Tom Kelly in his Irish News column highlights how the problem of policing in the accountability free zone that is NI…
…when he goes the problems of policing in a divided society won’t go away. Future applicants for the post of chief constable may be few and far between when they witness the intrusive levels of political interference/influence an incumbent police chief faces.
The ongoing issues about lack of accountability in government and the loss of faith in public institutions are worse now than any time before.
The first and deputy first ministers have in different ways undermined public confidence – one through the debacle of RHI and the other by the blatant flouting of Covid restrictions. They set a precedent for not taking responsibility. They created this environment whereby no one resigns for political failure.
Now it seems the upper levels of the civil service is being impacted by partisan political manoeuvring. This threatens its impartiality.
What type of society is left when public institutions are so badly failed by a lack of leadership?
When I’d finished my guest slot on BBC Breakfast talking about the murder of Lyra McKee (one of those things you say which still feels hard to believe could have happened), I bumped into a senior Manchester cop.
We agreed that NI was impossible to police if politicians can pick and choose when they back the cops and when they don’t depending on what suits them politically. Yet this is what every PSNI chief constable has to agree to.
Society needs broad consent to be governed and ensure the human rights of every individual are protected by the state. That theres little progress in spite of the presence of the First and deputy First Ministers at her funeral will surprise no one.
Maybe Byrne should resign as Kelly argues. The scale of the breaches around the funeral of Bobby Storey (an IRA enforcer of brutish reputation), contrast with strict enforcement around the BLM protests and other demonstrations.
I see one leading Republican commentator lauding Storey as showing “leadership” when holding back a group of youngsters from a loyalist group some time back around the time of the flag protests. Backing the cops is leadership.
Anything else is putting the fate of our youngsters in the hands of men (they are nearly always men) who are accountable to no one other than their secretive (and therefore unaccountable) capo di tutti capi.
There is no decent future for anyone in that kind of strong arm politics.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty