Kelly tells Ard Fheis we need to forge ahead
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing Gerry Kelly opening the session on the peace process and opposing motions to reverse the party's position on policing arrangements in the Six Counties said: "a short number of weeks ago we decided on the way forward by a huge majority. The comprehensive Ard Comhairle motion passed should remain the basis on which we forge ahead. On that solid foundation I am arguing on behalf of the Ard Comhairle against motion 56, motions 59 through to 65 and motion 70."
Mr. Kelly said:
A Chairde, Tháinig muid le chéile anseo 5 seachtain ó shin chun ceist na poilíneachta a phlé ag Ard Fheis speisealta. Mar is eol daoibh bhí sé suimiúl, spreagúil agus tharraing sé an croí. The special followed a very intense period of internal and external dialogue with activists, our republican voters, families of fallen comrades and a string of mass public engagements. We debated this most crucial of issues up and down and indeed from every angle and with everyone who wished to participate in the debate. At the end of that process and after a full day’s debate with delegates at the RDS the leadership was given overwhelming support for its far-reaching initiative on policing as set out in the Ard Comhairle motion.
Now while I can admire the tenacity of Leinster Ógra Cuige and a small number of cumainn who have other views on this issue, the fact is that a short number of weeks ago we decided on the way forward by a huge majority. The comprehensive Ard Comhairle motion passed should remain the basis on which we forge ahead. On that solid foundation I am arguing on behalf of the Ard Comhairle against motion 56, motions 59 through to 65 and motion 70.
Comrades, all of the issues raised in these motions have been comprehensively debated. The effect of passing them would be either to kick our initiative into reverse or tie our hands with a series of pre-conditions. Having effectively put our political opponents behind the eight ball these motions would let them off the hook and give them a platform upon which to attack us. After such an historic move by Republicans it would be fool hardy, to say the least, for delegates to let these motions go through today. Our unity of purpose before and after the 28th January has our political opponents in a tail spin. Let’s keep it that way.
We have made a hard and historic decision. It was not just about a new beginning to policing, it is about being in the driving seat of the peace process and political process. We have laid bare those parties opposing Sinn Féin North and South. In the last few weeks of canvassing throughout the North, the support for our position on the doorsteps reflects the overwhelming vote given by the Sinn Féin delegates in the RDS a few weeks ago. We have laid out our strategy. We continue to go from strength to strength. In policing as in every other policy area it will continue to be a battle a day. We are spear- heading a radical way forward to a United Ireland of equals. More and more people North and South support us in that endeavour. As we gain more political strength we can achieve more towards that goal, more for ordinary people. We are making a difference to people’s lives.
We have an election on March 7th in the 6 Counties and we will do well. We are already preparing for the upcoming election in the 26 Counties; There are people in this hall today that will be joining our 5 TD’s in Leinster House increasing our representation throughout the whole of our Country. Keep moving our struggle forward comrades. Let’s not prevaricate, slow down or reverse. I am opposing motions 56, motions 59 through to 65 and motion 70. Be strong comrades.
Bígí cinnte go bhfuil ár la ag teacht.