policing and holding SF to the same standard – for example the involvement of no human rights abusers in justice roles and a proper truth mechanism – if they are up to those standards being applied to themselves as well – the DUP dont need to apply additional standards of probity – just equity of application.

  • Henry94

    Pete

    That, to me, means the Ard Chomhairle doing what it is mandated to do in the motion. But the declaration is from the Ard Fheis and has effect once the Ard Fheis votes for it. That does not require implementation.

    In other words these words Sinn Féin reiterates our support for An Garda Síochana and commits fully to: Support for the PSNI and the criminal justice system. become party policy once the motion is passed.

  • obsever

    henry – that the Ard Chomhairle is mandated to implement this motion only when the power-sharing institutions are established and when the Ard Chomhairle is satisfied that the policing and justice powers will be transferred.

    not one part of the first section of the motion can be implemented UNTIL devolution occurs. Devolution wont occur if SF do not already support the PSNI.

    Another SF own goal. They still take the blame because EVERYONE will be expecting them to support the PSNI come jan 28th

  • obsever

    Henry remember the DUP is not looking for words but clear actions on behalf of republicans

  • Pete Baker

    Henry

    “But the declaration is from the Ard Fheis and has effect once the Ard Fheis votes for it.”

    The declaration, yes. But the declaration imposes a condition on the Ard Chomhairle about when they are authorised to implement the motion.

    A condition which echoes Motion 395.. but passes the judgement on those conditions from the Ard Fheis to the Ard Chomhairle.

  • Pete Baker

    Actually, more than that.

    The Ard Fheis had set in place the conditions under which they would debate the policing issue.

    The Ard Chomhairle want to by-pass those conditions and take the decision themselves.

  • obsever

    If i understand this right, and i stand to be corrected, if this motion is passed Gerry Adams, Gerry Kelly etc WILL NOT be able to give their support to the PSNI, encourge people to work with the criminal justice system or call on republicans to join the police UNTIL devolution occurs and not before

    A lot of people will be looking for the m to do just that on Jan 29th

  • Mark

    Not wishing to detract from Henry’s very interesting analysis but I’m reasonably sure he isn’t a SF member.

    Those being asked to vote on the proposal will be part of a wide ranging discussion on what it actually means for SF as a party.

    Until then, it’s interesting to read the opinions of those removed from the discussion but it should be remembered that both Henry’s and Pete’s reading of semantics is just that, their reading of something that will be clarified by others in good time and after a healthy and extensive debate then vote.

    I understand you want this all clear today, or in some cases want to make waters as muddy as possible, but it seems you’ll have to wait (not for long).

  • Henry94

    observer

    The motion will allow them to make that declaration and everything is in place for the practical implementation of it.

    Pete

    The Ard Fheis has the power to give the power to the AC. That would supersede any previous decision.

  • Henry94

    Mark

    I have no doubt it will be clear by the time a vote is taken.

  • Pete Baker

    Mark

    The thing is, there isn’t any actual confusion about the text to be put to the Ard Fheis, in conditions contrary to those described by Motion 395, although there may be an uncertainty about what that Ard Fheis will ultimately decide to do.

  • obsever

    My question is if this motion is passed on the 28th, that come Jan 29th Will SF be supporting the PSNI or not????

  • Crataegus

    Rory

    Hain’s announcements tell us more about his own personal ambitions than anything else. I would ignore him as a reliable source on past performance, and he is now making about as much sense as a stag in the rutt.

    We appear to nose forward, sadly we could have been here 30 years ago if not for a certain Ian Paisley.

    The behaviours that create a problem are often not the type of behaviour necessary to solve the problem. You need a bit of flexibility and in the end you need to extend some trust in the credentials of others. You also need to keep focussed on the end objective. Day to day fire fighting is symptomatic of bad management.

    In business, and I would imagine in politics, you can only effectively address those things that you have some control over. If you are in SF or the DUP you can only effectively control your own actions. What others may or may not do is up to them and the consequence of that action is for them to carry.

    It is not a question of being soft or a push over, but being clear in your intent and your expectations. It is about being frank. If you have issues with a group that you have to do business with then you have to state those difficulties in a mature and constructive manner, that is if you are at all serious about constructing a deal. Petty point scoring and playing to the gallery are both inappropriate and juvenile. Such behaviour says more about the character of the persons making the utterances than the ones being slighted.

    Laying traps and adding additional conditions as the contract proceeds is totally inappropriate. If the DUP or SF have further conditions they need to declare their hand if they are serious about constructing a workable agreement. If they are not they should have the strength of character to say they are not and stop wasting everyone’s time.

    Remember those that blame others and refuse to accept responsibility themselves are weak of character. If you constantly run others down and blame you simply run your own credibility down and become a person that is not worthy of trust. Address your own weaknesses and spend less time publicly reminding others of theirs.

    Hain and Co should stop hyping it up for their own political gain, they cheapen this process and make it a sound bite opportunity. It should be remembered that this is an agreement to stop an armed conflict that claimed the lives of over 3000 people and left many more severely injured. It needs to be taken seriously. Their position should be to state clearly and in an appropriate manner their perception of what is agreed and what the timetable and consequences are. The tone of this process is wrong. As I have said before in my opinion Hain does not have the attributes necessary and should be replaced perhaps with someone who has diplomatic experience.

    Regarding the election I think both SF and the DUP, in the heat of optimism, thought that an election would provide opportunity to strengthen their political position. It has turned out to be more problematic, but both will still come out of the election as strong as they are now. A referendum was probably the correct process to validate, but it is highly possible that it could have been lost, certainly it would be likely that the majority of Unionists would vote against and many who supported the original agreement may not bother to vote.

    I dispair, so so so S L O W.

  • Henry94

    observer

    I would say yes. Support for the PSNI will be party policy. But the timing of the practical measures required by the motion will be up to the AC.

  • Mark

    Henry,

    I hope you don’t think I was dismissing your opinion.

    I was trying to show that interpretation and semantics of those not involved aren’t necessarily the understanding of those involved.

    As Pete tried to convince people that his reading of earlier statements meant a special Ard Fheis wouldn’t even take place, his and your readings are again both interesting but only personal opinions.

    You may have been correct before, Pete was completely wrong but Pete could be correct this time – though I doubt it.

    (glass half full against the bias of you have no glass IMHO)

  • Pete Baker

    “As Pete tried to convince people that his reading of earlier statements meant a special Ard Fheis wouldn’t even take place..”

    No, Mark. I was putting into the public domain the facts about what had, or had not, been agreed by the Sinn F̩in party membership Рas supplied by a Sinn F̩in party member, btw.

    What they now choose to do is entirely up to them.

  • parcifal

    This process needs to breathe, and moves be taken stock off;there’s little point peteb and others in presenting it as a continual cliff-hanger.

    To me you’re just reflecting your own agonies.

    What is happening overall is hugely significant, and yous will all miss it, if you keep making crisis threads and crisis posts.

    Let the light in, for goodness sakes !

  • Mark

    Parcifal,

    The added emphasis nonsense and wrong reading needs raised.

    So many blogs – the analysis utterly wrong. Why do the current ‘you don’t have a glass’ biased presentations have any credibility?

    It’s just I hate you crap. Well referenced though but merely I hate you and shown to be nonsense.

  • parcifal

    I agree totally Mark, and its tough for us ,as lets face it we’re the plebs and don’t get to do the threads; with all the pain that causes me when you see so much naked bullying and “I hate you” crap going on.
    We have to defeat it though, and we will 🙂

  • Pete Baker

    parci

    “Let the light in, for goodness sakes !”

    Let the clarity in. It’ll be better for everyone.

    Mark

    “It’s just I hate you crap. Well referenced though but merely I hate you and shown to be nonsense.”

    Well, at least you admit it’s well referenced. And until you can argue that the analysis is nonsense, as you claim.. that analysis remains.

  • Aaron McDaid

    I may not be adding anything new here (it’s a bit hard to decipher the comments on this thread), but it looks to me that support of the PSNI will be effective immediately.

    The party will still need to create and execute procedures for choosing the representatives to the bodies and for holding them to account internally, such as how often are members to report to the party, and so on. This will obviously take time and the Ard Chomhairle has to wait until devolution before actually appointing those members.

    But the recommendation to the public to support the PSNI is effective immediately and is much more interesting than the timing of SF’s appointments to the boards.

    Am I totally wrong here?

  • Pete Baker

    “Am I totally wrong here?”

    Aaron

    Implementation of the motion will be entirely dependent on a subsequent decision by the Ard Chomhairle.

  • I have to say that Pete is right on this one.

    The motion, considering it is passed at the Ard Fheis, will only be implemented when the Ard Chomhairle are satisfied that certain conditions have been met.

    It really is very clear

    “That the Ard Chomhairle is mandated to implement this motion only when the power-sharing institutions are established and when the Ard Chomhairle is satisfied that the policing and justice powers will be transferred. Or if this does not happen within the St Andrews timeframe, only when acceptable new partnership arrangements to implement the Good Friday Agreement are in place.” [added emphasis]

  • Jim Kemmy

    If this means members of Sinn Fein getting the same kind of beatings Denis Bradley and others got, then there should be a qualified acceptance for this in the wider Republican family.

  • Aaron McDaid

    Pete,
    What I meant to say is something like this order of events might happen after the AF:

    On second thoughts, this probably isn’t the reality.

    1) AF passes motion.
    2) Republicans and the public at large are encouraged to cooperate with PSNI at once.
    3) Some time elapses during which republicans are working with the police, but SF hasn’t yet appointed its Policing Board members.
    4) SF AC completes it procedures and chooses its members and appoints them to the Board.

    i.e. I thought ‘implement’ only refers to internal party things like appointments to the PB, and that the general ‘support’ is immediate from the AF. But I don’t think I believe that any more.

  • steven

    Can I ask were in the St Andrews Agreement a timescale for the devolution of policing and justice powers is printed?? This is all i’ve heard being ranted by SF in the past few weeks.

    The people of NI want delivery on policing by those who dont support it, but on the other hand want a place in democratic politics in this country.

    SF get on with it.. or else sit out of government

  • Frustrated Democrat

    We all know where this is going.

    Why doesn’t everyone stop dancing on the head of pin and get on with it?

  • DK

    Looks like a lot of wee opt-outs that can be used by SF to get out of this if the DUP/HMG/Whoever don’t play ball. Which they won’t, since they have their own agendas. But it may be too late by then to back out – Rubicon having been crossed, the dice cast etc.

    Still, it is the right thing to do; and should be supported by all. After all, where did republicans think that the GFA changes to the police were going to lead!

  • WindsorRocker

    imo, the DUP have been very clear that actions are needed from SF as well as the words of support.

    This “agreement” was always going to boil down to one thing.
    Would SF back policing before devolution and any possible transfer of powers? Or would they engage in policing thereby satisfying the actions requirement of the DUP.

    This boils down to who won the “war”. If SF can get devolution and a firm timetable on the transfer of P&J to an Irish assembly before they engage in policing then they will have won the battle of ideologies. If they sign up to and engage in policing before devolution and before any possible transfer of P&J, then they will have accepted the entire legitimacy of British rule in Ireland.

  • Sean

    Stalin would feel very comfortable with the SF ard comhairle,