Category: Archive

Historic, maybe

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The 1,100 word resolution put by that party’s ruling executive, or ard comhairle, is certainly comprehensive, which is perhaps a nice way of saying it’s long-winded and repetitive. In any case, it is historic in the true sense, or will be if it is it overwhelmingly passed.
Gerry Adams, the party president, has put the full weight of his reputation behind the policy, which calls for Sinn Fein representatives to fully support the PSNI and policing structures, and for its ministers in a future government to take a pledge of office
He believes that he’s gotten what his party and nationalists in general need in relation to the outstanding issues of MI5 involvement in the North and to local control of civic policing. Furthermore, the resolution notes progress in areas such as the use of plastic bullets.
The resolution also clearly links policing to the Good Friday agreement. This is key – and the party president’s trump card. Northern nationalists voted overwhelmingly at the ballot box for the GFA, and many of those opposing Adams on the policing issue are also opposed in principle to the 1998 deal.
Of course, Ian Paisley’s DUP never signed onto the agreement either, and in the meantime it has became the predominant unionist party. However, it has come a long way, and is tantalizingly close to consenting to being in cabinet with Sinn Fein.
Those within that party who are most resistant to that prospect point to Sinn Fein’s main condition tied to its resolution: that the DUP share power. A strange objection to a condition maybe, but then we’re talking about Northern Ireland here. It’s clear, though, that a ringing endorsement of Adams’s line will put the DUP hardliners on the defensive, and that might just be enough to give Paisley the green light to proceed. We certainly hope so.

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