Speculation is the name of the game. Despite the obvious frustrations it throws up, not know exactly what’s going on at anyone moment does provide some entertaining moments. This morning’s triptych (sound file) from Bill Lowry, Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley junior was one such.Martin McGuinness pointed out that whatever it is that Hugh Orde does say this afternoon, without actionable evidence it can only be an accusation. He then proceded to make some of his own, suggesting that these particular accusations were politically motived by certain security elements in the government.
When asked about the consequences for the peace process, he simply suggested from a Republican perspective, there would be fury at “an attempt to marginalise the largest party on the nationalist side”. He refused to be drawn by questions as to what republican paramilitaries may or may not know about the heist operation that in part took place in committed republican territory.
Ian Paisley Junior’s was typically direct. However it was extraordinary to he hear him suggest on national radio to the devolution of policing powers locally to a Sinn Fein minister that “you cannot have a member of the Army Council of the biggest criminal gang on these islands having a say in how policing operates in Northern Ireland. These are master criminals, not politicians. The hand of Republicanism was in the crime of the century.” This kind of thing used only to be uttered under cover of parliamentary previlege.
The only thing that all speakers were agreed on was their criticism of the police and their inablity to track down a gang rumoured of 20 people in a relatively small town.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty