Sinn Féin’s veiled threat over police co-operation

As reported by BBC NI’s Vincent Kearney, Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey has been making veiled threats about reviewing the level of the party’s co-operation with the police unless an ongoing legal action taken by the brother of a former Sinn Féin candidate is resolved to their satisfaction.  I say veiled threat because, despite Vincent Kearney’s best efforts on Evening Extra, Alex Maskey wouldn’t specify on air what it was the party was going to do.

From the BBC report

Sinn Fein, which joined the policing board three years ago after a long internal debate, has warned that it may withdraw co-operation with the police in nationalist areas if the matter is not resolved quickly.

Alex Maskey, Sinn Fein, said: “What we bring is the co-operation of tens of thousands of people and that should not be squandered.

“I presume it won’t be, but it is down to the chief constable to make sure people we represent understand that we have moved into a new era.

“Cases like this are examples of how we have not yet finalised the work of ending political policing, and we have got to do that.”

The policing board and the PSNI have said they cannot comment on the issue as it is the subject of ongoing legal action.

And a reminder of the issue at the heart of this story

Last month, Mr [Kevin] Kennedy failed in a legal attempt to gain access to the intelligence information on which the police based their assessment.

During a hearing at the High Court in Belfast, it was revealed that the Board was told during the summer of 2004 that Mr Kennedy failed security vetting because of historical and recent intelligence regarding his brother, Dermot Kennedy, which had been assessed as reliable and accurate information.

It said the intelligence was very sensitive and a matter of national security.

Dermot Kennedy is a former Sinn Fein Westminster and Assembly election candidate and has never been convicted of a criminal offence.

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  • Mark McGregor


    I would describe Dermott Kennedy as the most ridiculously wealthy, mansion owning SF candidate ever (proper mansion, not pissing about type, former judge’s home). When I went to his house to borrow a ladder I was feckin disgusted at the ostentatious display of wealth from a man in a supposed socialist party.

    I’m surprised SF would make his brother’s employment a make or break issue on supporting policing – well not really given the wealth of the man.

    Though its a bit of a stretch thinking the entire nationalist community will go into bat for a millionaire SF member’s brother’s job prospects.

  • joeCanuck

    This is the sort of thing that I said was an obstacle to SDLP and SF joining forces on the Nationalist unification thread. SF are totally committed to democracy and the forces of law and order or they are not. They should not be talking out of both sides of their mouths.
    I wonder what the MP for FST would say today about the question posed to her a while back about reporting illegal “dissident” activity to the authorities.

  • slug

    I have to say Mark that is a little rich coming from you. We have seen your period property in a photo you put up.

  • joeCanuck

    You seem to have missed the ball completely, Slug.

  • medillen

    This is not about the individual but the principle of ending political policing, this political vetting has been endemic job allocation and public appointments etc and it needs to end. T

  • Mark McGregor


    I keep saying the Georgian townhouse is the smaller of my homes and don’t you forget it!

  • Mark McGregor


    I could believe that if any other person was mentioned. This has been an ongoing problem and there was another legal case.

    But the make or break issue for SF is the one involving the brother of a millionaire party member.

    Go figure.

  • wj

    Strange that SF don’t seem to be as equally riled up about the increased level of usage of stop and search powers which reached almost 35,000 in the last financial year according to stats published at the beginning of the week.

    Perhaps the statement issued by Eirigi in response to those figures contained a few well-thrown barbs –

    “In 2006, stop and search powers were used by the PSNI and British Army 14,910 times during a 12 month period – a figure then described as “shocking” by those nationalist politicians who have since endorsed the political policing methods of the PSNI.

    “One wonders how credible any response from those nationalist parties at Stormont, or from David Ford as so-called justice minister, can be when faced with the facts that the PSNI are using repressive legislation with such frequency that the overall figure for 12 months stands at almost 35,000.”

  • jim

    this is just an excuse by SF to try n crawl back the loss of support after asking people to TOUT to the for mansions ask maskey who owns the 1 down the road from gerrys in donegall all paid for on an industrial wage

  • DC

    I have some sympathy with the SF stance given all that has happened and the over-regulation of police here, especially getting proper policing locally.

    But I also wouldn’t be a fan of 50:50 as it encourages a certain social status to apply for the jobs usually the well-off, the post university bunch who can manipulate and present data and perform well at interviews as they fit the bill of the social class marking them, regardless of any community background.

    Besides having a female and male police officer call at your door in a uniform neither living in the community or actually of it – but both selected centrally under 50:50 to police it – is beyond me!

    I am hankering for some of this big society stuff but proper localism, as if 90% of your community is Catholic what does it matter if the cops are of mixed community background whenever the community make up is more particular than that backdrop. With those particular issues needed addressed all the same perhaps at times only through local action, than a centralised form of police managment.

    Policing is fast becoming like a product, operating like a business, made elsewhere and sold to you by big wigs in suits with the odd promotional give-away encouraging you to phone in free on a special hotline for the betterment of society. The eyes do glaze over.

    I never can understand why local people can’t police as the community rather than ‘policing with the community’ where locals are told to come forward for nothing of value than being seen to ‘help out’. While at the same time the police walk away with the big salaries and improved careers, the locals take the hit usually on the nerves for holding out. All of this done through a ropey justice system (ridicuously priced lawyers / solicitors in big luxury cars) – and a cheap media quick to spill all the beans (including those that ‘help out’) using catchy headlines.

    Any how, mini rant over.

  • Cynic

    i will leave aside this entire case because all these things depend on the individual facts and none of us have them all.

    So lets just deal with the important principles raised by Alex and remember that this was 7 years ago when PIRA was still active and had recently been heavily involved in the murder of various drug dealers and others who displeased them. It was also up to its neck in organised crime.

    So, if SF’s associates hadn’t been so busy just before that time planting agents in Government Offices to steal documents including the names and addresses of police and prison officers (eventually bringing down the Government) perhaps we wouldn’t have needed the same rigour in the vetting system.

    Indeed, if Alex wanted an end to “Political Policing” back in 2004 perhaps we could have had an earlier end to terrorist and criminally linked politics?

    This is a very stupid issue for SF to major on and make threats like that to which there can only be one answer from the Chief Constable and the rest of the Broad. Was it Gerry’s day off when they lost the run of themselves?

  • Cynic


    I remember a letter to one of our local papers some years ago. It suggested that at Birth we all be branded with either a P or C in the centre of the forehead to obviate this problem. Then all Catholics could select a Catholic cop to deal with them, etc etc etc

    When you think about it, it does have some merit

  • lamhdearg

    Whats veiled about the threat? SF suporters on the ground will hear what Alex says and withdraw their help from the police until some other high ranking SF spokesperson tells them otherwise. Its a high risk game SF play any little step backwards will give the anti GFA irish nationalists a boost.

  • IRIA

    You sound jealous.

  • DC

    Localised non-50:50 recruitment might be a better start, rather than having to fall back on the informant style of justice that some might say worked well and did offer success based on the objectives set. But it was secret and suspiciously opaque to the point of justice being done by using secret tip offs, some had indirect cash rewards etc.

    Time for more change to the police service something that encourages more locals to become involved than this overly-regulated approach.

    I believe the 50:50 thing is ending next year, so it might be a good time for the Chief Constable to consider SF’s arguments and apply those desired changes next year to coincide with the ending of 50:50?

  • iluvni

    Perhaps its time Mr Maskey was told to get stuffed.

  • Jean Meslier

    Yeah, get stuffed Mr. Maskey.
    There you go Iluvini
    Yeah those Shinners.
    They don’t like it up ’em you know.
    Ohhh I feel so f*cking goooood!

    Oh sh*t they’re still there.
    I’ve been dreaming
    Oh well never mind

    Bring back the good old RUC
    Or the B Specials.
    Yeah. A night with the B men will soon sort them out.
    Ah feck. Now I’m hallucinating.

  • medillen

    If you can site me another clearer cut case involving someone else since SF has joined the Policing Board then I will take your point, but if you can’t please accept mine.

  • Henry94

    I don’t read it as a threat and if it was it shouldn’t be taken seriously. There can be no Lanigan’s Ball approach to policing from Sinn Fein. It’s far too serious for that and they have nowhere to go on the subject. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t something more temperate from someone more senior fairly fast.

  • aquifer

    If someone was playing footsie with some rebel remnant how would Sinn Fein know? Their own internal security team?

    If a deal is never a deal why deal with SF at all?

  • anne warren

    would children of mixed marriages get branded PC? (police constable, politically correct, past caring?)

  • jim

    i thought i was dreaming 2.robert mc cartney died wif a bit of knife culture.MASKEY was threating to withdraw his partys role for thepolice because they raided a few houses in their MURDER investigation.ack suppose he can retire to his mansion in gort na hork all paid for on an industrial wage

  • Mr Crumlin

    I dont doubt that for a second Mark but the day you dont get a job because of something your brother did, is a very sad and dangerous day.

  • lamhdearg

    ifs it any comfort Crumlin i know a guy from the prod side who was turned down for a job because an uncle was seen as uvf. he did not have SF to back him up so he became a plumber.

  • Dixie

    Oh aye and they’re going to risk loyalty funding being stopped by the Brits.

    Dermot thingy might be rich but he won’t pay the lower class shinner’s wages.

  • socaire

    jim, are you suggesting that the money for Maskey’s house was got illegally? Or are you just using it to make some puerile political point? Why not point out the glaziers who made a fortune replacing windows during the troubles or the legal people who always win – no matter who loses? Or is it really envy?

  • I believe that a number of our people on this site are of the telling sort so I will keep it simple. All we want as Irish republicans…..and I hope from all our perspectives is to get the brits out of our country. Everything else is a diversion! Beir bua agus Na shealadaigh abu.x

  • dodrade

    What is the point of Sinn Fein trying to make political capital out of a case that is bound to end in an out-of-court settlement?

  • Oracle

    I had a conversation with a republican from Andersonstown (no convictions) quite recently who was testing the waters as to whether or not it would be possible for the SDLP to raise the issue of him being denied clearance to undertake electronic maintenance within the Civil Service/Stormont/where-ever.

    I didn’t believe this was a chance encounter and asked him why he hadn’t used his own party to push his issue within Stormont or through Civil Service channels, he replied that he had but they were not interested and basically told him that that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
    Seems that unlike poorer members of their party, when it comes to Mr. Kennedy Sinn Fein doesn’t do cookies or crumbles.

    Anyway I had no wish to be used personally so I gave him the same numbers to ring as any other member of the public, whether he has or not is no longer my concern

  • Jean Meslier

    To be fair to jim, he has his two lines of contribution and he sticks to them.

    The point is as Bob Dylan sang:- “the times they are achanging”
    jim et al haven’t got their heads around it yet.

    Alex Maskey is a true people’s representative.
    The following was pointed out on a previous thread.
    In S Belfast nationalists may vote for Alaisdair, but if you want something done,- you go to Maskey.

    Hats off also to the trojan effort by Alex during the FST campaign.

  • Jean Meslier

    Re: the above.
    The conversation with the unconvicted republican and the crumbling cookie.


  • Oracle


    I’d be pretty confident that his complaint was not an isolated one and I have witnessed this individual entering and leaving Connelly House on several occasions.
    Though I blieve he is only a grunt he is still no different in theory to Mr. Kennedy, ah theory and practice they never were the same were they?

  • Jean Meslier

    Oracle, the point we ,as democrats, should be nailing is that the days of Irish nationalists being treated as 2nd class citizens is long over. Our strength lies in the voting power accumulated by and for SF, and we will not tolerate any 2 tiered system. As I have said before – The old days, like the old ways, are over.
    Grunts or cookie monsters should not be treated any differently than others.

    The oh-so-cozy set-up, old security boys network, at Stormont needs to be radically over hauled as well.
    I have heard there has been movement within the civil service in addressing this. But IMO it’s not quick enough.

    Stormont needs to be more reflective of the Irish nationalist tradition.

    So lets get the equality template operating in Craigavon’s hallowed halls.

    Re: theory and practice.
    Down here in NA, the SDLP have, in theory, a constituency office for people to call into with problems.

  • Jean Meslier

    I always thought a “veiled threat” was a nun with a machine gun.

    ps In the interest of religious equality, the veiled person could be a Muslim wearing a burka.
    It could also be a Jew, a Hindu or a representative from any other people’s who believe in extra-terrestial worship and who insist the women wear some sort of head covering.

    Indeed it could also be any of the above, except the veils are worn by men impersonating women.

  • Comrade Stalin

    MASKEY was threating to withdraw his partys role for thepolice because they raided a few houses in their MURDER investigatio

    Sinn Fein did not announce their change of policy on the police until about two years after the McCartney murder.

    So you’re talking shite again.

  • iluvni

    If Sinn fein withholds co-operation with the PSNI, isnt that breaking the Pledge of Office in the MInisterial Code?

    Admas must clarify the position of Sinn Fein in light of Maskey’s words.

  • Cynic

    “Stormont needs to be more reflective of the Irish nationalist tradition”

    Which one?

    And if its to reflect Nationalist Traditions will we see Sashes worn at desks as well? A quote for OO members employed there?

  • Jean Meslier

    Could the Double O’s fashion their beloved sashes (that their daddies wore) into a type of veil?

  • Cynic

    ‘Second class’

    ….. they would only be second class if Prods in the same circumstances were treated differeently

  • Catriona

    Dermot’s house is down to his wife who is a successful entreprenuer operating a number of successful hair dressing salons across Belfast. Get your facts straight Mark before you shoot your mouth off.

  • Dan

    “Though its a bit of a stretch thinking the entire nationalist community will go into bat for a millionaire SF member’s brother’s job prospects.”

    First off, I believe the term is ‘republican’, and secondly, the sheep will do what the shepard orders them to.