Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Breakthrough at last-Policing for Slow Learners

So on Sunday, Sinn Féin finally joined the rest of Northern Ireland community and acceted the legitimacy of the newly created Police Service of Northern Ireland (I couldn't resist this funny photoshop Adams family pic which came from a friend by the way!!)

Now hopefully the process of moving on with real life in Northern Ireland can come closer. It seems astonishing that it is almost ten years since we voted so overwhelmingly for the Good Friday Agreement. The party I support in Northern Ireland, the SDLP,got it right, as usual, on policing from the start, signing up to the local police authorities across the North, and encouraging nationalists and republicans to join the force.

Now the so-called Republican leadership have at last followed suit. It's now up to the DUP to deliver. There is little doubt that the words of Gerry Adams yesterday in unequivocally advising communities to go to the police in the event of horrific crimes being carried out in their communities are historic. They didn't include a call to ship the killers of Robert McCartney, whose proud and battling sisters are pictured here with Labour Party Deputy Leader, Liz MacManus, however. It's time Adams and co. got off the pot in this regard, and that the Short Strand community did the right thing and deliver justice to the McCartney family.

Having met many members of the DUP in the last year and a half, while I represented the Labour Party in peace talks with the party through the Glencree Centre for Reconciliation, I get the strong feeling that the DUP know the end-game has arrived. I hope that Ian Paisley will seize the chance to prove so many people wrong, and to join in leading Northern Ireland forward in democracy.

For my part, as a Connolly Republican Socialist, I will continue to strive for a United Ireland, based on tolerance, diversity, and equality, as will my party and our sister party the SDLP. That is a legitimate political ambition for all Republicans on this island, and we must reclaim that title from the 'Shinners'. For now however, I hope to see Ian Paisley as first Minister, and Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister, although even typing these words seems strange. Of couse I hope to see my former student leader colleague. Mark Durkan, replace McGuinness, and the SDLP rewarded by the electorate of the North for their unstinting support of peace and democracy (oh and happy 70th. birthday John Hume). Ansin beidh ár lá tioctha faoi dheireadh.


Anonymous said...

Surely Connolly was a Socialist Republican hence the ISRP, where the people came first. Unlike Republican Socialist, where the workers must first wait for the Republic.

Gar U. Luss. said...

"Sunningdale for slow learners" is how an SDLP member described the Belfast Agreement. He was completely right, but forgot one thing. The IRA "campaign", which incidentally hardly impinged on the Northern middle classes, allowed Unionists of every hue to climb into a time bubble and shut out ideas of every social advance, eg equality issues, womens' rights employment improvements, immigration issues, and an advancing liberal process which has happened everywhere in Europe. Unionists, therefore, could not counter their subsequent pusillanimity towards progressive politics. Their new situation now means that, politically, they've now got to grow up, and play with the big lads. And a good thing too!!!