Irish Republican News · March 16, 2006
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]

US envoy Ambassador Mitchell Reiss has suggested that Sinn Féin’s insistence on further police reform can be equated with the DUP’s refusal to hold talks with republicans.

Mr Reiss’s comments came in a special report on the peace process delivered to the International Relations Committee’s sub-committee on Africa, global human rights and international operations.

If DUP leader Ian Paisley will never negotiate directly with Sinn Féin then why should Gerry Adams give away the “last high card” he has on endorsing policing, he said.

SInn Féin remains opposed to joining the North’s Policing Board prior to the completion of promised reforms of the PSNI police.

“Sinn Féin is worried that the DUP may never enter into a government with it. If that is the case, if the DUP will never negotiate directly with Sinn Féin, why should Gerry Adams take the difficult step to have his party endorse the police service, a step some of his followers oppose?

“Why should Gerry Adams give away the last high card he has to play unless he is going to have some guarantee that this step will lead to the full restoration of local government?

Earlier in his report Mr Reiss recalled the Provisional IRA’s statement last July ending its armed campaign and its subsequent decommissioning of its arms.

He also referred to an official IMC report that the IRA has taken a strategic decision to follow a political path and does not pose a military threat.

Mr Reiss said: “All of these steps are very positive and Gerry Adams and the entire Sinn Féin leadership deserve enormous credit for moving the republican movement in this direction.”

However, Mr Reiss bizarrely blamed Sinn Féin for the failure of the PSNI police to solve the robbery of the Northern Bank or the stabbing of Belfast man Robert McCartney.

He added: “Despite all of this progress, the journey towards peace is not yet complete. The December 2004 bank robbery has still not been solved.

“Robert McCartney’s murderers have still not been brought to justice and his family continues to be subject to attempts at intimidaton.”

Meanwhile, nationalist anger at the decision of the British government to hand responsibility for police intelligence to the murderous MI5 has travelled to the United States.

The British military intelligence division is moving to a new base in County Down, Palace Barracks Holywood, in preparation for its expanded role.

After meeting members of the Friends of Ireland lobby group at the United States parliament, nationalist SDLP leader Mark Durkan said he was impressed by their grasp of the issue.

“At our meeting, we were struck by how well-informed and concerned leading Irish-American Congressmen were about Tony Blair’s plans to give the faceless men of MI5 an enlarged role in the North,” the Foyle MP said in Washington DC.

“They saw clearly through the spin being peddled by Peter Hain that this was compatible with Patten [the reform plans which followed from the 1998 Good Friday Agreement].

“It means creating a force outside the police force of faceless men who cannot be held to real account,” said Mr Durkan.

The Friends of Ireland group, which is led by US Senator Ted Kennedy, tonight called on Sinn Féin to support the PSNI and urged the DUP to back the Good Friday Agreement.

The DUP has boycotted the annual shamrock-fest at the White House tomorrow, but are due to arrive, without their hardline leader, for events in the US next week.

In a statement, the ‘Friends of Ireland’ said that Sinn Féin must continue to build on the “significant progress” already made.

“Progress on policing is essential in order to ensure peace and stability in Northern Ireland,” they said.

“A decision by Sinn Féin to support and join the new policing structures would be a very important step forward.”

The group, which also includes Senators Chris Dodd and Susan Collins as well as several members of Congress, said September’s decommissioning by the IRA should have been embraced by all in the Unionist community.

“We regret that the Democratic Unionist Party has refused to state that it is willing to share power with all parties, including Sinn Féin, and has continued to reject the Good Friday Agreement,” the group said.

“It is essential that the DUP unequivocally agree to share power with all parties, and commit itself to working within all the institutions established by the Agreement.”

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© 2006 Irish Republican News