12/28/2006

Endgame for Policing

I am sure by now that most of you will know what many of us knew a few days ago, that Gerry Adams has called an Ard Chomhairle meeting tomorrow to seek a special Ard Fheis on policing.

I was told that this was coming a few days ago when we were told that MI5 had been removed from the policing equation so it doesn't come as any great shock.



At that stage only a time frame for the transfer of Policing and Justice powers was outstanding.

In order for an Ard Fheis to be called Gerry will need 2/3 of the ruling 46 member Ard Chomhairle to agree. That however is academic as Gerry would never have made the announcement unless he was sure of the numbers he needed.

Gerry said

"I will put a motion to the Ard Chomhairle asking it to convene a special Ard Fheis on the policing issue. If the Ard Chomhairle agrees to that motion and others including the two governments and the DUP leadership respond positively, the Ard Fheis will go ahead in January."

"In the run up to this Ard Fheis there will be an intensive period of discussion within the party which will be led by party Chairperson Mary Lou McDonald. In addition Sinn Féin will engage in a series of meetings with the wider republican and nationalist community across the island, including the families of our patriot dead and victims of state murder and collusion."

"Given the history of repressive and sectarian policing in the Six Counties, I don't want to underestimate the difficulties that this issue presents for many nationalists and republicans."

"However, the achievement of a new beginning to policing, as promised in the Good Friday Agreement would be an enormous accomplishment. And I believe that we have now reached the point of taking the next necessary step."

"I am certain that an initiative of this kind is in the interests of all our people. It is the right thing to do. If it succeeds it will advance the struggle for equality and the search for a just and lasting peace on the island of Ireland."

When the Ard Fheis is called the leadership will need at least 2/3 in order to avoid a split, it will also need to be backed by the Northern membership. That is not being partitionist it's just being honest.

I have yet to see the "meat on the bones" of this deal and so I will not be making any rash judgements. That said I still have many difficulties with the current proposals and I know many other Republicans do as well.

I hope that every Republican will use this upcoming consultation period to voice their opinions, now is the time to stand up and have your say.

UPDATE: Ard Chomhairle agree to call a Special Ard Fheis on policing, it is scheduled for January.

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