report centred on the activities of the north
Belfast Special Branch agent and Ulster Volunteer
Force (UVF) Mark Haddock, who was protected for
his involvement in up to 16 murders and, between
1993 and 2003, paid at least £80,000. It
revealed that records were destroyed, preventing
senior police officers from being held to
account, and stated that the UVF could
not have operated as they did without the knowledge
and support at the highest levels of the RUC and
PSNI. This report, along with others, confirms
Britains support for death squads in Ireland.
this is the police force the specially convened
Sinn Fein party Ard Fheis (conference) in Dublin
on 27 January chose to support. Sinn Fein will
now appoint representatives to the Policing Board
and the District Policing Partnership Boards.
Throughout the years of anti-imperialist struggle
in Ireland the nationalist community, has refused
to support the police. Instead, in the face of
police corruption and bigotry, nationalist areas
were self-policed and regulated by the liberation
October 2006 the British and Irish governments
brokered the St Andrews Agreement, which set out
a timetable for the restoration of devolved powers
and in which Republican acceptance of British
policing would be in place by the time of Northern
Ireland Assembly elections in March 2007.
in The Irish Times on 8 January 2007, British
Prime Minister Tony Blair stated, Sinn Fein
has demonstrated one of the most remarkable examples
of leadership I have come across in modern politics....
And, David Ervine, then leader of the Progressive
Unionist Party, political wing of the UVF, wrote:
The endgame was always going to shake up
the republican movement and its supporters. It
is, after all, the final acceptance by republicans
of Northern Ireland as a viable and integral part
of the UK...if Adams pulls it off at the Ard Fheis,
a real line in history will have been drawn.
(Belfast Telegraph, 9 January 2007)
policing debate has indeed shaken up the Republican
Movement and revealed profound divisions within
the nationalist community. On one hand are those
with a stake in society, boosted by Sinn Feins
claims to be building an Ireland of equals.
On the other are those working class nationalists
who have received little of the peace dividend,
who do not feel represented in the political process
and who are disillusioned by bourgeois politics.
Thousands of people have disappeared from the
electoral register, forcing Sinn Fein into a new
the end of 2006 the average house price in the
north was £180,128 - up 32.1% on 2005. In
Republican West Belfast house prices have risen
on average £600 a week in the past year.
This growth fuels the inequality in the nationalist
community that underlies present divisions on
the week prior to the Ard Fheis, the Irish government
unveiled a multimillion-pound programme of investment
in the north, spanning the next five years; the
timing of this announcement was designed to strengthen
the hand of the new Irish middle class, Sinn Feins
constituency. It is speculated that up to £800
million will become available to the north from
Dublin should power-sharing be restored.
expresses the changing economic fortunes in Ireland:
the economy of the Twenty-Six Counties has been
transformed through foreign investment and privatisation
while the Six Counties remains largely dependent
upon state subsidy from London.
series of large meetings has taken place attracting
open opposition to Sinn Fein under the title Policing
- A Bridge Too Far? They have been attended
by supporters of Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican
Socialist Party, the 32 County Sovereignty Committee
and Republican Sinn Fein.
Fein is most concerned about organised opposition
to its rule within nationalist areas, and tried
to label the public meetings as gathering of proscribed
groups aimed at continuing the armed struggle.
It then accused dissidents of plotting
to assassinate Sinn Fein leaders. Neither story
had any basis in reality.
all of Sinn Fein is persuaded that collaborating
with the British-imposed policing structure is
the way forward. Six members of the 24-strong
Sinn Fein Stormont parliamentary team have resigned
in the past two months, as have some branches
and long-standing members. On 3 January, former
Sinn Fein Assembly member John Kelly, a founder
of the Provisional IRA, and Brendan Hughes, a
former Long Kesh hunger strike leader, said Sinn
Fein is pursuing a strategy of threat against
dissenting voices. On 23 January a group
of former Republican political prisoners announced
the setting up of Ex-POWs and Concerned
Republicans Against RUC/PSNI.
number of Republican candidates have announced
they will be standing in opposition to Sinn Feins
support for the PSNI in the 7 March elections.
In Derry, Peggy OHara, the 76-year-old mother
of INLA volunteer Patsy OHara who died on
hunger strike in 1981, will stand as an independent
Republican. She said We didnt recognise
the police then and we wont recognise them
Unionist veto remains at the heart of the Six
County statelet, fully backed by British imperialism
Sinn Feins reformist strategy of
engagement with such forces will come up against
severe tests in the period ahead. The nature of
British rule in Ireland is changing and with it
so to must the resistance to that rule. Days after
the St Andrews Agreement, MI5 announced plans
for a new £100 million base outside Belfast.
The British war in Ireland is not over. Whether
the growing opposition to Sinn Feins endorsement
to policing proves to be significant remains unclear.
One thing however remains certain - British imperialism
has not left Ireland. For so long as this relationship
remains it is the duty of communists in Britain
to oppose Britains occupation of Ireland.
from Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! No.
195, February/March 2007