Category: Archive

Sinn Fein may call party policing vote

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

About 2,000 delegates attended the three-day conference in Dublin’s Royal Dublin Society last weekend. With its theme, “Building an Ireland of Equals,” party bosses hope it will serve as a springboard to new electoral successes north and south of the border.
The party hopes that the May elections for the Northern Ireland assembly will see Sinn Fein overtaking the SDLP as the main political representatives of nationalism.
It was the first conference since the May 2002 general election, when the party increased its representation from one to five TDs in the 166-seat Dail and party leaders now hope to cement those gains in upcoming local and Euro elections.
Party icon and veteran IRA activist Joe Cahill received a sustained standing ovation when he urged members to work hard for further electoral success and ended his speech with the rallying cry, “We have won the war, let us win the peace.”
With its 6.5 percent first-preference vote in the election, Sinn Fein is now above the 5 percent threshold needed to get television coverage and Adams’s presidential address was screened live for the first time.
Many keynote speeches were setting the scene in advance of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and his British counterpart, Tony Blair, traveling to the North later this month with a blueprint for holding new elections, restoring devolved rule and ensuring full implementation of the 1998 Good Friday agreement.
Adams said no decision has been made by the outgoing ard chomhairle to support the current “policing proposition.”
“Such a decision will only be taken by a specially convened ard fheis, and we are not yet in a position to contemplate convening this,” Adams said. “If we do so, it is my intention that a position paper would go to all levels of the party for discussion — that is the party membership as a whole — and that there would be a comprehensive debate leading up to the special ard fheis.”
Adams said he sees a time when Sinn Fein would join and participate fully in Northern Ireland’s policing, but that that point had not been reached.
“We may know at the end of the current negotiations,” he said.
Adams acknowledged that difficulties within unionist ranks had been “severely exacerbated” by the ongoing focus on alleged IRA activities.
“On the republican and nationalist side there is anger, frustration and annoyance because there is little focus on the ongoing activities of unionist paramilitaries or the actions of the British forces,” he said.
Chief negotiator Martin McGuinness said progress has been made on police and justice reform.
“At the core of our approach on policing has been the imperative of ensuring that the police service is democratically accountable and representative,” he said.

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese