2 October 2003 Edition
Insisting on a new beginning to policing
Republicans have a right to withhold support from the present policing arrangements. They will continue to do so until we get proper controls in place.
That is our right; we should and will present our analysis to anyone with influence. We should do so in a manner that threatens no one. We must not allow our concerns to be undermined by those who failed in their duty to protect nationalist rights.
Hugh Orde and Dennis Bradley, among others, have tried to portray our protests against the present policing arrangements as in some way acts of intimidation. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have a right to voice our objections and will not be silenced.
I, like all republicans, am opposed to attacks on members of the DPPs. These attacks detract from the underlying faults in policing. They allow people with vested interests to undermine Sinn Féin's legitimate objections to the lack of proper controls and structures.
Sinn Fein must resist all such pressures and continue to insist on a new beginning to policing. People like Fr Michael Collins, who came out of the woodwork this week, will hardly have influence among republicans. After all, he agreed to say a Mass during the first hunger strike and then stated from the altar that those taking part were committing a mortal sin by starving themselves to death.
I for one will continue to be vocal in my opposition to the unacceptability of policing in this part of the island. I will continue to point out the mistake of the SDLP in accepting less than what is required by the people to bring a properly accountable policing service, which we all deserve.