Diluting Patten/Threatening Process
The Peace Process, so recently invigorated by an IRA initiative of unprecedented proportions, faces yet another major crisis, again of unionist and British making.
There will be widespread concern and anger within republican and nationalist circles that the British government has chosen to again pander to unionist demands and dilute Patten. To speculate that this anger will be reflected within the ranks of the IRA takes no great powers of deduction.
The IRA stretched themselves in their initiative on arms. There is, however, little sign that unionists are willing to stretch anything except the patience of others.
The Good Friday Agreement promised a new beginning to policing. Now, however, as Neilly Rooney (father of nine-year-old Patrick Rooney, shot dead by the RUC in 1969) has pointed out, even the Patten recommendations, which failed to address a number of concerns, are being clawed back. And now it is the name.
Rooney described this latest British move as an affront to those who have had to bury their loved ones. He was also critical of the offensive one-sided debate unfolding in the media, which features amnesia about the record and partisan role of the RUC and what they really represent to a vast section of society in the Six Counties and on this island as a whole.
The key point here is that the two governments, and the British government in particular, have a duty and responsibility to keep to and to implement the commitments they have made. That includes an impartial policing service in which all people can have trust.
This is certainly not the objective of the Ulster Unionists. It appears, from their actions this week, that neither is it very high on the British government's list of priorities.