Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

Gerry Adams arrest: Matt Baggott has denied a PSNI 'dark side' was involved in detention - he's wrong and he knows it

PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott
PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott

Matt Baggott has denied a PSNI ‘dark side’ was involved in Gerry Adams’ detention.

He’s wrong and he knows it. He has never tackled the old guard RUC influence in the police.

Gerry Adams’ arrest was based on differential policing. That sends out a stark message to republican and nationalist victims and survivors, following the explicitly one-sided interventions by Theresa Villiers, culminating in her contemptuous dismissal of the Ballymurphy massacre families.

Gerry Adams’ arrest was political; a reaction to island-wide growth in support for Sinn Féin.

The election of two Sinn Féin MEPs in 2004 indicated a republican political breakthrough. In 2011 the Presidential election result for Martin McGuinness showed a new electoral shift. Earlier in 2011, fourteen TDs, including Gerry Adams, were elected. Concurrently the Party’s northern support also grew.

Perhaps the establishments’ hoped that Sinn Féin would limit our electoral ambitions; become part of the status quo, and stop promoting reconciliation and an agreed Ireland.

New polls suggest Sinn Féin may get its biggest ever vote, and become the largest Irish party in the European Parliament. Such electoral advances frighten the establishments north and south.

History shows when inertia grips the peace process negative forces become dominant.

The ongoing carnival of reaction from unionist extremists proves that. Disengagement by both governments has created the existing political impasse.

DUP and UUP refusal to endorse the Haass compromises have deepened that impasse. The Boston College tapes contrivance gave that old guard RUC rump a pretext to move against Gerry Adams. He was agreeable to co-operate with the PSNI. But senior figures chose the charade which occurred instead.

What happened was done with British cabinet approval. Theresa Villiers knew over two days beforehand. Others will also have known.

They will have calculated sizeable political fallout.

Negative interventions by this British Government have been causing real damage to the peace and political processes. It has demonstrated manifest bad faith and allowed the agenda to be set by unionist extremists and now most recently by its own ‘dark side’. This suggests a withdrawal of political commitment for our conflict resolution process.

Key players within the Conservative government and state agencies are playing poker with the peace process. That is a reckless agenda.

Those complicit in the last week’s events, should understand that the Sinn Féin membership will select and elect our Party leadership.

For now, Sinn Féin has elections to contest; and, a strategy of change to implement. We will not be deterred.