Sinn Fein Vote To Back PSNI


On Sunday Sinn Fein voted to support the Police Service of Northern Ireland at their extraordinary ard fheis which was attended by approximately 1,000 delegates. The vote, which was recorded by a show of hands, came after 6 hours of debate and a series of amendments which Sinn Fein claim will “enhance the proposal”. The build-up to the ard fheis saw an unprecedented amount of positive press for Sinn Fein with the media calling today’s event a “historical moment” and suggesting that the party has finally matured beyond it’s revolutionary past. A Sunday Business post poll stated that 56% of people questioned would be more likely to vote for the party if they support the PSNI.

Sinn Fein’s leader Gerry Adams was jeered by Republican protestors as he entered the RDS today. Dissenting Republican voices feel they have been marginalised in the policing debate with the Sinn Fein leadership being presented in the press as the entire “Republican Movement”. The Continuity IRA, armed wing of Republican Sinn Fein, released a statement rejecting an invitation to talks with Adams and stating their opposition to the “Stormont sellout”.

The extraordinary ard fheis comes just days after Police Ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan’s report which confirmed that UVF death squads colluded with the RUC-special branch on at least 10 murders and the 1997 bombing of Sinn Fein’s Monaghan offices. In his address to the ard fheis Gerry Adams made specific references to RUC collusion; “The Irish government has said it is shocked by the Ombudsman's report. Shocked? What are they shocked about? This city of Dublin was bombed and 26 people were killed. The same day the same gang killed 7 people in Monaghan. There wasn't even a proper Garda investigation into these atrocities.” Adams then went on to state that it was precisely because of these faults in the PSNI that Republicans should be in a position to bring them to account. A 32 County Sovereignty Movement press release urged Sinn Fein members to reject the motion on policing as “Accepting policing is the logical consequence of accepting the legitimacy of British Parliamentary activity in Ireland.”

Sinn Fein’s youth wing, “Ógrá Sinn Fein”, held their own National Congress in advance of today’s meeting and agreed to urge all of their members to vote against the motion on policing. They also set out their own “Revolutionary new model of policing” but ultimately stated that they would respect whatever decision was made. Gerry Adams addressed part of his speech towards the Ógrá dissenters stating; “Some of you may disagree. That is perfectly acceptable. For example Ógrá disagrees with us on this issue. I wish they didn't but I respect their position and I especially commend their resolve to accept the outcome of this Ard Fheis debate.”

While the mainstream media welcomes Sinn Fein’s decision many dissatisfied Republicans have been displaced in the months leading up the today’s decision. A recent IMC report noted the existence of a new Republican Socialist organisation founded by dissatisfied Republicans; “This has not been done without the creation of some tension within the organisation...It has encouraged some disaffected members to resign. Some people in Dublin have established a small political grouping on revolutionary socialist principles called éirígí.”

Gerry Adams resolutely stated his party’s commitment to their radical roots “Sinn Fein is an Irish Republican Party. Our resolve is to end British rule on this island; to end partition; and to bring about a 32 county democratic socialist republic” but how true this can be while they share power with the British state and back the police force has left many people sceptical. Vincent Browne may have been right when he wrote in the Business Post “The DUP has no reason to fear Sinn Fein - neither has Fianna Fail, Fine Gael or even the PDs. Indeed in a few years’ time they will be indistinguishable from any of them.”

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