With policing powers devolved, will Sinn Fein bite the bullet over the dissidents?

“Policing has got to be ruthless” cries the Newsletter, echoing their endless headlines of 30 years ago. In contrast, Henry warns against repeating “the lethal errors of repressive legislation, internment, Bloody Sunday and later the criminalisation programme in the H-Blocks. The mistakes in state policy drove many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of young nationalists into the PIRA’s ranks.” Superficially we have been here before. But the response to counter insurgency didn’t start like that. Emerging out of communal violence it began with “softly softly”, “no go areas,” a briefly disarmed police force, and that identical phrase which Hugh Orde would have been wise to have avoided: “ an acceptable level of violence” from Home Secretary Reginald Maudling. Mauding’s remarks in 1971 were taken as presaging moves towards a new political strategy, so the context is completely different. Everyone seems to agree that political change alone is not so to speak, the magic bullet for suddenly dissipating the residues of insurgency, although politics ought to be able to forestall a major upsurge. But in dealing with political violence, have we learned nothing and forgotten nothing? Surely not. Policing and governance are transformed. We can only hope the transformation survives under pressure. Now that Justice powers are being transferred what can Sinn Fein do to help? An ideological contest among republicans seems a no win. As revolutionaries, the rejectionists ( as I prefer to call the dissidents) reject the ballot box in principle until they are dead or revolutionaries no more. Will mainstream republicans leave all initiatives entirely to the State apparatus or exploit their local networks to squeeze the rejectionists? ( And I don’t mean nutting or kneecapping). So far they’ve claimed little success.

If by one means or another, the test on the ground is passed, a steady flow of information will lead to arrests and an eventual collapse of rejectionist activity. In the meantime, unless mainstream republicans make a convincing case that they can deliver all this on their own, we should hear fewer kneejerk condemnations of intelligence gathering and stop and search. And if we’re looking for lessons from the past, although we have the residue of the past 30 years added on, the parallel worth examining is the border campaign of 1957-62, defeated not mainly by policing but by the will of the nationalist people. The option of internment south of the border (administered by Charles Haughey in 1962, the last Irishman to have imposed it), we can take to be no longer relevant.

  • Michaelhenry

    this is some scare tactic, certain journalists do not question there dissident sources on why the hardline dissidents have never in over 20 years killed an armed british soldier,the payback is that the dissident sources tell there journalist friends how they think that sinn fein has sold out,both scratch each others backs,nothing hurts like the truth.

  • Paddy

    A simplistic analysis. RIRA especially are northenr not Southern derived as was Operation Harvest. If the dissidents are pushed, they could well vent their spleen on known British agents like martin McG, Martin F, Mary Lou and Liam Adams’ brother. Currnetlythey are not a threat, except to themselves as the previous poster implies.

  • old school

    Michael, if you were about during the 70s and 80s, you’d know Provisionals, were no slouches, when it came to branding the SDLP “sell outs” “stoops” and “collaborators” for doing what PSf does today.
    In fact the SDLP at the time were’nt even as pro-State as PSF are today. The SDLP did not support the State Forces unconditionally. Nor did they support the criminalisation of Republican prisoners.
    Now the shoe is on the other foot, PSF will just have to adapt to their new role.

    Deal with it.
    BTW, what journalists are scratching the backs of “dissidents”?
    Isn’t this the kind of Mc Carthyite speak that led to dead journalists, solicitors, human rights activists in the past?
    One step away from “Fellow travellers” “camp followers ” and so on.

  • Michaelhenry

    old school can still not say why the so called hardline dissidents killed no armed british soldiers in over 20 years,always look for the truth

  • old school

    Prior to Messareene the mantra was “these guys haven’t killed one Brit,” now it’s “They haven’t killed one armed Brit.”
    No doubt when they kill an armed Brit, it will become, “they haven’t killed an armed Brit,sporting a handlebar moustache and wearing beige.”
    Funny how the same people who condemn IRA attacks also berate them for not killing more.

  • Michaelhenry

    old school seems to back the real,those who started in 1997,thats 13 years without killing an armed british soldier or a peeler

  • old school

    Post #1 Michael Henry accuses some journalists of being fellow travellers of the RIRA.
    Post#6, Michael Henry accuses a poster here of being a camp follower of the RIRA.

    More debating and less baiting, Michael or you’ll turn into a Northern Eoghan Harris in no time.
    Which group to you owe your allegiance?

  • Michaelhenry

    the only all ireland group

  • old school

    I guessed as much.
    God Save Ireland.

  • old school

    You still haven’t named the journalists you were deliberately or inadvertently setting up for arrest or loyalist attention by describing them as RIRA sympathisers.

  • lamhdearg

    The rfu?, Give us a clue.

  • old school

    You also support an armed paramilitary group, in the guise of the PSNI, who work hand in glove with the British Army and MI5, and you have the gall to finger me and some journalists as “terrorist sympathisers”

  • Michaelhenry

    who can remember a journalists name,i rememer there lies just

  • lamhdearg

    and then there where two

  • old school

    And then there were one. I`m off for a cold shower.
    Michael haven’t you a Special Counter-insurgency Police Unit to set up or something?

  • Michaelhenry

    its the real who like the police,them hardliners have never killed one.

  • Michaelhenry

    its the real who like the police,them hardliners have never killed one.

  • Michaelhenry

    and has long as the real keep complaning about sinn fein no journalists will ever ask why they have not killed any police or armed brit soldier

  • old school

    Poor Michael, the Sinn Fein poster boy, is now implying PSF don’t support the police and it is actually the RIRA who support the police.
    This is the La-La land these people live in where they speak out of both sides of the mouth at the same time.
    A land where they read the Proclamation and administer British Rule at the same time.
    Where they honour Volunteers killed by “Anti terror” police, then call for more “Anti terror” police units to be formed.
    Anybody else get their intelligence insulted today?

  • LabourNIman

    ‘Will SF bite the bullet’ – no bloody chance.

  • ardmaj55

    MichaelHenry. [17] Ironic that the ‘real’ in real IRA, is, in Spanish ‘Royal’ as in Real Madrid.

  • Michaelhenry

    real royals,real brits,real jokes,same difference

  • old school

    ardmaj55,
    The Spanish refer to them as
    l’IRA Authentico.
    In Spanish “ira” is “anger” and “pira” is fire.
    They’d call poor Michael “tonto”

  • Michaelhenry

    not bad old school