“There was no coordinated political response..”

Somewhat of a convergence of criticism, ostensibly of policing here, from separate sources. First up out-going Assistant Chief Constable Peter Sheridan, previously interviewed in AgendaNI, talking to Suzanne Breen in the Sunday Tribune.

While the IRA Army Council may continue to meet, Sheridan predicts it will “fade into the pages of history” as there are no longer military matters for its members to discuss. However, he expresses concern that the threat posed by Republican dissidents is politically ignored.

“Last Saturday night, there was a rocket attack in the middle of Lisnaskea [Co Fermanagh] in which several police officers were nearly murdered. There was no coordinated political response… An emergency Executive meeting was convened to address floods, while the attempted murder of police went unmentioned. If there was a rocket attack on gardaí in Dublin city centre on Saturday night, Brian Cowen would call an emergency meeting of political and security figures to agree a strategy to deal with the threat. While I don’t want to over-emphasise the dissident threat, they are intent on killing police and there could be civilian deaths too.”

Meanwhile, as Fair Deal noted, the political failure was directly addressed by Patrick Murphy in the Irish News

We have no idea what MLAs believe are acceptable levels of crime or crime detection. Perhaps they should tell us. The PSNI have no strategic targets, which leaves it not so much a police force, more a uniformed advertising agency for the assembly. Their defence is that they need help from the public. What they fail to realise is that the public needs help from the police. In any other society government would be under pressure to act. But policing here has been so closely woven into the new political fabric that it is guaranteed political immunity whatever its performance.

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  • Dave

    NI’s “psychosis” afflicts more than just nationalists: where else would a vast criminal organisation with assets of hundreds of millions to manage suddenly be deemed not to exist, and all the cross-community nodding dogs of public and officialdom agree? Even the question of what happened to the proceeds of the biggest bank robbery in UK history is ‘answered’ by a device that pretends that the money was stolen and then burned, thereby giving us no need for concern about PIRA’s hidden wealth and those who manage it on their behalf. Likewise Brian Keenan, we were told, died a pauper with a ‘friend’ paying for his cancer care, despite earning 25 million for PIRA’s information export business from FARC – or perhaps that money just vanished too. If the proceeds of PIRA crime isn’t shared among the criminals responsible (such as the ‘impoverished’ Brian Keenan), then it either goes to the Army Council or is given to various charities around the globe or burned. No, it’s under the control of the Army Council, and yet no word is mentioned at all of this vast wealth and the management and control of it. And everybody just plays along.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    What about the money the British govt. has squirreled away – unwilling tax payer’s money that should be used for hospitals etc. etc – and are using to prosecute an illegal war in Iraq and Afghanistan. If the IRA Army Council has this money – and you seem to be so sure – what is it to you? It isn’t being used to provide ‘shock and awe’. If, as you snidely put it, it was used to provide cancer treatment for Brian Keenan, what about it? Does the British not provide for it’s top brass when they are put out to grass – when their murderous careers are finished? Get a life.

  • “There was no coordinated political response…”

    There might have been a meeting of London and Dublin officials who deal with policing and justice matters here …

  • Ulsters my homeland

    That’s what you get when you vote murdering global terrorists into government. Unfortunately all of Ulster will suffer because there are those who will never see murder for what it truly is, MURDER!

  • cynic

    Two points.

    First the police are already accountable to local politicians in Northern Ireland. They have all been on the Policing Board for a long time. They are the first line of accountability. So all the ballyhoo about ‘devolution of policing and justice’ is 50% waffle. the other 50% has been devolved.

    Next you may well ask, what have the politicians done with it so far? The answer is probably to posture and not much else. Some of them are starting to realize that a legacy of protest politics makes it much more difficult when you actually get into power.

    There was a brilliant example this week in Derry with the first use of the Taser.

    The SDLP and SF are against Tasers on principle. The problem is that as part of the institutions they are required to act within the law. The Human Rights act requires that they and the police act positively to protect the right to life at every stage. If they deny the police a proven less than lethal technology and someone later is killed by the police when they might not have been, the liability may then shift back to those who took that decision. Its exactly the same argument with rubber bullets. Firing them is bad and SDLP and SF are opposed to their use, but what happens when the only other option is to let the crowds kill each other or use lead bullets? Who will then carry the can? And as part of ‘the system’ they also have a legal duty to provide the police with protective measures to allow them to defend themselves.

    So once they are part of the system all these terribly hard decisions become theirs. With powers comes responsibility and liability and that’s why we are seeing some of the political squirming.

  • Nilad

    I see SF is now threatening to bring down the Assembly if they do not have devolution of Policing and Justice Powers.

    What would SF do if they could not threaten to throw their toys out of the pram? This is not grown-up politics. Not content with saying they would pull out of the Executive they have to threaten the stability of the whole Assembly by threatening to destabilize all the institutions.

    Please hurry up to 2012 and allow a decent alternative to this monthly instability and posturing that the DUP-SF tries to govern us with.