It's a Yes from me

I have spent the last couple of weeks thinking about this decision, I have spoke to friends, family and comrades. I am of course talking about the vote that will take place at this Sunday's Ard Fheis on Policing.

This is not an easy decision, I still have reservations like most Republicans but I believe we have enough to be able to move forward.

The Ard Fheis motion clearly sets out what must happen before the party will sign up to Policing and Justice. We need to get to a stage were we have proper accountable policing; Republicans are entitled to what they never had.

The sad fact is that perhaps the only downside of the ceasefire is that the hoods and criminal elements of our community now believe they have a free run, where as before the ceasefire these elements remained under their rocks.

We need a way to keep our communities safe, we need old people to be confident enough to open the door to strangers and we need our communities to be free from anti-social behaviour.

We don't have that at the moment!

I am happy enough that MI5 have been removed from the policing equation and also happy enough that the Police Ombudsman has enough power and indeed the will to root out the scum that formed the apparatus of State murder.

Republicans need to think about this in relation to the struggle, Policing simply becomes another site of struggle. Let's be honest hear, who do you have more faith in to hold the police to account, Gerry Kelly or Alex Attwood?

This was always going to be a difficult decision because we have never had an impartial police service but that doesn't mean that we aren't entitled to one.

I have enough faith in the leadership in order to give this my, if somewhat hesitant and cautious, support.

In South Armagh every Sinn Féin member is on board, not a single member has walked away.

At the public meeting in Newry I heard life long Republicans, many of whom where active in the army, stating the reasons why this was the right thing to do. I have spoke to people who have lost loved ones to Crown forces who feel able to support this new initiative from the leadership.

These are the people who should, in theory, find it hardest to support the police yet they remain resolute. I have recommended to local Republicans that if we do go on to the policing boards that our representatives should be former POW's, that should make for good job satisfaction amongst the peelers.

Imagine how they will feel having to account for their actions to a former IRA volunteer?

As Gerry Adams has said this is about putting manners on the cops, making them accountable for their actions. This is not about pulling an SDLP and having them around for tea and biscuits.

This is about making their lives a living hell if they so much as slabber to a young Nationalist again. This is about letting them know that the days of them having a free ride is over.

They are going to have to answer to us from now on!

Many Republicans are unsure about this step and as I said this is understandable. We need to have faith in ourselves, confidence in our own ability and unity in our approach.

If this is passed on Sunday then watch the heat in the DUP rocket. They claim we are divided, they stoops think this is our "Stalingrad", let's show them how wrong they are.

This struggle is not about going backwards, we only have one gear and that must be a forward one.

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