And those 'lucky' numbers are…

There’s been a sudden flurry of activity related to the Northern Bank heist. The bank have published the serial numbers of (some of) the stolen notes and are suggesting they might recall and change their entire note issuea complex, difficult and seriously expensive operation taking a considerable time to complete. Meanwhile police have searched premises in West and North Belfast – whether that’s simply a case of wanting to be seen to be doing something or the result of a development in the investigation remains to be revealed.

  • Davros

    Northern Bank has still not made available to police the serial numbers of more than £13 million in new bank notes, so detectives were unable to say whether the gang had started to use the money.

    That’s odd- have to wonder why on earth they haven’t done this as a priority.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The answer is to recall every single Northern Bank note, say by the end of January. While the gang will undoubtedly make a couple of hundred grand in the meantime the message sent out will be clear enough.

  • Davros

    The big advantage of joining the Euro – all those crooks with countless thousands of pounds in biscuit tins etc from drug deals would have to explain where the money came from if they tried to change it into Euros.

  • Donnie

    Yeah Davros many of the ‘diesel men’ around the border counties lost fortunes when the RoI changed from punt to euro. I’m sure some of the matresses were so stuffed with cash the smugglers were sleeping with their noses to the ceiling!

  • Henry94

    pete

    Meanwhile police have searched premises in West and North Belfast – whether that’s simply a case of wanting to be seen to be doing something or the result of a development in the investigation remains to be revealed.

    These raids on republicans are not really about solving the crime. In fact they are aimed at unionist opinion. If unionists can be led to believe it was an IRA operation they might not question why the police have failed to solve the crime or recover the money.

    I hope unionists will on this occasion do what they have not done before. Look coldly at the evidence and not the spin. Question the police claims with the same scrutiny you would question any other claim.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Henry94, the IRA are a large, powerful and well-armed organization in Belfast. If the police failed to investigate the possibility of them being involved in this, they would not be doing their job properly.

  • Henry94

    Roger

    That’s a reasonable point but do you think there was any basis in evidence for these raids or was it just designed to make people think the PSNI had a basis for suspecting the IRA.

    I’ll be happy to come on here and admit I was wrong if any basis for these raids other than spin emerges.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The raids are probably designed to ensure that Orde will get an easier ride from his critics on the Policing Board than he would normally get. The raids dovetail nicely with the ingrained prejudice of the DUP.

    I wonder if the PSNI have changed their opinion on the calibre of the people involved in the heist. At the outset the PSNI believed these people were meticulous, professional etc etc. Now apparently they believe that people ‘suspected’ of involvement in the robbery wrapped up the bundles of cash and disguised them under their Xmas trees as presents. I kid you not.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Henry94, I’d be very worried if the IRA were not suspected at all. I assume the way it works is that they start by suspecting everyone, and then working through to eliminate people or groups from the investigation. If the PSNI eliminated the IRA from the investigation without gathering evidence first, they would not be doing their job properly.

    Of course the victims of the raids could take a complaint to the police ombudsman. But they won’t, because they don’t want to have to rebut in public the PSNI’s justification for the raids. Sinn Fein would much rather use the whole thing as propaganda. The people the PSNI have been searching, going by the names mentioned by the BBC, are well known in North Belfast for their “senior community role”, and the fact that they are being searched is not in the slightest bit surprising.

  • metacom

    16 pairs of shoes? Is Mr. Copeland related to Imelda Marcos?

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    The article is quite funny. Copeland didn’t know why he was raided, yet Margaret McClenaghan did.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘Of course the victims of the raids could take a complaint to the police ombudsman. But they won’t, because they don’t want to have to rebut in public the PSNI’s justification for the raids.’

    There are a number of assertions Roger that you would do well to justify. How do you know these people will not contact the Ombudsman, are you privy to some information?
    You also seem to know that the Keystones (sorry PSNI) had some justification for the raids, again please share.

  • willowfield

    Henry94

    These raids on republicans are not really about solving the crime. In fact they are aimed at unionist opinion. If unionists can be led to believe it was an IRA operation they might not question why the police have failed to solve the crime or recover the money.

    PARANOIA ALERT! PARANOIA ALERT!

    (or alternatively)

    SPINNING ALERT! SPINNING ALERT!

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Pat, it’s quite simple. Republicans are being raided because the IRA are a large, armed and well organized body that would be entirely capable of pulling this raid off. I’ll guess this was mentioned in the search warrant which the police would have had to obtain to authorize the raid.

    The republicans won’t go to the ombudsman because they are unlikely to want the activities of their, ahem, “community activists” coming under scrutiny.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The reason I asked Roger was that they do in fact have a record of going to the Ombudsman, ‘community activism’ or not.

  • Henry94

    What are we to make of the shoes being taken by the police? Is there a chance that one of the shoes might provide evidence? No. This was done to give the impression that a politically motivated raid had a basis in real police work.

    The shoes will walk.

    If someone wants to make a wager on this I’ll be happy to oblige. Who’ll put their money on the PSNI?

  • James

    Anyone this skilled knew the difficulties associated with disposing of your bank notes well ahead of time.

    This is not rocket science, the mob has been doing it here since the 20’s. Call it technology transfer.

    If the haul isn’t being off loaded from a fishing boat in the Cayman Islands now, consider this transaction. Buy several hundred kilos of coke from the Loyalists with the cash and turn around and sell it to dealers in the republic for Euros. If the Loyalists cannot front all the coke, take the remainder out in trade with a few housecleaning chores that they are good at. Otherwise, go to London for the coke.

    Offer to buy the PIRA’s remaining arsenal. We know the Provos are capable of laundering the money and might appreciate the chance to moon Paisley, Blair and Ahern in the process. Meanwhile the gang can sell the Provo arms and semtex to the dissident republicans eager to bomb the province back to 1974.

    Next, why not offer the money back to the bank? Charge a STG 5 million finder’s fee in unmarked Euros or Dollars.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    The “word on the street” (I can’t and won’t claim to be a definitive source but can relay what I’ve heard here and there) is that the general view is that only the provos could have done it, but that this is being described as the “last waltz” so to speak. The IRA might not have organizationlly ordered the operation but people within it did, and they probably started planning it within the last two years.

  • Jonathan McCullough

    If someone wants to make a wager on this I’ll be happy to oblige. Who’ll put their money on the PSNI?

    Henry,
    As per your above wager, I will gladly bet £100 with you that anyone charged with this criminal activity will come from the republican community. The proverbial dogs on the street know that it was a provo sponsored crime. By the way, please dont send that £100 you know you will owe me in Northern Bank notes.

  • Jonathan McCullough

    James,

    To buy “several hundred kilos of coke” from the loyalists, the loyalists would have to buy it of the IRA first. They are the ones with the well known “colombian connection”. Your beloved republican friends have helped to train FARC how to murder even more people. I wonder how many Americans will die through drug abuse, drug addicted crimes, kidnapping, etc. before you (and indeed most so called “irish americans”) wake up to the fact that the IRA are a terrorist organisation?

  • Henry94

    Jonathan

    I will gladly bet £100 with you that anyone charged with this criminal activity will come from the republican community.

    Charged? You’re joking. We have seen how charges can be brought to suit the PSNI agenda and then dropped when the fuss dies down.

    And of course the republican community is a vague enough term to cover Catholic criminals and dissident groups. You like like to cover yourself don’t you.

    There is a specific bet on the table which relates to the siezing of shoes to create the impression of evidence. The objective was to convince the dogs in the street that the PSNI know what happened. I’ll take your £100 on that bet and I wouldn’t touch Northern Bank notes with a bargepole.

  • Jonathan McCullough

    Henry,

    At least the PSNI don’t treat those suspected of crimes the same way as the IRA do, or there would be an awful lot more people found in lonely country roads with bullets in the back of their heads!

    By the way, and I quote “I’ll take your £100 on that bet”, I am very pleased you have accepted my wager that anyone charged with the crime will come from the republican community.

  • Davros

    Bit of vagueness there Jonathon, you need to pin those republicans down! “anyone charged” – does that mean you lose if, for example, 8 provos and 2 non-provos are nicked ?

  • Jonathan McCullough

    No Davros, the emphasis is on the one in anyone! lol. Although according to Henry it won’t matter if they are provos or not, they can be catholic criminals or dissidents as well! I would have gladly took the bet on the provos only but he was very kind to extend it! (if not a bit unwise!) Merry Christmas!

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Jonathon, let’s talk sense here. The last time the PSNI reported on the matter they believed loyalists were involved in something like 70% of the entire NI drugs trade. The denial of the dangerous and violent nature of loyalist paramilitarism which routinely comes from unionists is a critical problem in this process. It leads me to suspect that unionists aren’t terribly concerned about loyalist paramilitarism leaving the scene, probably because they need a fall-back position.

    Henry, there’s a couple of problems with your bet. How would you confirm whether or not evidence derived from the shoes actually resulted in a successful prosecution ? You’d have to take the PSNI’s word for it, and since the bet is about proving that the PSNI can’t be trusted on these matters you’ve got a catch 22.

  • Davros

    BTW Happy Birthday Roger!

  • Henry94

    Jonathan McCullough

    You don’t know much about betting if you think that kind of dishonourable claptrap and double-talk would be acceptable anywhere. The bet on offer is the original bet and only that and it is no longer on offer to you because I don’t believe your word can be trusted.

    Roger

    How would you confirm whether or not evidence derived from the shoes actually resulted in a successful prosecution ?

    If the owner of the shoes is convicted I would concede the bet because the PSNI could legitimately claim that taking the shoes was a part of the investigation. My contention is that the whole raid was for spin and that there was no basis for it other than spin.

    I should point out that I am basing this only on the media reports and my view of the PSNI. I have no inside or other knowledge and like the PSNI I have no idea who was responsible for the robbery.

  • Jonathan McCullough

    Henry,

    I’m afraid you can’t withdraw a wager once accepted, without the consent of both paticipants. Therefore, in law, the wager still stands. (P.s Believe me, I know a LOT sbout betting!)

    Looking at your 1523hrs post “like the PSNI I have no idea who was responsible for the robbery.
    ” I was wondering how you know what the PSNI know? Obviously you must be a member of the PSNI.

  • Henry94

    Jonathan

    You didn’t accept my bet and I didn’t accept yours, so stop being a bore.

    I was wondering how you know what the PSNI know?

    I know because they, jusk like you, are in bullshit mode.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Jonathan

    ‘The proverbial dogs on the street know that it was a provo sponsored crime.’

    Just off the networks, Kincaid to lose investigative role in raid inquiry, dog in the street to lead hunt for robbers.

  • James

    McCullough:

    “Your beloved republican friends”

    I’ve been called much worse by far better. Besides, it’s a lie.

    Now get back to your Xena tapes.

  • DCB

    Jonathan

    I’m afraid there is no law governing contracts of chance, which actually means that no bookie stupid enough to give you credit can persue you through the courts. But likewise you can’t force Henry to a wager.

    Now I would take a bet with him that it was the provos wat did it, especially if I could hadge it out at betfair. Which is not with normal betting what my job professionally is – arbitrage.

    Stil I would be shocked if they got any evidence from the shoes.

    Sory Henry I thought it was loyalists but being back home, wiht no evidence whatsoenver it’s more a case of – well who else could it have been

    which is a serious point the sinners need to divorce via decomissioning the other side of the fence.

  • DCB

    Oh and the PSNI do look very stupid over the whole thing. And I totally beleive it was a case of round up the usual suspects for the cameras

    Still doens’t mean that the usual suspects didn’t do it.

  • Jonathan McCullough

    DCB,

    While there may be no law governing contracts of chance I would view the wager accepted by Henry as a gentleman’s agreement. He accepted a wager and is now trying to renege on it.

    james,

    What exactly are you accusing me of calling you? You state you have been called much worse, but much worse than what?

  • Henry94

    It is now being reported by The Sunday Times that the intial PSNI claims that they had all the seriel numbers was spin too. It proves yet again that you are more likely to find the truth by doubting PSNI claims than by believing them.

    I hate to say I told you so but…

    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.

    Posted by: Henry94 at December 23, 2004 06:45 AM

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Woof, woof , woof ummmm woof. Dog in street makes first official statement on world record robbery. PSNI saying nothing.

  • Davros

    PSNI puzzled or muzzled Pat ? 😉

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Henry, the PSNI said on Xmas Eve that they did not have all the serial numbers because the bank had not provided them (link.
    I do not remember them claiming that they did have all the numbers, can you provide a link to the ST article on the matter ?

    But let’s face it, when it comes to talking about spin, yourself and Pat are taking the biscuit – you’re doing everything possible to get into obfuscation about the PSNI’s spindoctoring and PR activities while diverting the discussion away from the fact that it seems like nearly everyone else who isn’t a Sinn Fein spokesperson thinks the IRA “probably” did it. If the Sunday Business Post – not exactly a paid-up member of the British securocrat league – is reporting that Garda Special Branches are now also fingering the IRA, things are pretty far gone don’t you think ? Other articles in today’s Sunday Times – a paper I personally tend to read only with plenty of large pinches of salt to hand – is making several claims connecting the raid to republicans, including claiming that one of the bank officials who was kidnapped frequents a republican drinking club.

    Initially I was dismissive that the provos would be stupid enough to conduct an operation like this at a critical juncture in the political process – but it looks like they were.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Just noticed that even the eminent Anthony McIntyre has hinted that he’s
    “>weighing in with the securocrats as well …

  • Roger W. Christ XVII
  • Davros

    Come on Roger , at least Pat has a wry smile, Henry is deadly serious !

  • Davros

    Sue Denholm gives a wonderful example of Shinner Speak – be proud Henry – in her column

    Gerry’s Angels fall from grace as they get behind Colombia Three

    Poor Catriona Ruane and Mary Lou McDonald are called “Gerry’s Angels” behind their backs by fellow Shinners who are jealous of the fact that they often flank El Presidente on visits to Downing Street and other prestigious venues. However, that squeaky clean image is suffering a little from their close association with the cause of the Colombia Three.
    Last Monday Catriona struggled for credibility at a press conference in Bogota. The three amigos, she proclaimed, were “not fleeing from justice as there was no justice done” and their “passports were not false, but just the information on them was false”.

    Ruane pledged to raise the case of these three “EU citizens at the European parliament” and McDonald, MEP for Dublin, put in a fruitless parliamentary question demanding EU intervention. The parliament’s reply was so embarassingly dismissive that the DUP’s Jim Alister summarised it as “Go away, stupid”.

    Meanwhile, where are the Colombia Three now? Someone called “Freddie Scap” has claimed on a satirical republican website that they have been in the jungle filming a new reality TV show — I’m a Provo, Get Me Out of Here.

    while closer to home :

    “The Northern Bank robbery hasn’t come a moment too soon for one starving Sinn Fein apparatchik and occasional contributor to An Phoblacht. The hard-up party hack was recently spotted tucking into sausage and chips in a pub in Dublin’s Griffith Avenue. However, when the waitress returned with the bill, the stony broke Shinner had scarpered.”

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘The “word on the street” (I can’t and won’t claim to be a definitive source but can relay what I’ve heard here and there) is that the general view is that only the provos could have done it, but that this is being described as the “last waltz” so to speak. The IRA might not have organizationlly ordered the operation but people within it did, and they probably started planning it within the last two years.’

    Roger how you have the neck to pass judgement on the posting of others given that contribution of yours really is of David Vance proportions.’Word on the streets’, ‘last waltz,’ etc etc. You murdered as many cliches as David Ervine during a typical interview. Where on earth did you get the garbage about being planned in the last two years?

    You may not like it but there does have to be questioning on this issue. As stated before if the myth starts to become reality in the minds of people it will be used to stymie the political process.
    I question the role of the PSNI simply because I believe a lot of other people should as well. I look at recently outed DUPer Lowry and wonder how many of these ex Special Branch men are involved in this investigation? How many of these people are the ubiquitous sources that are feeding a willing audience?
    After a week the PSNI have diddley squat. There are cameras throughout Belfast and they haven’t even found the van used in the robbery yet. Doesn’t anyone find that strange?

  • Davros

    recently outed DUPer Lowry

    According to Sue Denham He’s wiating to be invited to speak to SF Pat….

    “Lowry, the former head of the RUC’s Special Branch in Belfast, is a man of Labour sympathies who enjoys a social drink, so there was surprise when he was guest speaker at Ballymena DUP’s annual dinner — a decidedly dry affair — last month, where he lashed into Sinn Fein. But Lowry told Sue: “I’ll address the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis on policing if I get an invite.” Gerry Adams please note.”

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Pat, I’ll ignore the ad-hominem stuff. Cliches are admittedly bad, but the spin and debate avoidance that you’re engaged in is arguably worse.

    Don’t know about anyone else but my understanding of a myth is something which has come into general belief despite evidence to the contrary. No evidence contradicting the notion that the IRA were involved has become available. Their role is neither myth, nor is it fact – there is no direct evidence either way. As McIntyre correctly points out, the only thing we have is inference, and the IRA being a large, well armed, disciplined organization with a history of expertise in robbing banks as well as experience with forensics which easily exceeds the other suspects makes it difficult to believe that it could have been anyone else.

    The attempts to blame the PSNI securocrats with DUP connections are wide of the mark now that according to the SBP, the Garda Special Branch have now come down on the same side. How do you address that ? Into the bargain Anthony McIntyre, while he’s not said conclusively that he believes it was the IRA, suggests that he would find it difficult to believe that it would be anyone else. These are all people who are not PSNI and who are not DUP.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Roger,

    I notice you did not try and defend your earlier exclusive (complete with insider info) so i’ll put the original post down to over exuberance.

    “No evidence contradicting the notion that the IRA were involved has become available.”

    There is no existing evidence other than the fact that a robbery took place. As stated not even the van has been recovered, despite the fact that Belfast is probably under more electronic surveillance than any other city.
    Excellent that you put so much faith in the reporting of the SBP and i’ll file that away for future reference. But I was unaware of the Irish Police putting out any statement on the robbery. What I have seen from a lot of the newspapers are lots of ‘sources’.
    Now call me cynical, but highly paid reporters are unlikely to come out on a Sunday and state ‘not only have the PSNI not a clue what is going on, neither do we’. A bit bland, so get the sources in there.
    There is a desperation on the part of some, based on political motivation, to have this landed on the lap of republicans. Desperation in the form of speculation is desperation nonetheless.

    My advice would be to wait and see if any evidence emerges over the next few weeks. When evidence emerges (if it ever does)it may be possible to make a call.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    I don’t put a huge amount of faith in the SBP, although I do regard is as being a lot better than the Sunday Times (you can file that away if you want) and I used to read it a lot in Dublin whenever I lived there. What I find particularly telling that it’s taking the point of view that it has. I did not claim that the Irish police put out a statement on the robbery (the PSNI has not put one out either), merely that anonymous sources were quoted in a paper that is usually friendly to the Sinn Fein position and not that of the “securocrats”.

    I’d usually take your point on the reporters, except this time it’s funny that several reporters all from different places – some of them pro-British, some of them pro-republican – are all coming out with suggestions that the IRA did it. It certainly isn’t typical of Andrew McIntyre to do the sit-on-the-fence-but-lean-towards-the-securocrats thing either. There have been plenty of opportunities to pin this one on loyalists – using anonymous sources or something else – but with the exception of AP/RN (predictable enough as it isn’t really a serious newspaper) nobody has chosen to do so. That’s a bit weird isn’t it ? Unlike the Castlereagh break-in where opinion was a lot more evenly divided, this time round most sources seem to be coming down against the IRA.

    As for the PSNI, clearly there have been several debacles such as the Stormont raids, but equally in the past there have been occasions when Orde, and before him Flanagan, have moved to actually defend the IRA from accusations that they, rather than their dissident counterparts, were responsible for certain things. The raids on Xmas Eve took place for a reason, and it’s not clear that it was purely a matter of trying to influence the political process.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Roger,

    I may be reading your posts wrong, but as far as I can ascertain, you haven’t a clue what is going on and are adopting a stance based solely on anonymous sources.
    Well, that is as clear as mud.

  • Henry94

    Roger

    Unlike the Castlereagh break-in where opinion was a lot more evenly divided, this time round most sources seem to be coming down against the IRA.

    This is not something that can be settled by a show of hands. The reality is that none of us know who did this because those responsible appear to have left nothing in the way of evidence.

    The only reason people have put forward for believing it was the provos is that it was such a well organised and executed operation. That’s fine for suspicion but it is taken to the point of absurdity when the lack of evidence is taken as proof of IRA involvement. You’d swear the IRA never botched a job.

    Assuming for a second the PSNI claim about the Traffic Warden is true the gang were within three minutes of getting caught. Would we then have the PSNI and the papers saying it couldn’t have been the IRA because it was too unprofessional? Hardly.

    There is massive briefing against the IRA going on. Who does that suit? Certainly the PSNI who can keep the unionits happy with it. Also the governments who can use it to pressure Sinn Fein in the negotiations.

    That’s all fair enough and I don’t really care about it. My fear is that innocent people might be fitted up for this. That’s what we must guard against and that means taking a critical stance to police sources quoted in newspapers.

  • Henry94

    And let me make it clear that it has long been my view that the IRA should disarm disband and go away.

  • James

    I posted

    McCullough:

    “Your beloved republican friends”

    I’ve been called much worse by far better. Besides, it’s a lie.

    Now get back to your Xena tapes.

    Posted by: James at December 25, 2004 11:10 PM

    And the Troll replied as if butter would not melt in his mouth:

    What exactly are you accusing me of calling you? You state you have been called much worse, but much worse than what?

    Posted by: Jonathan McCullough at December 26, 2004 04:30 AM
    (Hmmmm…. note the time.)

    What is your malfunction, McCullough? Your very words indict and convict you. Don’t they teach the use and meaning of the quotation in Troll School anymore?

    You wrote that I have “beloved republican friends” period, full feckin’ stop.

  • DCB

    Roger

    I had the same thoughts, couldn’t believe that Sinn Fein would have been comfortable with such a big operation. The occassional sucericor van is one thing, but pulling the Great Belfast Bank Robbery is quite another. (Note how the local tabloids are all bigging up the robbery, hoping against hope that it will be the worlds biggest bank job)

    It is possible that it was more the work of former provos, but then again given that at least 20 people were involved its hard to imagine that the Shiners didn’t have an inclining of what was going on.

    Perhaps they knew about it and were powerless to stop it, indeed the ST suggests that they may have wanted to stall devolution because of it.

    Of course this is all speculation, but SF have to face the fact that when something this big happens few people will believe that it could have been carried out by anyone but the IRA.

    And it is interesting that the Sunday Provo Post is pointing the finger at the IRA. Of course there’s no evidence, but it just goes to show what almost everyone thinks.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Pat, people are entirely entitled to speculate – which I freely accept is what I’m doing – and draw reasonable conclusions given the limited details which are available to them. The lack of available evidence concerning collusion allegations has never been an impediment to people like your good self repeating and endorsing those claims. An unreasonable person in that instance would be one who refuses to accept that collusion ever took place due to a lack of evidence. Wouldn’t you agree ?

    Who in their right mind with any knowledge of this operation is seriously going to go to the papers, give their names and say they know who did it ? No-one.

    Henry, yes we are dealing with circumstantial evidence here, and yes throughout this thread we have been dealing in suspicion – not fact – and I have agreed already that no proof exists associating anyone with this crime. I’d guessed that people here would be familiar with this type of thing, since that is also exactly what kind of discussion takes place whenever we’re talking about collusion or unionist links to loyalist paramilitarism which are no less valid (the fact that unionism avoids interfering in the activities of loyalism isn’t evidence that they’re linked – but I’m certainly suspicious that they are and I’ll bet you are too). The issue is that when all this circumstantial stuff is added up it becomes more difficult to place the blame on organizations which are *not* the IRA. The professionalism of the operation is one of the main things but there are other details. For example, would loyalists or any other organization feel confident going into Poleglass – let’s face it, not exactly SDLP white picket fence territory – and holding a hostage for 24 hours ? If they did it would be unprecedented.

    The point about the traffic warden is very silly. The operation would still have had the hallmarks of a professionally organized and implemented job even if they had been caught in the end. The newspaper headlines would likely be in the mould of “almost the perfect crime”. What would have happened is anybody’s guess – either the thieves would have given themselves up or, more likely if it was who it is generally suspected that it was, there would have been a shooting match and you’d have had a right mess. Either way we would probably know a lot more about who was involved.

    There are lots of things have gone on in this country for which nobody has ever been convicted and which nobody has ever owned up to, but the blame for them gets attributed based on the nature of the attack, the target, and organizational hallmarks. That’s what we have in this situation. You won’t be able to say whether or not innocent people are being fitted up until they charge someone and the evidence is presented in court.

    I’m glad you think the IRA should disband, and I’ve no doubt know that you are sincere. One thing that comes out of this is that if they had disbanded, the discussion would be rather less critical than it actually is. But then, we’d probably talking about what should be done with the robbers if they were caught, and about whether or not Sinn Fein should be calling for co-operation with the police from anyone who has any information on what happened.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    DCB, I find it particularly interesting that the SBP and The Blanket are taking the positions that they are. The SBP in particular – why would it suddenly begin quoting anonymous sources against Sinn Fein ? It’s entirely predictable for the Sunday Times to do it, but the SBP ? What motivation would they have for going against their SF-sympathetic editorial line ?

    I think there’s merit in the suggestion that the job was the work of former provos, and that it was conducted without sanction from the mainstream organization, but that of course leads to the question of what should be done about them. What’s Sinn Fein’s view of how the criminals – if apprehended – should be caught ? Will they be going to the talks for a get out of jail free card in the same way they have done with the last well-known republican bank robbery ? Should all information on those involved be withheld from the police even if they are not signed-up IRA members?

  • DCB

    Roger

    Interesting questions.

    I wish I’d bought land in Donegal

  • DCB

    Also SF are faced with a bit of witch test. Either there’s evidence that the IRA did it, or else if there is no evidence pointing to who did it, then only the IRA could have done it.

  • Henry94

    Roger

    But then, we’d probably talking about what should be done with the robbers if they were caught, and about whether or not Sinn Fein should be calling for co-operation with the police from anyone who has any information on what happened.

    What would happen to the robbers is a long period in prison. No matter who they were they would not qualify for early release under the Good Friday Agreement. Yet we are expected to believe that up to 30 Provos who know the organisation will probably not be around in 12 months were prepared to risk spending the best part of their lives in prison to rob money from which they themselves would derive no benefit.

    Cooperation with the PSNI is a political issue for nationalists. My own take on it is that if I had been aware that a family was being held hostage under threat of violence then I would feel obliged to act to help them and if that involved the PSNI then I would have to live with it.

    But if I now knew where the money was I would not report it to the PSNI. I would report it to my local Sinn Fein representative.

  • maca

    Henry
    “But if I now knew where the money was I would not report it to the PSNI. I would report it to my local Sinn Fein representative.”

    Do you mind explaining why? Mistrust of the PSNI or..?

  • Davros

    Cooperation with the PSNI is a political issue for nationalists. My own take on it is that if I had been aware that a family was being held hostage under threat of violence then I would feel obliged to act to help them and if that involved the PSNI then I would have to live with it.

    I respect that position Henry.

  • DCB

    Henry

    Which is why the most convincing theory is that it was either a pension fund raising exercise for those who haven’t benefited from cross-border arbitrage or else it was an unsanctioned operation. I suppose 4 free lancing provos are potentially in trouble, but with 40 there is considerable safety in no’s.

    Surely it wouldn’t be possible for either the dissidents or the UDA to get 40 members assembled without a tout, and the INLA couldn’t get more than 4 together without a feud

  • Davros

    I suppose 4 free lancing provos are potentially in trouble

    That SF are standing by the Killers of Garda McCabe suggests that they would have little to fear ?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    “Surely it wouldn’t be possible for either the dissidents or the UDA to get 40 members assembled without a tout, and the INLA couldn’t get more than 4 together without a feud”

    But at the time of the Freddie Scap allegations we were led to believe that the IRA was riddled with touts. But I suppose for the sake of the ‘it wuz the Provos wot did it’ theory to take hold, previous theories have to be conveniently sidelined.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Are you a Provo apologist Pat?
    It just seems like throughout your posts, you adopt the Sinn Fein “we done nuthin so we didn’t”, rhetoric!

  • DCB

    Pat

    Potentially valid point, however you could say that the provos “was” compromised with touts. But is less so now due to the outings of scap and others, the PSNI informer ethical audits, and a general PSNI eye of the ball when it comes to mainstream provos.

    Of course that’s all conjecture, but as Roger pointed out lack of hard evidence never stoped republicans theorising about collusion

  • Fraggle

    I was looking at the monitoring reportfrom the equality people. The northern bank has the lowest proportion of catholic employees of all four main banks here.

    Interesting but it proves nothing.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Henry94, fair enough, but the only way the thieves are going to go to jail is if the PSNI are involved. I do respect your position on when actual people’s lives are being terrorized, the problem is that if thieves come to the position where they have minimal chance of getting caught as a result of the police floundering over public support they’re more likely to repeat their crime.

    If hypothetically you were in possession of some information and told your local SF rep about it, the only useful step available to that rep would be to pass on the information in such a way that it would eventually find it’s way to the cops. The other thing the SF rep could do is nothing – and you are of course taking a big risk if it did in fact turn out to be the IRA, as you’ve helpfully told them that you’re a potential tout.