Irish Republican News · February 20, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Managed impasse
The Irish American Unity in Action Committee drafted this letter earlier this month regarding recent events in the North of Ireland.


Irish American Unity in Action Committee
c/o Frank Durkin
52 Duane Street,
5th Floor New York, New York 10007

9 February 2005

Dear Prime Minister Blair and Taoiseach Ahern:

We the undersigned, national Irish American organizations write to express our deep concern over recent events which undermine the peace process in northern Ireland .

The present breakdown in the peace process is based upon official and unofficial speculation and bears all of the marks of managed impasse and political manipulation that have plagued past negotiations.

For the third time in as many years, those opposed to sharing power with the Catholic/nationalist population have made unsubstantiated charges against Sinn Féin aimed at causing a reversal in the peace process and preventing the seating of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

When this is spearheaded by elements in the government, police and military intelligence, heightened by innuendo and reckless speculation in the press and by rival political parties, it is a grievous offense against the principle of political equality and democratic rights.

All political parties that possess an electoral mandate to represent their constituents in the northern Ireland and elsewhere in the world, have the right to participate in the democratic process free from governmental and police slander and unsubstantiated charges.

The internationally acknowledged principle of the separation of functions within the judicial process -- unbiased police investigation, balanced by an independent judiciary with proper roles for prosecution and defense, free from political influence -- is being grossly violated.

No Chief-of-Police in a democratic state would publicly declare the outcome of an investigation BEFORE it was concluded or even fairly begun. Certainly this denial of basic rights should never have been allowed to happen in the unstable and volatile climate of the present Irish peace process.

It must be remembered, that three times in the past three years, when unionist political parties unilaterally obstructed or walked away from seemingly agreed upon political solutions, it was “official” police and/or military intelligence operations based on neither legal nor evidential substance, that manipulated blame where it didn’t belong.

It threw the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement into chaos. When past police allegations and prosecutions in concert with media and political attacks against Sinn Féin proved baseless, the peace process was nonetheless derailed.

There were no apologies afterwards, neither was the assembly restored. We further note Sinn Féin’s progressive role and fairness in negotiations over the past ten years. We have complete confidence in the commitment of the their leadership, to the goal of removing the gun permanently from Irish politics.

The Sinn Féin leadership have made monumental strides to make the Good Friday Agreement work, including helping to influence the Irish Republican Army to make historic commitments, only to have everything rejected because of unsubstantiated accusations time and again.

We would respectfully urge those who are disseminating these charges against Sinn Féin to ask themselves if we are any nearer to that goal as a result of their actions.

We all believe in peace, democracy and permanent disarmament and demilitarization. Isolation of large groups of voters; financial sanctions based on dubious, secret briefings; and government sanctioned police innuendo and speculation will deliver none of these things.

We urge the Irish and British governments to follow international principles of jurisprudence regarding investigations, set their minds to moving the peace process forward free of partisan politics, and implement the Good Friday Agreement.

The South African experience shows that two things are vital to conflict resolution: adversarial groups in conflict must meet face-to-face around the same table and there can be no winners and no losers.


Paul Doris, Chairman, Irish Northern Aid
Ned McGinley, President, Ancient Order of Hibernians
Judge Andy Somers, President, Irish American Unity Conference
Joseph Jamison, President, Irish American Labor Coalition
Frank Durkan, Esq Chairman, Americans for a New Irish Agenda
Sean Crowley, Esq, President, Brehon Law Society
Sean Cahill and Stephen M McCabe Irish Parades Emergency Committee
Ed Lynch, Lawyers’ Alliance for Justice in Ireland

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