MPs could name IRA members who appear on #ShinnersList…

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Sam McBride notes that if the Commons select committee gets a hold of the actual #ShinnersList, individual MPs could disclose at least some of its members to the wider public:

The committee’s chairman, Conservative MP Laurence Robertson, said that its members were “unanimously” determined to investigate the scheme as the terms of reference for the judge-led inquiry were “too narrow” and its hearings would be in private.

Last week, Mr Robertson told the News Letter that the committee — which unlike the judge-led inquiry has the power to compel witnesses — may ask for evidence from Tony Blair, Peter Hain, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness.

  • Morpheus

    So they want to put a target on the backs of people who weren’t even wanted for questioning by using Parliamentary Privilege? Classy

  • IrelandNorth

    I trust Rt Hon Members of Parliament (MPs) will be behave rightly honourable in desisting from using British Houses of Parliament as para-judicial Star Chambers, not least given the previous deadly effects upon members of the legal profession. And the reputation of members of police forces. If such accusers can’t match the burden of proof of a credible Criminal Justice System (CJS), they should hardly be using the Mother of All Parliaments (MAPs) as a glorified gossip shop for whispering campaigns. Just show to what extent parliamentary democracy is degraded.

  • Mick Fealty

    Well, it’s just an arrangement. No harm, no foul?

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Could the NIAC investigation do irreparable damage to the peace process? It has the potential to go much deeper than the judge in the Downey case; it could open up a whole Pandora’s box of murky dealings involving governments and the alphabet soup of paramilitaries.

  • Neil

    It could determine who knew what and when. I hope it does. We all know the punt and chums are moral upstanding men (and women) who never did nahim and it was all themmuns, but this may be the time they get caught out. Irreparable damage? Maybe not so much. Half the population can live with it, the other half might decide to vote for someone else.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Neil, it could also uncover who did what and when but some of the key players are either dead or live outside the UK. Exchanges between London and Dublin, I’m told, cannot be subjected to parliamentary scrutiny and, if that is the case, this could exclude many of the key jig-saw pieces.

  • socaire

    I wonder will it come out about MMcG’s duck house? As I said, a while in the Tower will do them all good. Heat up the pokers.

  • Neil

    A side point if I may, surely the innocent people liable to be named are not confirmed IRA members, or those that have not served time for so being are not, for if they were IRA members they would be sought and possibly jailed for membership of a proscribed organisation. So non IRA members would be named, for crimes they didn’t commit.

    And as for your no harm, no foul, being accused of being in the IRA when there is no proof that would withstand a court case would certainly place those innocent people at risk, administrative scheme or otherwise. Some Loyalists (and I’m sure Republicans) don’t have your nuanced view of the detail, and may give it the old yabba dabba do, ATAT approach.

  • Delphin

    Nevin, from what I gather the OTR deal was brokered between London and Dublin at the Weston Park talks in 2001. So does this mean that much of the nitty gritty of the OTR issue is off limits to the parliamentary committee?
    Here is a link to the Alliance party’s concerns at the time.
    http://allianceparty.org/document/peace-process-papers/2001-weston-park-talks

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Thanks for the link, Delphin. Towards the end of 1994, Sir Patrick Mayhew in a letter to Andrew Hunter MP [SOFS/20535] pointed out that exchanges between the two governments were ‘in secret’.

  • Mick Fealty

    Neil, it’s more accurately described as a list of the ‘not proven’ since you would not be on the list if you thought there was reason the cops would be interested in you.

  • Morpheus

    They, like the rest of us, are innocent until proven guilty Mick so Neil’s point stands.

    We could say that they were a group of people who at a particular point of time:
    1. had no outstanding direction for prosecution in Northern Ireland
    2. had no warrants in existence
    3. were not wanted in Northern Ireland or any other police force in the United Kingdom for arrest, questioning or charge
    4. were warned that if any outstanding offence or offences came to light, or if any request for extradition were to be received, these would have to be dealt with in the usual way.

    Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue though :)

  • babyface finlayson

    Neil
    “So non IRA members would be named, for crimes they didn’t commit.”
    We don’t know they are non IRA members any more than you know I am a non IRA member.
    That is not to say I think they should be named though.
    I do still wonder would SF have come back with a list of OTRs with no connection to the movement. Why would they use a negotiating card to bring home Joe Nobody?

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mick Fealty

    “it’s more accurately described as a list of the ‘not proven’”

    One can tell you did live in the sleepy suburbs with Dixon of Dock Green as your local bobby.

  • Mc Slaggart

    babyface finlayson

    “a list of OTRs with no connection to the movement”

    How strong would the connection have to be that one made note of it?

  • Son of Strongbow

    So these “non-IRA” people just happened to seek their ‘letter’ from Sinn Fein?

    Oh, and they thought they might be on the run in the first place because, hmmm, well, you know you never can say what those dastardly Brits might have pinned on me; so I’ll just ask the lads to ask them ba****ds for me and get it all sorted tickety boo.

    The #savetheOTR camp is getting crazier by the minute.

  • arsetopple

    Interesting!! The DUP have used Parlimentary Privledge to name people they say are terrorists since the 1970s. All their MPs used it at least once some several times. But only naming people who where alleged to be republican terrorists. If they had looked around Paisleys front room during one of his candle lit suppers with David Irvine they could have used it to name loyalist terrorists but that never happened.
    PR named a catholic business man who was completely innocent. He was cleared of any terrorist involvement by the police & appeared on the old Talkback program but never received an explanation or apology. That was a long time ago before Irisgate..
    But heyho if the DUP use PP to name the people on the Shinnerslist it will go down well with their electorate.
    Lets hope there are no innocents on it.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Son of Strongbow

    “you know you never can say what those dastardly Brits might have pinned on me”

    Incompetence of the “security forces” was such that one can easily see how taking Falstaff advice and getting out was a good idea as ” the better part of valor is discretion”.

  • sherdy

    Arse, – ‘Lets hope there are no innocents on it’.

    According to the police who investigated all the applications there were 187 innocents on it.

  • arsetopple

    Sherdy

    Fair Point

    I’ve never had an STD but if I go to a doctor for a certificate to say this it may lead some one to think that my behaviour would leave me susceptible to such a condition.

    No offence like

  • Mc Slaggart

    @ arsetopple

    People go to the doctor all the time with medial complaints that turn out to be STD etc who have only had sexual relations with their partner.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Then they go to the Divorce Lawyer.

  • babyface finlayson

    McSlaggart
    “How strong would the connection have to be that one made note of it?”
    Well what is your take on how it went?
    The SF negotiating team went back to HQ and said
    “we have a deal on OTRs.They want us to draw up a list.Who will we put on it lads? A bunch of guys we’ve never heard of, or the boys who did their bit for Ireland and can’t come home now?”
    It seems logical to me that the majority would be those who were volunteers, but I might be wrong. Maybe we will find out form one of these enquiries.
    But I am happy for you to point out the flaw in my logic.

  • Mc Slaggart

    babyface finlayson

    “It seems logical to me that the majority would be those who were volunteers”

    Then using your logic a minority would be people who was not volunteers.

  • Morpheus

    BF, maybe they were volunteers, maybe they weren’t. The key thing here is evidence. If there was sufficient evidence to show that they were IRA volunteers then they should not have gotten a letter and should have been put on trial for membership of a proscribed organisation. But they weren’t. Not even close. Those who got letters were not even wanted for questioning never mind arrest. In fact ACC Drew Harris confirmed that they didn’t even know who a number of these people were and they didn’t know that the crimes had even been committed.

  • Reader

    Morpheus: In fact ACC Drew Harris confirmed that they didn’t even know who a number of these people were and they didn’t know that the crimes had even been committed.
    I knew that SF had handed over a list of names. I didn’t suspect they had handed over a list of crimes too! What’s your reasoning for your second clause?

  • tacapall

    “Last week, Mr Robertson told the News Letter that the committee — which unlike the judge-led inquiry has the power to compel witnesses — may ask for evidence from Tony Blair, Peter Hain, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness”

    Fantasy politics – I dont see the globalist puppet Blair ever having to account for his actions to these bunch of nobodies.

  • babyface finlayson

    McSlaggart
    “babyface finlayson

    “It seems logical to me that the majority would be those who were volunteers”

    Then using your logic a minority would be people who was not volunteers.”
    Are you agreeing with me there or not?
    It is possible they were all volunteers, but I would expect the majority to be,for the reason I already stated.
    So what do you think?
    Morpheus
    “BF, maybe they were volunteers, maybe they weren’t. The key thing here is evidence.”
    True.
    Do you not think it likely though that SF would have brought forward a list of comrades in the main?
    And if so then the question would be to the police as to what was known about them. How did they all slip under the police radar to such an extent they (PSNI) did not even know who a number of them were, yet find themselves on the run?

  • Morpheus

    Reader

    My reasoning comes from Q21 of the 2010 Policing Board Minutes when ACC Drew Harris was answering question on the scheme from our elected officials.
    http://www.nipolicingboard.org.uk/1_april_2010_meeting_in_public.pdf

    Have a look at the bottom of page 46.

    Now I ask you, does it sound plausible that instruction came down from the Prime Minister, through the Attorney General, to multiple police officers at multiple levels of command in multiple police forces across the UK to ‘evaporate’ evidence to protect a small group of people – a number of whom the police didn’t know and crimes the police didn’t even know were committed?

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Back to topic: There should be limits to Parliamentary Privilege. Anyone got a suggestion how that could work?

  • Mc Slaggart

    babyface finlayson

    ” A bunch of guys we’ve never heard of”

    Firstly their is people who took part in “IRA” activities who was not members of one of its various branch organisations.

    Secondly it had a structure that people in Strabane did not know the membership of its greencastle branch.

    Thirdly in counties like Tyrone everyone who was a nationalist can quickly find out who you are and what your parents do.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mister_Joe

    “There should be limits to Parliamentary Privilege.”

    The British need to get themselves a written constitution.

  • babyface finlayson

    McSlaggart
    “Firstly their is people who took part in “IRA” activities who was not members of one of its various branch organisations.

    Secondly it had a structure that people in Strabane did not know the membership of its greencastle branch.”
    I’m not too sure what your point is here. Do you really think Sf put forward a list without knowing all about the people on that list?
    Do you really think they would have thrown away the chance to bring home their own comrades and instead put forward a random list of names drawn from a hat?
    Seroously, who do think was on that list, if not those who had been involved in activities for the struggle?

  • Neil

    A mixture of people who were involved in the struggle, and people who have possibly seen their immediate family hauled off to prison as a result of operation demetrius for the crime of being Catholic and decided when the local branch man showed up asking after him that maybe now was the time to join their cousin in Boston.

    Two points. Innocent until proven guilty, and the suggestion of parliamentary privilege being used to circumvent libel laws is an acknowledgement that the pesky innocent until proven guilty thing is actually the situation in the part of the world.

    Secondly, no one has the right to throw the baby out with the bathwater here. Naming someone would be morally wrong due to point one above, and the fact that you cannot be sure whether that person decided to do one because they had seen first hand the faults of British justice back in the day or whether they were up to their neck in it.

    Nationalists often fail to understand Unionists, I see that now. I can think of a couple of examples of that. But Unionists (and good natured bloggers from Holywood) must also understand that due to their experiences they do not understand Republicans. You see your relatives trailed off for nothing, or get your balls kicked in by a hyper squadie, or see an innocent young friend being hit with a rubber bullet and dying in the street and you can see why maybe some people didn’t fancy their chances with British justice and took flight to the USA or elsewhere for something as simple as the local branch man asking a few questions.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    We know that the use abuse of Parliamentary Privilege has led to murder, by State Agents no less. And the State has used abused its enormous powers to prevent the truth being outed. Are we expected to just shrug our shoulders and say “So be it”.

  • Politico68

    I don’t think we should support any initiative that – on the basis of political hatred and witch hunting – could result in damage done unto people who are quite possibly innocent of any wrongdoing.

  • Kevsterino

    I think this whole “OTR Get-Out-of-Jail-Free-Card” business obviates the need for a sensible way of dealing with the past. Call it what you will, crime, revolution, war or terrorism, if the people of Northern Ireland can’t come to some kind of agreement to put this shit in a box then this generation is doomed to repeatedly bash one another with it.

    Many unionists have believed, for years, that there is a secret deal protecting certain republican politicians. They expect to see proof of that, so they do. Whatever the truth of the matter is, the fact remains that it has little, if anything, to do with the future of Northern Ireland.

    Nobody dares speak of the future.

  • Morpheus

    Let’s face it here, we live in Northern Ireland you can bet your bottom dollar that the fact that these people were not even wanted for questioning and the police hadn’t even heard of a number of them or knew that the crimes were even committed will mean absolutely jack.

    Once the names are released – and remember that 75% of our unionist MPs are members of the Loyal Order who will jump at this chance to kick the Shinners – it puts a target on their backs, not to mention their families. Mob Justice will be the order of the day, votes for SF will go through the roof and there will be dead unicorns all over the place.

    To get back to Joe’s question, an MP should not be able to say anything in Parliament that he/she cannot back up with facts that would be acceptable in a court of law. Otherwise it is just a very dangerous gossip column.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Does Parliamentary Privilege protect you from prosecution for assault for slapping a Home Secretary in the face or is it just that discretion is the better part of valour?

    And here’s to you Mr. Maudling
    Jesus loves you more than you will know…..

  • tacapall

    “Let’s face it here, we live in Northern Ireland you can bet your bottom dollar that the fact that these people were not even wanted for questioning and the police hadn’t even heard of a number of them or knew that the crimes were even committed will mean absolutely jack”

    When your the only one believing your own propaganda its time to give up and rather than cover up the truth about backroom dealings with Britain who have once again deceived everyone. The republican movement and the Irish people should cast the Brits aside, refuse to engage in British politics, refuse to rubber stamp British policies in Ireland, and refuse to allow Britain to speak on behalf of Irish people. Im sure if they do name those who received those letters you could be eating your own words in fact I dare say these people will with technological advances be looking through the bars of some cell window while state actors who engaged in the same practices will continue to avail of their immunity. When are Irishmen ever going to learn – Never ever trust Perfedious Albion

  • Morpheus

    Wasn’t he in Harry Potter?

    Your approach is bizarre to say the least. A very wise philosopher once said: “If you’re gonna play the game boy, you gotta learn to play it right”

    Sitting on your hands and doing bugger all is not playing the game, it’s sitting on your hands and doing bugger all.

  • tacapall

    ” A very wise philosopher once said: “If you’re gonna play the game boy, you gotta learn to play it right”

    The ends justify the means, by any means necessary, a stepping stone policy and now your adding your very own.

    The choice is yours, and you’ll have to live with the consequences for at least the rest of your life, will you take the blue pill – Keep believing what your told to believe ? Or take the red pill – Find out on your own how far down the rabbit hole goes ?

    I rather like Aristotle and his theory of ideas they’re floating all around, you just have to catch one. There’s only one idea of a table but lots of different makes and models of that original idea.

  • Morpheus

    Riiiiight

  • babyface finlayson

    Neil
    “people who have possibly seen their immediate family hauled off to prison as a result of operation demetrius”
    Well we are only speculating here, but it seems logical to me that the list would be composed of IRA personnel or other activists. What reasons do you have for supposing they might be people who left here 40 years ago for fear of harassment?
    Furthermore why would those individuals wait so long to find out their status? Would a solicitor not have been able to find out for them if they were wanted or not?

  • IanR

    Babyface,

    Presumably they would have had to wait until a police service was established that they could have confidence in. SF signing up to support the PSNI would have been seen as an indication that they could trust the new police service not to stitch them up.

    You’re demonstrating a lack of understanding of the republican mindset again, as per Neil’s point. And you’re also conflating failure to hold the RUC in the highest esteem, with being on active IRA service.

  • tacapall

    Thanks Morph I’ll take that as Parseltongue for, I wasn’t around 40 odd years ago so Im gambling my credibility on what other people who have their own agendas are telling me.

  • babyface finlayson

    IanR
    “You’re demonstrating a lack of understanding of the republican mindset again”
    No doubt. I’m hoping someone will explain it to me. Why would SF use a negotiating chip to confirm the status of people unconnected to the organization? Or do you think they ran out of names and tossed a few civilians in for good measure?
    What would be the logic, the reasoning behind it?

  • Seamuscamp

    BF @ 7.53

    You probably have as little knowledge of the people on the list as I have, but you are clearly prepared to think the worst of them.

    It isn’t hard to imagine why SF might include any number of totally innocent parties on the list. They might wish to impress that part of the electorate who are saying “What do you guys do for your money?”. It’s called politics.

    And why might innocents want it confirmed that they are not being sought? Easy.answer: quite a few people were sought at one time or other for no reason other than the fact they knew someone suspected of something (sometimes on very dubious grounds). The RUC was not really the best detective force in the world – eg the McGurks shambles.

    The concentration on the people told they are not currently being pursued (because there is no evidence) is misplaced. The really interesting ones are those told that they are being sought.

  • Niall Noigiallach

    Is this still going? The OTR thing? Some of you need to take a long cold shower and wake up. The fake OTR crisis isn’t going to do anything to Sinn Fein’s vote. Ever. Nor is it going to galvanise what’s left of Unionism to give the May elections a good charge at so they can start feeling good again. In fact, the desperation and unimaginative manner of Robbo’s hissy fit points to a serious lack of long term thinking in Unionism. Is this how the Union is going to be maintained here? Spin and shite? That’s the plan is it? The Shinners are organising and recruiting all over Ireland, increasing their profile and gaining support and the best that those who advocate union with Britain offer is a fake crisis that was picked apart within literally hours and one that will be torn to pieces over the next few months. Sounds like a cracking plan peeps, I’m in.

    Amnesty, get out of jail free cards, dirty deals, secret side bargains. Aye, hold on until I peel this grape here. The odd thing about the whole episode is that the people who Sinn Fein are targeting for votes literally do not give a fiddlers about this. They actually don’t and never have. If Unionists are serious about the union they’re going to have to get serious about it. Jesus Christ there’s a referendum in Scotland in September where it’s more or less a “No” barring a miracle. a bit of thought and imagination and they could have had a cracking start to 2014 and fought a campaign around remaining in the UK, one that could have been made all the more relevent by the Scottish question. Could have got a lot of support and votes too. But no, not Her Majesty’s Loyal Ulstermen. They reverted to type you see and circled the Shinners wagon, contocting guff and horse manure. Shouting and gurning, moaning and bitching. That solid strategy that has held them in good stead for this past 20 years. You know what one of my favourite sayings is? Einstein and the definition of insanity; doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to get a different result.

    Parliamentary Privilege is right up there along with the gurning and moaning. The last shelter of a coward where the threat of civilised and legal recourse is removed so that someone can prove to the world how courageous they are without actually having to be courageous.

    #Shinners list means nowt. On May 26th the Monday after the next round of elections all over Ireland, Sinn Fein will once again have had an increase in vote. An increase in first preference and will generally speaking be the most satisfied of any party on the island. Again.

    And it will be hilarious listening to how that is swallowed on Slugger

  • babyface finlayson

    Seamuscamp
    Thanks for at least trying to provide an answer. I don’t get it though.
    Am I prepared to think the worst of those on the list?
    Well I suspect most will turn out to have been active volunteers at some time. Simply because that is who SF would have included in their list. Their first priority would surely have been their own comrades?
    That is simple logic to me not some biased prejudgement of innocent people.
    They might have included ‘any number of totally innocent parties’ as you say to impress the electorate, except that the electorate didn’t know about it.
    But if they were all civilians on the run from crimes they did not commit, well good luck to them, I hope they all got home safely.