The Andersonstown News, 21
By Gerry Adams MP
terrorism was used to uphold the Union
Sunday over 2,000 republicans will meet in the RDS in Dublin to debate
Sinn Féin’s attitude to policing.
be the culmination of a process of intense internal meetings, and a
series of public meetings, that has brought tens of thousands of
republicans across this island together for the most democratic debate
in the recent history of this party.
has reached this point after years of difficult but ultimately
successful negotiations with the British government on policing. When
the SDLP and others settled for less Sinn Féin persevered, and
through hard work we succeeded in forcing the implementation of more
new legislation, more accountability mechanisms, more change in
In all of the negotiations we have had on this issue with the British,
Sinn Féin’s strategic goal has been to achieve a civic policing
system which is accountable to citizens and representative of the
community as a whole.
objective was to secure a proper policing service and to hold that
policing service fully to account. Sinn Féin has achieved enormous
progress on the issues of democratic accountability, human rights
protections and the ending of political and repressive policing. We
have reversed the integration of MI5 with the PSNI, agreed and claimed
as a victory by the SDLP at St Andrews. And on plastic bullets our
discussions with the British government and the PSNI Chief Constable
secured a commitment that these weapons will not be used as crowd
control weapons, as well as an acknowledgement of the hurt and deaths
they had caused.
stayed out of policing structures until now in order to bring about
maximum change. Now is the time, I believe, for Sinn Féin to go into
the new policing dispensation in order to continue to bring about
maximum change and to hold to account those responsible for policing.
The Sinn Féin initiative on policing is part of our determination to
advance our overall struggle towards Irish unity and independence. It
is part of the process of change which we are driving in this time of
transition on our island.
Chomhairle motion to the Ard Fheis, if passed, will see Sinn Féin
support the PSNI and the criminal justice system; appoint party
representatives to the Policing Board and District Policing
Partnership Boards; and actively encourage everyone in the community
to co-operate fully with the police services in tackling crime in all
areas and actively supporting all the criminal justice institutions.
motion also makes clear our determination to robustly support the
demands for equality of treatment for all victims and survivors, as
well as effective truth recovery mechanisms. This stand was vindicated
with the publication of the Ombudsman’s report last Monday.
It confirmed what the families of the hundreds bereaved by collusion
between British state forces and unionist death squads have been
saying for years.
and state terrorism was used by the British government to uphold the
Union. Collusion is a symptom of a bigger problem. That problem is
involvement of the British government in Irish affairs.
history of that involvement is littered with examples like this. Sinn
Féin remains resolute in our determination to end that involvement.
This report is only the tip of the iceberg. It is clear from the
seniority of those involved within the old RUC that collusion was a
matter of political and administrative practice which existed at all
levels of the RUC and British government.
O’Loan report deals with the impact of collusion in a relatively
small area and over a relatively short period of time.
is that collusion affected every part of the North and cost lives in
the 26 counties. It was the application of brutal state terror against
the nationalist and republican section of our people and it also led,
as in the case of Raymond McCord Jnr, to the killing of unionist
Tuesday night I spoke to a packed hall of 1,000 people in Newry, which
included families bereaved through collusion. The death squads roamed
freely there also. The activities of one such gang based at Glenanne,
and which involved members of the RUC, UDR and MI5 along with unionist
paramilitaries, was responsible for killing scores of people.
last October by a panel of international legal experts (The report of
the Independent International Panel on Alleged Collusion in sectarian
killings in Northern Ireland) concluded that at least 76 people had
died as a result of this gang.
included the Dublin and Monaghan bomb attacks in 1974, the killing of
three members of the Miami Showband, the Reavie Brothers, Seamus
Ludlow and many, many more.
addition a subcommittee of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice
in Leinster House concluded that these were acts of “international
terrorism". It added: “The British government cannot
legitimately refuse to co-operate with investigations and attempts to
get to the truth.”
course it has. And part of the reason for that is the total failure of
successive Irish governments to confront British governments on this
policy. Indeed in the case of Seamus Ludlow the Irish government’s
interest was not in the truth but in blaming republicans.
has raised this issue with the Irish government many times over the
years. And Martin McGuinness is seeking an urgent meeting with the
Irish government to discuss the report and all of these related
there is also an imperative now to expose the political figures,
including British Prime Ministers, who sat around the British Cabinet
table, sanctioned and received reports on the policy of collusion and
Special Branch, British intelligence and their agents were doing
exactly what they were paid to do. It was a political policy decided
in Downing Street by the British government and implemented by the
the political figures involved, including British Prime Ministers, now
must also be held to account.
will be a massive job of work in the time ahead. But let’s be clear.
is the right time for republicans to take ownership of the
accountability mechanisms we have secured for policing. This is the
right time to hold the police to account and to ensure that no one
else within policing ever again engages in these activities and if
they do that they will be held to account.
our political strength to drum out of the PSNI human rights abusers
and use the mechanisms to help families get at the truth.
Our job is to ensure that no one within policing is able to collude
with or run death squads. That is our responsibility.
believe that the new beginning to policing promised in the Good Friday
Agreement is now within our grasp. Sinn Féin wants to get policing
right. The Extraordinary Sinn Féin Ard Fheis is crucial to this.
vision is of a new policing and justice system throughout this island.
To repeat what I said three weeks ago, this is the right thing to do
and the right time to do it. The war is over. Let’s build the peace.
the time for Sinn Féin to go into the new policing dispensation in
order to continue to achieve further change and to hold to account
those responsible for policing.