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News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)
January 28, 2007
Sinn Fein Vote To Support Police
News About Ireland & The Irish
BB 01/28/07 Sinn Fein Vote To Support Police
SF 01/28/07 Gerry Kelly MLA Delivering Policing Rprt To AF
SF 01/28/07 Caitriona Ruane Address To Ard Fheis
SF 01/28/07 Unionist Outreach Speech To Ard Fheis
IA 01/28/07 Text Of Sinn Fein Policing Motion
Sinn Fein Vote To Support Police
Sinn Fein members have voted to support policing in
Northern Ireland for the first time in the party's history.
About 900 party members voted on the motion at a special
party conference (ard fheis) held in Dublin.
Sinn Fein support for policing and DUP commitment to power-
sharing are seen as essential to restoring Northern Ireland
Earlier party leader Gerry Adams told delegates that the
time was now right for Sinn Fein to support the PSNI.
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/28 17:46:34 GMT
© BBC MMVII
Sinn Féin Justice & Policing Spokesperson Gerry Kelly MLA
Delivering The Policing Report To The Sinn Féin
Extraordinary Ard Fheis On Policing
Published: 28 January, 2007
Cé go bhfuil an díospóireacht tabhactach seo inniu ar
cheist phoílíneachta agus ceartas, caithfidh muid bheith
soiléir go bhfuil sé dírithe, mar atá gach díospoíreacht
dírithe, ar an phríomh cuspóir s'againn sé sin Éire saor,
neamhspleach agus aontaithe.
Éire úr ina mbeidh comhinannas in achan gné den saol, ní
amháin i bpóilíneacht.
Although this very crucial debate today is on policing and
justice lets be clear that all our debates, all our
activity is about achieving our primary goal of a free,
independent and united Ireland. An Ireland of equals in all
areas of life, not just in policing.
We have a strategy to achieve our goals and the yardstick
by which to measure our progress. They are our strategic
objectives which can be summarised as:
Popularise our struggle: in essence creating more Irish
republicans who will support and be active in our struggle.
International support: that is creating support for our
struggle outside Ireland. The purpose is to bring back
resources whether that is financial, political or public
The cohesion and integrity of republican organisations: we
are the envy of other struggles throughout the world for
our ability to thrash important issues out, take bold
decisions and to move on united. Let us be clear that what
ever our collective decision today, we will move on
together united and strong.
Making positive alliances with others: the best example I
can think of this is when the Patten Commission published
its 175 recommendations. We stated, after studying them
that if implemented they could form the threshold for a new
beginning to policing. By the time the recommendations
appeared in legislation they were unrecognisable. Those who
had abused policing and justice for generations had removed
the power and the bite from the Patten recommendations.
Although the SDLP voted for this bill in Westminster we
stood firm. We argued for Patten and called for nationalist
to support us. In the second vote the SDLP abstained and in
the third they voted against this very flawed policing Act.
We pursued a campaign and a negotiation for a second
policing Act which would truly reflect Patten. At this
point we had moved the SDLP, the Irish government and
indeed the hierarchy of the Catholic Church onto our
ground, on this issue.
You may remember the accusation from the media and
unionists of a pan-nationalist front. For the short period
when there was nationalist unity on this issue we had of
course much more strength and weight to use in
negotiations. We achieved a second policing Act and a
second Justice Act which more fully reflected Patten's
recommendations. The point is that while we had that
alliance albeit with reluctances amongst our opponents we
were able to achieve so much more. That is a positive
Avoiding negative alliances: the flip side of the same coin
is negative alliances. If all opponents unite against us
then our struggle is in a weaker position. So there is a
need to avoid political isolation. The best way to avoid
that is to make sure that more and more people understand,
accept and support our strategy. We need to break down the
arguments of our opponents thus attempting to prevent our
opponents welding together against us.
If I was to sum up these strategic objectives in one phrase
it would be "political strength". If we had all the
political strength we need, British interference in our
country would be long gone and we would already have a
We haven't as yet, enough political strength so we need to
build that strength throughout the length and breadth of
Ireland. Are we capable of achieving that? Who would doubt
it? Our opponents North and South don't doubt it when they
see the continuous growth of Sinn Féin especially over the
last 10 years North and South.
Sin an fath go bhfuil muid uilig ag plé na ceiste seo.
It is into this context that we must have the debate here
Sinn Féin's position on policing in the 6 counties is well
known. We want:-
- Legislation to enable transfer of powers away from
Britain and into Ireland.
- Time-frame and the detail of powers to be transferred.
- Agreement on the model for a Justice department, and
- The issue of MI5 in policing.
Intensive negotiations took place, mainly with the British
government up to and right through Christmas with
particular focus on Policing and Justice and the setting up
of the political institutions. A key objective for
us was to bring the DUP across the line into power-sharing
which they have fought so long against - but to do that
within the Good Friday Agreement.
On the issues I have just outlined, comrades should know
- Legislation for transfer of power has been passed.
- Powers to be transferred have been substantially agreed.
- The model for a Justice department put forward by the
British government to the political parties substantially
reflects Sinn Féin's model.
- There is a timeframe for transfer of May 2008 in the
British government model, with a commitment that the
British government "would take the necessary steps to
ensure that the timescale for devolution was not delayed".
- There is a new statement on MI5 setting out in detail
that MI5 will have no role in civic policing in the North.
MI5 ran the death squads for over 30 years. They
implemented the British state policy of collusion and
terror. They targeted and killed hundreds of nationalist,
republicans and many, many others. Sinn Fein was one of
their primary targets.
At St Andrews, the British government proposed the
integration of MI5 and the PSNI. The SDLP not only accepted
this, they claimed to have negotiated it and told us that
the integration of MI5 and the PSNI was a victory for their
It was a fundamental mistake.
Sinn Féin immediately moved to reverse this stated policy.
Why? Because it was a recipe for another "force within a
force" a recipe for more collusion like that unearthed in
the McCord investigation.
This issue became core to our Christmas negotiations. We
argued with the British that not only would we not accept
it but neither would the nationalist people. We argued and
achieved complete separation between civic policing and
MI5. That PSNI officers could not serve two masters; that
they must at all times be answerable to the accountability
mechanisms outlined in Patten and hard won over years of
tough negotiations. We won that crucial battle.
Not only should MI5 have no place in civic policing it
should have no
place in our country North or South. However, we are not
naive. We know that while British jurisdiction exists
anywhere in Ireland so will MI5. They will leave our
country with the rest of the British establishment but in
the meantime they will be kept outside civic policing.
There were other issues on the agenda at the negotiations
with the British. Finally resolving the plight of the OTR's
and their families is consistently being raised. Since
Peter Hain made a mess of the legislation to sort it out
there has been progress and we will persist until the
commitment given publicly by the British government on this
issue is fulfilled.
The long standing issue of plastic bullets was consistently
raised and we have been dealing with the families in the
anti-plastic bullet campaign. We have not yet achieved a
complete ban on the use of plastic bullets yet but will
continue, along with the families and friends of those
killed and injured, to pursue that goal. However, we did
achieve a significant advance in the public statement by
Hugh Orde that they "will not be used for the purpose of
pubic order/crowd control". Also in his statement is, for
the first time, a public acknowledgement of the hurt caused
to the families involved by the British government.
As I said earlier, we will continue to support the families
and fight for a total ban on these lethal weapons.
This brings me back round to political strength. It can
reasonably be asked of the republican negotiators - well
why did you not achieve a complete ban on plastic bullets
or sort all OTR's or achieve a "routinely unarmed force at
this time". The honest answer comrades, is political
strength. We need more and in my view the decision we make
here today on the motion in front of us will make a huge
difference to our ability to gain in strength and to use
So let me finish briefly by making a few points.
Society needs proper policing. We stayed outside until now
to get the tools to make change. We now have the tools; in
fact we have far, far better accountability mechanisms in
the North than in the South. Justice does not come as a
miracle or a gift, when we achieve a united Ireland - we
have to prepare beforehand, we have to prepare now.
After getting this far we cannot leave this fundamental
arena to be dominated by unionists who have dominated the
same area for generations - and we especially cannot
exclude ourselves. Every arena that Irish republicans have
entered they have made radical change for the benefit of
ordinary people. This is no different.
There is no good time, comrades, but now is the best time.
We have the confidence and the ability to help create a new
beginning to policing which is free from partisan political
control, representative of the whole community and
accountable to the whole community.
I said 5 years ago that we would get to this point. I
appeal to all delegates to realise that we have reached
that point and to back this motion.
Lig dúinn sa cheannaireacht seo, tabhair cead dúinn inniu
in éineacht leis an phobal, an streachailt a thiomaint ar
Let us empower this leadership and our people to drive the
struggle onward. This is about achieving a united and
independent Ireland, this comrades brings that closer.
Caitriona Ruane Address To Ard Fheis
Published: 28 January, 2007
Sinn Fein has always been foursquare behind families in
their quest for truth, closure, justice and an end to the
hierarchy of victims.
I would like to applaud families throughout this island who
with dignity, courage and determination took on the might
of the British state forces against all the odds. 34 years
ago we had Bloody Sunday in Derry, and 34 years later they
are still campaigning for truth, The Caraher Family in
South Armagh, Patrick Shanaghan's family in Aghyaran in
Loughinisland Families in Down, Raymond McCord, the Dublin
Monaghan bombings and many many more. And our thoughts are
with brave defence solicitors, people like Rosemary Nelson
and Pat Finucane and PJ McGrory. Campaigners against
plastic bullets, Relatives for Justice, Pat Finucane
I would ask you to put your hands together for the
families, the solicitors and the campaigners who refused to
lie down and who fearlessly took on the British State no
matter what the consequences.
I was privileged to travel to Strasbourg with families who
were taking on the British Government in the European Court
on Shoot to Kill and Collusion. I was so proud of all those
families and their legal team. I watched as the British
Government with all their fancy lawyers and all their
resources were ruled against in that court and the world
saw their dirty war laid bare. For a number of years now
Sinn Féin has been involved in protracted negotiations and
has placed policing at the very heart of them.
The reason why policing is such a challenging issue, the
reason why we have been fighting tooth and nail to get it
right is because we don't want anyone, ever again to
experience the type of political policing we have had. Our
community deserves proper policing and we are determined to
get it. There is no place for human rights abusers in civic
Can we afford to leave policing or indeed any institution
to unionism? Would we hand over total control over health,
or education or our children to unionism? Of course we
wouldn't. With negotiations on transfer of powers and
accountability mechanisms now is the time for us to get in
there, hold the PSNI to account and fight tooth and nail
for a police service that is representative, and
accountable. Republicans have to ensure that we never allow
what happened in the past to happen again to anyone.
We know what our strategic objective is, we know what we
are working towards: a United Ireland, rooted in equality.
We have to ask ourselves what is the most effective way of
moving forward. We can bring about change. We can create a
new beginning to policing. We can create an unstoppable
momentum for a United Ireland. It will not be easy, it will
be an enormous challenge but nothing we have done has ever
The Nationalist / Republican community in the North of
Ireland is on the move, it is confident and strong, it is
proud and forward looking. It is looking to us for
leadership. I believe that by giving a resounding yes to
this motion and by moving forward together united and
strong we can make history and meet every challenge head
on.Ní neart go cur le chéile.
Martina Anderson:Director Of Unionist Outreach - Speech To
Extraordinary Ard Fheis
Published: 28 January, 2007
Today is a watershed in the history of our struggle. There
has been a historic consultation process and political
leadership of the people. Previous decisions have been
taken by the Army - cessations, putting arms beyond use,
but today's decision is the culmination of a process of a
wide, an unprecedented consultation with activists, the
party, the families of our patriot dead, and with the
community which has born the brunt of the struggle down the
years. We are no longer a struggle waged by a small band of
brave and courageous people on behalf of the nation. Today
we are taking decisions in consultation with the people.
The British has occupied Ireland in a manner best described
by James Connolly - to paraphrase, she keeps us quarrelling
with each other whilst she robs and murders us all. Whilst
neighbour-fears-neighbour, striking out against 'the
other', we remain divided and without power to take charge
of our own destinies. In those circumstances, we cannot
hope to build an Ireland of equals, an inclusive Ireland, a
democratic Socialist republic. This resolution is about
empowerment of the people, all the people. It is a
precondition to take our struggle forward; it is a
programme to do so.
Of course nothing will be achieved by the passing a
resolution alone, whilst it is a declaration of intent to
build justice in our country. Policing will be only as
accountable to the community, as we, the people, make it.
This resolution is a programme for all those who seek
justice, and equality in our community. We need to take
them on, make policing answerable and bring the arrogance
of power to book.
Comrades, we have taken them on before, and we continue to
do so - with the same fearless confidence. Cohesion is not
about a head count of those who support a resolution, on
paper, it is about how we go forward to make that
resolution real, to work together to empower all the
people, and bring down the arrogance of power, and end the
humiliation of unaccountable policing, to bring to an end
the practice of sectarianism, upon which British rule has
been based. On that programme we will all go forward,
tomorrow, together, as one risen, emboldened people,
empowered by the courage, resilience and determination of a
If the lessons of Bloody Sunday thought us anything it is
that we must hold those in power to account. And as I leave
this stage to go to Derry to speak at the Bloody Sunday
Commemoration - urge you - not just to pass this resolution
overwhelmingly, but also to get behind its intent and
remove another pillar of the corrupt state from enemy
After all, if war us the continuation of politics, then
comrades, this is the reverse. I urge you to support the
motion. If you cannot vote for it then abstain.
Text Of Sinn Fein Policing Motion
01/28/07 09:23 EST
The following is the full text of the Sinn Féin motion on
policing as proposed by the party's leadership.
This ard fheis reiterates Sinn Féin's political commitment
to bringing about Irish re-unification and the full
integration of political, economic, social and cultural
life on the island. This ard fheis supports civic policing
through a police service which is representative of the
community it serves, free from partisan political control
and democratically accountable.
We support fair, impartial and effective delivery of the
rule of law.
The changes to policing secured in legislation need to be
The truth about wrongdoing by British military,
intelligence and policing agencies needs to be uncovered
Sinn Féin supports the demands for this from the families
The PSNI needs to make strenuous efforts to earn the trust
and confidence of nationalists and republicans.
Gardai corruption and malpractice - which has been exposed
in the Morris Tribunal and the Abbeylara inquiry in the 26
counties - shows the need for constant vigilance and
These inquiries and the ill-treatment of republicans by the
Garda Special Branch also provide compelling reasons as to
why the responsibility of political parties and
representatives should be to hold the police to account in
a fair and publicly transparent way.
This ard fheis is totally opposed to political, sectarian
and repressive policing.
The experience of nationalists and republicans in the six
counties is of a partisan, unionist militia which engaged
in harassment, torture, assassination, shoot-to-kill and
collusion with death squads.
The Good Friday Agreement requires and defines "a new
beginning to policing" as an essential element of the peace
The Good Friday Agreement also requires functioning, power-
sharing and all-Ireland political institutions.
The British government has agreed to the transfer of powers
on policing and justice away from Westminster to locally-
elected political institutions and have set out the
departmental model to which these powers will be
In these circumstances authority over policing and justice
will lie in Ireland.
We note the British government's new policy statement of 10
January 2007 which removes MI5 from policing structures in
This removes the proposals to embed MI5 into civic policing
and removes the danger of again creating a force within a
We note also the commitment by PSNI Chief Constable Hugh
Orde that plastic bullets will not be used for purposes of
public order/crowd control and his acknowledgement of the
hurt resulting from injuries and death of innocent people,
These weapons should never be used again.
Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for a total ban.
This ard fheis notes the refusal of the DUP leader Ian
Paisley to publicly commit to power-sharing and
participation in the all-Ireland political institutions by
26 March 2007.
Before the ard chomhairle meeting on 29 December, the DUP
had agreed words which they would release in response to
the ard chomhairle accepting the policing motion put by the
We note the DUP's failure to keep to this commitment.
It is clear that elements of the DUP are determined to use
policing and other issues to prevent progress, resist
power-sharing and equality and oppose any all-Ireland
development. This is unacceptable.
It is the responsibility of the two governments and pro-
agreement parties across the island to resist this and to
ensure the full implementation of the Good Friday
Sinn Féin is committed to justice.
Sinn Féin is committed to law and order and to stable and
inclusive partnership government, and, in good faith and in
a spirit of genuine partnership, to the full operation of
stable power-sharing government and the north-south and
east-west arrangements set out in the Good Friday
The responsibility of the police is to defend and uphold
the rights of citizens.
In order to fulfil this role they require critical support.
Sinn Féin reiterates our support for An Garda Siochana and
commits fully to:
Support for the PSNI and the criminal justice system.
Hold the police and criminal justice systems north and
south fully to account, both democratically and legally, on
the basis of fairness and impartiality and objectivity.
Authorise our elected representatives to participate in
local policing structures in the interests of justice, the
quality of life for the community and to secure policing
with the community as the core function of the PSNI and
actively encouraging everyone in the community to co-
operate fully with the police services in tackling crime in
all areas and actively supporting all the criminal justice
The devolution of policing and justice to the assembly.
Equality and human rights at the heart of the new
dispensation and to pursue a shared future in which the
culture, rights and aspirations of all are respected and
valued, free from sectarianism, racism and intolerance.
To achieve this the ard chomhairle is hereby mandated to:
Appoint Sinn Féin representatives to the Policing Board and
the District Policing Partnership Boards to ensure that: -
a civic policing service; accountable and representative of
the community is delivered as quickly as possible; the
chief constable and the PSNI are publicly held to account;
policing with the community is achieved as the core
function of the PSNI; political policing; collusion and
"the force within a force" is a thing of the past and to
oppose any involvement by the British Security Service/MI5
in civic policing.
Ensure Sinn Féin representatives robustly support the
demands for: - equality of treatment for all victims and
survivors - effective truth recovery mechanisms;
acknowledgement by the British state of its involvement in
wrongdoing including collusion with loyalist
paramilitaries; to ensure that there is no place in the
PSNI for those guilty of human rights abuses.
Resolutely oppose the use of lethal weapons in public order
situations, authorise Sinn Féin ministers to take the
ministerial pledge of office, achieve accountable all-
Ireland policing structures.
The ard chomhairle recommends: That this Ard Fheis endorses
the ard chomhairle motion.
That the ard chomhairle is mandated to implement this
motion only when the power-sharing institutions are
established and when the ard chomhairle is satisfied that
the policing and justice powers will be transferred.
Or if this does not happen within the St Andrews timeframe,
only when acceptable new partnership arrangements to
implement the Good Friday Agreement are in place.
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