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1 February 2007 Edition

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The Mitchel McLaughlin Column

Mitchel McLaughlin

Mitchel McLaughlin

In policing structures we will hold the DUP to account also

I congratulate all the delegates who took part in the Extraordinary Ard Fheis. The comradely and constructive manner in which the debate took place was exemplary.

What was achieved by this decision cannot be understated, not only has it created the space for the Ard Chomhairle to pursue the change still required to achieve accountable policing but it has taken away another issue being cynically used by our opponents to prevent change.

The only remaining power base of the unionist state structures that republicans had not taken power in is policing and justice. It is time that we showed the DUP and the securocrats within policing that they are right to fear our involvement because it will see the end of political policing. It will see the end of the situation where unionists did the policing and republicans and nationalists were the policed.

The courageous decision reached at the Ard Fheis was not the one hoped for by the DUP, large numbers in the PSNI or the securocrats at the NIO who don’t want republicans anywhere near policing. Our people want accountable civic policing and the only way that they will ever receive that is when we take our rightful place in these structures. That will come about with the restitution of the political institutions, the all-Ireland structures and a commitment to transfer Policing and Justice powers to the Assembly by May 2008.

Not only do we have a responsibility, having reached the threshold that we set for entering the policing structures to do so but we have a responsibility to expose the hypocrisy of the DUP in its ‘a la carte’ approach to supporting ‘Law and Order’.

The DUP has consistently been allowed to switch on and off its support for law and order as it suited its political agenda. Remember the waving of gun licences on mountain sides? Remember the Protestant Volunteers, Third Force and the formation of Ulster Resistance when Paisley promised to provide whatever ‘political cover’ necessary for its activities? How many times have DUP MP’s stood in Westminster quoting ‘confidential security force documents’ to accuse innocent individuals thereby putting lives in danger? Were they ever charged with being in possession of documents of use to ‘terrorists’? Was there ever even an enquiry to determine how they came into possession of these documents? That will all change. In the policing structures we will hold to account those who collude not just with unionist murder gangs but those who collude with unionist politicians as well. In the policing structures we will hold the DUP to account also.

I call on all activists and supporters who have worked so hard to get us to this point, to now apply yourselves to making sure that we come out of the elections stronger for our efforts. Whatever the hard decisions and initiatives that we take, they will all be for nought unless they advance our political strategy and increase our negotiating power.



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