Remarks by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness 3/5/14
Check against Delivery:
I want to thank you all for coming here today to demonstrate your solidarity with my friend and our party leader Gerry Adams.
I have consistently said in recent days that the timing of the arrest of Gerry Adams was politically motivated.
The decision to extend his detention is part of this.
Does anyone here doubt that the arrest of Gerry Adams is inextricably linked to the Local Government and EU elections that will take place across this island in three weeks?
Martina Anderson who is here with us today and our 350 local government and EU candidates across this island are being denied the solidarity and support of their party leader during a crucial election campaign.
Does anyone here doubt Gerry’s arrest at this time is not intended to disrupt that election campaign?
The PSNI has had the Boston tapes for a year.
The allegations contained in books and newspaper articles which the PSNI are presenting to Gerry as evidence that he was in the IRA in the 1970s have been around for 40 years.
But they are only now trying to use these. Is that not political policing?
This is a replay of the failed effort in 1978 to charge Gerry with membership.
That case was based on hearsay, gossip and newspaper articles and it failed.
36 years later those within the PSNI who are hostile to the peace process, are using the same old dirty tricks.
They are deliberately and cynically exploiting the awful killing of Jean McConville and the grief and hurt of her family.
Our sympathy is with the McConville family.
Let me be very clear about Sinn Féin’s approach to policing and to the PSNI.
We worked very hard to reform policing.
Sinn Féin’s negotiations strategy succeeded in achieving new policing arrangements but we always knew that there remained within the PSNI an embittered rump of the old RUC.
These people want to settle old scores whatever the political cost!
We fully support the PSNI in the fair and democratic implementation of policing and justice but our support is a critical support.
No police force is immune from criticism if it is acting in a politically biased and partisan fashion.
The arrest of Gerry Adams is evidence of that there is an element within the PSNI who are against the peace process and who hate Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin.
They are – what the reformers within the PSNI have described to us as the Dark Side.
They are small in number but very influential.
This group is working to a negative and anti-peace process agenda and are actively involved in political policing.
We have been told in recent days by our political opponents that there is no political policing; that there is no political interference in policing and, according to the British secretary of State, no one is above the law!
Who here believes that nonsense?
There are countless examples of the difference in treatment by the British state to its forces who killed citizens and its attitude to nationalists and republicans.
When the HET brought British soldiers in to question them about the killing of citizens they were not arrested.
On the contrary they were given tea and scones!
Just last year a British Inspectorate of Constabulary report – the HMIC - was scathing in its criticism of the PSNI handling of those investigations.
The PSNI today knows, and has for years, the names of those members of the British Parachute Regiment who killed 14 people on the streets of Derry in 1972.
Have any of the Paras been arrested? NO.
Is this political policing? Yes it is.
The PSNI know the British Parachute soldiers who killed 11 civilians in Ballymurphy in August 1971.
Have they acted on this evidence? No.
Is this political policing? Yes it is.
Last week the British Secretary of State Theresa Villiers told the Ballymurphy families there would be no review of their cases - families who have never had a proper investigation into their killings.
Is this political interference? Yes it is.
Four reports were published by the Irish Parliament into the Dublin Monaghan bombs which killed 33 citizens.
The Dáil concluded “that given that we are dealing with acts of international terrorism that were colluded in by the British security forces, the British Government cannot legitimately refuse to co-operate with investigations and attempts to get to the truth.”
But that is exactly what successive British governments have done.
They have refused to provide information in their possession on these killings.
Is that not political interference? Yes it is.
In a key note speech two weeks ago, the British Secretary of State criticised what she described as the one sided focus on state killings.
Is this political interference in policing and the justice system? Yes it is.
If the PSNI and the British government want to talk about the 1970s then let them talk about and acknowledge the truth of the recently published book by Anne Cadwallader of the Pat Finucane Centre - ‘Lethal Allies’ – which documents 120 killings carried by RUC, the UDR and British intelligence agencies, along with unionist death squads, in a five year period in the 1970s.
The indisputable fact is that for 40 years there has been a virtual amnesty for British state forces involved in killing citizens both directly and through state collusion with unionist death squads.
I want to acknowledge that there are many progressive and open-minded elements in the new policing arrangements who are wedded to accountable and impartial policing.
I want to emphasise my absolute support for them in their efforts to deliver impartial and accountable policing.
But there is a small cabal in the PSNI who have a different agenda – a negative and destructive agenda to both the peace process and to Sinn Féin.
Sinn Féin under the leadership of Gerry Adams will not allow these elements to succeed.
Gerry Adams is my friend.
Gerry Adams is the leader of Sinn Féin.
Gerry Adams stands head and shoulders above all of those who helped build the peace process.
He is a peace maker, a leader, a visionary.
There would be no peace process but for his commitment and dedication.
Gerry Adams is committed to moving this process forward.
He will not be deterred or deflected and neither will we.
The Dark Side fear him.
That’s why they are doing what they do.
And we stand with our friend and leader.