Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein must act over Kelly incident

Editor's Viewpoint

There have been many bizarre sights in the complex politics of Northern Ireland - and the latest of these is the footage of Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly apparently removing by force a clamp on his car in Belfast

This is all the more bizarre as Mr Kelly is a former member of the Policing Board who is not above lecturing the PSNI on its actions.

This alleged criminal action has outraged politicians and many others, and Nigel Dodds of the DUP has succinctly described the incident as a significant test of Sinn Fein's commitment to the rule of law.

The blithe admission by the party that the event occurred gives no indication of Sinn Fein's awareness about the seriousness of the incident or concept of law and order.

As Mr Dodds points out, Sinn Fein lectures everyone else about the "rule of law" and "equality", but it appears to believe that adherence to these principles is beneath it.

It's a matter of "Do as I say, not as I do", but the party must realise that this incident raises serious questions about its attitude to policing and justice.

This is only February but already 2018 is turning into something of an "annus horribilis" for Sinn Fein.

The fallout from Barry McElduff's disgraceful escapade over the Kingsmill loaf, and the unanswered culpability of Mairtin O Muilleoir in this distasteful incident, is still fresh in people's minds.

So, too, is the now routine veneration of former terrorists by leading members of Sinn Fein who look back on tombstones, rather than plotting a way forward for all of us.

In the words of Kenny Donaldson, a victims' representative, Gerry Kelly is now giving "two fingers" to the law, and this is yet another blatant example of Sinn Fein's self-inflicted wounds.

All of the five main parties here - the DUP, Sinn Fein, UUP, SDLP and Alliance - are meeting at Stormont today, and Sinn Fein has a mountain to climb to persuade the other parties and potential power-sharing partners of its good intentions.

The time has passed for weasel words, and only genuine restorative action, plus a good measure of contrition, will suffice.

One thing is certain - a power-sharing government will remain as distant a prospect as ever for as long as such contemptible, double-standards as demonstrated by Sinn Fein are permitted to continue.

Belfast Telegraph


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