Robbery and politics?

The Belfast Telegraph tonight believes that the robbery of Northern Bank signifies rather more than the UK’s largest heist. With it’s high degree of organisation, the paper is suggesting it could be Republican paramilitaries behind it. Even though there is nothing in the public domain from the PSNI, this little Christmas jaunt is going to keep several pots boiling over Christmas, and possibly well into the new year.

The best way of countering the bad news would be early arrests, and here the PSNI faces an enormous challenge. Some form of paramilitary gang – most likely republican – must be the obvious suspects, and the police will need all the help they can get from the public at large, as well as informers.

The most contentious part of the statement is the one at the end:

If it is proved that the IRA, the most experienced operators in the past, pulled off this record heist, it would have profound implications for the peace process and Sinn Fein’s political standing.

Several of the peace process’s critics will argue: “how precisely can it affect Sinn Fein’s standing?”

It’s a tough question to answer. The party is in the democratic position it is because of its electoral mandate – it is clearly the party of choice for the majority of Ulster nationalists. It has reached that position, whilst providing political support for the armed forces of the IRA.

So, if there is a connection proved between this week’s robbery and the IRA for instance, how does any government, British or Irish, apply sanctions to a political party with (certainly in the context of NI history) such a powerful electoral mandate?

It would be foolish at this stage to make serious judgements as to who or what organisation was responsible for what in any jurisdiction is an impressive piece of organised crime. But regardless of whether anyone is found to ‘blame’ on this occasion, it’s unlikely to end the tediously twisting and winding ‘peace process’ in any eventuality!

  • Ziznivy

    Has anyone questioned the Norn Irish punter from Channel 4’s The Heist yet?

  • unionist_observer

    Well, I happened to be walking past the Northern bank on monday lunchtime and spotted the guy who plays Da from “Give my head peace” walking towards me – Maybe it was a Hole in the Wall gang plot!!

  • Beowulf

    “an impressive piece of organised crime”

    It’s not impressive, don’t be dazzled by big numbers. Impressive heists don’t make the news and allow the players to spent their ‘earnings’.

  • Beowulf
  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    If it is proved that the IRA, the most experienced operators in the past, pulled off this record heist, it would have profound implications for the peace process and Sinn Fein’s political standing.

    Who needs proof? Certainly not the editorial writer of the BT, no doubt salivating over the prospect of beating “SF/IRA” with an imaginary stick.

    And the suggestion that the staff may not have been ‘vetted’ opens up an appalling vista. The BT seems to be suggesting, by claiming that republicans ‘most likely’ carried out the heist, that all staff in such offices should be vetted.

    Here we go again, egged on by McDowell (who really believes that he would be in the least bit worried if loyalists, aided by the British security forces, carried out the robbery, as happened in Portadown to provide Brian Nelson with the folding stuff to buy weapons for loyalist murder gangs off pro Apartheid forces in South Africa).

    The only solace for republicans is that the PSNI/Keystone Cops are never likely to get the proof they need to convict anyone – they’ll just try to use the ever compliant media, the BT, the BBC and co, to convict the IRA and the nationalist community.

  • Ringo

    Oliver –

    one question : could republicans have done it?

  • Henry94

    They just couldn’t wait any longer for actual evidence. Those knees just had to jerk.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    The only solace for republicans is that the PSNI/Keystone Cops are never likely to get the proof they need to convict anyone

    Why would that be “solace for republicans”?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    I’m sorry that I didn’t write this editorial yesterday, after all it was all so predictable. As stated ad nauseum the Unionists need the IRA like a comfort blanket, it covers them against the real world.

    What’s the odds on Lindy Mc Dowell using this editorial as a factual piece with which to wax lyrical on the Peace Process

    Best slant has to come from the ever useless Joe Gorrod in the Mirror. It was a collection of IRA men and loyalists. Well that just about covers every angle, if ever the truth should emerge.

  • Beowulf

    It must be hard being in the IRA, all those years of good work and still people jump to conclusions about what they are really about.

    So misunderstood, so heinously wronged by the media. My heart bleeds.

    (And I love the drift of Oliver Cromwell’s comment, the IRA to nationalist community in one sentence, beautiful.)

  • Ringo

    Oliver-
    The only solace for republicans is that the PSNI/Keystone Cops are never likely to get the proof they need to convict anyone – they’ll just try to use the ever compliant media, the BT, the BBC and co, to convict the IRA and the nationalist community.

    Why does it come as solace for republicans that the PSNI and co. will try and convict the IRA and the nationalist community because they can’t get the proof required to convict the people who actually did it?

    That makes no sense.

    who really believes that he would be in the least bit worried if loyalists, aided by the British security forces, carried out the robbery

    of course he’d prefer that. Loyalists aren’t operating in his jurisdiction.

  • Beowulf

    “As stated ad nauseum the Unionists need the IRA like a comfort blanket”

    Yes Pat, you do tend to state things ad nauseum, I had noticed that. It doesn’t make what you say true though, much as you try.

  • JD

    IF it was the ‘RA, I would have to wonder what the strategic purpose of this would be. Why would they need such a huge lump of money if they are on the verge of standing down?

  • Ringo

    Why would they need such a huge lump of money if they are on the verge of standing down?

    Pension Fund? ;p

  • Beowulf

    A good PR agency, judging by the comments of it’s defenders.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    “You cannot be a criminal and a republican activist. You cannot be involved in any criminality and involved in republican activism,” Mr Adams said.

    I wonder if Gerry Adams’s words the other day were more than prophetic? Maybe they were a ‘yellow card’ warning? :oO

    http://breaking.tcm.ie/2004/12/13/story180156.html

  • Mick Fealty

    “Impressive heists don’t make the news and allow the players to spent their ‘earnings'”.

    Cute point Beo.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    I meant solace in the sense of comfort blanket – we just know what the PSNI and their media fellow travellers are going to do so to have them meet our expectations is a form of comfort.

    One group of people who’re grateful for this heist is the hapless and clueless hacks who term themselves security correspondents with ‘security sources’ (not to be confused with secure sources) who are pulling off a heist of their own with their spinning and baseless speculation as to who dunnit.

    The hands across the sectarian divide award has to go the Mirror for its fantasy, sorry theory, about loyalists and republicans working together.

    Headllines of the day were by the Sun – Heist almighty – and Lá, Gadaí na Nollag – the thief of Christmas.

  • JD

    Pension Fund? ;p

    Heh. I resisted the medal remark myself.

    Gonzo’s comment is interesting, but I still don’t see what strategic purpose this robbery serves for the provos.

  • Jonathan McCullough

    Rumour has it that Celtic have put in a £30 million cash bid for David Beckham after a succesful fund raising event from their Belfast supporters!

  • David Antsinpants

    One has to wonder if Oliver Cromwell is watching the same television as the rest of us. PSNI ACC Sam Kinkaid’s press conference yesterday was risible only for his desperate and clearly politically-managed efforts to emphasise that no paramilitary involvement is currently suspected.

    It seems that Oliver is the one who needs a comfort blanket here – the comfort blanket of the SS-RUC. How silly he will look when the Shinners order him and however else is left in the office to switch over to supporting the policing board. Some time around March, isn’t it?

  • David Antsinpants

    PS – the only mention so far of paramilitarism on the BBC is the report of Kinkaid’s denial:

    (Quote – He said it was “far too early” to say whether they had “any connections to a paramilitary group”.)

    Ham-fisted media speculation is one thing, covert media-securocrat conspiracies are quite another. Oliver Cromwell has given us a classic performance of angry Shinner apologist paranoia. No wonder he’s so worked up about the funding issue – just imagine his prospects if he ever has to get a real job.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    “Impressive heists don’t make the news and allow the players to spent their ‘earnings'”.

    Yeah the £50 handbag snatcher really has it on the million pound bank robber. Given the startling unsuccesful clear up in recent robberies that makes a lot of sense.

    Apparently recently outed DUP supporter Bungalow Bill Lowry has stated his belief that the IRA were indeed responsble. It appears that it is now all hands to the pump in order to get the IRA into the frame. That lovely little blanket is really comfortable to Unionists

  • Davros

    Best slant has to come from the ever useless Joe Gorrod in the Mirror.

    Biggest revelation- Pat reads the Mirror ? Ouch 😉

  • David Antsinpants

    *sigh* once again, Prat raises the new Shinner bogeyman of Bill Lowry – now very much ex special branch. If the securocrats are so all-knowing and all-pervasive, how come they didn’t have a clue this was going to happen? If there is a conspiracy to blame the provos, why is a question in a Belfast Telegraph editorial the best you can come up with?

    This hysterical whining doesn’t have the impact it used to you know. Republicans are becoming a terrible bore.

  • Fraggle

    I’m amused by the way no-one is suggesting that loyalists carried the robbery out. it it that everyone considers them too stupid and incompetent?

  • Davros

    In short, Yes Fraggle.

  • JD

    But why are they considered to be incapable of pulling off a job like this?

  • James

    The debate Sluggiepoos has drifted into familiar channels at last. If only there was a way to work renaming Derry/Londonderry into the thread. Life if unfair.

    I have four possible scenarios for you.

    The Republicans didn’t do it and you have new kids on the block just as capable. Lucky you, finally ordinary decent criminals at work.

    The bad Republicans did it. The Conts or the Rira are now up to speed and ready to run you back to 1974. Bummer, dude: Paisley wanted to photograph the wrong bunch so you’ll have to get Bush a whole new phone book.

    The good Republicans did it. Just as spectacular as Canary Wharf and just as liable to focus minds. It would also show that the Republican leadership doesn’t care diddly squat about being involved with Stormont and you must cast about for another carrot or get one hellofa bigger stick; that no matter how many SKSs and AKs they shovel into the concrete, they have the means to rearm; and that a few more mansions will be popping up on the Republican Rivera.

    The Loyalists did it. Christ, just think of the giant strides in brain transplant technology this implies. We face a brave new world.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros

    “Biggest revelation- Pat reads the Mirror ? Ouch ;)2

    I was checking on the robbery stories on Newshound. Sorry to disappoint.

  • David Vance

    What a world we live in when people opnely speculate that the biggest criminal gang in Northern Ireland, the IRA, might have been behind the biggest robbery! Whatever next – that the IRA are still in the business of terrorism?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The only reason for questioning the Unionist assertions that the IRA were involved is to prevent the perception and the myth taking hold. Unionists of every persuasion have used every myth and rumour of IRA involvement in just about anything to stymie the political process.

    A case in point is Castlereagh. It should be remembered that the RUC first pointed the finger of blame at the ‘security services’. Through time of course Unionist whingeing and lies has led the Castlereagh job to be an IRA operation. This despite not one iota of evidence.

    Evil will prosper if good people say nothing. Unionists must not be allowed to use this heist as a future means to stymie political progress and Donegall Sq must not be allowed to join the urban legends of Castlereagh, Stormontgate, Police Fund etc.

    Put up or shut up, where’s the evidence . If there’s none then cover yourself in the blanket until the next news item.

  • Beowulf

    “Impressive heists don’t make the news and allow the players to spent their ‘earnings'”.

    Yeah the £50 handbag snatcher really has it on the million pound bank robber.

    That doesn’t even make sense, still, it must be hard to ad lib a reply when you are so used to c&p’ing from the Republican Response Handbook.

    I notice that when this robbery was first mentioned yesterday on Slugger you where practically beside yourself with glee at the thought of rushing to the defence of the IRA; so enraptured at the thought of someone, shock, horror, even suggesting the IRA’s involvement in a crime you almost posted to soon – Davros’ post providing only the merest fingerhold on which to hang your accusation of Unionist blinkeredness.

    Getting hot under the collar about the speculation that the IRA might be involved in crime goes beyond paranoia, it’s some whole new field of psychology.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Dv,

    “What a world we live in when people opnely speculate that the biggest criminal gang in Northern Ireland”

    Christ,
    now the RIR are in the frame.

  • Beowulf

    “Evil will prosper if good people say nothing.”

    Does this come with a fanfare? I have the speakers switched off here.

  • Beowulf

    “Put up or shut up, where’s the evidence .”

    Where’s the evidence to support the speculation? You need evidence for speculation now?
    My, but it’s becoming a hard world for the man in the street to have conversation in.

  • David Antsinpants

    “Evil will prosper if good people say nothing” – christ, Prat, I don’t know whether to laugh or boke.
    Where’s YOUR evidence for a concerted media/’securocrat’/or even unionist campaign to blame the provos? You’ve been asked for it twice now and all you can do is bleat and repeat. Tragic.

  • DCB

    Beowolf, spot on, holding up banks is for mugs.

    There must have been at least 20 gang members. So that’s only £1m each. I know thats a lot of cash, but it’s only enough to set you up for a couple of years if you want to spank it, or provide you with a reasonable income if you invest it. For this your taking the risk of doing at leat 10 years in a proper prison.

    On the other hand the white collar manipulator is likely to make the same money but will not have to divide it up amongst numerous accumpluses. Providing that he has not done anything which can get him extridicted over to the States (where they treat “Gentleman” crims a lot more seriously) he will only do a few years in the comfort of Ford open prison. Indeed in all likelehood he will be tried by a jury who can’t make their mind up if any crime was actually commited

    As they say the Pen has stolen far, far more than the crude gun.

    So I personally would not be too surprised if it turns out to be non-maintstrean republicans or loyalists.

    The worrying thing is if it is dissident republicans who have stolen to order in exchange for hardware from Eastern European/Russian networks.

    However I can see another theory being teased out here. Those neferious secerocrats have been at it again – all to discredit Sinn Fein. They are saying that the gang inintally wore SS/PSNI uniforms!!!

  • Davros

    I believe you Pat, thousands wouldn’t 😉

  • dave

    Who stole the money?

    It must have been those who are best at stealing?

    Look at the lives Stolen this past thirty five years or the youth and innocence of our children, maybe a word about our democracy and rights have we not been robbed of these also?

    Don’t worry about the £twenty million stolen from a bank.

    Watch out for SF/IRA they are trying to steal our Country

  • Fraggle

    what a load of old bollocks dave.

  • James

    “There must have been at least 20 gang members. So that’s only £1m each”

    Keep your day job DCB.

    They have to launder the money. They might get 10-20% unless they have their own casino or other legit business.

  • DCB

    James

    Yep I forgot about that, but if you look at the other thread on the topic, I calculated the likely proceeds as being a net £100k each.

    I doubt if owning a casino would do a lot of good. Fine if you have used bank notes, but the £14m in new unused notes will not be made any cleaner by a quick spin on the roulete table. You go to bank your casino profits and surprise surprise all those funny notes were spent in your casino.

  • DCB

    Actually £270k could be a better guess.

    If you assume that they pay a cut of 50% for the used bank notes, that’s 50% on £8m, or £4m. To make the funds completly legit you have to pay tax on them, so that’s 30% for tax and a further 20% for miscelenous expense and professional fees

    Assuming that they can get some dodgy bank to hold the new notes in their reserves and write them say a letter of credit, then that could be 10% on the remining £14m. £1.4m on top of the £4m will give them £5.4m or £270k each.

  • Henry94

    DCB

    You go to bank your casino profits and surprise surprise all those funny notes were spent in your casino.

    Not quite. The funny money goes to the people on the way out when they cash it. Or in a bookies it goes to the winners. At least that was the way when I was in Vegas.

  • DCB

    Henry

    there’s the funny money, e.g. the used bank notes and then there’s the radioactive money – the marked new notes.

    The former can indeed either be handed out in winnings or just given to people to go and spend in the casino – no matter how much they win they can only leave when they have their cut left.

    But if they where to hand out the toxic stuff then when the punter spends his winnings he will be caught and he will then lead the authorities back to the casino. If it was marked dollars it wouldn’t be quite as bad, but marked Northern Irish bank notes. You feel like a criminal every time you try and get rid of a Noren Irish £20 in England.

    You don’t need a casino, any large cash based business will do.

    The PSNI are now saying that the marked notes are impossible to launder. I’m sure there’s a way, but given the risks and difficulties involved the proceeds are likely to be very slim.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Interesting to see how some Unionists are trying to metamorphisise this load of old crap and lies into a hard story.
    Sorry to have nipped your fantasy in the bud guys lolol.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘I believe you Pat, thousands wouldn’t ;)’

    What are you on about now Davros?

  • David Antsinpants

    Interesting to see how Prat sneaks back in here a couple of hours after losing an argument and starts off again where he left off, hoping nobody will remember the direct questions he ignored earlier or the evidence presented that flatly contradicted him. So let’s try again:

    The PSNI initially played down any terrorist links to the robbery and are only this evening conceding that “terrorist involvement” (of either hue) is “a line of inquiry”.

    Meanwhile a Belfast Telegraph leader took obvious speculation out on a limb, and the Mirror hedged its bets with a guess that counted everyone in.

    And, errr, that’s it. So in fact there are no unionists, journalists or securocrats conspiring to pin this on the IRA at all. Just Prat, as always, trying to pin a tail to his master’s donkey. *yawn*

  • Davros

    Davros:’I believe you Pat, thousands wouldn’t ;)’

    Pat: What are you on about now Davros?

    This Pat 😉

    “Biggest revelation- Pat reads the Mirror ? Ouch ;)2

    I was checking on the robbery stories on Newshound. Sorry to disappoint.

  • slackjaw

    David Antsinpants and Davros.

    Have you ever had debated with one another? Do you reckon you could?

    I’m suspicious…

  • Davros

    SJ, I might lark about at times but I also both contribute and receive on a more serious level.

  • slackjaw

    ”I also both contribute and receive on a more serious level.”

    Of course! I wasn’t questioning the seriousness of your contributions, Davros.

    Sometimes you get an idea and then actively find things to convince yourself that you’re right. I may have done this in this case. Apologies if I have offended.

  • David Antsinpants

    Damn, you’re too clever for me Slackjaw. Both of me.

  • Davros

    Heck, no offence taken SJ:)
    And I never have to find things to convince myself, I KNOW I’m right, it’s convincing all you sceptics 😉
    (Almost ready for the APNI there! )

  • Beowulf

    Pat! You came back! How… brave.

    Now, try and say something original rather than just c&p’ing from the Na^H^HSein Fein propaganda manual.

  • mickhall

    So you guys believe the tally given to the press about the amount of cash that was stolen. In London during the 1970-80s, when the work of pavement artists was all the rage in certain social circles, it was traditional for the first met officers on the scene to help themselves to a tidy wedge of what the criminals left behind. Only later to add it to the total amount the villains stole. I realise whilst such behaviour may have been tolerated in the RUC, it could never happen in the PSNI, could it. Or is it casting aspersions even to suggest it.

  • Davros

    Santa’s not visiting you this Christmas mickhall 🙂

  • DCB

    MH, I wouldn’t be surpised if a few bundles went missing, though I think the figure is probably approx right.

    The PSNI may have wanted to over-egg the figure hoping that theifs will fall out, an old trick. But the bank will want to make out that they’ve lost as little as possible, for investor confidence.

    They probably have a December year end, and will have to sign of their accounts fairly soon, so the theft will be closely audited

  • Henry94

    DCB

    The PSNI are now saying that the marked notes are impossible to launder.

    It sems a bit strange to me that they are telling the gang this. If it really is true then the smart thing would be to say nothing in the hope the gang would slip up.

  • Davros

    Letting the world know that might make it more difficult to launder the money ?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    you’re a cheeky git.

  • Davros

    Pat, you noticed ? 😉

  • willowfield

    Henry94

    They just couldn’t wait any longer for actual evidence. Those knees just had to jerk.

    Ever wondered why people might speculate that the PIRA were involved?

    Pat

    I see you were in early doors defending the honour of the Provos again. But you’re not a supporter, right?

  • dave

    Who stole the money?

    It must have been those who are best at stealing?

    Look at the lives Stolen this past thirty five years or the youth and innocence of our children, maybe a word about our democracy and rights have we not been robbed of these also?

    Don’t worry about the £twenty million stolen from a bank.

    Watch out for SF/IRA they are trying to steal our Country

    Posted by: dave at December 22, 2004 08:08 PM

    ——————————————————————————–

    what a load of old bollocks dave.

    Posted by: Fraggle at December 22, 2004 08:13 PM

    ——————————————————————————–

    Hi Fraggle, you are probably right…as always ain’t you? hope your not not still stinging from our last encounter! surely it wasn’t that bad? but you did make a complete ass of yourself, no offence meant.