Recent scenes of PSNI aggression on the Lower Ormeau road merely confirm what IRSP have declared to be true for two decades. That the RUC were not disbanded, just issued with new uniforms, and directed to carry on their chief role as the armed front line of British rule in Ireland.

The appalling scenes of thuggery visited on the grieving families and survivors of the Sean Graham’s murders came as no surprise to the hundreds of Republican families and activists who have been targeted for just such treatment every day since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

Declarations of shock and disbelief from nationalist editors and politicians alike merely suggest a degree of comfort on their part with what was an acceptable level of oppression. Acceptable until that oppression literally became impossible for them to ignore.

Two facts must be borne in mind by the nationalist and republican community in relation to policing today.

1.       The PSNI are controlled, quite literally by MI5 / British Military intelligence. As per the outworking’s of Annex E of the St Andrew’s agreement of 2006. This is not propaganda, it is a material fact.

2.       Sinn Féin were coerced into accepting the PSNI in this form, in order to keep devolved political institutions afloat during that period. In turn the nationalist communities were coerced into accepting them at a street level.

The inevitable contradiction in this arrangement comes to light when we consider that the priority for British Military intelligence (MI5) in Ireland is not community policing, but repression of all and any dissent to British rule in Ireland. The defense of the realm.

Anti GFA Republican activists have known this to be a fact, and have felt the brunt of reality via endless cases of wrongful arrest, imprisonment, assault at the road side and general infringement of human rights. Cases which the establishment parties have been all too happy to ignore until this point.

Given the above, it comes as no surprise that the PSNI/RUC were happy to facilitate a UVF show of strength in East Belfast while clamping down on a solemn commemoration to the victims of the Sean Graham’s murders. Both decisions were taken not by single ‘coppers’ on the ground, but by MI5, in their role as Directors of the PSNI.   

The Nationalist and Republican community will now hear calls from Sinn Féin for a return to the policy of 50/50 (Protestant/Catholic) recruitment into the PSNI.

This position will be a smoke screen to disguise what has simply been a policy disaster for that party. They were wrong to accept the PSNI, and they were wrong to convince the Nationalist and Republican community to do likewise.

For our part, the IRSP repeat our belief that the PSNI/RUC are utterly irreformable. An influx of Catholic recruits will not alter the FACT that MI5, British Military intelligence are in the driving seat. Assertions to the contrary deserve to be treated as the nonsense it is.

The IRSP call for the rejection of the PSNI/RUC and the commencement of community discussions around how to achieve functioning community led safety initiatives, free from the poisonous control of MI5.