Thursday 15 November 2018

Not quite everyone sang from the same hymn sheet

IT was the day when everybody wanted to have their say.

Early indications of the massive endorsement for the Sinn Fein leadership stance on supporting the PSNI came when speaker after speaker used their three minutes of speaking time to back this historic move.

But not everybody was singing from the same party hymn sheet.

Daniel Callinan of Galway West said voting to support the PSNI would come down to an endorsement of British control.

He said Sinn Fein was unable to speak freely about the O'Loan report because they would have compromised what had to be done at this special Ard Fheis.

"It was stomach churning to have to listen to Ahern and Durkan going on about the report," he said.

Barry McNally of Ogra Sinn Fein said they were often criticised for being angry young men, but they were now being asked to back a police force and not a service.

Sean Darragh asked delegates to reject the motion, saying its passage could have a potentially devastating effect.

However, the dissenting voices were most definitely in the minority, as scores of delegates lined up to back the motion.

Louise Minihan (Dublin) said Sinn Fein had to be there to hold the PSNI to account.

"We cannot wait for a united Ireland before bringing about change," she said.

Francie Molloy, a member of the Ard Chomhairle, said Sinn Fein's opponents did not want the party to go forward as this was a move which would hold the PSNI accountable.

'I'm speaking in favour of the

revolution. Sorry, I mean resolution'

Sinn Fein councillor Daithi Doolan said the party would be stronger because of the debate on policing.

"We are a revolutionary party and our ultimate aim is to establish a socialist republic on this island," he said.

Tom Hartley, of Beechmount Belfast, said the motion presented Sinn Fein with an opportunity to input its values, and the party could move to a challenging role within the institutions.

Marie Keane said it was not about cheerleading the PSNI, but about preparing for power in Ireland; and the message to the police was: "You can reform or you can retire."

Meanwhile, it might have been a slip of the tongue but Rose Dugdale certainly got the crowd in the RDS going.

The veteran republican activist took her turn at the podium to support the move to back the PSNI and started off by saying: "I'm speaking in favour of the revolution. Sorry, I mean the resolution - but I'm in favour of the revolution as well."

Dr Dugdale told delegates Sinn Fein had always taken the difficult initiatives.

Lorna Reid

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