IRA accusation – reaction round-up…

BELOW is most of the political reaction to the accusation by Chief Constable Hugh Orde that the IRA carried out the Northern Bank robbery…

Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness continues to insist that the IRA was not involved in the heist. He said: “Hugh Orde’s comments today are nothing more than politically biased allegations. He has not produced one scrap of evidence. Within days of the robbery at the Northern Bank, and following media speculation and PSNI briefings, which suggested IRA involvement, I asked the IRA about this and was assured that they were not involved.”

The UUP’s Roy Beggs MP wants the nationalist community to stop voting for “a party, which is not committed to exclusively peaceful, lawful and democratic means”.

David Trimble called on the Prime Minister to “use the power created by Ulster Unionist Party pressure and exclude Sinn Fein from any NI Assembly. Failing that, he should close down the Northern Ireland Assembly forthwith”.

The DUP’s Peter Robinson said: “If the Chief Constable confirms IRA involvement the consequences for Sinn Fein will be dire and grim. The DUP demand for absolute certainty about decommissioning and ending all paramilitary and criminal activity will be powerfully vindicated. Our view that the process should move on without those inextricably and symbiotically linked to terrorism and criminality will more and more be seen as the inevitable way forward.”

Alliance’s Seamus Close also wants to move on without Sinn Fein: “People are angry that that the return of their Assembly is being held hostage by paramilitary groups and those involved in criminality. Are democrats going to continue to be held to ransom because the IRA can’t keep its fingers out of the till? Surely now it is time to consider a voluntary coalition of parties that, while they may disagree on many things, are committed to democratic means and do not engage in criminality.”

Alliance Leader David Ford criticised the Prime Minister for not dealing with the issue of paramilitary criminal activity in the recent political talks. He said:

“The recent talks focussed on the sole issue of decommissioning, but Alliance has long warned the Government that the real threat is paramilitary and criminal activity. Sadly, we appear to have been right. The Government should request a report from the IMC giving its assessment of Hugh Orde’s statement and proposing appropriate remedial measures.”

Unionists and Alliance will have been disappointed by the statement from 10 Downing Street, which appears to suggest that moving on without Sinn Fein is not an option:

“The British Prime Minister takes this development very seriously.

“He has made it repeatedly clear over the past two years that the political institutions in Northern Ireland can only be restored if there is a complete end to all paramilitary activity by those involved, and that includes all criminal activity.

“He fully supports the Chief Constable in his efforts to bring those responsible for this major crime to account.”

The SDLP’s Alex Attwood speaking yesterday said: “After repeated republican attempts to demonise members of the PSNI, District Policing Partnerships and the Policing Board, to now hear the IRA complaining of the demonising of republicans is hollow and tiresome. If this is the best the iRA can come up with, it will only serve to strengthen any conviction of their involvement in criminality.”

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is clearly frustrated by the news, and he and the other parties in the Republic have criticised Sinn Fein strongly. Fine Gael have called on Ahern to reverse his decision to release the killers of Garda McCabe.

Ahern said: “It underscores the need for compelling commitments both in word and deed that the full spectrum of IRA paramilitary activities and capability has been brought to a definitive closure.

He added that this must include the necessary assurance in regard to all forms of criminal activity which, following the Northern Bank robbery, clearly remains a major concern.

“Recent developments have validated the need for such demonstrable commitments if the public confidence necessary to sustain inclusive government is to be achieved.”

The full statement by the Secretary of State, Paul Murphy, who is to meet the Irish Foreign Affairs Minister, Dermot Ahern, next week, is copied below.

The Secretary of State today commented on the statement from the Chief Constable about Provisional IRA involvement in the recent robbery of the Northern Bank in Belfast.

Speaking from New York, the Secretary of State said: “The Chief Constable has fully briefed me on the police investigation into the robbery at the Northern Bank. I am deeply disappointed that the Provisional IRA continue to engage in criminal activity despite the significant progress that has been made over the last few months in the political process. As the Prime Minister said on Thursday, there are no grounds for any misunderstanding: there can be absolutely no place for terrorist activity and there can be no place for criminal activity. The police will follow the evidence wherever it leads and anyone with any information should pass it to them.”

Paul Murphy expressed sympathy for the families who suffered at the hands of the criminal gang. “Some people seem to think that this was a victimless crime. It was not. People were kidnapped. They were held in very distressing circumstances while this robbery was carried out. The experience must have been terrifying and traumatic.”

Paul Murphy also gave his assessment of the impact of the bank robbery on the political process. “Throughout my time as Secretary of State, I have always made clear that peace and stability in Northern Ireland rests on the development of the necessary trust between the communities. Without an end to all paramilitary activity, including criminal activity of all kinds, we shall not be able to re-establish that trust. This incident is deeply damaging. The two governments will reflect carefully on how to take matters forward and to sustain the substantial progress that had been made since the talks at Leeds Castle in September.”

  • peteb

    There’s an interesting addition to that list Mick, considering they’re part of a technical grouping in the Dail with SF – the Green Party spokesman, Dan Boyle said: “The Republican movement must totally distance itself from any criminal activity if the Northern Ireland peace process is to have any hope.”

  • peteb

    Oops, sorry Gonzo.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    I found the Orde press conference a rather tame affair , although granted it was probably edited. Was there not one journalist at the conference to ask Orde about the quality of intelligence he was basing his assertion on? After all that intelligence was not too good before the robbery. It has been even worse since the robbery. Warrants for searches were based on that same intelligence and was found to be wanting.

    If the man had any integrity he would tender his resignation.

  • cg

    I find it deeply insulting for a unionist like Roys beggs to almost tell nationalists who they should and shouldn’t vote for.

    After the disgraceful actions of Orde it remains clear that Sinn Féin were right not to accept policing. Policing is still being used by spooks for their own political campaign. Alex Attwood’s comments are expected. He’s in bed with the psni and he can’t get out of it but the nationalist people will not be fooled by such blatant party political stunts.

    No evidence has been produced by Orde for the involvement so you will forgive me if I don’t give his comments any credence.

  • Davros

    No evidence has been produced by Orde for the involvement

    I know, Orde produced just as much evidence that the IRA did it as SF produced to prove that it was the Brits who bugged HQ ! 😉

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Pat

    I think Orde was asked the question you mention, but refused to discuss what intelligence or evidence he had (obviously).

    Try the Talkback site, as the presser was live on today’s programme.

  • cg

    Davros
    Any credible police force would not accuse someone of something publicly unless there was evidence but then again the psni isn’t a police force but a political force.

  • Emily

    Great post, Gonzo.

  • Davros

    cg: what do you mean by “unless there was evidence” ? There’s a difference between having evidence, having evidence that is admissable in court and having evidence that one can air freely. Witnesses are vulnerable. We saw that at a certain robbery in the ROI a few years back.

  • cg

    He should either produce evidence that would be acceptable in court or shut up.
    The so called evidence that can’t be given in court isn’t evidence but here say.

    He is supposed to be a police man and not a politican.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Emily

    We aim to please.

  • Davros

    I’ll ask you the same question more or less as I asked earlier – if he brought Joe Bloggs from the Falls out in front of the cameras who said I saw
    XYZ driving a White Van etc, do you think that witness would make it to court ?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Bobby Tohill thought he once saw a white van, from the inside admittedly. Obviously he was imagining things.

  • toronto

    Which of course justifies presenting no evidence whatsoever. Yay democracy.

  • cg

    He doesn’t have to do that Davros.

    He passes what ever evidence he has on to the DPP. The defendant is then prosecuted. If he/she is found guilty on the facts of the evidence then he would possibly be justified. What he has done is compromised any future case.

    By the way I don’t believe you actually think he has any so called informant.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘I think Orde was asked the question you mention, but refused to discuss what intelligence or evidence he had (obviously).’

    Obviously indeed, we are able to judge this intelligence by the evidence turned up during the PSNI searches, as a PSNI ‘source’ put it, ‘you don’t hand out warrants for nothing these days.’ I think I would have refused to comment under the same circumstances.

    ‘I’ll ask you the same question more or less as I asked earlier – if he brought Joe Bloggs from the Falls out in front of the cameras who said I saw
    XYZ driving a White Van etc, do you think that witness would make it to court ?’

    I think anyone spotting the elusive white van would be a welcome development.

    ‘Bobby Tohill thought he once saw a white van, from the inside admittedly. Obviously he was imagining things.’

    And as if getting blattered wasn’t bad enough the PSNI tried to fit him up on a trumped up charged. Wonder why they call him Lucky Tohill?

  • AndrewD

    Hugh Orde cannot help be put into a Political Situation.

    Its not his fault that the IRA is connected to a Political Party. That makes it political for him and allows SF to make this accusation.

    He merely states the truth and wouldn’t have made this comment, if he had no evidence.

    You need clear evidence in order to receive a search Warrent from a judge.

    With all the organisations even international ones holding Police and Governments to account – do you think he would take such a risk and put his job on the line.?

  • James

    ”use the power created by Ulster Unionist Party pressure and exclude Sinn Fein from any NI Assembly.”

    ”the consequences for Sinn Fein will be dire and grim”

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Sluggiepoos, this utterly predictable crap will eat your brain.

    If you think that a wee romp in the courts of chaos will snatch a couple of neurons back, come to Vegas today. It is snowing here now.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Wonder why they call him Lucky Tohill?

    Because he is still alive?

    Ever wonder why he didn’t give evidence?

  • Davros

    GRA: Orde comments prove nature of McCabe killers and IRA

    07/01/2005 – 16:01:45

    The national executive of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) has said Northern Ireland Chief Constable Hugh Orde’s assertion that the IRA carried out the multi-million euro bank heist in Belfast last month was further proof that the killers of Det Garda Jerry McCabe should not be released under any circumstances.

  • CavanMan

    Roy Beggs has asked the nationalist community to stop voting for Sinn Fein?They only have 2 parties to vote for,SDLP are weak at the moment.They dont have much choice in the matter.The sooner Fianna Fail organise in the north,the better.

  • cg

    Agreed cavan man

  • ulsterman

    Oh happy days. The enemies of Ulster have tripped themselves. No to the enemies of Ulster in government ever must be our watchword.

    As my grandfather always said Papists might not like the crown but by God they love the half crown.

    No compromise, No powersharing,

    No surrender ever,

    God save The Queen.

  • Davros

    Out of interest, How come we have heard so little about this from the senior SF man who is probably most respected in the unionist community,Alex Maskey?

  • cg

    Sinn Féin has loads of different people who can comment on situations but this is not Alex’s brief. That is not in any way saying he couldn’t comment on it.

    Alex will be chuffed when he hears how well respected he is in the unionist community and it shows his work on the Unionist outreach committee is working

  • cg

    Sinn Féin has loads of different people who can comment on situations but this is not Alex’s brief. That is not in any way saying he couldn’t comment on it.

    Alex will be chuffed when he hears how well respected he is in the unionist community and it shows his work on the Unionist outreach committee is working

  • cg

    blasted type-key

  • Henry94

    AndrewD

    do you think he would take such a risk and put his job on the line.?

    He would have put both his job and reputation on the line if he told what I believe to be the truth, that the PSNI know nothing about the robbery and are blaming the IRA to cover up the fact. The next election will, on the nationalist side be a referendum on policing. The SDLP will have to run on Orde’s record and Orde’s pronouncements.

  • CavanMan

    Ulsterman is a pure and unadulterated twat.Yes if the IRA committed this crime,it is a major own goal,even by their standards,Sinn Fein really need to split from the IRA,because any good work they do will always be downtrodden by the meddlings of the IRA.

  • cg

    I can’t wait for May.

  • Davros

    Alex will be chuffed when he hears how well respected he is in the unionist community and it shows his work on the Unionist outreach committee is working

    Assuming he reads your party website he should already know, but I didn’t say he was acually “respected”, just that he has more respect than anybody else – a subtlety that I’m sure a Law student would appreciate! 😉

    hyperlink

  • cg

    I don’t do subtlety 😉

  • Davros

    Whoops

    “He was elected the first republican Mayor of Belfast in 2002 and was widely acclaimed for the inclusive approach he adopted in carrying out his role.”

    But as a a “key party strategist” and a senior member of the negotiating team, I would have thought this robbery would have been part of his brief ?

  • cg

    There are more people than Alex in Sinn Féin and it fell to someone to respond to these unsubstantiated claims and that person happened to be Martin McGuiness, Chief Negotiator

    As I have already pointed out Alex would be more than qualified to respond to these claims.

  • Visioner

    The next election will, on the nationalist side be a referendum on policing.

    Oh, no doubt it will Henry. Once the SF/IRA propaganda machine gets to work.

    However look at it this way – maybe the Constitutional nationalists who voted SF at the last election will go back to voting for the Social DEMOCRATIC and Labour Party (SDLP).

    Alot of people on the Nationalist side would have decided to vote Sinn Fein because they appeared to have turned democratic and to have forgotten their terrorist past – which has been shown not to be the case.

  • Davros

    I don’t do subtlety 😉

    Would you be offended if I said I saw you as SF’s budding John Prescott ? LOL

    And with that I’m off to watch Little Britain!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘Ever wonder why he didn’t give evidence?’

    I know for a fact why he didn’t give evidence, because he stated why. He believes them to be a bigotted, sectarian organisation that he wants no part of. He also believes that the PSNI tried to use him as a political pawn.

    Ditto ever wondered why the PSNI tried to frame him on a trumped up charge?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘The UUP’s Roy Beggs MP wants the nationalist community to stop voting for “a party, which is not committed to exclusively peaceful, lawful and democratic means”.’

    Is there no end to the hypocricy of these despicable cretins. As if nationalists are going to take the advice of a man who helped block the Larne line with loyalists paramilitaries during the Drumcree hate fest. The same man who stood idly by while the UDA in Larne bombed the hell out of his Catholic constituents.

  • Intelligence Insider

    I happen to know that a certain Belfast sinn fein/ira councillor, who some would describe as being more respected than others, was responsible for ordering the death of a friend of mine (a senior RUC officer) only weeks before their first “ceasefire”. Thankfully they failed.

  • cg

    “Would you be offended if I said I saw you as SF’s budding John Prescott ?”

    Deeply offended seing as it isn’t the first time you called me that. Please state your reasons for me being Sinn Féin’s John Prescott

  • Davros

    Deeply offended

    OK, I won’t say say then 🙂

    Please state your reasons for me being Sinn Féin’s John Prescott

    If I HAD said it- see above- It would have been because he too doesn’t do subtlety and has a temper, but his heart’s in the right place…

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Since the nationalist community rely on the IRA as their protectors in the absence of an acceptable policing service (or so we’re told) what are the IRA doing about the pretty nasty kidnapping event that occurred in Poleglass ? Are they losing their grip?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Pat

    Ever wonder why the charges of IRA membership were dropped?

  • David Antsinpants

    You do realise, don’t you, that Alex Maskey was convicted of robbing a bank?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Gonzo,

    I think it was to do with the IRA ceasefire being recognised.

  • alex s

    lets be honest folks, the struggle to get the ‘brits’ out has degenerated into a grubby money making exercise, and everybody knows it!

  • ulsterman

    Who gives a twaddle whether Papists win a handful of sears are not. The maximum seats they can win is six.

    The true election results will be in a Unionist clean up by the DUP.

    The true Ulster Protestant Nation will have come of age.

    Papists cannot be trusted ever in government.

    The IRA/SF scum dealt the final blow to the nonsensical Belfast agreement.

    No United Ireland ever ever ever,

    God Save The Queen.

  • Intelligence Insider

    ulsterman, I know your real name. Anyone on this site can find it by going into previous postings until they find one with your e-mail address on it. If they do so they will find that your name gives the game away and you are actually a nationalist/republican. Your game is up!

  • CavanMan

    would it be better not to just ban the fool?

  • Fraggle

    Intelligence Insider (if that is your real name) is his real name something like Lenny Murphy or Andrew McCann or something like that?

  • Intelligence Insider

    Fraggle, I think if you do a bit of research you would find his name is more likely to be “something like” Gerry Adams or Alex Maskey.

  • cg

    I must admit I always thought Ulsterman was a nationalist/republican trying to make unionism look thick. I always questioned why he even bothered.

  • ShayPaul

    Intelligence insider

    Why not provide us with the thread and post in question, just to underline the pertinence of your own monicker.

    Of course we are sure you have investigated this correctly and aren’t being deceived by the e-mail he has registered with, which proves exactly the opposite of the previous paragraph,

    :o)

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    I welcome Ulsterman for his cutting, incisive analysis of the current politcal scene.
    I even stand to attention now after reading God save the Queen.