Sinn Fein Takes Its Seat On Six Counties Policing Board


DAITHI McKay, Martina Anderson and Alex Maskey of Sinn Fein have just taken their seats on the Policing Board of the PSNI, the revamped version of the RUC, which is to police Northern Ireland for the UK government.

Maskey described Sinn Fein’s participation as a significant step forward to ensure accountable policing.

Independents Sir Desmond Rea and Barry Gilligan were re-elected as chairman and vice chairman, with Sir Desmond saying that Northern Ireland was ‘entering a new era in policing’.

The Board has three Sinn Fein members, four DUP members, two UUP members, one SDLP member and nine independent members.

The Irish Republic’s Foreign Minister, Dermot Ahern said Sinn Fein coming on board marked another new and positive phase for policing in Northern Ireland.

‘The Policing Board has played a pivotal role in building confidence across both communities in the new policing arrangements and in paving the way for recent breakthroughs at the political level,’ he said.

Sinn Fein is now the junior coalition partner with Ian Paisley’s DUP in running the North of Ireland and supervising the workings of the capitalist state in the north.

It has evolved from a revolutionary nationalist organisation which sought, as the armed representative of the nationalist minority in the north, to bomb its way to the conference table from where it would be able to negotiate the unity of ireland.

It never thought that it would be able to inflict a military defeat on British imperialism in the way that the FLN defeated France in the war to free Algeria, or the way the Viet Minh defeated, first the French and then the US military, to unite Vietnam.

Its approach was expressed in the slogan that it held an armalite in one hand and a ballot box in the other.

Now the armalite has gone to be broken up and in its stead there remains the ballot box.

The armalite is not the only thing that has been ditched in the process.

As part of the deal, leading up to the Good Friday agreement, Sinn Fein agreed to a referendum in the Irish Republic to revise the Irish constitution, giving up the Republic’s claim on the north, and with it the right of the Irish people to national self-determination.

It agreed that the unity of Ireland was out of the question unless it had the agreement of the majority of the people in the north of Ireland, where the unionists are the majority.

It then agreed to putting its arms and munitions stocks beyond use, and now it is going to be helping to supervise the work of the special branch in the north of Ireland.

As well, it will be playing a leading role in imposing the ‘peace dividend’ on the north, where throughout the ‘troubles’ privatisation and NHS cuts and closures were put on hold, since they would have alienated even more people from the UK.

Now the unity government of Paisley-McGuinness will have the task of carrying out a privatisation programme in the north that was deferred for many years, as well as severely downsizing the NHS.

The movement and the theory which sought to achieve the unity of Ireland through a completely committed minority fighting on behalf of the nationalist population, to force imperialism to grant the unity of Ireland, has proven itself to be bankrupt.

It has metamorphosed into just another constitutional nationalist party, with a programme that is no different from the Social Democratic and Labour Party.

The way has now been opened up for the building of a revolutionary party, a section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, to mobilise and unite the working class both north and south for a socialist revolution.

This has to be done without delay.