Irish Republican News · September 10, 2016
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Accusations fly amid calls for republican dialogue


A new war of words has broken out between Sinn Fein and rival republicans following a claim that ‘dissidents’ were responsible for an arson attack on a community centre in Derry.

Last month, the community resource building known as Dove House suffered scorch damage after petrol bombs were thrown at it. A protest was held at the centre the day after the attack, although its assailants have never been identified.

Sinn Fein’s Declan Kearney (pictured, right) placed the incident alongside a separate dispute in Belfast, when republican hardliners were accused of implying threats against members of Feile an Phobail, the West Belfast Festival, over its inclusion of the PSNI police.

“It is clear these groups have been infiltrated, both North and South, by criminals,” Mr Kearney claimed. “An atmosphere of recrimination and adversity has been created in nationalist areas in an attempt to provoke confrontation with Sinn Fein activists and local republican supporters.”

He said the incidents served “to disrupt, divide and demoralise the community within nationalist areas. The only conclusion to be drawn is that is their intended objective.

“Republicans hostile to Sinn Fein, and criminals masquerading as republicans, are being ‘played’ in an attempt to destabilise nationalist areas in the north.”

He alo suggested the incidents may be being directed by the “security services”.

“Eighteen years after the Good Friday Agreement, British security and intelligence services continue to exert a toxic influence in the north of Ireland,” he said.

“The activities of the ‘dark side’ are totally incompatible with the democratic process. It is time for wider society to demand an end to their corrosive role and existence.

“As National Chairperson of Sinn Fein, I have written officially, twice in the last eight months alone, to a range of these so-called republican groups, inviting private dialogue.

“Refusal to engage in dialogue perpetuates hostility and fuels the potential for confrontation.”

In response to Mr Kearney, Francis Mackey (pictured, left), the national chairperson of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, accused Sinn Fein of resorting to a smear campaign similar to those once directed in the north of Ireland by former British Army general Frank Kitson.

He also referred to the local belief that young children were behind the Dove House petrol bombs, and that it was motivated by vandalism rather than politics.

“In a classic case of smear tactics and felon-setting Kearney attempts to lay the blame for the arson attack on Dove House at the door of republicans,” he said.

“Kitson would undoubtedly be proud of him. In reality what this exposes for Sinn Fein is the growing realisation of their members that they are now seen by nationalist communities as an establishment party, Castle Catholics, administering British rule and austerity through Stormont.

“Those same communities are equally aware of the hollow rhetoric of Sinn Fein when it comes to the issue of policing.

“Nothing has changed for nationalists and republicans who daily suffer at the hands of the re-named RUC. By his own admission the ‘Dark Side’ of British intelligence still exerts a toxic influence on Six County politics despite the efforts of Sinn Fein to sanitise this toxicity via their control of events like Feile an Phobail.”

The 32CSM Chair also rejected claims Sinn Fein have been attempting to open dialogue with dissident groups.

“We have witnessed a series of public sound bytes on seeking dialogue, private correspondence announced publicly so that Sinn Fein could be seen to be seeking dialogue whilst simultaneously scuppering the basis on which such dialogue could be held,” he said.

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© 2016 Irish Republican News