Republicans opposed to the Police Force in Northern Ireland may run ex-prisoners as candidates in this March’s elections to restore government.
Republican Sinn Féin is calling on Sinn Féin members to throw out a motion from the party leadership that they accept the province’s police service.
A special conference, or ard fheis, is being held in Dublin tomorrow to rubber stamp the historic shift which would see republicans joining the Police Service of Northern Ireland and sitting on public scrutiny bodies.
Republican Sinn Féin spokesman Ruairi Og O’Bradaigh said: “It is a British police force as far as we are concerned, it doesn’t matter if Gerry Adams is in uniform, it is who controls it and pays it and motivates it,” he said.
Jerry Adams hopes to secure the landmark vote ahead of anticipated restored government in March and devolved powers over policing and justice by 2008.
Accepting the police was a condition which Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party had demanded before sharing power.
Republican Sinn Féin which represents the dissident Continuity IRA is set against the policing concession which it claimed would endorse British rule in Ireland.
“We have had 100 years of British police forces here and there were plenty of Catholics and it didn’t make them not a British force,” Mr O’Bradaigh added.
“This is all cosmetic to give it a veneer of respectability.”