Yesterday Sinn Feins national chairperson Declan Kearney addressed a gathering to commemorate two IRA members Henry Hogan and Declan Martin who were killed in a gun battle by the army in Dunloy in 1984. As Jim Allister has already noted, during the course of his remarks Kearney stated: Nor is there any acceptable role for British military forces in todays six counties. Sinn Féin will not accept the reintroduction of any British military presence or activity; be it undercover, or otherwise. The problem is that the intervention of undercover army personal seems to have been instrumental in apprehending the militarist factions (SF speak for dissidents) who intended to murder a police officer in Garrison. This statement alongside those I mentioned previously by both Maskey and Adams condemning the introduction of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment do lead to the question. Which does Sinn Fein prefer: having specialist soldiers to help the police where necessary or having dissident terrorists able to attempt to murder police officers? After the murder of Constable Carroll some suggested that Sinn Fein has crossed a Rubicon: at the time I demurred. Whilst Martin McGuinness may claim he no longer want police officers murdered his party seems to oppose measures to protect them. That does make gaining unionist confidence for the devolution of policing and justice even more unlikely.
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