FAIR
Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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26.01.07
FROM FLYING COLUMNS TO FIFTH COLUMNS

The impending change of Sinn Fein/IRA policy on policing is not the momentous change that many would suppose. It is not a reversal merely a change in tactics. The use of violence, the attacks upon the police that resulted in the murder of over three hundred, the injury of ten thousand and the refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of the police was a means to end. The real strategic value of their campaign of murder against the police was not to deplete police numbers or even moral it was to show that policing would only be acceptable on Republicans terms. Their aim was to destroy effective policing by whatever means necessary. Effective meant a police force that could stop and defeat the PIRA indeed their first success was not in military terms but in gaining the political concession that destroyed the most effective counter-terrorist component of the RUC namely the B-Specials.

This has been the real success of the PIRA and their political apologists was not in physical terms but in terms of propaganda and political subversion of the police. This process has been underpinned by the same strategy as their terrorist campaign and has been ultimately more successful. They have now destroyed the effectiveness of the police in its tradition role of countering terrorism with a local knowledge complemented by a clear vision for their role. The final insult to the memory of the dead RUC officers and the final blow to police would be Sinn Fein/IRA entering policing.

Their intent as it has always been is not to support but to subvert it is not to play a positive role but to become a dangerous fifth column bent on the erosion and destruction of the force. The present charade being played out by Sinn Fein masks the reality that this is part of a longer term strategy. In fact it’s been a key feature of their negotiating strategy since the start of the political process. They talk up difficulties, play the dissident threat card and then extract a higher price for their inevitable compliance with the point in question. Each time this ploy wins the day ensuring for Republicans maximum concessions for their strategic acceptance of issues.

Admittedly there are hard headed Republicans who have never understood or supported the Sinn Fein strategy and their always will be. However Gerry Adams summed up the whole question when he said ‘Theres only one real IRA’ The dissidents have had ample opportunity to derail the process but have not. They have rather been content to play the role of the villain in Adams ‘good Republican…bad Republican charade’. It is not time for this to end the real issue is not when will Sinn Fein join policing but rather how can policing be protected from their entry.

 



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