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Fundamental change in British policy required to end political deadlock - Kearney

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» Declan Kearney

Sinn Féin National Chairperson

"What is required to end our political impasse and open the way to sustainable political progress is a fundamental change in British state policy towards Ireland."

British Secretaries of State in the North of Ireland are akin to snow on a ditch; they tend to appear and melt away.

Few, if any, ever stick in the popular consciousness.

That’s not to play the man or woman, and fail to play the ball.

The main function of British Secretaries of State in the north is to oversee British state policy in Ireland.

The characteristics of that policy during the course of direct rule in the north from 1972 have been adjusted according to decisions taken by both the Labour and Tory parties in government, including internment; the onset of Ulsterisation and Criminalisation; the 1980/’81 Hunger Strikes; and, reorganisation, rearming and direction of unionist death squads, particularly during the late 1980s and 1990s, under Thatcher’s war cabinet.

Throughout, powerful sections of the British security and military establishment, which directed Britain’s dirty war in Ireland, have continued to exert significant influence over British state policy.

Those who were always hostile to the Irish peace process within the British Ministry of Defence and security services in Whitehall are still politically and psychologically at war: That, in large part, explains the momentum behind the current ‘Soldier F’ campaign, and the demand to provide legal immunity from prosecution for murderers within British state forces.

Since the election of the Tory-led coalition government in Britain a policy of negative political mismanagement and aggressive pro-unionism has been adopted towards the north.

In that period, and to date, there have been five appointed British Secretaries of State, including the most recent, Julian Smith, as a result of Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle.

After Martin McGuinness’ resignation in January 2017 and subsequent collapse of the political institutions a series of phases of talks ensued.

The second phase of talks was suspended due to the announcement of a British general election by Theresa May in April.

However, the succeeding third phase was delayed and frustrated for seventeen days after the election itself on 8thJune because the DUP began a negotiation in London on agreeing a political pact with the Tory party.

When the DUP reengaged towards the end of June, that party’s intransigence towards meaningfully addressing the political crisis was emboldened due to their pact with the Tories.

Both the DUP and Tories based their pact upon support for Brexit, austerity, refusal to address legacy issues, and continued hostility for the equality, rights, parity of esteem and mutual respect principles of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA).

The DUP had no........

© An Phoblacht