Thursday, 23 October 2008

With Sinn Féin it's still always the police's fault

Old habits die hard in Sinn Féin. Although the Provos are now reputedly 100 per cent signed up to policing and the rule of law, whenever republicans riot, it is perpetually the police who are at fault.

Normally this instinct is manifested by claims of heavy-handedness. The PSNI’s mere presence in an area is often presented as sufficient provocation for an attack.

Then there is the old chestnut of agents and informers, whereby every instance of republican misbehaviour is attributed to perfidious securocrats, who infiltrate all manner of organisations, in order to instigate mayhem in the name of innocent republicanism.

John O’Dowd has plumped for the latter option in order to explain republican violence in the Craigavon / Lurgan area last night.

An impartial observer might submit to O’Dowd’s reasoning. Perhaps the PSNI is so starved of excitement that it foments all manner of dissident disorder, which its officers can then enjoy at close quarters.

On the other hand the observer might wonder who had most to gain from trouble orchestrated by the Shinners’ former comrades. In particular, with the Assembly deadlocked and policing and justice unresolved, who might wish to see instability apparently result?

Of course the attacks may have been carried out by ‘dissident elements’ of republicanism over which O’Dowd and his ilk have no influence whatsoever. When Sinn Féin begins to unequivocally back the police against republican attack, without innuendo or insinuation, their bona fides can be viewed with less cynicism.

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