Fair deal noted earlier the reported quotes from a PhD thesis research at Queen’s University but it’s worth looking back through the Slugger archive at the series of interviews from early 2006 referred to in the article. Dermot Ahern’s comments on policing in the first interview provided a focus that was returned to in the subsequent ones with Peter Hain, Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley, but in the context of the article’s notes on the US government concerns about “the biggest irritant between us and the Northern Ireland Office” it’s Mitchell Reiss’ later interview, June 2006, which is worth reading.
Sinn Féin’s complaint is that he [Reiss] has chosen to use that leverage by way of a ban on Mr Adams raising funds in the US as part of an overt attempt to force the pace of the internal republican debate on the policing issue.
Also from the June 10 2006 article
Yet republicans are apparently perplexed by an American stance they say is at odds with the declared position of the British and Irish governments.
Specifically, and intriguingly, they say Mr Reiss has shaped a position rendered irrelevant by their prior agreement or understanding with London as to how the policing issue can be resolved over time. And indeed we’ve heard reports in the past week that Northern Secretary Peter Hain is pressing the envoy to lift the fundraising ban.
However, Mr Reiss insists: “I’m convinced, persuaded . . . that there is no difference of opinion at this moment between the British, Irish and American governments on the issue of policing. Everyone recognises how essential this is to getting a normal society in Northern Ireland.”
And he made another interesting point
Looking ahead to the latest British/Irish “deadline” for a deal at Stormont, does Mr Reiss think the policing issue can and should be resolved by November 24th?
“I certainly hope so,” he replies, interestingly without the usual British/Irish caveat about it being a requirement but not a precondition: “I think it’s important to recognise the steps Sinn Féin has already taken and some of the work they are doing internally with their own constituency. I think they need to do it for their own reasons, regardless of whatever the governments say, what other parties say. Sinn Féin needs to do it on its own for its own constituents. I think they understand that, and for whatever reasons they do decide to do it, it will be a very good day for the people of Northern Ireland.”
At the time, Sinn Féin were arguing that they wouldn’t move on policing because of a motion passed by their Ard Fheis which required the party’s Executive to go to an Ard Fheis for a decision only when certain conditions had been met – conditions they restated in November 2006.
That didn’t change until it was superceded by another motion on the decision about policing, passed in January 2007, which passed the power to take the decision on policing into the hand of the party’s executive and away from the membership.. and which contained different conditions.. one of which appeared in the SF election manifesto.
And that’s a condition, and manifesto commitment, which looks increasingly likely not to be met.
All of which is worth considering if, as some commenters did earlier, you’re trying to argue that the US did not use their influence and/or did not have concerns that “elements of the Irish Government, the British government appeared rather blase about IRA criminality.”
Meanwhile here are the worrying quotes, reported today in the Observer, in relation to an ongoing investigation.
A spokesman for the Assistant Chief Constable stressed that the murder inquiry was still a live investigation and was limited in what information he could disclose. “ACC Sheridan confirmed that the detective in charge of the case had had a number of working meetings with representatives of Sinn Fein. At the last meeting, Sinn Fein agreed to look at encouraging members of their party and witnesses to come forward. As of Thursday 4 October no new witnesses had come forward,” he said.
“ACC Sheridan did not say there had been full co-operation from Sinn Fein. There are divergences between ACC Sheridan’s comments and the briefings which have been given to the family by the detective in charge of the case. The case is due to come to court in the near future.”
To repeat myself, again, and a reminder of the comparison I’ve been using..