"I may be wrong and you may be right, and by an effort, we may get nearer to the truth." (Karl Popper)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sinn Fein and government

I'm opposed to Sinn Fein governing the state for the foreseeable future. The IMC report has made it plain that the Provisionals retain weapons and that their criminal activities have not ceased. Respect for the rule of law is not optional for a party thinking of government. We should recall (as we were reminded by Toireasa Ferris' recent comments) that this party sees no crime in the deliberate and premeditated killing of a police officer of this State. For the same reasons, I do not believe the unionists of Northern Ireland should be pushed into consenting to Sinn Fein running their government. Such coercion as the British and Irish governments have attempted to apply to date on Paisley's DUP seem to have failed quite completely. I do not think I would easily trust Sinn Fein today, were I a unionist. It can only be for the good, then, that the delgates to Sinn Fein's party conference at the weekend seem to revolted on their leadership, by making the repeal of the Offences Against the State Act 1939 a condition of their entrance into government after next year's election. From yesterday's Irish Times:
"Sinn Féin Ardfheis delegates have insisted that the Offences against the State Act must be repealed before the party will enter a coalition government, despite the strong wishes of the party's leadership, write Mark Hennessy and Gerry Moriarty. During a difficult weekend for Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, delegates were persuaded not to vote for a blanket ban on entering power in the Republic, but rather to leave the issue aside until a post-election special conference, if a coalition option was available. The 1939 legislation has been the main legislation used by the State in its fight against the IRA and includes powers to set up the non-jury Special Criminal Court and to jail people for five years for IRA membership on the word of a Garda superintendent."
This will clearly be an issue in the election. The constitutional parties will be asked whether they would repeal the Act after the election. I can see no other answer being forthcoming than an uncompromising "No". Fianna Fail seemed to underplay the required fiscal cutbacks in 2002. Over the next year they will have to be crystal clear. Were they to show anything other than utmost good faith on this question, the electorate's reaction would make the post-2002 public dissatisfaction with the government seem short-lived and shallow.


Blogger Simon said...

I have been going on about this the last week. Tis worrying. I think the media is going to soft on them.

Tue Feb 21, 08:38:00 PM GMT  

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