Irish Republican News · July 5, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
‘War is over’ - Orde

The Chief of the PSNI police has told a Sunday newspaper that he believes the war by the Provisional IRA is over and that Sinn Féin is moving closer to supporting his police force.

Hugh Orde said in his interview: “I am absolutely sure in my mind that they [the Provisional IRA] have no intent to go back to ‘the armed struggle’. There is no intent at all.”

He said that the recent visit to Ireland of a former ANC revolutionary who has became a senior South African policeman could signal an imminent change in Sinn Féin policing policy. Mr Orde also offered to meet Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams.

He also revealed that the PSNI is to reopen five ‘template cases’ from the conflict as part of its contribution to the truth and reconciliation process, which remains the subject of debate and disagreement.

Orde said the next step for republicans was for Sinn Féin to join the North-s Policing Board.

He pointed to South African Police Minister Robert McBride’s tour of republican strongholds and meetings with former Provisional IRA prisoners.

‘That [McBride’s visit] was interesting. Is that another indicator about the shift on policing? The big question is when they [Sinn Féin] will join policing,’ Orde said.

The PSNI chief has argued that a lawyer-free truth commission be established to deal with outstanding cases in the conflict.

He criticised what he described as a “hierarchy of death” in favouring certain cases over others.

“What’s needed is an international commission to start the process of organising a truth commission.

‘I am looking at a number of cases where the families... want closure but not revenge. If we find in these cases that we have done things better, not to our satisfaction we will look at our investigations warts and all. There will be five cases, starting points. If there is a chance for us to see if we can help these families, that will be our contribution to this debate. I am not waiting for someone to come up with a grand strategy.’

Orde said he believed republicans were inching closer to the PSNI, and put that shift down to the influence of US politicians.

“We have sold a positive story there which has got key players in the states urging Sinn Féin to join the Policing Board.”

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© 2004 Irish Republican News