Martin McGuinness: “I have been in contact with the PSNI at the top level to register my dissatisfaction and annoyance…”

In a post yesterday, noting the major search operation across Northern Ireland and the arrest for questioning of 5 men in connection with the murder of PSNI officer Ronan Kerr, I linked to a UTV report quoting “the Deputy First Minister”, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, MP, MLA.

“We have to continue to support police in their investigations of any of those actions which taken the lives of any of our citizens – including those members of the police service.”

Today, UTV quotes him again, wearing a different hat…

Sinn Féin MP for Mid Ulster Martin McGuinness said he knows the family of the young man who was “arrested yesterday in a blaze of publicity” in Coalisland and later released.

“I have been in contact with the PSNI at the top level to register my dissatisfaction and annoyance at the operation in Coalisland,” Mr McGuinness said.

“The nature of the operation has caused widespread anger in the local community. That is a reality the PSNI will now have to face.”

And his party colleague, Francie Molloy, MLA, adds

Sinn Féin MLA Francie Molloy said: “It was a very heavy handed operation, reminiscent of the bad old days of police searches and raids at homes,” he told UTV.

“I think it has damaged the relations between police and the community in this area severely and it will take some time to recover that.”

He added: “It did seem like a PR operation.”

The report quotes the PSNI’s response

The PSNI have issued a statement responding to the claims.

“This investigation is being conducted to the highest professional standards,” a police spokesperson told UTV.

The 22-year-old arrested in Coalisland has since been released on Wednesday afternoon.

As yesterday’s UTV report noted

The officer in charge of the murder investigation, Detective Superintendent Raymond Murray, said: “Today’s activities are the latest stage in the ongoing investigation into Ronan’s murder and related incidents.

“Our determination to pursue every possible line of enquiry remains undiminished.”

While he said that support and assistance from the community had been encouraging, he added: “During this search stage, we would ask for people’s continued patience and co-operation as we work to complete our enquiries to maximum effect, as expeditiously as possible and with the minimum amount of disruption to community life.”

There’s been a new arrest today, btw.  And the other 4 men arrested yesterday are still being questioned.

Of course, there is an established mechanism for making a complaint about the PSNI.  And even a Northern Ireland Policing Board, on which a number of Sinn Féin MLAs sit, “to ensure for all the people of Northern Ireland the delivery of an effective, efficient, impartial, representative and accountable police service”.  They’ve even got a new committee.

But, apparently, that’s not good enough.  For some.  [Does it matter who you know? – Ed]  You might very well think that…

Adds  The other 4 men arrested yesterday have now also been released.

It follows the earlier release of a 22-year-old man arrested in Coalisland on Tuesday in connection with the killing.

A 23-year-old woman arrested in Omagh on Wednesday in connection with the murder remains in custody.

Update  From today’s BBC report

The police said in a statement that: “The investigation is protracted and wide-ranging, encompassing the murder of Constable Kerr and associated incidents.

“It is being conducted to the highest professional standards. Police have a duty to follow all lines of inquiry without fear or favour, and in accordance with the law.”

Adds  The updated BBC report now contains a statement from PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott

Chief Constable Matt Baggott said the PSNI investigation was complex and would take considerable time to complete.

“The Policing Board is the appropriate place for scrutiny to take place, particularly during a live and sensitive investigation. For that reason, the PSNI will not be commenting further,” he said.

….

Responding to Mr McGuinness’s criticisms, the chief constable said the investigation into Ronan Kerr’s murder was being “conducted under the law”.

“Future charges remain the responsibility of the independent Public Prosecution Service,” he said.

“Any comment is therefore premature. My assurance is that the investigation will remain methodical and relentless and will continue to be absolutely impartial and completely free of political influence.

“I am very satisfied with the professionalism and progress to date and will be reporting on this to the Policing Board in due course.”

, , , , , , , , ,

  • “McGuinness criticises PSNI after Coalisland arrest operation” .. SF website

    MMcG: “The young man who was arrested and subsequently released today was in the USA at the time of that murder and was in no way involved in it.”

  • ranger1640

    Is it now Marty the omniscient one. Does the pious Gerry know that Marty is taking his title.

  • andnowwhat

    Air

  • The Bush Ranger

    Why doesn’t Marty do the decent thing and walk into his nearest PSNI station and name names of all the East Tyrone Brigade who have taken up arms again? If he back the peace process that should surely trump any code of silence supporting those that no longer willing to take the path of peace?

  • sdelaneys

    In future when anyone is arrested we need only wait on the deputy to pronounce on their guilt or innocence. I suppose it would save a fair few millions if the whole judicial system is stood down and we go on the deputy’s yes or no. If he speaks out against arrest innocence is assured, while if he keeps quiet or mews with delight we accept the obvious guilty verdict.

  • Mark

    Bushranger ,

    McGuinness may have the name of a few old timers but as today’s events have shown , other Republican Groups seem to have attracted some lillywhite recruits . From the sound of things the PSNI may have also driven new recruits into the ranks of other Groups ..

  • The Bush Ranger

    [i]Sinn Féin MP for Mid Ulster Martin McGuinness said he knows the family of the young man who was “arrested yesterday in a blaze of publicity” in Coalisland and later released.[/i]

    Undoubtedly we are that stage now with many lillywhites ready to run amok and start a campaign of sorts but prior to their recruitment and/or training he could have nipped in the bud.

    Perhaps he thought they would wither on the vine or serve as a useful bogeyman to scare unionists into snuggling closer in the bed but personally I think they have lost any form of control over the dissidents now and face awkward questions of why the dissidents campaign is any less valid than their own 20-30 years before. Both are employing the same tactics and the later have seen that even if they don’t get their own way they should get rewards further down the line if they do come in out of the cold.

    Not sure I could fit any more clichés in there :p

  • Alias

    Unless McGuinness was advising the Chief Constable to adopt a policy of not arresting suspects who are on good terms with the Shinners, it is a clear-cut case of political interference in the operational independence of the PSNI in operational matters.

    If people are to have confidence that the police are independent and free from political interference in operational matters then there needs to be a mechanism put in place whereby politicians can be subjected to criminal prosecution for such interference.

  • nightrider

    No worries
    We still have a large Army presence, on standby, if and when the need arises, hopefully not, but the British military safeguard is there, supported by SF.
    That’s a quare safeguard.

  • tacapall

    There’s been fairly widespread arrests in relation to Constable Kerrs killing, seems the PSNI think people from various counties were involved. Do the PSNI really believe individuals from around the six counties collectively planned and carried out this killing. It seems they’re creating the conditions whereby MMG can pretend to give a …. about people he once called comrades. Sinn Fein’s inaction in relation to the Gerry McGeough show trial and the attitude of the life sentance review board and the SOS of Brendan Lillis’s medical condition and his continued detention is a thorn in their side and these arrests in Tyrone and elsewhere give Sinn Fein an opportunity to reach out, give the impression they actually have a bit of power, of course it depends on quid pro quo and all that.

  • Dewi

    It does look like there are issues with PSNI direction and focus, I know it mind sound daft but cut their numbers by half an you might have a better police force.

  • nightrider

    we know this Dewi, but politically unacceptable. That the PSNI are piss poor is acceptable, and we know most of them are useless, like the prison ‘service’. But that’s what we’ve been told to accept.

  • As I’ve often said the levels of Political Policing in the North has seemingly dropped…Although, as ever Irish Republicans are at the tip of it’s spear.

    Without doubt S/F have taken their eye of the ball and ‘allowed’ MI5 to continue directing and managing the upper elchelons of the unreformed RUC. Likewise, the so-called Justice powers etc…

    No matter how much spin and illusion about these matters being controlled by Irish people, they remain at the very core British and will remain so until British Imperialists leave our country and people to determine our own future.

    S/F promises have yeiled little but some favours for themselves alone while the mass of working-class communities have gained a renamed Police force intent on criminalising the Republican base!

  • AntrimObserver

    I’m struggling to recall the last time a loyalist murder was followed up by dawn raids involving 200 police…

    Can anyone enlighten me?

  • Guevaras Ghost

    AntrimObserver

    Fair point…

  • Guevaras Ghost

    in fact the last time an operation of this size was carried out it managed to reveal a spy ring at stormont. Sadly it was their own spy network lol.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Why doesn’t Marty do the decent thing and walk into his nearest PSNI station and name names of all the East Tyrone Brigade who have taken up arms again?

    Because it would accomplish nothing.

    It’s not a question of knowing who they are. The police and MI5 almost certainly know who all the major figures in the dissidents are.

    Secondly, there is no way that any testimony from any current prominent SF member would stand up in court. None of them have witnessed anything.

    At the moment the only way to properly catch the dissidents, short of interning all the suspects, is to get forensic evidence on them, or to find someone willing to turn supergrass.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    Now that all five who were arrested for questioning have been released, can we expect the PSNI to compensate the McNally family for loss of business caused by the police PR stunt?

  • “wearing a different hat…”

    A third duncher has appeared in the SF newsroom but appears not to have made into the actual SF news item:

    Sinn Féin MP and Joint First Minister Martin McGuinnness has said that the arrest operation carried out yesterday by the PSNI in to the death of PSNI Constable Ronan Kerr left a lot to be desired.

    Is there a likeness of an esteemed Slugger blogger on the dartboard over at SF HQ?

  • sonofstrongbow

    A Republican spokesperson said “we are quite happy for the PSNI to drive about in their colourful wee cars and their nice white shirts so we are but we don’t want any of this police investigative stuff”. The spokesperson went on to say “the cops can beat all of themuns they want to so they can but we’ll tell them who are the guilty so we will”.

    What a joke! The lie that is ‘Sinn Feinn support for policing’ is laid bare. The Murder Party reverts to type. I wonder what Ronan Kerr’s family are thinking today.

  • HeinzGuderian

    “No matter how much spin and illusion about these matters being controlled by Irish people, they remain at the very core British and will remain so until British Imperialists leave our country and people to determine our own future. ”

    Ayee well,the funeral arrangements are being conducted by the EU and the IMF !!

    I dunno,maybe the Police shouldn’t bother trying to arrest the murderers of Constable Kerr ? As has been stated above,just leave it to Marty to decide guilt or innocence……………………

  • sdelaneys

    I have consulted a doctor (privately, too big a wait otherwise) and she has diagnosed the deputy as suffering from grumbling of the grass roots and a weakening of the process.’

  • Dec

    Going by previous form I believe the PSNI now owe the people of Coalisland an apology.

  • sdelaneys

    A young woman was arrested yesterday in the same case. Deputy hasn’t mentioned her at all so what are we to make of that?

  • Local hack

    Police can’t interview innocent people now – end of story

  • dwatch

    Dec “Going by previous form I believe the PSNI now owe the people of Coalisland an apology.”

    Didn’t know all 4971 citizens of Coalisland had been arrested by the PSNI.

  • Pete Baker

    Update From today’s BBC report

    The police said in a statement that: “The investigation is protracted and wide-ranging, encompassing the murder of Constable Kerr and associated incidents.

    “It is being conducted to the highest professional standards. Police have a duty to follow all lines of inquiry without fear or favour, and in accordance with the law.”

  • Cynic2

    Dear Matt

    Yousuns has been arrestin the wrong kina Republicans agin.

    I have to express my outrage that a wholly innocent person has been arrested. And by ‘wholly innocent’ I mean ‘wholly innocent’ not the drivel my party leader usually spouts about ‘you cant be a criminal and a Republican’

    This is truely shackin. After we got rid of the RUC we thought it was clearly understood that there would be no more of this arrestin the wrong surt o’ peeple. Please stap this at wance. Left uncontrolled this could have huge consequences like demands to arrest other peeple who were carrying machine guns they’d clean furgot about on days when they werent where peeple allege they were. And then where would we be.

    Marty

  • Pete Baker

    Adds The updated BBC report now contains a statement from PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott

    Chief Constable Matt Baggott said the PSNI investigation was complex and would take considerable time to complete.

    “The Policing Board is the appropriate place for scrutiny to take place, particularly during a live and sensitive investigation. For that reason, the PSNI will not be commenting further,” he said.

    ….

    Responding to Mr McGuinness’s criticisms, the chief constable said the investigation into Ronan Kerr’s murder was being “conducted under the law”.

    “Future charges remain the responsibility of the independent Public Prosecution Service,” he said.

    “Any comment is therefore premature. My assurance is that the investigation will remain methodical and relentless and will continue to be absolutely impartial and completely free of political influence.

    “I am very satisfied with the professionalism and progress to date and will be reporting on this to the Policing Board in due course.”

  • Dec

    dwatch

    Follow the news much?

  • Chair of the Board’s Community Engagement Committee, Gerry Kelly MLA said: ” .. Real engagement between the police and the community is a critical element of service provision and this area will be a firm focus for our work in the term ahead. ..” .. Policing Board website 27 July 2011

    Gerry’s boss would appear to have a problem with ‘real engagement’. Perhaps the two of them didn’t have a chance yesterday to compare notes.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Well done Cynic2 you have really nailed ‘Wans’-Spake’. Any truth in the chat that it is to receive its own funding stream and that government documents are to be translated into Wan?

    The Dark Lord McGuinness seems unaware that his attempt to use the Political Policing Eldar Wand spell against Political Policing can only backfire on him and hex his a*** off.

  • iluvni

    Did we ever find out the type/name of ‘high explosive’ used by the terrorists?

  • Munsterview

    Tacapall “…Do the PSNI really believe individuals from around the six counties collectively planned and carried out this killing……”

    Nope, not for one bloody moment !

    The police force did what most police forces everywhere without effective political local control and check do, they followed a police agenda that opportunistically took advantage of the situation to have the widest possible trawl for ‘suspects’ and Intelligence.

    Martin McGuiness have every reason to be angry : what ever bright ( or was it dim ) spark thought that one up obviously did not give two figs for the Peace Process or what effect the action would have on Nationalist sentiment. Given the result the suspicion must arise…. was this a deliberate act by someone mischief making to throw a spanner in the works ?

    The North is one of the most heavily security monitored areas in Europe, it is as it has been since the first British Troops were deployed in Derry post the Battle Of The Bogside when Kitson & Co slunk into the Six Counties on the heels of the troops and it is still used as the primary Intel testing and methodology proving laboratory of the land mass in these Islands under British control.

    Anyone who do not believe for one moment that a central date bank do not at this stage exist as it has for some considerable time where any name of any individual entered, will not disclose every electronic track left by by that individual, down to their bloody Tesco bonus point cards, do not appreciate the real Intel world and how it operate !

    It then beggars belief that,

    1) the PRNSI would not use this central data to access the very latest activities of the parties they were interested in before moving to arrest them, or that

    2) such a sophisticated system would not show that the arrested young man had left the country, that he was out of the country during the killing and also when he returned.

    This is not rocket science : the average half sozzoled News Of The World hack had ‘contacts’ that could get them this kind of information to track ‘show Biz Personalities’ etc in minutes.

    So what the hell were the Poliece Service Of Northern Ireland up to by pulling that particular stunt ?

    That is a question that needs answering and quickly !

  • nightrider

    “The North is one of the most heavily security monitored areas in Europe, it is as it has been since the first British Troops were deployed in Derry post the Battle Of The Bogside when Kitson & Co slunk into the Six Counties on the heels of the troops and it is still used as the primary Intel testing and methodology proving laboratory of the land mass in these Islands under British control.”

    maybe you’re right, and all the chemtrails-and the black helicopters and whatever…

    Maybe it’s all so.

    The NI petri dish.
    The result is the same in every petri dish.

    maybe Munsterview can save us from ourselves?
    You, the reader, must make up your own mind.

  • fordprefect

    McNally’s Pub, loss of business etc. How about loss of life, since the local media splashed it all over their papers and tv. The UVF and their hangers on are still with us, so if anyone is injured or God forbid killed in or near this pub, I hope the RUC/PSNI and local media accept responsibility for it! As for McGuinness, wasn’t it he and his ilk told us Nationalists/Republicans that they would put manners on the cops and so on? Yeah right! All this two-faced, hypocritical, lying, mealy mouthed uncle tom is worried about is losing votes in mid Ulster!

  • Reader

    fordprefect: The UVF and their hangers on are still with us, so if anyone is injured or God forbid killed in or near this pub, I hope the RUC/PSNI and local media accept responsibility for it!
    Do you think the UVF will put their release-on-licence at risk to avenge a Catholic policeman? Three weeks ago they were shooting at the police themselves.

  • ranger1640

    Sinn Fein has a wee bit of form when it comes to directly interfering in police investigations.

    After the murder of Robert McCartney in a pub full of Sinn Fein members, firstly there was a forensic clean up of the scene. Then the character assassination of the victims, then the not so local elected Sinn Fein representative Alex Maskey, claimed that the resulting riots preventing the police form questioning and arresting suspects, was the result of community anger at the police going into the Markets to investigation and make arrests.

    However that is in direct contradiction to what the residents claimed. “He (Alex Maskey) also denied claims by residents that republicans had ordered children to riot in the Markets area to impede police investigating the murder”!

    “Asked whether, as residents claim, two of the men involved in the clean-up after the murder had previously acted as his election workers, he said he would not comment on “falsehoods in the media”.

    “As he was answering these questions, one of Robert McCartney’s uncles burst through the crowd, shouting: “You have nine other members of this gang … who butchered my nephew. When are you going to hand them over? You couldn’t even remember Robert’s name [after the murder]. Hand over the 12.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/feb/28/northernireland.northernireland2

    Have Sinn Fein really bought into policing???
    I can’t wait until the HSE start to make serious in roads into republican crimes. Then we will see the true support the shinners have for policing???

  • Is the the enemy they seek, guarded and hiding within their own ranks?

    “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” …. Sherlock Holmes,

  • glasgow

    ranger 1640, you will be waiting an awful long time if u beleive the HSE will make any in roads into republican crimes of the past, republicans that is that have any connection whatsoever to sinn fien