The IRA killed many police (and the police many of them) during their underground days. Their leaders, elected officials now, just backed a vote and got an overwhelming 90% in favor of supporting policing. One who voted yes killed an police officer as a teenager, spent 15 years in prison, and said it was time for the party to change.
The vote doesn’t mean Sinn Fein supports the police as constituted now as other events must occur first for this to happen, but this is a seriously big deal.
Will that mean Sinn Fein members and supporters lining up to apply for the right to don the uniform of [the police]?
That sounds unthinkable, incredulous, even ridiculous. But then again for almost a century, so did what happened today.
Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness were underground armed insurgents who not only survived but eventually assumed positions of power. Whatever you might think about them, their political and survival skills are quite extraordinary.
Slugger O’Toole, a blog in Northern Ireland, comments on what happened with their usual astute on-the-ground observations.