Forthcoming debate on policing in the Six Counties.
I think my attitude on this matter is well known by most Republicans who know me; I do not believe that the Brits should be in control of any aspect which affects the lives of people in the six counties. We have heard all this rubbish about supporting colonial police forces etc. so many times before, it is only a smoke screen used by people such as the RSF to hide their ineptitude and lack of support or indeed lack of any real cohesive strategy to bring about change in this country, the RSF position of keeping your eyes shut and fingers in the ears while pretending that the republic already exists is as pointless as it is laughable.
And the truth is, the re-branded RUC will never be an acceptable police force to me and I would hope it will never be accepted by any republican, the Gardai are not an acceptable police force either I should add, only a police force which represents a thirty two county Ireland will be acceptable. But we must recognise that significant change has taken place, and the removal of Whitehall will mean that even greater change can be affected.
Do I have concerns, of course I do. The primary one is something Sinn Féin argued for at the signing of the GFA, Ministerial privilege. If you all remember Martin McGuiness was able to abolish the 11+ because of this privilege. However, I have serious concerns that if such powers where in the hands of a DUP minister it would be open to such abuses and excesses that the days of direct rule and the Securocrats would be looked back on with fondness. In our briefings from the party leadership, I won’t discuss them here, we have been shown possible structures after powers are devolved, some options could work, and some are downright scary and should be opposed, I await to see the final plan before I make a decision on this part of the transfer.
I am also concerned about any enhanced role for M15 in the six counties; I am worried that any devolved police force will have its main powers devolved to another body rather than the assembly. Again, our leadership must oppose this and reject any deal where the role of special branch has simply been moved to another group outside the direct control of the Assembly.
Over the coming months the leadership has called for a serious debate to take place on this issue. I would hope that the reality that a police service is required and it is simply not acceptable for the largest nationalist party in the North to shirk its responsibilities in this matter would govern the discussions. I hope the pending debate will be conducted in a rational and comradely way free from emotion and instead grounded in the reality of what it is we are trying to achieve strategically.
The strategy of party has been for many years a recognition that change in the north will only happen incrementally, and can only happen if we build the political strength to make it happen, we are doing that, and not only in the 6 counties but through out the whole island. 35 years is a long time to struggle, and who knows there maybe 35 more to come, but in that time the Orange State has gone, majority rule and all its associated abuses will no longer be allowed to happen (no more a Protestant Parliament for a Protestant People), the military infrastructure of the Brit army has been dismantled, the wide spread inequalities in the 6 counties society are being addressed, republicans and nationalists have their heads high and are no longer prepared to be treated as second class citizens, a hell of a lot of this is down to Sinn Féin’s work in the peace process. Sin é.