Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has made a last-ditch appeal to party supporters to sign up to support the PSNI police and British courts in the North of Ireland ahead of a crucial party conference on the issue.
Mr Adams who has been involved in a week of public meetings finishing in Derry last night, insisted Sinn Féin’s primary goal is to achieve a united Ireland.
“We support civic policing through a police service, which is representative of the community it serves, free from partisan political control and democratically accountable,” he said ahead of Sunday’s special Ard Fheis by the party in Dublin.
“This week’s report into the killing of Raymond McCord Jnr is further evidence of collusion and the subversion of policing by sinister elements. This has to be stopped,” he said.
“Sinn Féin is about delivering fair, impartial and effective delivery of the rule of law. What we don’t support, and what we will never allow to happen again, is repressive, sectarian and political policing.”
The Sinn Féin leader acknowledged that policing was a very difficult issue for many nationalists and republicans.
This, he said, was not because they opposed law and order but was down to experiencing a police service which had been one-sided. He argued, nevertheless, a new beginning to policing in the North of Ireland would be an enormous achievement and he believed the time was now right for Sinn Féin to take that step.
“Almost eight years after the Good Friday Agreement 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,” the West Belfast MP said.
“It would be equally wrong to allow these same rejectionist elements to shut the door on the opportunity of fully inclusive power sharing and all- Ireland political institutions.”
Meanwhile, former republican prisoners in Derry have formed a new group to oppose Sinn Féin plans to support the PSNI.
Spokesman for the ‘Ex-PoWs and Concerned Republicans against RUC/PSNI’ group, Danny McBrearty said almost seventy former prisoners have joined the group formed at a meeting in the Rocking Chair bar in the city on Tuesday.
“We formed this new body after much deliberation in opposition to Sinn Féin’s rail-roading of republicans into endorsing the RUC/PSNI,” Mr McBrearty said.
The spokesman said the group intended marching behind a banner at this weekend’s 35th Bloody Sunday march.
He urged other prisoners to join the group at Sunday’s march.