Thursday, March 08, 2007

Is Sinn Féin backsliding?

Gerry McGeough, and independent republican candidate in the Assembly elections and a self-confessed active member of the Provisional IRA was arrested by police today after leaving the Omagh count in connection with the attempted murder of a UDR soldier in 1981.

You can read Gerry McGeough's blog here. He did an interview on Slugger O'Toole a while back, and I have to say I enjoyed listening to him. He made a good case for his political goal of a united Ireland. He seemed a nice, personable guy, and I found it hard to imagine him aiming an AK47 at any children's daddies. Only he knows if he's ever done anything like that, but as a member of PIRA he would have been under oath to undertake any act of terrorism instructed by his 'superior officers'. He's certainly been on the run from the German, British and US authorities and has done time for terrorist offences. What a pity that a sociable guy like that, with political aspirations to which he's absolutely entitled, got caught up in the evil world of terrorism. Let's work to make sure coming generations don't.

Anyway, that's not the point of this post. The point is: the PSNI arrest him, and literally five minutes later Gerry Adams and Michelle Gildernew cry "political policing" and demand his immediate release.

What makes them so sure he wasn't involved in the alleged crimes? Cos if they aren't absolutely 100% sure, their duty as supporters and active shapers of police policy in Northern Ireland is to assist and support the PSNI in its work. They should welcome the arrest and interrogation of any crime suspects, and if they're sure a suspect is being wrongly suspected they must explain why and convince the policing and justice authorities of their view. That's politics. That's democracy.

The PSNI is now accountable to Sinn Féin, inter alia, and a consequence of this is that political policing is no longer possible. And if Gerry McGeough's innocent, there's a system in place to enable him to prove it.

The Big thing for Sinn Féin now that the Assembly elections are over is not to slide back onto the sidelines of democracy but to remain at its centre, joining the other main parties in assisting and shaping the fine work our police service needs to do for us.


At 2:27 a.m., Anonymous bill said...

There are probably a whole lot of nice, personable guys on both sides of the equation. Time and circumstances have caused them to do things that they might never have done otherwise. Oh, for a real truth and reconcilliation a-la-South Africa. Each side views the other as terrorist. Perhaps, semantics cause much of the problem. If both sides could try honestly to look from the other point of view, without labels, much could be accomplished.

At 11:35 p.m., Anonymous kensei said...

I have a better name for Political Policing: Bad Policing.

It is stupidly, stupidly Bad Policing to arrest a candidate in the election, on the actual day, when they have been living openly here for sometime and there is next to no risk of not being able to pick him up Saturday. Or being able to do it before the election. "As soon as operational possible"? Bollocks. It was a crass stunt, and god knows the motive.

No one should support bad policing.

At 8:17 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have plenty of words and thoughts on the way the police are interrogating Mc Geough and Mc Anespie but i wouldn't be able to repeat them and I'm not the only one. this is a matter of stripes for them and stepping up higher in their policing career. Police are worried we'll see a united Ireland again because they know it's going to hapen sooner or later.
I wonder who they'll arrest and falsely accuse the next time an election comes round...


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