Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


Smithwick: “the evidence keeps pointing back to the desire of the IRA to acquire information as to how the British Security Services had gotten advance warning of the IRA ambush on Loughgall Police Station…”

Thu 5 December 2013, 6:34pm

Tweet As the findings of the Smithwick Tribunal report [RTÉ-hosted 22mb pdf] continue to be digested, it’s worth recalling the reported concerns of “members of the PIRA” in May last year. The Smithwick Tribunal is becoming a “significant issue” among republicans who are concerned it is uncovering information on past murders, the tribunal has been told. According […] more »

#Lethal Allies: this is not collusion.

Fri 1 November 2013, 4:18pm
Lethal Allies

Tweet This is much worse. The publication of Ann Cadwalladers Lethal Allies last month by Mercier Press was always going to have a relatively predictable reception. In many ways, nationalists and republicans have largely accepted that there was participation by members of the security forces in providing intelligence, weapons and targeting information to loyalist/unionist paramilitary groups from the […] more »

The Haass agenda on the past. The release of documents must include MI5′s and others in the secret state

Mon 16 September 2013, 5:22pm

Tweet The remarks by Teresa Villiers on dealing with the past will surprise no one. They serve as a reminder of who is ultimately in charge, despite bashfully standing on the sidelines.  The era of public inquiries is over. For good or ill there will be no public inquiry into Finucane, the “Ballymurphy massacre” or any other […] more »

More on the trend of reconciliation in the decade of commemoration

Sun 25 August 2013, 1:21pm

Tweet   Stephen Collins writes in the Irish Times:   So far the decade of commemoration for the great events spanning the 1912 to 1922 period that led to Irish independence has been marked in a similar spirit or reconciliation and compromise. The tens of thousands of Irish men who fought in the first World […] more »

#Finucane: this report is a sham, this report is a whitewash

Wed 12 December 2012, 4:58pm

Tweet So now we’ve had the publication of the latest report into the killing of Pat Finuance in 1989 courtsey of Rt Hon Desmond de Silva QC (full text here). The surprise that David Cameron articulated in the Commons today, much like with Saville, is merely the formal admission of what has long been accepted by most other […] more »

… to prosecute cases if the evidence emerges …

Sun 5 February 2012, 9:56am

Tweet The Detail has an interesting piece to set alongside the DPP’s comments regarding confronting the past. It concerns the RUC and HET investigations into the killings such as the attack on Sean Grahams on the Ormeau Road which involved a Browning that was handed to the UFF/UDA by the RUC. The Detail outlines how: In 2010 the […] more »

“That would require approval by the justice committee, the executive and by the assembly as a whole”

Wed 21 December 2011, 11:18pm

Tweet According to the BBC report’s headline -”Justice minister may look into the rehiring of RUC officers”.  Well, he may. At issue, apparently, are the unknown number of former RUC officers in the 399 staff currently supplied by a recruitment agency for temporary employment, as civilians, by the PSNI.  Apparently, again, “Sinn Fein has asked the Northern […] more »

To the objective, impartial observer, disturbing questions about collusive and corrupt behaviour are raised

Wed 14 December 2011, 7:38pm

Tweet The families of the Miami Show Band members gave their reaction to the HET’s report today on the killing of three members in 1975. In a detailed statement, the survivors of the attack report that the HET concluded: ‘To the objective, impartial observer, disturbing questions about collusive and corrupt behaviour are raised. The HET […] more »

Former Assistant Garda Commissioner Kevin Carty fails to turn up at Smithwick Tribunal. Again.

Fri 25 November 2011, 8:13pm

Tweet The latest updates on proceedings at the Smithwick Tribunal in the BBC and the RTÉ reports both lead with news that the tribunal is to relocate to the Special Criminal Court for Monday’s appearance by convicted Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt.  But the bulk of both reports concern the [repeated] non-appearance of former Assistant Garda Commissioner Kevin […] more »

Mary Lynch in the Impartial: saying things that need to be said

Mon 3 October 2011, 9:29pm

Tweet Mary Lynch was mentioned on slugger a couple of months ago when there were complaints about her column in the Impartial Reporter. Ms. Lynch refers to those comments in her latest piece saying: “I may not say things that people want to hear but these things need to be said.” On this occasion one […] more »

NI Police Ombudsman: “we have no evidence of a deliberate action…”

Fri 24 June 2011, 3:21pm

Tweet The Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson’s report on the investigation into the murder of 6 people in Loughinisland by the UVF in 1994 has been published.  To the anger of the relatives of those killed. Al Hutchinson’s comments in the UTV report sum up his position, and the problem for those relatives. “The families […] more »

Smithwick Tribunal: Former Provisional IRA leaders met Tribunal’s legal team “in recent weeks”

Tue 7 June 2011, 5:12pm

Tweet The BBC reports that, at today’s public hearing, the Smithwick Tribunal was told that its legal team had held “a face-to face meeting with three former members of the Provisional IRA in recent weeks.”  From the BBC report It was told the three former IRA leaders, one of whom had a command role in the attack, had met the tribunal. […] more »

Rosemary Nelson Inquiry Report

Mon 23 May 2011, 6:37pm

Tweet The Rosemary Nelson Inquiry report has been published [pdf file].  As the BBC headline notes, the inquiry found there was “‘no collusion’ in murder”.  But their home affairs correspondent, Vincent Kearney, adds The government and police will be relieved at one level at the finding that there was no direct collusion. However there are […] more »

Scappaticci granted legal representation at Smithwick Tribunal

Wed 18 May 2011, 1:48pm

Tweet The Smithwick Tribunal may have opened in 2006, but the public hearings are only to begin in June this year.  The tribunal’s terms of reference are Tribunal of Inquiry  into suggestions that members of An Garda Síochána or other employees of  the State colluded in the fatal shootings of RUC Chief Superintendent Harry Breen […] more »

Government apologises over Majella O’Hare killing

Mon 28 March 2011, 1:30pm

Tweet Another of the wrongs of the past forty years here in Northern Ireland has been acknowledged. The BBC are reporting that the government has apologised in writing to the family of Majella O’Hare who was killed by a soldier in Whitecross Co. Armagh on 18th August 1976. Miss O’Hare (aged 12) was on her […] more »

End of history: Or how I learned to start worrying and forget about my bombs

Thu 27 January 2011, 8:01pm

Tweet Carál Ní Chuilín, MLA and Gerry Kelly, MLA are both open and proud on their previous membership of a now defunct branch of Óglaigh na hÉireann. Both served prison sentences for bombing campaigns in areas mainly used by ‘civilians’ on behalf of that IRA. When the most recent in a long line of British […] more »


Wed 3 November 2010, 8:17pm

Tweet It seems we will be saying goodbye to many political faces as the Assembly and needlessly delayed council elections approach. The latest to fall is the unelected MLA for East Derry, former lots of things, Cllr Billy Leonard. The declared reason from the 55yr old for leaving political life is the time required to […] more »

Historical Enquiry: “…this is not an out-of-control situation”

Wed 8 September 2010, 11:17am

Tweet The Historical Enquiries Team (HET) categorically states that it isn’t part of any political or ‘truth and reconciliation’ process. That may be, but as the only ship on the water, it’s uncomfortable jetsam is washing up on our shores every now and again. Two of the latest stories emanating from HET will no doubt be dismissed […] more »

Ask the right question! Dealing with the PSNI

Thu 2 September 2010, 9:11pm

Tweet Today the PSNI Chief Constable has been plastered across the media bemoaning costs associated to dealing with public disorder in the Ardoyne during July. He has been very forthcoming with the sums involved and what thay could have been spent on otherwise. However, I recently asked the PSNI several questions under FoI legisaltion in […] more »

PSNI’s media message/massage/pummelling

Wed 25 August 2010, 7:39pm

Tweet Last week Rusty noted how journalist Eammon MacDermott had property confiscated by the PSNI as part of an investigation into armed republican activity in Derry. While some may think the fact he was an ex-prisoner could have influenced the PSNI reaction, British policing has a long history of heavy handedness when it comes to […] more »

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