Many people have very valid reasons for opposing the 32 County Sovereignty Movement (32CSM), reasons so numerous it would seem unnecessary to invent additional ones. However that appears to be exactly what Sinn Féin has done in recent days.

Last week the Derry Journal reported on a letter writing campaign that the 32CSM was about to embark on aimed at businesses and schools dealing with the PSNI. They further reported “if their request for businesses to shun members of the PSNI is ignored, they will stage pickets and “name and shame” shops”.

Adds: The Derry Journal asked ‘Would you join a 32CSM protest outside a shop that serves PSNI officers?’ – Result was 55% yes.This was subsequently reported across the media as a direct threat to picket schools with Martina Anderson comparing it to Holy Cross

“How dare they issue such a bullying statement to the teachers, to the traders and to the children in our city and tell them they are going to picket outside school and our children will have to walk past pickets,” Sinn Fein’s Foyle MLA Martina Anderson told UTV.

“We all saw the scenes at Holy Cross and we will not allow these people to visit that upon our children.”

A theme that was taken up by Mark Durkan without the claim schools were to be subject to pickets.

“We saw loyalists intimidating schools back with the Holy Cross dispute and we know how appalling and wrong that was. No-one should bring any issue of politics, any difficulty they have with any authority, into the running of a school. Schools should be allowed to do the very important job that they do free from any intimidation whatsoever.”

A group called Bishop Street Peace and Reconciliation Group essentially parroted Anderson’s claim and ‘urged hardline republicans to enter talks with the businesses and schools they are threatening to picket’

The 32CSM have challenged the narrative that there was ever an intention to picket schools:

There have been deliberate attempts to misrepresent our position by vote seeking politicians and others who are pursuing an anti-republican agenda. At no stage was the picketing of schools ever contemplated as this would be contrary to our stated position of keeping schools politically neutral. This was made unambiguously clear in the only press release from the 32CSM regarding this issue (Derry Journal 12th Feb 2010). In this article a spokesperson for the 32CSM insists that the letter ‘is not a threat’. The spokesperson goes on to say ‘We are not trying to bully schools but we want to highlight the fact that children are being searched on their way to school. This is not a threat and will be done in an above board way. The letters will contain a contact number that people can call if they want more information’. This article is in the Derry Journal archives and can be viewed by anyone who is interested in verifying our stance.

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