Flash: SF Ard Fheis to go ahead
Sinn Fein's ruling executive has decided to support a proposal for an
Extraordinary Ard Fheis to go ahead on January 28th, despite the
refusal of the DUP to commit to a deal on policing or power-sharing.
The Ard Fheis will consider the historic but controversial move by the
party to support the PSNI police and recognise the courts while they
remain under British authority.
The comprehensive motion still calls for the party's participation in
the Policing Board and District Policing Partnership Boards, the
acceptance of the ministerial Pledge of Office, and the encouragement
of republicans to co-operate with the police and judicial institutions.
The motion will state that this new policy will be implemented in the
context of the re-establishment of the political institutions of the
1998 Good Friday Agreement and confirmation that policing and justice
powers will be transferred from London to Belfast.
The motion will also allow for the historic policy shift even if the St
Andrews process fails and the alternative 'Plan B' partnership
arrangements are implemented.
"This is a hugely courageous decision and will ensure that the process
continues to move forward," Mr Adams said.
"I believe that the new beginning to policing promised in the Good
Friday Agreement is now within our grasp. Sinn Fein wants to get
policing right. The Extraordinary Sinn Fein Ard Fheis is the important
The following is the full text of Mr Adams's statement:
Irish republicans and nationalists want, need and deserve proper and
accountable policing. On Thursday, December 28, I said that I believe
that Irish republicans need now to take the necessary next step on
policing -- that it is the right thing to do. This was the position I
put to today's meeting. In response, the Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle today
took the historic and courageous decision to proceed to an Ard Fheis on
policing despite the failure of the DUP to respond positively. If the
Ard Fheis adopts the proposed motion then we will have the potential,
for the first time ever, for the full involvement by Irish republicans
in policing structures across the island.
The Ard Chomhairle has decided to proceed with the planned Ard Fheis on
January 28th and on the basis of the motion agreed by the Ard
Chomhairle on December 29 which commits Sinn Fein to:
- Support for the PSNI and criminal justice system
- Hold the police and criminal justice systems fully to account both
democratically and legally
- Appoint party representatives to the Policing Board and District
Policing Partnership Boards to secure fair, impartial and effective
policing with the community;
- Authorise Sinn Fein Ministers to take the ministerial Pledge of
- Actively encourage everyone in the community to co-operate fully with
the police services in tackling crime in all areas and actively
supporting all the criminal justice institutions
The Ard Chomhairle is proposing that an Extraordinary Ard Fheis adopts
this motion and gives the Ard Chomhairle the responsibility and
authority to fully implement all elements of it. The necessary context
for this is the re-establishment of the political institutions and
confirmation that policing and justice powers will be transferred to
these institutions or when acceptable new partnership arrangements to
implement the Good Friday Agreement are in place.
It would be entirely wrong to allow the most negative elements of
unionism a veto over republican and nationalist efforts to achieve the
new beginning to policing promised in the Good Friday Agreement. Sinn
Fein will not be paralysed by rejectionist elements of the DUP.
There are also those within the PSNI who are opposed to change. In this
context, I have been made aware of incidents in parts of South Derry,
Castlederg and County Armagh where local PSNI units are involved in
trying to destabilise nationalist communities. This is entirely
predictable and needs to be stopped.
Our objective is to secure a proper policing service and to hold that
policing service, once achieved, fully to account. We have already
achieved enormous progress on the issues of democratic accountability,
human rights protections and the ending of political and repressive
policing. Over recent days, we have also seen progress and changes on
the key issues of the removal of MI5 from local policing structures and
on the use of plastic bullets. I believe that the new beginning to
policing promised in the Good Friday Agreement is now within our grasp.
Sinn Fein wants to get policing right. The Extraordinary Sinn Fein Ard
Fheis is the important next step.