Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


Where does ‘Guns and Government’ leave victims of the Peace Process’s ‘self regulation’?

Wed 9 April 2014, 9:49am

Tweet Seems to me there’s a lot of unpick from last night’s Spotlight, but I think this from Catherine McCartney on Facebook is worth sharing more broadly… Ingram’s comment on ‘self regulation’ encapsulates the government’s covert policy re paramilitary criminality. I have said this over and over, this policy led to Robert’s murder, (who wasn’t […] more »

“there was a ‘culture’ in the Northern Ireland Office not to prosecute Republicans…”

Thu 3 April 2014, 7:31am

Tweet In appearing on the first day, Norman Baxter has set a fairly direct tone for the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee inquiry into the administrative scheme for OTRs (see also), by suggesting that it was the Northern Ireland Office which was indulging in politics over Republican suspects rather than the PSNI: He then claimed […] more »

And meanwhile in Larne, the UDA enforces its imaginary paramilitary writ…

Mon 31 March 2014, 8:40pm

Tweet You would imagine these guys are on a one way ticket to prison, but the overweening and assumptive actions of paramilitaries of all descriptions in Northern Ireland has to be the abiding failure of the culture of the Peace Process™. Over the weekend, the UDA [would that be the good or the bad ones? […] more »

“Unlike Gerry Adams & Mary Lou McDonald…”

Sun 30 March 2014, 8:56pm

Tweet In a follow-up to a previous post on his Broken Elbow blog, as noted here, Ed Moloney has “an answer to Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald and other critics of the Boston archive“. Aside from myself and Anthony McIntyre there is only one other person who has read all of the interviews lodged in the Belfast […] more »

“when a major political leader tells such an obvious falsehood about a defining part of his life…”

Tue 25 March 2014, 9:42pm

Tweet Also for the record, Ed Moloney has responded to Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams’ attack on the Boston College oral history project.  From Ed Moloney’s blog I don’t intend to spill a lot of ink responding to Gerry Adams’ recent statement taking yet another swipe at the motives of those who were interviewed and […] more »

Gerry Adams makes himself available to the PSNI for questioning…

Mon 24 March 2014, 10:49pm

Tweet For the record, Gerry Adams released this somewhat uninhibited statement tonight: “I can understand the McConville family’s anger and hurt given what they have been through and given what some anti-peace process former republican activists have been alleging. However, let me repeat. What happened to Jean McConville was a terrible injustice. I was not […] more »

Ivor Bell charged in connection with Jean McConville abduction and murder

Fri 21 March 2014, 8:36pm

Tweet The BBC are reporting that Ivor Bell, who was arrested earlier this week, has been charged in connection with the abduction and murder of Jean McConville in December 1972.  From the BBC report Ivor Bell, 77, who was a senior leader in the Provisional IRA in the 1970s, was arrested at his home in […] more »

OTR scheme review judge named, and NI Affairs Committee launches inquiry

Tue 11 March 2014, 10:01pm

Tweet Sinn Fein’s Alex Maskey might well think “it would’ve been better to have left the issue alone”  [I couldn't possibly comment... -Ed].  But that’s not happening.  Today the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, informed the House of Commons that “the Rt Hon Lady Justice Hallett DBE has been appointed to conduct an independent review of […] more »

#ShinnersList: “we are in position where it would’ve been better to have left the issue alone”

Tue 11 March 2014, 1:21pm

Tweet So, how many crises do you know that last just 24 hours? Peter Robinson getting his inquiry from David Cameron is merely the close of phase one, not necessarily the end of the crisis per se. The Sunday Politics for instance carried this warning from Alex Maskey: I believe that Peter Robinson and others […] more »

#ShinnersList: “I have never heard an explanation as to why Operation Rapid as a term, was never made clear to the board.”

Fri 7 March 2014, 12:52pm

Tweet So the Policing Board eh? Not exactly a paragon of the protestant (or even Catholic) work ethic, yet it exploded into life last night with even the normally mild mannered Chief Constable telling his interlocutors: “Can I caution the member that under the code of conduct that he does not have the right to […] more »

Why did no one in Sinn Fein tell the Ballymurphy families the Para’s could borrow Adams’ ‘public interest’ defence?

Wed 5 March 2014, 12:03pm

Tweet Gerry Moriarty reports in yesterday’s Irish Times highlights the tragic case of the Ballymurphy families of eleven victims on and over several days after the introduction of internment. One victim’s family has gone to the extreme, and no doubt deeply upsetting, resort of having the body of their loved one exhumed to find evidence […] more »

“Just to confuse matters, some elements of the tale of the On The Runs appear to have been hidden in plain sight.”

Sat 1 March 2014, 4:26pm

Tweet BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport with, perhaps, the best description of the mechanism used to address the issue of on-the-runs.  From Mark Devenport’s BBC blog While republicans insist unionists knew all about what was happening to the On The Runs, that is not strictly true. Senior PSNI officers answered some questions posed by Northern Ireland […] more »

Rationale for the #ShinnersList: “Preferential treatment of IRA men regarding their potential criminal liability…”

Fri 28 February 2014, 5:06pm

Tweet On Facebook yesterday, I saw a query from an old schoolfriend (from P1, as it happens). He’s about as apolitical it is possible to be, but his curiosity was clearly piqued and he asked a question about how on earth the NIO managed to get all those letters out to the OTRs. The answer […] more »

Incidently, the elections are on May 22 after which the report will be delivered

Thu 27 February 2014, 9:13pm

Tweet While we are all trying to assess the political damage (or otherwise) of the shortest crisis in Northern Ireland’s long and twisted history, it’s worth noting that the Judge led inquiry will only report after the Local elections… more »

David Cameron: “We will appoint an independent judge to produce a full public account of the operation of this administrative scheme…”

Thu 27 February 2014, 3:56pm

Tweet The BBC reports that the Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a judicial review of the operation of the controversial administrative scheme to deal with so-called “on the runs” which was highlighted in the recent collapse of the John Downey case.  From the BBC report Mr Cameron told a Downing Street press conference: “I agree with […] more »

“The Government communicated back the response to Sinn Fein via a letter from the Northern Ireland Office…”

Wed 26 February 2014, 2:23pm

Tweet Via the Guardian politics live-blog.  Worth noting the written ministerial statement from the NI Secretary of State, dated yesterday, which details the mechanism of the on-the-runs administrative scheme [added emphasis throughout] The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mrs Theresa Villiers): On 21 February, Mr Justice Sweeney ruled that an abuse of process had taken […] more »

Policing Board member Gerry Kelly sues Board’s own ‘employee’ the Chief Constable of the PSNI

Tue 25 February 2014, 10:10am

Tweet Given the currency of the debate on reform of the Garda oversight system in the Republic, and Sinn Fein’s settled view that an NI style policing board system – ie, where power is distributed between a basket of political parties – is preferable to direct control by the minister it’s a little odd that […] more »

“a challenging project for which there is no agreed international framework…”

Mon 24 February 2014, 3:43pm

Tweet Despite having agreed “a detailed timetable” at a North South Ministerial Council in October 2012 “to bring in new laws for the mutual recognition of penalty points in both jurisdictions” The Ministers agreed the detailed timetable for the drafting, passage and enactment of parallel legislation, north and south, by 31st December 2014 to allow the mutual […] more »

Garda Recipient gone, the pressure now moves onto Minister Shatter…

Thu 20 February 2014, 11:28am

Tweet Yesterday’s leaders questions was once of those explosive occasions when you don’t quite get the extent of it at the time its happening. It’s clear from today’s front pages that Micheál Martin’s virtual bomb yesterday was well placed. Deputy Micheál Martin: Last week I read elements of the transcript of a conversation between the […] more »

Cunningham changes plea on Northern Bank robbery money-laundering charges

Tue 18 February 2014, 4:48pm

Tweet 65-year-old Cork-based financier Ted Cunningham has re-joined the list of those convicted as a result of “Operation Phoenix”, a huge cross-border investigation into the December 2004 Northern Bank robbery - “involving anti-terrorist units, fraud squads and the Criminal Assets Bureau.”  His original 2009 convictions, and his 10 year sentence, were overturned on appeal in 2012, after the […] more »

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