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Date Posted: Sun, Feb 11 2007, 17:17:45 PST
Author: Francis Mackey - The Blanket
Subject: Brit policing is Not an Alternative
In reply to: Dolores Price-The Blanket 's message, "Once Again, The Big Transition" on Sun, Feb 11 2007, 16:58:38 PST

British Policing is Not an Alternative

Francis Mackey, National Chairperson 32CSM addresses delegates to Sunday's Emergency Ard Fheis

Francis Mackey, National Chairperson 32CSM January 25, 2007

The O'Loan report into collusion between British policing in Ireland and the murder of Irish citizens by unionist paramilitaries comes as no surprise to Irish republicans. The task for Irish republicans now is to place this report, and the issues it raises, into their proper political context. First and foremost the extent of this collusion points to the inescapable fact that such activity was deliberate British government policy in Ireland. It was not simply the work of rogue officers, or inadequate accountability mechanisms, or the absence of token nationalism within its structures but a systematic abuse of British policing agencies in Ireland by the British government to defend and enforce their jurisdictional claim. This collusion is the product of a British political will to use it and continues to be so. That political will directs and orchestrates British policing in Ireland and at this point in time it believes those interests are best served by having that policing endorsed by an Irish political opinion which formerly refused to do so. That endorsement now represents and defines political policing and underpins the contention of the 32CSM that the British governments political will to utilise policing structures to protect its occupation will continue. Until the conflict over the violation of our national sovereignty is resolved all aspects of British policing in Ireland will remain political.

In light of this report, and others, and the political imperatives that stem from it, there now exists a grave onus on the leadership of that political opinion to clearly explain what obligations it had to honour with the British authorities on policing due to the constitutional constraints of the GFA? Will this leadership explain openly to its supporters what impact the blatantly choreographed dropping of Annex E from the St Andrews Agreement was meant to have on their opinion of British policing in Ireland? Will it further outline what influence, if any, a regional British Policing Board can exert over the now conceded right of the British government to direct the activities of its security services in defence of its national borders?

On behalf of the 32CSM I wish to direct some observations toward the delegates of the impending Emergency Ard Fheis.

The Emergency Ard Fheis called to secure support for your leadership's position on British policing in Ireland has grievous implications for Irish republicanism. The fact that the motion is before you is in contravention of the expressed will of the previous Ard Fheis, as outlined in motion 395, underscores the absence of any democratic basis for the present predicament. That motion 395 was put to the Ard Fheis by the very same Ard Chomhairle now presenting the policing motion compounds the matter and begs the question; why flout its own motion and the democratic support for it? Are they interested in your viewpoint or just your endorsement of its will?

The issue of policing cannot be detached from the constitutional question unless that question is recognised as resolved. The British government recognises it as resolved as does Dublin as expressed in a recent article in the Irish News. By default the proposals put forward in the St Andrews Agreement are proposals based on the recognition of partition being no longer a contested issue and are thus designed to police and normalise the present constitutional status quo. The Emergency Ard Fheis is not in session to express an Irish political will but to endorse a British political will in Ireland. I urge you to reject this will.

Much has been made of the supposed absence of alternative strategies on this issue and the broader issue of reunification. In truth the requests for alternatives are made in the earnest hope that none actually exist and that the present course represents the only option available. Political alternatives are developed by a political will to develop them and the absence of imposed constitutional constraints to pursue them. The 32CSM has the political will to utilise the overwhelming evidence of British state abuses of policing in Ireland to forcefully argue that the British government can never be an acceptable agent in any aspect of policing in Ireland. We can further argue that this situation demands that policing be completely removed from British control and placed under independent auspices and we are not limited by any constitutional constraints to do so. Can Sinn Fein utilise and develop this alternative under the terms it is bound to by the Good Friday Agreement? Can Sinn Fein entertain alternatives on policing outside of an overall British remit on them? This is the broader debate that republicans need to engage in and not the narrow definitions agreed in secrecy with the British authorities.

The 32CSM recently launched two documents outlining our views, position and alternatives on the policing issue. No Other Law, The Politics Of Policing In Occupied Ireland and The Necessity Of Policing & The Necessity For Constitutional Change represent a coherent and practical political programme for republicans to adopt to address the issue of policing in its totality. We urge all republicans to study and engage with them.

The Emergency Ard Fheis has been described as an historic occasion. In that context I would remind the delegates that what the British expected off Collins and DeValera, having made similar commitments, came to pass despite strenuous denials from both that such expectations could ever be realised. That is the price for recognising the legitimacy of British Parliamentary activity in Ireland. If you endorse your leaderships motion what will the British, unionist and Dublin authorities demand that your leadership demand from you?

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