Adams offers secret meetings

Adams is now saying he doesn’t expect a “quick response” from republican armed groups to his offer of this morning. Well, if he wanted a quick response he could have went to the Tower Hotel in Derry last night and he would have been given a spot on the platform, where he might not have been speaking to the leadership of armed groups but he would have been engaging with a lot of disillusioned republicans. (Ruairí Ó Brádaigh has issued a statement in response, included after the jump.)Further to Fair Deal’s earlier post regarding Adams’ offer to meeting with the leadership of the INLA, CIRA and RIRA. A number of people have noted it’s a rubbish offer, done for PR purposes alone. That very well may be; it does beg the question why Adams is not willing to share the platform himself with any of the independents at the Concerned Republicans’ meetings (or invite said independents to share the platform at the debates Sinn Fein are organising)…

So, Gerry Adams, in keeping with his need to conduct back-room, closed door deals, and his desire to demonise his opponents while appearing to be whiter than white himself, is offering to meet with the “leaderships of the INLA, CIRA and RIRA” and brief them on what he’s doing. Why doesn’t he accept a platform space at the public meetings being organised by Concerned Republicans, where he could reach a broad swathe of republicans, instead? Or invite some of the Concerned Republicans onto the platform at the Sinn Fein debates? Many of the people who are speaking at and attending these meetings were comrades of Adams, worked closely with him, or worked under his direction, and know him well. Is he unable to answer their concerns and questions publicly? Why not go onto Hearts and Minds, and debate the independents, where everyone could see, instead of sending someone like Ó Muilleoir to stand in for him? It seems he would prefer to meet in secret with a secret elite that, by nature of their roles in the named organisations, must remain secret, to talk secretly.

Meanwhile, Ruairí Ó Brádaigh has given Adams a clear answer in a statement released this afternoon:

‘Who is Mr Adams addressing?’
Statement By Republican Sinn Féin President Ruairí Ó Brádaigh
Who is Mr Adams’ addressing? Is it the people who have resigned recently from his party? For our part we are not dissidents.
Mr Adams knows well our core values. He knows that no reconciliation is possible. Republican Sinn Féin’s values were once his own, before he and the Provos decided to accept the institutions of British rule in Ireland. The discussions he proposes do not refer to us.

A little flavour of tonight’s Hearts & Minds debate:

“Sinn Fein know something is up and they are about to be hit with the political equivalent of a tsunami,” said Gerry McGeough last night at the debate in Derry. “The entire republican movement is a complete and absolute shambles. The British are more in control than ever. How have we ended up here? With an inept and bungling leadership. While we were suffering they were already engaging with the enemy o further their own political careers. Republicans are totally and utterly fed up. We don’t recognise any British police force here in Ireland. It is totally unacceptable. Sinn Fein has lost all moral right to represent the republican people of Ireland – they must and shall be replaced.”

“I’ll be happy to add my voice to those who argue that the only way forward for the republican cause is to get to the position where republicans control or at the very least have substantial influence over policing affairs,” wrote Máirtín Ó Muilleoir on his blog. “No doubt, there’ll be a lot of finger-pointing and lecturing from those who have branded the rest of us turncoats and sellouts but let’s be clear about this: I’ll take no finger-pointing or lectures from anyone on policing because as a nationalist citizen of the six counties, as a Sinn Féin councillor and as a Joe Soap, I’ve experienced the business end of collusion, torture and murder which passed for policing here. Gerry Adams was beaten unconcious by the RUC, Martin McGuinness was targeted by that force for murder. If both say it’s time to cross the policing Rubicon, count me in. We need a new start to policing in this part of the world just as we need a new start to governance. But it won’t be delivered fully formed, that’s why hard work and solid support for democrats who wish to transform a police force into an accountable police service is essential in the days ahead.”

Hearts & Minds tonight features Gerry McGeough & Máirtín Ó Muilleoir.
7:30 on BBC2, 11:35 on BBC1

UPDATE: Dissident voices speak out, Ch4 News report by Carl Dinnen about last night’s meeting in Derry (video report available).

  • Henry94

    A secret meeting is one that nobody else knows about. What is proposed are private meetings. Sadly that sounds less sinister.

    What is appropriate for a private meeting may not be appropriate for a public meeting.

  • mickhall

    Henry,

    At a time like this and on this subject there is nothing worth saying that cannot be said in public. For if you look back over negotiations between powerful forces like the British government and organizations like the Republican movement, it is always the former that demand/suggest secrecy and if they agree to it, it is always the latter who end up holding the short straw.

    One of the reasons SF has got into such a kerfuffle in recent years is the secret way the leadership conducts business. Whilst I accept this has been a spill over from the war, that excuse is no longer valid and with respect trust in GA in some quarters is at such a low ebb, unless he states his mind openly and in a public place people will not take his word.

    The only reason he could give for not meeting publicly is that he has cut some deal with the British; and that would not be good enough for it would once again put the onus of Republicans to act first, whilst allowing the British State both secrecy and the ability to the dirty, [yet again one might add]

    In any case how is it possible to build a new relationship with the unionist community if Adams is cutting deals behind their backs. Get all out into the open as the UK state has thrived on secret diplomacy for centuries.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    I look forward to the micro groups attending the SF organised meetings. That is where the debate should be, out in the open. these people are not entitled to private meetings and special treatment, they don’t merit it.

    BTW I hope Gerry keeps trying to convince yourself of this ‘tsunami’. Why does he think none of the party members of the micro groups are willing to put themselves forward, happy enough to use dupes like him.

  • Henry94

    mickhall

    If the other dissidents agree with you then they can report the business of the meeting to their hearts content. Gerry Adams is the leader of the mainstream republican movement with thousands of votes behind his strategy. He has made a generous offer to meet those who disagree with him in the republican family.

    If they don’t want a meeting then that’s their decision.

  • Ulick

    I wonder do these lads ever ask themselves why the media are so suddenly interested in them now after ignoring them for so long. I expect it’ll get a lot worse over the next two weeks. Last time we had the McCartney killing, now republican dissent. Enjoy your fifteen minutes Gerry…

  • Interesting that Ó Brádaigh uses the term ‘Provo’- RSF people say they are the true SF, but if they are the natural continuation of the party which existed immediately prior to the 1986 Ard Fheis (an event at which they claim that Adams et al left Sinn Féin), then they surely are the provos by that measurement, as opposed to Adams’ party. They might have more credibility if they were consistent in their claims.

  • overhere

    I have to agree with Henry94 on this one. It is all very well sitting on the side lines with a sneer on your chops as most of the previous thread’s contributors seemed to do.

    At least GA is offering to sit down and talk with anyone on the issue. As for the “why doesn’t he have a public meeting” Do you seriously believe he would be given a change to be heard.

    As I was reading recently a conversation by David Irvine “it takes only two seconds to say “sell out” and two and a half hours to explain how it isn’t

    As for Republican Sinn Fein can anyone tell me one thing they have done in recent history to advance a UI. It is all very well to say
    “I don’t like this settlement”

    but the other half of that statement is conspicious by it’s absence
    “so here is what we propose”

    As for deals behind closed doors perhaps if the DUP would meet face to face with their counter parts then there would be no need to have deals behind closed doors. After all they are happy enough to meet and share platforms with Unionist paramilitaries.

  • gerry

    Did you see O’M on hearts and minds, as gerry said, ‘I have no idea if martin was ever a volunteer’ LOL. When people of the calibre of gerry mcgeough, tom catney, and the rest are saying that republicans are fed up, then republicans are fed up.

    these rapists that are running around west belfast, who dealt with them and this type of crime over this last thirty years? the cops. would martin have us believe there was never a rape in west belfast until the peace process was over and we need now to not just ring the cops in an emergency, but support them be responsible for them and say they are the greatest thing since sliced bread? people have always rung the cops for breakins, rape, domestic violence while not supporting them.

    martin speaks for no one. he is not an elected representative, he is nothing more than a hack, he has no republican credentials, the only cause celebre martin has is that he has been a citizen of the six counties over the years. so are the rest of us, so are the mc cartneys, will martin hand over those that murdered macartney and are shielded by the provisionals?

    martin as one citizen to another f**k off!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Interesting to hear Mc Geough stating that he does recognise the PSNI, dressed up under the guise of pragmatism. These people are best to stick to the shouting matches and demagoguery when the get into the detail they make idiots of themselves

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘martin speaks for no one. he is not an elected representative’,

    Neither is Mc Geough; Gallagher; Catney; Mackey etc etc etc. As I said stick to demagoguery, detail gets the likes of you confused.

  • gerry

    They pull enough people at their meetings, something M O’M has never done. thats something in their favour.

    BTW wheres the meeting you were organising in north belfast. Fallen by the way side has it? Not to worry put Martin up as your speaker and see how many people show up.

    stick to put downs pat, anything else is a little too academic for you.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    gerry,

    ‘They pull enough people at their meetings, something M O’M has never done. thats something in their favour.’

    I had 300 at my wedding anniversary party before Xmas. I might stand myself if that is the criteria.

    ‘BTW wheres the meeting you were organising in north belfast. Fallen by the way side has it? Not to worry put Martin up as your speaker and see how many people show up.’

    In all probability it will be in the Lansdowne, as sonn as it is confirmed I will e.mail you directly.

  • seabhac siulach

    Pat Mc Larnon

    “Interesting to hear Mc Geough stating that he does recognise the PSNI, dressed up under the guise of pragmatism”

    Surely, there is an important political difference between a de facto recognition of the only policing service that exists (in the absence of any other and the fact that republicans cannot not independently provide an alternative…hence his comment about ‘forensic labs’) and a
    de jure recognition of the same involving the recognition of the whole British legal system, law, etc., not forgotting the motto of the English queen in the courts, Dieu et mon Droit, etc. No republican can recognise the legal system of the UK and still claim to be a republican. It is contradictory in a purely logical sense. You cannot support, take part in structures headed by the Queen and still be a republican…it is farcical..

    Pragmatism in policing would mean, by the way, that one may contact the police in an emergency (or even just a normal common crime) without compromising any principles…it would be different matter to be involved in administrating those police forces, their stuctures, etc. In the real world one must be pragmatic but pragmatism can go hand in hand with a principled stand…

  • gerry

    Maybe you should stand pat, theres plenty of room for more [play the ball – edited moderator]

  • BeardyBoy

    I thought McGeough spoke very well – it was O’Muilleoir I thought was a bit foolish looking.

    He says that we have to support the police now, I would love the leadership of SF when this transformation of the PSNI occurred that allowed SF to support them? To me there is a serious deficiency in their argument – the deficiency is when did the PSNI become acceptable and why?, or are they stating their original stance was wrong? If so why.

    Their is a severe lack of consistency in the SF position.

    The statements of their supporters and their obfuscation in relation to explaining the above to me means I lose trust.

    As for getting the police in if you are burgled or whatever, what a silly ya boo argument – of course you are, there is no alternative, it does not mean you accept or support them, it only means you hane no other choice. You have to use the imposed police which therefore are not a police at all

  • gerry

    Thanks rusty for the video, republicans are getting their message out and the shinners don’t like it.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    SS,

    pragmatically recognising the PSNI is in fact recognising their legitimacy to investigate crimes and thus uphold the law related to those crimes.
    Mc Geough slipped up pretty badly there, it is not about principle at all but degrees of pragmatism. Nuff said, debate over.

  • seabhac siulach

    Pat Mc Larnon

    “…pragmatically recognising the PSNI is in fact recognising their legitimacy to investigate crimes and thus uphold the law related to those crimes.
    Mc Geough slipped up pretty badly there, it is not about principle at all but degrees of pragmatism. Nuff said, debate over.”

    Since, I believe, the early eighties (wasn’t it?) members of PIRA when appearing in court have pragmatically accepted the courts right to try them in order to plead ‘not guilty’. This was a change to the previous strategy of not recognising the courts. Did this pragmatism not also then recognise the legitimacy of British law by your reasoning (a full 25 years before the present debate)?
    No, because it was a de facto legitimacy only, given for the purpose of the trial and nothing more. No future support or assistance was given to the legal system or to the law in these circumstances, i.e., de jure there was still no recognition of the law or the British justice system. There is a difference therefore in a pragmatic recognition of the police and a more principled decision not to aid them in their structures, etc.

  • Henry94

    What is the difference between accepting the PNSI and recognising the PNSI? Is the dissident position simply that Denis Bradley should sit on the Policing Board instead of Gerry Kelly so republican virtue can remain intact?

    So two guys living on the same street have their bicycle’s stolen. Both call the police and report the crime. But one keeps his fingers crossed behind his back because he’s a republican and the other guy is a partitionist.

  • seabhac siulach

    “What is the difference between accepting the PNSI and recognising the PNSI? Is the dissident position simply that Denis Bradley should sit on the Policing Board instead of Gerry Kelly so republican virtue can remain intact?”

    It is the difference between administering British rule in the six counties and not doing so on a point of republican principle. One may accept them passively, pragmatically, without offering them any pro-active political support. This would merely be a recognition of reality.

    Anyone who pleases, and who is acceptable to the British (of course!) may sit on the policing board and offer support to the continued British administration of part of Ireland…soon to be nicely dressed up with natives doing the heavy lifting…
    Pragmatism will always find a way of subverting principle. Any decision can be dressed up as reasonable if pragmatism is used as the argument.

    In the real world, however, while we may wish to withdraw all support from the UK state in which we live on a point of principle this is often not possible. Otherwise, many republicans north and south would spend their whole lives in prison for refusing to pay tax, etc. Even paying VAT supports the British state after all! However, this de facto acceptance of the British state is different to an overt proactive support of it. That is the fundamental difference between accepting and recognising the police, for example.

    “So two guys living on the same street have their bicycle’s stolen. Both call the police and report the crime. But one keeps his fingers crossed behind his back because he’s a republican and the other guy is a partitionist.”

    Since when did the police bother with stolen bicycles?

    Bottom line is, one may deal with the police in a pragmatic one-off way (when the need very occasionally arises…I mean, how often are each of us affected by petty crime?) while at the same time witholding any active support of policing structures or anything that aids British administration of a part of Ireland.

  • Jim Kemmy

    The Sinn Fein apologists sound so much like throwbacks to the days when Sinn Fein had no representatives and their opponents used to hammer them on that. The DUP, your plitical masters, have more votes, as do the Brit Labour Party and Fianna Fail/Old IRA. That does not make them republicans. You lot and the Poles are the new peelers. Legitimate targets as McGuinness used to call them in far off days. Adams knows this. He knows he is as much a Brit as was the Catholic peeler Brave Tom Williams whacked and for which the tout Joe Cahill was involved. Borrowed time gentlemen.

  • Crataegus

    In areas like West Belfast there has been dissatisfaction with SF bubbling under for years now about a wider range of issues than policing. It looks like this one is the tipping point and the undercurrents are now surfacing. It is interesting to watch and it could be that this is one of those pivotal points.

    I think the opening of a debate in republicanism is a good thing. For too long the support of their voters has been taken for granted. You get the feeling of smugness of a party that has lost its edge.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘In areas like West Belfast there has been dissatisfaction with SF bubbling under for years’

    Funnily enough that dissatisfaction has not manifested itself throught the ballot box, judged by most as the yardstick to express dissatisfaction.

    Only 18 months age Gerry Adams took 70% of the vote in that area at the Westminister elections. Was there any other MP right across that whole election (600 odd constituencies) who came near or surpassed that?

    On the same day SF took 9 out of 10 of the seats for Upper and Lower Falls in the Local Government Elections. This included being the only party to win every seat in a ward, 5 in Lower Falls. No other party managed that in the election.

    So by all means jump onto this anti SF bandwagon that is passing through at the moment, but like a lot of the nonsense posted thus far your allegations don’t have any real basis in fact.

  • John

    I wonder will Adams call his internal opponents into a side room at the ard feis and sit them down at a table as he did at the 1986 ard feis. Then after his heavies have blocked the door, put bullets on the table and make death threats?

  • Sean

    Pat Mc Larnon.

    If one person has been abused by SF in West Belfast then that is one person to many. Quoting election results is beside the point.

  • Andy Martin

    What leverage does PSF endorsing the police have on the issue of sovereignty? O’M’s comments about rape and child abuse are invalid in the sense that republicans have never supported the police yet to my knowledge no rape victim, Child abuse victim or relative of a missing person has ever been visited by the Provos or been the recipient of community ostracisation in the past for going to the police on these issues.
    There are alternative strategies to British policing in Ireland that deal with both the need for policing and the need for republicans to act in a manner that does not compromise our stance on the legitimacy of the northern state.

    No Other Law:The Politics of Policing in Occupied Ireland.
    http://www.national1916.com/nootherlaw.html

    The Necessity for Policing and The Necessity for Constitutional Change.
    http://www.national1916.com/1stpage.html
    Those who stress that there is no alternative strategy should read,digest,discuss and debate alternative strategies before accepting the only one the British have offered them. PSF claim that their strategy may not work, that we need courage and we need to hold our nerve, what is their alternative strategy should their current policing strategy fail?