Sinn Fein Spies in Government?

The subject of this thread can be read about here. or, the previous story here. Or even here.

David Trimbles response to the situation can be read here.
I won’t comment on my take until I hear some opinions.

So, questions…
Do you believe Sinn Fein have breached the Democratic framework of the Stormont government?

Do you believe Sinn Fein deserve to be thrown out of Government for their intelligence gathering?

Do you think their exclusion would gain anything in the process towards lasting peace? Why / why not?

Thanks. (Friendly reminder, this is in IMHO, not the Pit)

I should point out that Sinn Féin are the ones in government - the alleged spy would be an IRA man, I guess.

My opinion: if it’s proven, and if Sinn Féin are complicit, then it is an absolute disgrace. I really can’t see how power sharing could continue.

However, there are a few things to consider: 1. Could the information, if it is indeed what it is alleged to be, have an innocent purpose? 2. Would the PSNI apply an even-handed approach to similar behaviour from the Unionist side? Is there the same level of scrutiny? 3. Such an incident is damned convenient for the Unionists. Is there a possibility that they might have influenced the PSNI to perform the raid, which, even with a negative result, could taint SF via the ‘no smoke without fire’ route?

I hope that whatever it is being investigated needs to be revealed in a court ASAP. If it is what it is, it’s very, very bad news. Of course, if it is proven, SF will continue to claim it’s a set-up, or if the evidence is incontrovertible, they may claim IRA infiltration rather than complicity. Though at the moment they’re standing firmly by their man, which either bodes badly for the future of the peace process, or it means that he is indeed innocent.

IMO, until there has been legal examination, I think there’s going to be a state of uneasy stasis. I seriously hope this doesn’t pull down Stormont, but if it’s proven, I really can’t see that it will be resilient enough to withstand such a scandal.

Bad choice of words in the title, thanks for clearing that up.

Apparently the raid has been going to happen since July, and there were previous warnings given to try and avoid a scene. (That said, one or two police would have sufficed to obtain the evidence, it wasn’t exactly the Iranian Embassy.)

David Trimble said that the nature of the actual information is not relevant (regardless of its secrecry or banality), but the fact they infiltrated the office of the Secretary of State to obtain it.

I can’t comment on the level of scrutiny in the Unionist camp in Government, but I would assume it is equal.

[Humorous aside]
Mark Durkin said…" Wind your necks in…" on National TV.
[/Humorous aside]

[Han Solo] I’ve got a really bad feeling about this

Denis Donaldson is the party’s head of administration. Don’t exactly know the details but I can guarantee one thing. The majority of Nationalists will not believe this. Whether or not the allegations are true the timing is just too suspicious. At a time when the pressure was rising and the Unionists were coming to a position were they would most likely take down the agreement. Trimble loosing face and the power within unionism finally moving towards the anti-agreement side along comes a situation that potentially moves it all to the nationalists end of the field.

Without Sinn Fein there will be no peace. The war will start again. Political points scoring and moral issues are all well and good but everyone better realise what will happen if this agreement falls and extremists get their way.

Worrying. I’m going off to work and read a few papers and see what the commentary is like.

Suppose for a moment that any / all of the allegations are true, and proven.

Do you think it is correct that Sinn Fein should remain in a Democratic Government solely on the strength of the fact the peace process would crumble without them?
What other activities would you forgive in order to ensure we retain the status quo?

(Disclaimer: This is not meant to be an attack on your point, (which is valid), just a question to have you elaborate your position.)

I’m not saying they should get away with anything. I’m just saying that without them the shit hits the fan IMO.

People should realise that when they are throwing around ideas of removing Sinn Fein from the peace process. The majority of Unionist who are calling for Sinn Fein to be removed were calling for it since the beginning of the process. This situation hasn’t changed their minds they are just latching on to it.

As I said a lot of actual details haven’t been released yet and I’m remaining wary about this until I know more, it does seem very convenient.

If it turns out that a member of Sinn Fein was holding documentation that there was no other reason to have other than terrorist reason then we’ve got a huge problem. Most other parties in the democratic world would sack the guy and feel the pain of ballot box. Because of Sinn Fein’s links to the IRA and the Unionists strength of opposition the whole party will most likely be removed. When that happens I’ll be glad I’m in this part of the Island and not yours :frowning:

So I guess another way of phrasing Aro’s question is: what naughtiness would a member of the Executive have to get up to for their party justifiably to be ejected from the Executive. Where’s the line? Trimble will draw it here _________

and Adams will draw it here _______________.

I agree with yojimbo about the consequences - I can’t see what other result would come about if SF were expelled. Which is why my personal line-drawing would be a lot closer to Adams than to Trimble.

It’s all fucked up really, isn’t it?

Agree entirely, but then you could get onto dangerous ground. If SF knows that without them the peace process will crumble, and that as a result they have more leeway, might they not use it? A particularly bad analogy might be the employee who doesn’t get the sack for theft because they’re the only one who can work the till.

It’s pretty grim on the ground at the moment anyhow, regardless of this incident. When is a ceasefire not a ceasefire in Northern Ireland?

The Loyalist feud claimed its fourth victim. The NIPS, sorry the PSNI, are open game to all sides, to the extent of being shot at by so-called Loyalists last night.

Punishment Attacks continue unabaited.

The situation can’t really get too much worse for local people anyhow.

The couple of people who I’ve talked from the North still say that no matter how bad it is at the mo. It is nothing like it was in the past. YMMV and I supose that doesn’t really matter if you end up in the firing line.

The North’s really looking bad. So much distrust and hatred on both sides. Don’t know if there is a solution other than a lot of time but they’ve got to keep trying that’s for sure and I don’t think enough people from either side are.

Fair point.

I was just a kid in the 70’s and oblivious to how it was then. But it is certainly close, now, to the worst it has been in my adult experience. Unfortunately.

I’m very worried about it.

The anti-agreements will do everything in their power to have the Assembly torn apart. The timing of this is extremely suspicious. If indeed there had been warnings since July, why not act then? and if Sinn Fein had been warned about it, and it was actually happening, it would have been stopped. They do not need to give the Opposition any fuel for their fires. They are absolutely of the idea that there will be more success through political means than by the gun. As I’ve said before, many republicans believe the war is over.

dark days ahead.

To expand on Twisty’s point - if you’re looking for a conspiracy - the amount of alleged materials found (“a pile of papers a foot high” - Irish Times quoting security forces) is astonishing, and Sinn Féin had been warned, the question to ask is: are SF really that stupid? Really? Whatever one’s political viewpoint, I think most people would agree that they have shown themselves to be anything but idiots.

That’s the really nasty part. The accusers aren’t beyond suspicion themselves. If nothing is proven, there will be many who still suspect SF and whose complaints will be louder. If something is proven, there will be many who suspect a conspiracy. And yet, it can’t be ignored.

I absolutely agree about the questionable timing but I think it’s Trimble et al who are happier about this turn of events than anti-agreement unionists. Since the last meeting of the UUC, the writing was on the wall for the institutions. The screws would be turned on pro-agreement unionists over the course of the three month ‘get your house in order, SF’ period and Trimble may have been further weakened prior to his promised walk-out. This way, he gets to hog the moral high ground and call for suspension and re-negotiation with his leadership in a more secure position (albeit still a bit ropey).

Having said that, this speculation is irrelevant if the alleged offences did take place. If SF did lift documents, it has brought these difficulties upon itself. They will claim that the NIO leaks everything directly to the UUP and they were only evening up the score but they must have known the consequences of this being discovered.

Overall though, I think predictions of doom may be premature. SF will continue to pursue a primarily political strategy and the institutions were dying on their feet in any case. Elections were on the horizon and now they may happen a little earlier. There will be a re-evaluation of the process and the parties will gear up for elections, which was pretty much what was going to happen anyway. SF certainly have nothing to fear from elections - presumably they will increase their strength in the assembly (if the Westminster elections are anything to go by). The UUP line was always going to harden going into the poll. This little spat just brings everything to a head a bit earlier, which might be preferable to the heat being turned up gradually between now and the elections.

Maybe there’s nothing in this. But if there is, I’m not sure how anyone loses here.

Would the collapse of the Good Friday Agreement necessarily be a bad thing? For the people of Ulster, what discernable benefits have resulted from it? The paramilitaries still wage private wars for control of crime; they still oppress the ordinary people through punishment beatings and murder; corruption and protection rackets are still enforced by men with guns; the police force has been emasculated and Catholics are still intimidated from joining it.

Unless these issues are addressed, the Agreement serves no purpose other than to allow the “Naive Idiot” and Berie Aherne to claim that they brought peace to Ulster. It is a claim written in the blood of all those who are still suffering.

As long as the likes of Adams and McGuinness are left in control of private armies (which have yet to decommission any weapons), there will never be peace.

Hmmm interesting POV manwithaplan

Go Alien, just to point out, (before Twisty or Ruadh does), this article explains that the IRA actually have begun decommissioning arms.

I’m sure they would also politely point out that there has been little, or none, in the way of decommissioning on the part of Loyalist Paramilitaries, to mirror this IRA move.

But far be it from me to defend the Republican position. :smiley:

(Keepin’ it civil, dude)

Some of the stuff that’s been revealed about the contents is a bit bizarre: while details of prison and PSNI officers would indeed be extremely disturbing, the fact that “the names of Tony Blair and Bill Clinton” are mentioned doesn’t really fill one with fear. What, is the 'RA planning a ‘spectacular’ in Little Rock?

Good analysis, manwithaplan. Do you think the UUP might collapse the assembly before a verdict, though? This, if true, also has far-reaching implications wrt SF’s membership of the Policing Board.

Now to Go alien’s post:

Uh… yeah.

Well I’m sure it affects the people of Northern Ireland more than it does people in Monaghan and Donegal (point: Ulster is 9 counties, NI is 6). I would say (though someone living there could confirm) that since the GFA there’s been a lot more peace about.

Quite true, though one should of course temper this with the relatively low crime rate - i.e. the thugs are doing what thugs do, it’s just they’re members of paramilitaries rather than gangsters, and the dividing line is very thin.

Immasculation is debatable, and I agree there’s a long way to go, but the PSNI set-up is still better than the RUC.

Strong rhetoric there, old chap. If you recall, it wasn’t Bertie and Bill that won the Nobel Peace prize. And, despite the worsening situation as described by Aro, I am sure the casualty figures are distinctly down on previous decades.

They have - not all, or enough, but the word “any” is incorrect in this instance. They also have a large minority mandate, like it or not.

IMO only, of course, not talking to Adams and McGuinness is the one thing that will guarantee a lack of peace for the people of Northern Ireland.

Beat you to the link,** jjimm.** :wink: