To quote a source, Declan Kearney is “very in-house” — one of those “significant” republicans better known inside Sinn Fein than outside it.
Yesterday he spoke for the leadership on a range of issues, the IRA, the dissidents and the political stalemate at Stormont. His speech at Dunloy in Co Antrim was pointed up on Friday and its full text released yesterday.
The republican position is becoming clearer, and they want the message out.
“We are not going to preside over a charade,” one source said in a reference to Stormont politics.
He pointed to one sentence as the key message in the Kearney speech: “The fact is that political institutions which fail to protect and deliver equality for all citizens are of no political value to anyone.”
The Kearney speech said a number of things — the IRA has gone, the dissidents are not an alternative, but politics at Stormont is not working.
This is not just about the stalemate over when policing and justice powers will be devolved.
Of course that is a big part of it, but there is more.
As far as republicans are concerned it is about unionists being willing to work with Sinn Fein in government.
Republicans will tell you the DUP is setting “precondition after precondition”. So the Kearney speech is about putting the ball in that party’s court, but what if nothing changes?
Republicans are suggesting that it is time for choices to be made. “People (meaning the DUP) need to get real,” a Sinn Fein source commented.
This process — in this phase — seems to be heading towards one of those big moments of decision.
That is the reading between the lines of that Kearney speech.