The Stresses and strains within Sinn Fein are really beginning to show in a public sort of way.
On Monday, in the Belfast Telegraph there was a report with a picture of Ian Paisley entitled “My former Deputy has shown real leadership says Paisley”. He was obviously very pleased with the impassioned criticism of the dissidents by Martin McGuinness, even suggesting that McGuinness has put his life on the line.
Gerry Adams knows very well that special forces have capabilities that the Police do not yet have. He is also well aware of the justification that Sir Hugh Orde has for making use of them. I do not know whether privately thinks that, on balance, it is right to use Special Forces. He may actually believe, genuinely, that if special forces are used, it will increase the activity against the security forces and lead to more (net) loss of life that there would be if no special forces are used.
I am sure that Ian Paisley would not put Gerry Adam’s statement in the category of showing leadership. However, in a sense it was.
Gerry Adams was not campaigning to the Government or the Police. He knows that he will have no influence over the Government or the Police on operational security matters. He certainly wasn’t trying to make any point to the people he was visiting in the USA. He was campaigning to his own supporters, particularly those who are ex provisional IRA. In the minds of a significant number of Republicans, any conflict between dissidents and British soldiers is a form of war.
Nobody knows how these stresses within Sinn Fein are going to pan out. Sinn Fein will continue to demand that special forces are not used. It may even suit them to have the media focus continue to debate what they say about security.
Politicians from other parties, particularly the UUP, need to avoid the temptation of loudly criticizing Sinn Fein on security. Indeed, there is no political capital to be made in doing that. Instead, ways need to be found to switch the focus back to their record in office, particularly their failure in Government over academic selection and the eleven plus.
Filed under: Academic selection, Caitriona Ruane, Sinn Fein | Tagged: Academic selection, Caitriona Ruane, Conservative Party, Gerry Adams, Ian Paisley, Martin McGuiness, Normal Politics, Northern ireland, Northern Ireland politics, Security, Sinn Fein, terrorism, UUP | Leave a Comment »