SF fails to fill DPP posts in Strabane

More indicators of discontent among the Sinn Féin rank and file. Along with the resignation of MLA Gerry McHugh, and the suspension of Cllr Bernice Swift, the BBC reports that in Strabane District Council, where they have 8 councillors, Sinn Féin were unable to find 5 councillors willing to join the District Policing Partnership.. only 3 of their councillors took up their positions and the remaining two places went [under the d’Hondt system] to the DUP. Perhaps it was “a mistake to organise a meeting without talking to people in the local community..” Adds An Ulster Herald report dated 29th November, when SF were saying they would fill all five seats, has more on that internal party wrangling. More Strabane SF Councillor Brian McMahon on Talkback blamed the failure to take the seats on “poor policing”… Update Some reaction here

[Independent MEP Jim] Allister said: “It doesn’t square with full support for police and the rule of law. Actions do speak louder than words so these actions point to a deficit in terms of their supposed commitment to the rule of law. If there is a problem you would have thought the leadership would sort it out and obviously they have not been able to.”

From the BBC report

The party was entitled to five places, but could only find three candidates willing to take part.

The two spare posts were offered to DUP councillors hours before the deadline for nominations expired on Tuesday.

The inability to fill the positions followed weeks of internal wrangling within Sinn Fein.

  • pith

    At least the SF leadership can take some comfort from knowing that two of its places went to their main political allies.

  • Sinn Féin handing policing seats to the DUP. Déjà vu?

  • Shawn

    the way you guys like to point out Sinn Fein’s little foibles sure points out that they are in fact the dominant Party in nIreland. even if they do not have the most seats

  • Oiliféar

    Now considering that there are two SDLP councilors in Strabane – and leading on from the mutual back slapping/scratching at the UUP and SDLP AGMs last month – can we finally assume that the dynamic in the North has changed (at least among the political elite) from unionist/nationalist in opposition to each other to unionist-nationalist coalitions of government and opposition – and that whatever about the make-up of the executive, it’s plain who’s government and who’s opposition.

    A good thing, no? And a uniquely Irish horse-trading spin on d’Hontd.

  • Oiliféar

    … just spotted the stupidity of my own “two SDLP councilors” remark – none the less, has the dynamic changed?

  • cut the bull

    It would be a bit more informative to know which councillors went on the dpp and which councillors declined to do so.

    Has any one got the answer?

  • truth,hurts

    Is it the case that Sinn Fein gave the two seats to the Dup or is it that they were entilted to them when SF didnt take them?
    Also Gerry McHugh states in the fermanagh herald today that 12 months ago Fermanagh Sinn Fein Cllrs signed a letter and sent it to the Leadership with major concerns about the direction the St Andrews aggrement seemed to be taking the party. When you read this and coming on his resignation and Bernice Swifts suspension all must not be well in Fermanagh for Sinn Fein either. It looks like Sinn Fein are getting it tight to hold it together, i wonder are heavys on their way to dish out suspensions in Strabane?

  • It seems this press release was a little pre-emptive:

    Sinn Fein take their seats on Strabane DPP

    Sinn Fein will take their seats on Strabane District Policing Partnership (DPP) on 4th
    December 2007. At a special meeting of Council held last night (Tuesday 30th October),
    the allocation of seats for Strabane DPP was agreed.

    Under these new arrangements, designed to fairly reflect the political make-up of the
    council, Sinn Fein will have 5 seats on the partnership, while DUP, UUP and SDLP will
    have 1 seat each.”

    They said before the Assembly elections that “Others promise, we deliver”. Yeah they delivered something alright- a couple of extra seats to the DUP. Is this part of the St. Andrews deal?

  • Outstanding in my field

    Do either of these issues Рnominating only 3 councillors to the Strabane DPP or the resignation of Gerry McHugh Рreally amount to a whole lot of beans or is there an element of wishful thinking by those who hate Sinn F̩in.

  • Bemused, Strabane

    There are 8 Sinn Fein cllrs in Strabane. SF were entitled to 5 seats on the DPP. As we now know they could only fill 3 of them, one interesting point is that Gerard Foley Sf Council Chairman nominated the 3 Shinners but didn’t take up a post himself. None of the SF’s who refused to take their seats on the DPP have refused on a point of principle, they (like sheep) support the SF line on policing, surely their position within SF is contradictory and untenable. One SF cllr Jarlth Mc Nulty wouldn’t take a seat because his family were against it, do they and Jarlath not see any contradiction in their position. As for Cllr Brian Mc Mahon, Brian would not join SF until after the IRA ceasefire, he has no principles and no position on anything until he is told the party line from Belfast. On the one hand fair play to those SF’s who refused to take a seat on the toothless DPP,s, however they should do the logical thing and now resign from Sinn Fein, they can not ride two horses. Either they are for Sf involvement in DPP,s or not.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Maybe it has nothing to do with principles and more to do with cowardice, ie fear of either electoral punishment, ostracisation or intimidation from dissidents.

  • Nevin

    Why would SF be entitled to 5 places?

    “Strabane DPP has 14 members, 7 Independent Members and 7 Political Members.” Has this been changed?

    Council: SF 8, DUP 3, SDLP 2, UUP 2, IND 1.

    I’d have expected the DPP to be SF 4, DUP 1, SDLP 1 and UUP 1.

  • Strabane SF Councillor Brian McMahon on Talkback blamed the failure to take the seats on “poor policing”…

    Or fear of Irps?

  • pith

    Will the two DUP members have to report back to SF?

  • joeCanuck

    Perhaps Sammy. That particular group does hold some sway in strabane, unfortunately, and they haven’t been afraid to push their weight around.
    Concillors have had suspicious devices left on their doorsteps and the like, too.

  • Indeed Joe, but it didn’t stop SDLP reps signing up years ago when there was a lot more guns floating about the place.

  • cut the bull

    I beleive if you look at the issue of change within policing and the criminal justice system in this state, you would come to an honest conclusion that it aint happening.

    1. Consider the actions of the PSNI during what became known as the seige of Short Strand which started on Saturday May 11th 2002 and lasted 8 months.

    Two pipe bombs were thrown at nationalist homes in Madrid Street. PSNI arrived and took up position at junction of Bryson Street/Madrid Street, facing nationalists.

    Nationalist residents remonstrated with PSNI. A resident of the Short Strand, attempted to calm the situation.

    The PSNI baton charged and this man was batoned repeatedly about the head resulting in fractures to his skull with shards of bone embedded in his brain necessitating neurosurgery.

    In the following 8 months there had been over 200 pipe bombs and blast bombs thrown into the Short Strand, yet the PSNI only declared two crime scenes and considered the numerous other pipe bombs unworthy of investigation.
    A Loyalist shot at residents in Madrid St. In clear view of the PSNI yet he was not chased or any attempt made to apprehend him.
    The PSNI spent 16 hours denying that this incident happened even though it had sent a SOCO unit to the scene to investigate and recover any evidence.

    Masked Loyalists walked through PSNI and RIR lines no attempt was made to stop them on the edge of Short Strand. They attacked homes and residents with bricks, bottles and sticks.

    The PSNI response to his was to fire plastic bullets not at the masked men attacking homes in the Short Strand but at the residents attempting to defend themselves and their homes.

    Video evidence also showed members of the PSNI chatting with Loyalists as they fired ball bearings from catapults at residents in Madrid St and Bryson St.

    Also disputed is the number of gun and bomb attacks that went unreported during this period as the BBC and ITV and much of the print media took their lead from the PSNI who denied such attacks were taking place.

    2. Consider the input of members of the PSNI in the trial of Seán Hoey.

    Fiona Cooper a scenes of crime officer claimed a statement had been changed at the request of, Detective Chief Inspector Philip Graham Marshall.

    Det Ch Insp Philip Greer Marshall made the admission during the trial of Sean Hoey, of Jonesborough, County Armagh.

    DCI Marshall admitted in court that the statement had been “beefed up”, and acknowledged it must have been a member of the Omagh bomb inquiry team who asked for that to be done.

    At this point in the trial both Fiona Cooper and Philip Graham were members of the PSNI

    Falsifying statements in a murder trial is that proper professional policing.

    3. Questions about the PSNI and Mark Haddock and Denis Donaldson remain unanswered.

    According to former CID detectives Jonty Brown and Trevor Mc Ilwrath, Mark Haddock worked as informer within the UVF for the CID from 1985 until 1991. Haddock was then taken over by the RUC special branch while the Mountvernon UVF was allowed to get away with murder.

    Several murders in fact, while Haddock was being protected by the RUC Special Branch.

    In Dec 2002 Trevor Gowdy was almost beaten to death having his hands nearly severed by a hatchet in Monkstown.

    Mark Haddock was charged with involvement in this attack. Was Mark Haddock working for the Special Branch at this time?

    I ask this is because the PSNI were formed in Nov 2001, this murder attempt for which he was charged happened in Dec 2002,and if he was still a Special Branch agent he was working for the PSNI.

    When Denis Donaldson revealed that he was working for the Special Branch during the Stormont Gate scandal, he would have been working for the PSNI Special Branch who had helped collapse the Assembly and attempted to distabalise the peace process.

    It is public knowledge that these men were working not only for the RUC Special Branch but for the PSNI Special Branch under the leadership of Chief Constable Hugh Orde.

  • cut the bull

    4. Recently a young family man from Twinbrook was stopped while driving to the spot where his daughter had died three weeks before.

    Although when stopped the man had been disqualified from driving. The PSNI officers who stopped him did’nt seem unduly concerned about this. They were more interested in getting him to visit a PSNI station, where they put pressure on the man at a vulnerable time to become an informer.

    5. Another man was stopped in Ligoniel in North Belfast by the PSNI at a checkpoint, two uniformed PSNI men asked this man who is a community worker to become an informer.

    A week later while going to Turkey on holiday, the man was approached by the same two PSNI men who were in plain clothes and who introduced themselves as Special Branch. They told him that they weren’t like the old Special Branch, the Special Branch had changed, they could set him up with an apartment in Turkey if he would watch people in Ardoyne.

    It seems the only thing that the Special branch has changed, is its new initials from RUC Special Branch to PSNI Special Branch because its low life tactics and harassment remain the same.

    I believe people also need to take into consideration calls for community support for the Criminal Justice System.

    The Public Prosecution Service is a totally unaccountable body answerable to no one.
    The PPS as a matter of routine refuses to make lawyers, judges and the general public aware of reasons for its failure to prosecute certain people re hashing the same worn out mantra “that it is not in the public interest to prosecute”.

    Its clear why there are dissenting voices and people making choices not allow themselves to become part of this dubious process of supporting the PSNI and criminal justice system.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    For the benefit of those paying attention – hint there is no horse-trading involved, the seats, when refused, were redistributed under d’Hondt.

    There’s an update to the original post

    [Independent MEP Jim] Allister said: “It doesn’t square with full support for police and the rule of law. Actions do speak louder than words so these actions point to a deficit in terms of their supposed commitment to the rule of law. If there is a problem you would have thought the leadership would sort it out and obviously they have not been able to.”

  • percy

    not sure if quoting mcallister contextually is none other than mischief-making!

  • Frank Sinistra

    If Swift was suspended for being critical of DPPs can these Cllrs expect the same as they actually acted against them instead of just voicing an opinion?

  • joeCanuck

    I agree El Mat.
    I was in no way excusing the actions of SF.
    The SDLP councillors who took their seats earlier showed a lot of courage in the face of opposition (to put it extremely mildly) from some SF supporters.

  • “As for Cllr Brian Mc Mahon, Brian would not join SF until after the IRA ceasefire, he has no principles and no position on anything until he is told the party line from Belfast.”

    Brian McMahon is a former IRA prisoner, a long term councillor, assembly candidate and more importantly hard working community activist.

    Brian McMahon has alot of credibility in Strabane and across Tyrone and its good to see someone like himself with conviction join the DPP to challenge the PSNI’s political policing.

  • truth,hurts

    barra Tyrone

    Brian McMahon has alot of credibility in Strabane and across Tyrone and its good to see someone like himself with conviction join the DPP to challenge the PSNI’s political policing

    I dont know Brian McMahon personally and I or no one should try and damage his character as a republican but i totally disagree with your view that by joining the DPP he will challenge the PSNI’s political policing. This is complete nonsense and as a member of Ogra Shinn Fein who as you know spoke against the motion at the Ard Fheis to support the PSNI i am susprised that you think joining the Dpp Would achieve anything.
    The Dpp’s have ABSOLUTLY no powers, they are not designed to hold the police to account they have no LEGISIATIVE power to do so, this isnt just talk this is A FACT.
    I would ask you to explain exactly how any member of a Dpp can hold the PSNI to account and challenge political policing through the Dpp’s? I really look forward to your response.

  • get real

    interesting to see if in fact blatant refusal to join dpp will merit a suspension like Bernice or will the local sf command structure be less forceful in looking for one than they were in Fermanagh

  • truth,hurts

    Thats a very interesting point whether any Sinn Fein Cllr from strabane will be suspended, Cllr Brian McMahon has already indicated that he didnt think so and that approach would be a bit harsh? The local Sinn Fein in fermanagh must of had a different view when they suspended Cllr Bernice Swift, and she only gave her opinion on the Dpp’s, that decision to suspend was very HARSH to say the least.

  • Frank Sinistra

    truth, hurts,

    You are a credit to Ógra SF.

    Your comments on this thread have demonstrated a maturity lacking by other members of your party contributing.

    (look and learn, guys. A young member is showing the party hacks up on this)

  • Frank Sinistra


    Sorry, I’ve just realised I may have misread and you were referring to ‘Barra’ as the ÓSF member not yourself. If that’s the case assume my kudos to Ógra withdrawn and yours intact.

  • latcheeco

    Does that mean they refused to put lipstick on the pig?

  • Outsider

    I wonder when the DUP will realise that they are going to face a severe backlash at the next election?

  • Shawn

    Every one on here predicts a severe backlash every time one party or the other makes a decision. why do I have a feeling it will be business as usual because the people are generally happy with the results and its own the yapping dogs in the night who are making these predictions

  • Outsider

    Well Shawn these yapping dogs in the night made the same predictions about the UUP.

  • Dewi

    Breaking News from Derry

  • jarlath

    brian and Ivan better not upset those nasty irps in strabane as they are, unfortunately, a major force in that town who are not shy when it comes to murder, knee-capping, kidnappping and attacking dpp members. I hear this factor was a big influence with those who lost their balls.