“Something, Something, Something, Dark Side…”

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The last time Sinn Féin wheeled out little known placeman, and non-public representative, Declan Kearney, in November 2009, the party was trying desperately to raise the stakes over the devolution of policing and justice powers – while muttering about “the NIO spooks and PSNI’s political detectives“.  What he’s doing out of his box again is anyone’s guess…  ANYhoo, here’s the script this time

Sinn Fein’s support for democratically accountable policing is unambiguous, but it is not unconditional.  We have repeatedly said that our Party will face down the old guard political detectives who have worked against the peace process.

Contrary to insinuations from other senior PSNI officers, Sinn Féin has no “psychological transition” to make.  We have faced down attempts to intimidate DPP meetings; condemned apolitical, militarist violence against police officers; and, ensured the Assembly Justice Committee works.  We will not be derailed by anyone.

All this coincides with a migration of former Northern Ireland Office figures into the new Department of Justice (DOJ).  Defective prisons policy, the Police Ombudsman debacle, and long-standing efforts to hollow out Patten’s recommendations reflect a mindset synonymous with the old system.

Of course, some of this was inevitable.  Old reactionaries rarely go away.  They regroup and retrench. That’s the reality of policing in post conflict Ireland.

But the change agenda – in the context of the all-Ireland political institutions – is irreversible.  The ‘dark side’ is not in control.  MI5 will not succeed in remilitarizing the north.  Change is in the ascendancy. 

Sinn Fein will resolutely drive, and defend the change agenda against all its opponents – not least those in the PSNI, or their retired colleagues, now in the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA), intent on vindictively targeting republicans to massage bruised egos from a past conflict.

[Was Gerry Kelly unavailable? - Ed]  Or John O’Dowd…  As the Belfast Telegraph editorial notes in response

The republicans’ call to the Chief Constable to start living in the real world rings hollow.

In the real world of Northern Ireland there is a viable and on-going threat from dissident republicans and Mr Baggott might well suggest that mainstream republicans could do more to bring the wilder elements to heel. He might also, with some justification, feel that the language used by republicans could easily be misinterpreted as a weakening of support for policing – we are assured that it is not – and that the comment would have been better left unsaid, at least publicly.

As for MI5, they seem to be doing fine.  Thanks for asking!

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  • Mick Fealty

    MA,

    Play the ball, please.

  • http://andrewg.wordpress.com Andrew Gallagher

    Sinn Féin has no “psychological transition” to make. We have … condemned apolitical, militarist violence against police officers

    But they haven’t gone so far as to condemn political violence against police officers. Psychological or not, there’s definitely an incomplete transition in there somewhere.

  • sonofstrongbow

    The underlying message is clear – keep your (investigative) hands off our nice little earners.

    Sinn Fein support the PSNI in their sweet little uniforms and driving about in their pretty cars, but, they’ll be having none of that crim-catching policing nonsense. That’s way too “political”.

  • alan56

    Wonder if the guard has changed at the SF press office. Some poor offerings recently?

  • Mary Anna

    @ Mick i don’t jump in to bed with sin/f the Brits Dup- so your welcome to block me!They let the hunger strikrs die -for self interests political advantage- do i care block me. Censor me – do what ever you want. I will never play ball with any turn coats.We shall over come the truth one day!

  • Mick Fealty

    I merely asked you to voice your criticism in terms of robust argument, not weak ad hominem attacks.

  • Into the west

    Reading the statement carefully by Declan Kearney
    “leaning on the Police Ombudsman’s office and undermining Nuala O’Loan”
    There’ve been programmes highlighting precisely that.

    A “spotlight” one in particular, with comments by Nuala.

    Is that not part of the story? Is it not worth a hyperlink?

    “Vincent Kearney reports on the crisis in the Police Ombudsman’s Office, discovering the inside story and investigating how the work of the PSNI watchdog has become infected by internal difficulties.”

  • Pete Baker

    Westie

    “internal difficulties”

    You do know what that means?

    And, in case anyone is wondering where the title quote comes from – it is here.

  • Into the west

    it means there’s not much teamwork and agreement at the most senior levels
    and plenty of ass-covering from those on the “dark side”.

    Are you seeing something else? or is your postion:
    ” I can’t see anything “?
    Pray tell ….

  • USA

    His position has always been simply to spin everything he can into an anti-SF rant…and what is with the deliberate man playing of Declan Kearney?
    Does Baker ref his own games on this site?

  • Mick Fealty

    USA,

    So why do you think none of SF’s elected representatives are touching this story with a barge pole? It’s not as they are short of them?

  • Mike the First

    “the change agenda – in the context of the all-Ireland political institutions”

    What does this actually mean? Does Declan Kearney even know, or is it just cheap sloganising with a few key buzzwords (“all-Ireland”, natch) thrown in?

  • iluvni

    You listening to this 50 minutes of nonsense from that buffoon on Nolan too?

  • Neil

    I found Brian Rowan’s contribution illuminating, whatabout you? He seemed to understand where Sinn Fein was coming from just fine. [text removed - please contact the editor - Mods]

    Mary Anna,

    We shall over come the truth one day!

    Good luck with that. I’m confident you’ll keep trying at any rate.

  • Mick Fealty

    Neil, for those us listening to something else, a précis would useful?

  • http://www.ur2die4.com/ amanfromMars

    Oh dear. That blast from the past by Declan Kearney must be very embarrassing for Martin McGuinness considering what he would know of the workings of intelligence in Northern Ireland under new man management.

    To not imagine and to contend that smart folk can’t and don’t change into completely different beings as time progresses and circumstances alter, is to identify oneself with a major personal problem which needs addressing/treatment ….. for nothing ever remains the same as before.

  • damon

    Declan Kearney could have explained what he meant by ”agents” more clearly to Nolan. Nolan seemed to think it was members of MI5 he was talking about, when I was getting the impression he was talking about moles and informants recruited from within the Nationalist community. The ones that then went on to be involved in the criminality he described, such as attacking the PSNI.
    He came across as a bit of a drone.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Unfortunately the Belfast Telegraph does not go into greater detail when it suggests “Mr Baggott might well suggest that mainstream republicans could do more to bring the wilder elements to heel.” What does the Telegraph mean by this? Is it the role of mainstream republicans to bring anyone to heel?

    Kearney, the National Chairperson of SF, was reinforcing the view that the change sought by SF is an ongoing body of work for the party. Backsliding, which includes the re-employment of the RUC old guard who took their money and ran will be confronted on every available level.

    There is a problem for republicans with the re-employment of this old guard. There is a problem for republicans in the way the current incumbent of the Police Ombudsmans office has allowed the role of that office to be undermined and diminished on account of police pressure.

    He is also right to point out that the situation in the prisons, especially Maghaberry where a recalcitrant and overtly confrontation POA have scuppered a deal to end the current protest through a mish mash of sectarianism, obduracy and the wish to get their noses further into the trough.

  • 241934 john brennan

    On this morning’s Nolan show, Declan Kearney’s main complaints were directed against MI5’s intelligence gathering methods, particularly its use of locally recruited agents.

    The SDLP was the only local political party to oppose the introduction of an unaccountable MI5, largely replacing the PSNI Intelligence Branch, which is accountable to the Secretary of State, The Policing Board and Ombudsman.

    As far as I know M15 is accountable to no one in Northern Ireland, but only to the British Lord High Chancellor in London. Can anyone explain why Sinn Fein agreed to this, and insisted on this, as a condition for supporting the PSNI?

  • Mick Fealty

    Pat, is re-employment of former RUC men what Declan’s talking about? The ones I’ve heard about are in road safety. The ones Declan seems to be talking about have been in MI5 since his party drove them there in the 2006/7 ‘indigenous deal’.

    Surely you cannot complain about the operation of MI5 after your party was key to deciding to give all oversight of their activities to Westminster?

    Perhaps that’s why a party chair, with no constituents to question him on the doorstep, is raising this rather than an elected representative?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Mick,

    the -re-employment of RUC men is just one of the issues raised by Declan and it is viewed by republicans as a significant problem. Declan Kearney does state,

    “the above evidence trail leads directly back to a small, significant group of political detectives – many rehired into Crime Department. Their activities are opposed to wider PSNI efforts at reforming the organization and ethos of policing.”
    In a report to the BBC dated 1st December the PSNI revealed that of 399 staff supplied by a recruitment agency 163 work in Crime Operations Department.

    Rather than be involved in road safety some of those outside Crime Department who have been re-employed include the former Acting Asst Chief Constable Mark Mc Dowell currently employed in the PSNI Legacy Branch. It was he who wrote to the police ombudsman’s office complaining of the use of the word ‘collusion’ in reports.

    SF was very clear in its decision to remove MI5 from everyday policing, the overwhelming majority of which falls outside of what would be termed ‘political policing’. MI5 contaminates everything it comes into contact with and quite rightly reforming of the PSNI would have been stymied to a greater extent to what they are now.

    As for Kearney making the points it is fair to accept that SF elected reps will be held to account for statements issued by prominent party mermbers.

  • Professor Yattle

    What nonsense. MI5 never had, nor ever would have had, any role in “everyday policing”. That was a line spun by SF to cover its arse.

  • Mick Fealty

    That may be so Pat. It still doesn’t explain the decision. The reference to the ongoing investigations by the Serious Organised Crime Office is interesting. Not something an elected politician would want to be seen attacking these days perhaps?

  • Brian

    ‘condemned apolitical, militarist violence against police officers;’

    So, presumably, ‘political’ violence against police officers wouldn’t meet the same disapproval from them?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    “What nonsense. MI5 never had, nor ever would have had, any role in “everyday policing”. That was a line spun by SF to cover its arse.”

    The only line being that no one on this island is capable of holding MI5 to account. Indeed it is questionable who in Westminster is able to hold them to account.

    The point being that it was important to remove, as much as possible, the all encompassing veil of ‘national security’ defence from members of the PSNI.

  • Mary Anna

    God after noon Mick- sorry about my out burst last night – i was very tired. Listening to the Nolans show this morning on this topic – sin/f are just making noise again- see they are losing support – here in Derry big time- they have to be seen – doing something for the die hards and their voters -they always got what they wanted by black mailing – bulling and threats. They are on their way down and out.When smoking guns come out new year all hell will blaze -The deaths of the hunger strikers questions will have to be answered – i believe that this story is just a distraction to what Ps/f army council have to face in the new year! The craft is hanging out of their eyes- ps/f the sinners they can all go and live in hell for all i care!

  • socaire

    I take it, Mary Anna, that you’re not a Sinn Féin supporter now but may have been in the past?

  • Mary Anna

    socaire – i was never a sin/f supporter -i have always been a free thinker- never a sheep follower -supporter of civil rights and human rights socialist is what i am interest in…Why? When i was young i did do lots of marching and when the killing bombs started i walked. The dirty was wrong it was their war not in my name – I saved UDR mans life and i seen many shot. Always be the defender of the weak! We shall overcome the truth and justice one day! Apart from that socaire were are you come n from what angle?

  • Cynic2

    Well they have told Nationalism that they are in the Police Board putting manners on the police. So what has gone wrong then?

    Surely it cannot be that the scything combined intellects of Gerry, Martina and Catatonia arent up to the task? For Goodness sake there is an ex Minister and and ex Junior Minister there. What are they playing at?

  • Cynic2

    “The only line being that no one on this island is capable of holding MI5 to account. Indeed it is questionable who in Westminster is able to hold them to account.”

    It is stunningly naiive to think that this situation wasnt engineered by SF. Do yiou seriously think that they wanted responsibility for spying on their former republican collagues in institutions under their control. Now they can just blame the Brits and the public cant hold them to account for it. Dont forget who negotiated this system – SF did

  • Cynic2

    One final point.

    Interetsing as Declan Kearney’s views are, just who is he?

    Did we elect him?

    Who authorised him to define the Party’s position?

    What office does he hold in SF? How was he appointed to this? By internal election or as a sinecure from some of his friedns or relatives in the movement? Who pays his wages?

    Why should we pay any attention at all to him?

    When someone starts telling me what I must do I usually like to at least know who they are.

  • fordprefect

    Cynic2, yep, these are the same people that told the nationalist/republican/catholic citizens of this state, that they would put manners on the cops. It was interesting to hear Martina Anderson blathering on about giving info to the cops about the 2 guys shot in Derry etc. and not knowing what Kearney had said about them (the cops). Does the right hand not know what the left is doing here? It irks me (as a republican) when I find myself laughing and agreeing with unionists like Gregory Campbell. I can’t remember any SF protests outside where MI5’s HQ was built, so they knew what was coming. As for Kearney’s use of the word “apolitical” to describe killings of soldiers and cops and “no mandate”, well let me think where I heard that line of reasoning before, oh yes, the British and unionists said that about the Provisional IRA for 30 years. The fact is, SF signed up to policing in the north, so, they can’t have it both ways, you know don’t be seizing his/her assets they are on “our” side. The problem is, is that anyone who disagrees with SF’s analysis on anything is against the peace process. By the way, I don’t believe armed struggle will get anyone anywhere.

  • fordprefect

    I meant to say that armed struggle won’t get anyone anywhere here in the north, as you’ll probably spend a long time in gaol, a far longer time in a grave and get sold out anyway (SF don’t mind picking away at the bones of dead Vols as long as it gets them a few more votes).

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “The strongest allies to anyone serious about transforming policing in the north are republicans.

    Sinn Fein will continue to work with the PSNI, and we will build close partnerships with those officers committed to reform and good policing. However, we will not accept dismissive platitudes. The Chief Constable needs to start living in the real world.”

    The PRM is decidedly peeved about the behaviour of the Chief Constable but is articulating its frustration through the SF Chairman, rather than through a senior elected representative.

    Might there be an element of jealousy at play? Has the CC been fraternising with other parts of the pan-Nationalist family? Has he been diluting the PRM’s role in that family?

    Here are two examples of the CC ‘reaching out’ to other parts of the family: meeting and collaborating with ‘friends’ in the Catholic Bishops Conference in tandem with a PSNI v Gardai gaelic match in Croke Park.

    From the same BBC link:

    The Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor said he was sure the symbolic significance of a chief constable speaking to Catholic bishops in Dundalk “would not be lost on anyone”.

    Quite. Note to Gerry: “The Bishops haven’t gone away, you know.”

  • PaulT

    calm down dears, this is SF’s snapshot on P&J, and why not Kearney, Policing has been one of his ‘things’ for years and considering his families involvment in policing, who better!

    PS.
    O’Dowd is busy being vocal on the HET etc why muddy the waters by involving him in a broad position statement.

    Remember the SDLP were a much bigger party when they ‘jumped too soon’ and let Patten get ‘hollowed out’ and there is always a chance of reinfection if you don’t complete the whole treatment! so SF have every right to be wary of yet another ‘force within a force’ cancerous growth in policing (hence MI5 been the best of a bad lot)

  • Cynic2

    PaulT

    I am sure that you are right.

    First, with the cops and army having defeated the IRA and owning so much PIRA ‘real estate’ by the end of the war, I am sure that SF is wary of the danger of that “cancerous growth” consuming them by exposing some of their current entreprises or catching up with past crimes. Heavens, what might happen if the resources of HET and PSNI were let loose on Jean McConville or LA Mon for example.

    Then there is that fact that it was MI5 that opened the negotiations with the SF leadership all those years ago and managed through the entire peace prcess shepherding the sheep into the pen over the years. Baaaa.

    So I can see why they might feel so much more comfortable with the spooks. Indeed, perhaps many of them have close and productive working relationships there. Better the sheepdog you have known for so long than one that might have the capacity to bite

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    “It is stunningly naiive to think that this situation wasnt engineered by SF. Do yiou seriously think that they wanted responsibility for spying on their former republican collagues in institutions under their control. Now they can just blame the Brits and the public cant hold them to account for it. Dont forget who negotiated this system – SF did”

    It is stunningly naive to believe that anything the British Government don’t want out in the open will not fall under the remit of ,national security’ and thus will fall outside the role of any 6 county based scrutiny committee.
    The object of the exercise is to remove, as much as possible, thatr get out clause from members of the PSNI.

  • 241934 john brennan

    Pat has a good point. Surely if MI5 primacy was part of the deal on policing, between SF and the Brits, then it follows that deal also includes agreement that police intelligent files on ex-PIRA army council members and some other specified senior PIRA players, are kept by MI5 – and never ever revealed to anyone?

    If true then much of the current debate about justice for victims, truth recovery, international truth commissions etc, is at best hypocritical?

  • http://www.ur2die4.com/ amanfromMars

    It does have one wondering as to the mental capacity and health too of anyone voicing continuity of irrelevant revolutionary agendas in an age whenever terrorism is so easily discovered with special intelligences services and metadata analysis of scripted speech patterns.

    Is Declan a rogue voice or do his views have leading provisional official support, which is one must admit, extremely slow in making itself generally and widely known and it is pretty certain that nearly all the leading lights in the field will have been sought out for canvassing of their views, which surely tells everyone more than just enough and everything they would need to know?

    When are y’all going to grow up and move on and start to behave like responsible smart adults who actually can achieve something memorable and different with intelligence and structures which can be exported around the world?

    Is there any chance of that being anytime soon, or are y’all waiting on IT delivering it to you/for you?

    Do you think that is what Loughside Palace, Holywood Barracks is for?

  • Cynic2

    John

    “If true then much of the current debate about justice for victims, truth recovery, international truth commissions etc, is at best hypocritical?”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4713790.stm

    Now there is a surprise!! Suckers!

  • http://www.ur2die4.com/ amanfromMars

    Cynic2, Good Morning,

    That article you cited with the views and news and speculation of BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport, [in your post of 17 December 2011 at 12:16 am], is nearly five years old.

    If you don’t already know it, is the world a wholly different place to what it was then, and you wouldn’t believe what technology and intelligence can deliver today to render tomorrow even more extraordinary.

    And as for 2012, well …. what is planned for that, is mind-blowing in every positive sense of the words.

  • fordprefect

    Amanfrommars
    Define “terrorism” for me would you? Do you mean a small group of people fighting against an invader, or do you mean a so-called “superpower” charging into countries that had nothing to do with 9/11 (like Iraq) killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and causing mayhem (I actually have more respect for people who stand their ground and fight back, as opposed to cowards that bomb people from 30,000 feet). And don’t come off with the old “you must have supported Saddam Hussein” crap. The US has a deplorable record on sticking their neb and forces into other countries problems which had nothing to do with them. By the way September 11 1973 was the date when Allende was assassinated and a coup happened in Chile (organised and paid for by the US and aided and abetted by the CIA) and what followed was years of torture and murder, remember Allende was elected democratically by the people of Chile, but the US thought, oh, oh, he’s a socialist/communist/or doesn’t go along with our plan for dominating/ exploiting people.

  • 241934 john brennan

    MI5’s Belfast HQ has been bombed by Dissidents and picketed by SDLP – but welcomed and supported by middle-class, middle-aged Shinners, with their well paid government and ‘conflict resolution’ posts and pensions – all now comfortable, cosy and indifferent to the activities of the 500 unaccountable British, big brother spies in our midst.

  • fordprefect

    John Brennan, well said.

  • http://www.ur2die4.com/ amanfromMars

    “Amanfrommars
    Define “terrorism” for me would you? Do you mean a small group of people fighting against an invader, or do you mean a so-called “superpower” charging into countries that had nothing to do with 9/11 (like Iraq) killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and causing mayhem (I actually have more respect for people who stand their ground and fight back, as opposed to cowards that bomb people from 30,000 feet).” ….. fordprefect 17 December 2011 at 10:07 am

    Certainly, no problem. And I choose to keep it simple because to make it complicated is to lose common sense and allow for all manner of pathetic excuses to try and justify the unjustifiable.

    Big or small, fordprefect, does not matter a jot nor make any difference to a terrorist, who would be someone and/or something, whenever an army or organisation or administrative executive office masquerading as a country, which would use destructive and deadly violence against an opposing competitive force, which would sort of prove that the other force was a more superior one with better values and prospects ……. or smarter champions able to verbalise their aims?

    I hope that is not ambiguous. Does it agree with your view or is something missing which you would like to add?

  • 241934 john brennan

    Conclusion: Before signing on as supporters of the PSNI, Sinn Fein also signed up to the secretive and unaccountable MI5.

    As a diversionary tactic, Sinn Fein made a song and dance about civic policing – and hypocritically sold the package to Nationalists as a final step for Sinn Fein –before “going onto the Policing Board to put good manners on the police”.
    At the present time, loathsome details of PIRA spies, double agents and informers are crawling out from under every upturned stone. The stench of corruption engendered within that murderous organisation is sickeningly seeping out into the air.

    ‘Power corrupts: Absolute power corrupts absolutely’. Thankfully, the evil genie of political violence has been partly bottled up within the confines of political power-sharing.

  • Cynic2

    ” indifferent to the activities of the 500 unaccountable British, big brother spies in our midst”

    Just 500. Did you not count all the members of PIRA, SF and the Dissers who are workimg for them?

  • Cynic2

    “That article you cited ……….is nearly five years old. ”

    …and still relevant to what happened