Alliance propose Schengen based ‘hot pursuit…

When David Ford told Radio Slugger (3/4 of the way through) he was not part of the moderate middle, but rather the ‘radical centre’, he may well have had this manifesto commitment’s in mind.

Alliance would like to see the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Gardai able to pursue suspects on the other side of the Irish border. Such an instrument could be based on the European Union`s Schengen Agreement and would be an important tool in the fight against terrorism,” Alliance suggested.

The UK and Ireland are the only European Union member states who are not signatories to the Schengen Agreement, which allows police wearing their uniforms and in clearly marked vehicles to cross borders to track down criminals, has led to the closure of border posts between participating countries, stopped Customs checks between signatory nations, and provides for the sharing of information on terrorism as well as DNA and fingerprint evidence.

Back in 1997 on the eve of a major expansion of the original (1985) agreement and convention, the BBC had this to say about its voluntarily accepted conditions:

…member countries have to have a common visa policy, provide for police and judicial cooperation, and link up with a centralised computer system that pools information about cross-border crime – in particular the smuggling of drugs and the arrival of illegal immigrants. The major condition for open frontiers within Schengen is effective controls on the external borders.

This would appear to significantly ahead of either of the nationalist parties, in terms of cross border co-operation. It will be interesting to see what the Unionist parties make of it too, since it privileges concerns over common security standards.

, ,

  • SuperSoupy

    I missed the APNI section on secure locations along the border for the PSNI to stop at and leave their weapons. It must be on a different page. It is in there?

  • SuperSoupy

    Ooops, even that wouldn’t work as stopping to leave their weapons would end a ‘hot pursuit’.

    Unless APNI are suggesting disarming the PSNI? Now that would be radical instead of their unworkable suggestion.

  • George

    As long as any such unit is made up of officers from both forces but is under the control of and run by An Garda Siochána I’m sure Irish citizens on both sides of the border would be only too happy.

    When do we get started?

    I recommend Dundalk as the headquarters and reckon up to five kilometres inside Northern Ireland should be enough for the Gardaí to really trouble the smugglers and others who are up to no good.

  • páid

    Interesting that Alliance are describing themselves as radical. Personally I think NI has had quite enough of radical.

    The SDLP and SF are apparently persuading the Unionists of the benefits of a UI. It would be reasonable to assume that the first to be persuaded would be Alliance small u unionists, though I see no signs of it.

    Perhaps the Alliance radicals feel that partition, inevitable since 1911 do réir Mansergh, is as needed as ever.

    We shall see.

  • ummmm

    where would alliance feature in a 80 member assembly?

  • Crataegus

    ummmm

    would alliance feature in a 80 member assembly?

    Probably not.

    But put this another way should a party that can get say 5000 first preference votes in one constituency get a seat and a party that gets say 25000 votes across NI have no representation whatsoever?

    Do we want inclusive democracy? From my point of view it is better to have someone elected that represents one’s views than all this power sharing nonsense. If we want savings get rid of that, have a coalition of one party each from each side sharing power, have an opposition and reduce the number of ministries and make savings that way. Or we could consider NI as being sufficiently small to get rid of all local government and have simply a slightly increased Assembly. We are going to destroy any concept of local democracy anyway so why not put it to rest properly?

  • Comrade Stalin

    George:

    As long as any such unit is made up of officers from both forces but is under the control of and run by An Garda Siochána I’m sure Irish citizens on both sides of the border would be only too happy.

    With the Garda’s dodgy reputation esp. in Donegal, are you serious ? You can’t even rely on the Garda to enforce drink driving laws or even driving licenses. I cannot believe that nationalists – quite correctly – criticize the PSNI’s failings right up, but then overlook the Garda’s serious issues with internal corruption, not least the lack of oversight within that organization.

    paid :

    The SDLP and SF are apparently persuading the Unionists of the benefits of a UI.

    How many unionists did you survey to find this out ? Your point is contradictory anyway. A person who is persuaded of the benefits of a UI is not a unionist anymore.

    It would be reasonable to assume that the first to be persuaded would be Alliance small u unionists, though I see no signs of it.

    I am an Alliance supporter and I am not a unionist, small-u or otherwise. I don’t care whether there is a UI or not, I want peace and stability first, and we need to make some moves at repairing centuries-old tribal damage before we even start to think about constitutional change. I don’t mind the idea of Irish reunification. What I object to is “let’s get 50%+1 and then stick it back to the Orange bastards” which until recently has been about the height of republican “persuasion” for a UI, closely followed up by “we’ll have a UI and then the loyalists will simply back down whe they realize they’re defeated”. Nationalists are showing no immediate signs of any willingness to try to deal honestly with the concerns that unionists have.

    Irish reunification is going to involve fundamental all-Ireland talks with all sections of the community, and will require a thorough overhaul of the constitution to make it entirely secular (the abortion ban will have to go for example, and references to religion need to be removed), and include specific guarantees of minority rights. The issue of regional devolution may have to be scrutinized as well. Some people think that it will be a matter of, oh look, there’s a 50%+1 result in a referendum, let’s go to the barracks to see off the Brits tomorrow morning. Reunification will be a 10-15 year gradual process if there is to be any chance of pulling it off without a civil war.

  • kensei

    “the abortion ban will have to go for example”

    Hmmmmmm, I wonder who would be the biggest opponents to that in a New Ireland?

  • George

    Comrade,
    no I certainly wasn’t serious.

  • Now that would be radical instead of their unworkable suggestion.

    Soupy, what’s unworkable about it? It already happens everywhere else in Western Europe. Garda-PSNI co-operation is the best it’s ever been, to the good of all of us. I mean, surely you don’t object to all measures being taken to combat, say, Belfast UVF men running criminal enterprises in tandem with Dublin Irps?

    Unless of course you think the Shinners weren’t really right to accept the peelers after all?

    Or maybe you think some of the people they might be hotly pursuing across the border would be good old bhoys you’d rather not see taken into custody?

  • kensei

    “Soupy, what’s unworkable about it? It already happens everywhere else in Western Europe. Garda-PSNI co-operation is the best it’s ever been, to the good of all of us. I mean, surely you don’t object to all measures being taken to combat, say, Belfast UVF men running criminal enterprises in tandem with Dublin Irps?”

    I believe his point was that the PSNI are armed, whereas the Garda are not.

  • Kensei – protocols will have to be negotiated between the two police forces anyway; I think that’s the right place to deal with the arms issue. Remember, although routinely unarmed, about a quarter of Gardai are armed so it’s not a make or break issue.

    It would be great if the PSNI could be routinely unarmed as well – if the threat of people taking pot shots at them as they go about their business diminishes, I’m sure that could happen.

  • hotdogx

    comrade stalin,
    a great post, if only there were more like you in NI, Problem is there isn’t or maybe im wrong how many people do you know that feel the way you do?

  • lib2016

    The reason why Britain is not a member of the Schengen Agreement is that no mainland European government would accept the lack of restrictions on Britain’s security services and what they would do with the information. For many security purposes, especially the more clandestine ones Ireland and Britain are one unit, and both are effectively tools of the CIA.

    That little phrase ‘sharing of information on terrorist puroses’ covers things like kidnapping EU citizens and subjecting them to torture. Not a chance of either country joining the Schengen Agreement – they wouldn’t have us.

  • The reason why Britain is not a member of the Schengen Agreement is that no mainland European government would accept the lack of restrictions on Britain’s security services and what they would do with the information

    That is not the reason why Britain is not a member of the Schengen Agreement. Most mainland European governments have no trouble spying on their citizens either.

  • lib2016

    Comrade Stalin,

    ‘re-unification will be a 10-15 year gradual process’

    ….which has already started. If some people on this board don’t like the governments going ahead without the people of NI than we have only ourselves to blame. Hint: the troops are already leaving most of NI. No British government would get political support for re-occupying the west even if the Americans would allow them to deploy their soldiers against a useful ally. The Yanks don’t get Shannon for free, you know. A safe international airbase in an isolated easily defended area with excellent adjoining sealinks – it’s priceless.

  • lib2016

    Sammy,

    Several mainland governments are suing the CIA for clandestine kidnapping of their citizens and NATO is under strain as never before. If cooperation with the British security services and hence the CIA was too much in the 1980’s (and it was) then how much more so now?

  • páid

    CS,

    The SDLP and SF are apparently persuading the Unionists of the benefits of a UI.

    How many unionists did you survey to find this out ?

    Erm, none. Why would I need to? SF have a Unionist engagement department. The SDLP publish documents such as North South makes Sense. Neither of them appear to be making much progress.

    Your point is contradictory anyway. A person who is persuaded of the benefits of a UI is not a unionist anymore.

    Erm, run that by me again. This time taking the concept of time into account.

    You say “What I object to is “let’s get 50%+1 and then stick it back to the Orange bastards”

    Good for you. So do I.

  • Several mainland governments are suing the CIA for clandestine kidnapping of their citizens

    That is not the reason why Britain and Ireland are not members of the Schengen Agreement.

    If the UK decided to become a signatory tomorrow, it would be welcomed with open arms, and the Republic would have neither the capacity to stay out in practical terms nor the desire to stay out in ideological terms.

  • lib2016

    Sammy,

    you’re normally sensible about things like citizen’s rights. Think! The Schengen Agreement is about a shared database on all the citizens of the member countries. You can’t possibly believe that countries like Germany and Italy who are trying to arrest CIA operatives for abusing their powers are simultaneously going to be opening their records freely to the Americans.

    The security services work together sure but at a level where there is ‘plausible deniability’. There is no way mainland Europe is going to get it’s systems legally tied into countries like America and Britain whose governments are engaged, in the words of Kofi Annan, in an illegal war.

    Moreover mainland Europe has huge restrictions on the use and exchange of information about their citizens. They won’t allow the Brits into their files because they don’t trust them – it really is that simple.

    I did a quick google and couldn’t find anything. No more time. Sorry.

  • Comrade Stalin

    kensei:

    Hmmmmmm, I wonder who would be the biggest opponents to [removing abortion from the constitution] in a New Ireland?

    The thought of Free Ps demanding that things be inserted into the Irish constitution makes the whole thing worthwhile. In all seriousness, I think Ireland is becoming increasingly secular on all sides, and I think most people expect their laws to be pragmatic and founded in common sense, not religious dogma. The Free Ps are a tiny minority, almost inversely popular to the DUP.

    a great post, if only there were more like you in NI, Problem is there isn’t or maybe im wrong how many people do you know that feel the way you do?

    Thank you for the nice comment, Comrade Hotdogx. I can’t say how many there are like me pursuing Socialism in One Country, but Slugger gives a pretty good cross-section. Watch the election results and see the sort of eejits that people vote in. That’s the depressing part.

    kensei:

    re-unification will be a 10-15 year gradual process….which has already started. If some people on this board don’t like the governments going ahead without the people of NI than we have only ourselves to blame.

    I don’t like it, and I can’t see why nationalists should like it either – but that’s the “stick it up to the bastards” point I made earlier at work, nationalists support this stuff just because it pisses off the unionists. The objective should be an agreed Ireland (gawd, I’m talking Humespeak already), not a forced one. While I have no sympathy for unionists whose failure to engage results in the dilution of the union, nobody should be happy that they are being bounced into it. Nobody in Northern Ireland votes for the governments in either London or Dublin, and the electorate that those politicians are accountable to aren’t going to take any decisions at their own expense. It amazes me how people who call themselves nationalists or republicans are so willing to accept Irish politicians, as well as the police, on such good faith as if they were knights in shining armour. If I had a republican perspective (which I don’t), I’d think that the Irish government had been shafting us since 1921, starting with the Treaty, and had never really stopped, especially after the big let down in 1969.

    No British government would get political support for re-occupying the west even if the Americans would allow them to deploy their soldiers against a useful ally.

    Oh, now you’re on about repartition. Stupid. The loyalists have no legal mandate to engage in a civil war, but that wouldn’t stop them, and being the spineless bastards that they are, it’s civilians who would get the brunt of it. You’d subject hundreds of thousands of people to civil war and upheaval just to be able to give two fingers to the Brits ? The pragmatic thing would be to take it slow, and work on them over a longer period of time. The process of softening the loyalists has I think already begun (see Croke Park last Sunday) but it’ll take a hell of a lot longer than 15 years, and a lot more work into the bargain, to see them assent to reunification.

    paid:

    Erm, none. Why would I need to? SF have a Unionist engagement department. The SDLP publish documents such as North South makes Sense. Neither of them appear to be making much progress.

    A UUP member once boasted to me proudly that of course the party was not anti-Catholic, the Catholic members even had their own Catholic unionist association. I wasn’t convinced by his argument that this made the UUP non-sectarian, neither am I convinced by the Sinn Fein suggestion that an office with a telephone and a sign reading “unionist engagement department” means that SF are actually serious about engaging with unionism. I have to admit that it’s better than F.A. though. The Stoops are just a sick joke.

    The answer to this lies in persuading people that real politics is what matters, not the constitution. Once people get around to that – and making the assembly work is the first step – then we can have a mature debate about constitutional matters. The Stoops publishing a position paper saying “why nationalism is good” is hardly compelling. SF and the Stoops believed that reunification was good even when the RoI was a misruled backward economic basket case (and no, I don’t mean before 1922). This is like asking the Pope to make a case for Christianity. You’re not going to get an unbiased, factual justification.

    Erm, run that by me again. This time taking the concept of time into account.

    If you take a unionist and persuade that person that a UI is a good idea (tricky from the outset), then they’re not a unionist anymore. A unionist is someone who dogmatically thinks that a UI is not a good idea.

  • kensei

    “The thought of Free Ps demanding that things be inserted into the Irish constitution makes the whole thing worthwhile. In all seriousness, I think Ireland is becoming increasingly secular on all sides, and I think most people expect their laws to be pragmatic and founded in common sense, not religious dogma. The Free Ps are a tiny minority, almost inversely popular to the DUP.”

    There are a lot of “secular” reasons to oppose abortion, not just religious ones, but that is a whole other debate. The point is that up here is probably even more opposed to it than the South. It simply wouldn’t be a demand in negotiation.

  • BonarLaw

    Comrade Stalin

    “The process of softening the loyalists has I think already begun (see Croke Park last Sunday)”

    Dear God, if having the Irish national anthem and Irish state symbols forced on an all Island team is the way forward then I dread to think what else this softening process has to offer.

    The truth is that neither terror nor demographics are going to deliver the republican wet dream so we have the laughable concept of “outreach”. My only worry is what happens when the penny drops with the nationalists that being nice to unionists isn’t going to stop them being unionist.

    lib2016

    tin foil helmet stuff- could it possibly be that not being on the European mainland has something to do with the UK not being in Schengen? Or the Common Travel Area with the Irish Republic?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Dear God, if having the Irish national anthem and Irish state symbols forced on an all Island team is the way forward then I dread to think what else this softening process has to offer.

    That is not what I meant. I guess I (and a lot of other people) could be guilty of overinterpreting what was at the end of the day just a civilized game of rugby, but I thought that it was the first really good sign showing that Ireland these days might be capable of being quite a warm house for Brits or Prods after all. Once we get to the point where both nationalism and unionism are reduced to silly pathetic protests outside stadiums in the manner of what we saw last weekend, then we’ll know the job is done.

    The truth is that neither terror nor demographics are going to deliver the republican wet dream so we have the laughable concept of “outreach”.

    The chuckies are doing that to play to their own audience. They aren’t massively serious about addressing unionism’s core concerns, although they’ve moved a hell of a distance, what with disarming themselves, accepting the police & courts etc – if only unionism would do the same. And there are other little things, such as Maskey doing the war memorial thing while he was Lord Mayor.

    Of course, their job in maintaining a facade of being willing to engage unionism is made nice and easy by unionism’s stupid and blinkered refusal to call their bluff. Republicanism would be on the run if unionism faced it head on.

    My only worry is what happens when the penny drops with the nationalists that being nice to unionists isn’t going to stop them being unionist.

    Unionism and nationalism are both dated and ridiculous. An ideology built around securing a particular constitutional configuration in a tiny little country may as well be a religion in it’s own right. There will be a time when people realize that, and they fade into insignificance, perhaps lingering on as faint ghosts, in the way that the ghosts of the division over the treaty linger on in today’s FF and FG in the RoI.

  • BonarLaw

    Comrad Stalin

    “Republicanism would be on the run if unionism faced it head on.”

    For example the stunning success of “I’ve jumped, Mr Adams, now it’s your turn.”?

    “Unionism and nationalism are both dated and ridiculous”

    Quite possibly true. However they are tied up with notions of identity, heritage and culture which will not allow them to fade into ghosts. Within unionism I sense a desire for normal politics and will be interested to see how the Tories exploit this.

  • páid

    CS,

    well written responses. Let’s clear up one thing. If unionists accept a UI they’re not unionists any more. Obviously. Agreed. Totally.
    But that does not mean CURRENT unionists cannot be persuaded to be FUTURE new Irelanders.

    Now then, man of steel, you make a comment..

    SF and the Stoops believed that reunification was good even when the RoI was a misruled backward economic basket case….

    and a true comment it was IMO, and indeed you left out ‘social basket case’

    But the poser I set for Alliance is

    If you are against division, why do ye ignore the massive, obvious divison of the people of ulster and ireland?

    Never mind reopening roads and communities between Monaghan and Tyrone, let’s wheel in Charles Kennedy from across the water to give us his very helpful Scottish island view.

    And if you believe that division should narrow, where are you setting the bar for the Republic?

    What do we have to do to be reunited with our countrymen?

  • “If you are against division, why do ye ignore the massive, obvious divison of the people of ulster and ireland?”

    Páid, John Hume said it better than I can. “It’s not the territory that’s divided, it’s the people that are divided.” Unite the people, the border ceases to be an issue; as long as the people are divided, a united Ireland solves nothing.

  • páid

    I agree Sammy (and JH).

    That’s why I said the people of Ulster and Ireland.

  • páid

    And my peoplecentric questions remain.

  • Crataegus

    páid

    It is a very difficult question.

    I think there are several problems in how we look at this. The first is in our concepts of the entity that is the 6 counties. We see the two options as being either part of Britain or part of Ireland. I think not enough though has been given to how we could arrive at a position that is a compromise that enables this place to be both British and Irish and separate but involved with both? Surely it is not beyond our intelligence to devise something that would be a fair constitutional position that may or may not lead to either full integration into Ireland or back into Britain?

    We also have common interests within the European context. We need ideas, we need to be a lot more clever. The Good Friday Agreement, in all its variations has structures and concepts that are anything but clever.

    The second is playing politics with issues that should be common sense. Having an all Ireland transport or energy policy isn’t of necessity anything to do with re unification. How do you build up trust if idiots mislead and make claims that are partisan? For one way or the other trust is the problem. Politicians on all sides play to the gallery to make personal gain and by so doing cause real damage. How do we stop this? Should we place the responsibility for inclusivity of support on the candidates, should we have two votes for and against candidates?

    The third problem is identity, some here see themselves as Irish and others as British. Both are equally valid. It should not be a matter of one tradition supplanting another but how do we encourage the two communities to widen their social network to encompass some of each other’s experience and tradition in a way that is natural and unforced?

    It is a matter of us all considering wider opinion than our own personal preferences. A bit like a successful marriage perhaps.

  • Comrade Stalin

    For example the stunning success of “I’ve jumped, Mr Adams, now it’s your turn.”?

    I was referring to other stunning successes, whereby the unionists refuse to talk, the Brits impose a union-diluting deal which was worse than they would have got if they had talked, and then unionists flail about shouting impotently while everyone points and laughs at them. The Good Friday Agreement would have been very interesting if the DUP had attended the talks. In fact the whole past eight or nine years of history here would probably be completely different. There is no way to describe this other than miserable, head in the sand leadership.

    I think we’ll have to wait a bit longer before we can properly judge Trimble’s performance retrospectively. Given that Paisley is currently undergoing the same stresses that he did, it could be that Trimble will have the last laugh. All it takes once the executive starts is a post office robbery or a kneecapping in West Belfast.

    Quite possibly true. However they are tied up with notions of identity, heritage and culture which will not allow them to fade into ghosts.

    It’s only possible to be sure about this kind of thing with hindsight, but I think the fading may already be starting. Mainstream republicanism is obviously diluting itself in order to catch up with the times. The present day IRA was founded to bring down Stormont, and here they are disarming (unthinkable by itself) so that they can get it started up again. The difference between now and 1970 is essentially that the demands of the civil rights movement have been implemented.

    paid :

    If you are against division, why do ye ignore the massive, obvious divison of the people of ulster and ireland?

    Sammy Morse has already said it. The divisions here aren’t just lines on a map. They aren’t going to go away just because you take the line away.

    Unionism thought it could subdue Irish nationalism by dominating the Northern Ireland state. It was, as we all know, completely wrong. Nationalism seems to be to be heading for making the same mistake, by trying to subdue British nationalism by dominating an all-Ireland state. It will be a disaster marred by civil war unless serious work goes in to fixing up the tribal divisions, and I think it’s the small things, such as the rugby match last weekend, that move towards that.

    Does that answer your question or am I just waffling ?

  • BonarLaw

    Comrad Stalin

    The DUP did attend the talks until SF arrived.

    Given the rules on “sufficient conscensus” the UUP + either of the “loyalist” parties could have delivered an outcome regardless of DUP or indeed UKUP objections. That is why Trimble broke with the DUP on accepting the Chairman and the Ground Rules in 1996.

    Not being at the table in 1998 is a useful brick bat to throw at the DUP but in all reality their absence did not alter one dot or comma of the governmnets’ agreement which had been sitting on a NIO hard drive waiting for some monkey to hit print since the Autumn of 1997.

  • páid

    Crat and CS (if ye are as sad as I am scrolling back to this thread)

    Great posts, no waffle.

    Alliance has a key role to play in the next phase of the process methinks.