Daithí McKay: Sinn Féin will not be deflected by ‘old guard’ within the police

Slugger is pleased to host a piece on the recent arrest of Gerry Adams from Sinn Fein’s Economy spokesman, Daithí McKay MLA

Last week those who have opposed the Peace Process and Sinn Féin got what they always wanted – the arrest of Gerry Adams.

It served a number of interests, those anti-Sinn Féin voices who have sought to undermine the Good Friday Agreement; the selfish and strategic interests of the NIO who want to distract public attention from the fact they are preventing families of those killed by British Government policy during the conflict from learning the truth; and the small minority within the PSNI who want to settle old scores and who have never accepted the need for the wide-ranging reforms that we have seen in policing since Patten.

Failure to deal with the past creates space for those within policing structures who wish to continue pursuing old agendas. The timing of the arrest of Gerry Adams was no coincidence. The forthcoming elections in little over two weeks could see Sinn Féin become the largest party on the island of Ireland.

If one wanted to maximise the impact this would have on the outcome of the forthcoming elections, particularly those in the south, you could not have chosen a better time to carry out this arrest. Republicans like myself did not come up the Bann in a bubble and that is why there was considerable anger within republican circles. There is also recognition on the doors that we are canvassing at the moment that this is not a coincidence and that is from Sinn Féin voters and non-Sinn Féin voters alike.

We will continue to give total and unflinching support to those officers and staff within the PSNI who wish to serve the community fairly and impartially. We will support the progressives and the reformers. Those who want to move society forward. That support is not in question.

It is their interests and the interests of the entire community that Sinn Féin challenge the ‘old guard’ within the police who are more than willing to shake the foundation stones of political stability in the north. We will challenge that agenda robustly and effectively.

It is in everybody’s interests that we return to Haass. The vast majority of people that I speak to want political parties to deal with the past in a sensitive and mature way and focus primarily on building a better future for the entire community. That is what we in Sinn Féin want to see.

If we do not deal with the past in a collective way it will damage our future.

A better future is also reliant on democratic processes north and south operating free of interference.

The arrest of Gerry Adams and the timing of it was a direct interference with the democratic process and structures that are in place north and south.

However Sinn Féin won’t be deflected from the task of strengthening the political process and providing positive leadership. On the contrary this has given fresh impetus to our efforts to bring about lasting change.

This is a guest slot to give a platform for new writers either as a one off, or a prelude to becoming part of the regular Slugger team.