“questions must be asked about what these people were led to believe.”

Courtesy of Newshound. In Thursday’s Irish News Newton Emerson asked how Davy Hyland and Geraldine Dougan could have remained as Sinn Féin party members, nevermind MLAs, for so long if they believed that, “If you accept policing you are really accepting the statelet” and “if a special ard fheis mandates Sinn Féin to support policing and the judiciary while still under British control in any shape or form, membership of that party would be untenable [] as an Irish republican.” It’s a line of questioning that has echoes of the Irish Times’ Frank Millar’s previously made point.From Newton’s article

Given the number of prominent party members who apparently felt that they would never have to endorse internal policing arrangements, questions must be asked about what these people were led to believe.

Sinn Féin has never made any secret of the fact that it views the agreement as a means to an end but the means it has actually deployed suggest considerable cynicism.

The Ulster Unionists and the SDLP took huge risks to back the new police service and nationalist representatives continue to face violent harassment while delivering progress through the agreed accountability structures.

Sinn Féin, by contrast, has taken almost a decade just to concede the most fundamental implication of an agreement that it claims to support. During that decade it undermined everyone who sought to work the institutions, with stunts ranging in ridiculousness from Ogra Sinn Féin invasions of the Policing Board to paramilitary-linked ‘restorative justice’ schemes that threatened every principle of natural justice.

However, even at its most obstructionist, Sinn Féin never openly claimed that it wanted the new policing arrangements to fail. It simply said that the arrangements had to be perfect before republicans could have anything to do with them. There was certainly no public suggestion that this perfect state required an end to the imperfect statelet “in any shape or form”.

Two weeks ago, in a joint letter to this newspaper, John Kelly and Hunger Strike leader Brendan Hughes wrote: “It is the possibility of republicans fed up with Sinn Féin lies and deceit deciding to mount an electoral challenge that sends shudders of anxiety through the leadership circles.”

Perhaps. But it is not leadership lies as such which have angered the rejectionist republicans.

What really upsets them is that the leadership lied when it told them it was only lying to everyone else.