The turning of the tides?

The most extraordinary thing about this robbery is the speed with which the IRA seems to have been comprehensively landed with the public blame for it particularly when the jury remains out for many outsiders over Castlereagh (some believing it was an inside job), Colombia and Stormontgate. Perhaps, evidence will emerge that exonerates that organisation, but given the areas in which the operation took place, it was effectively on the IRA’s watch.

For now, it looks to have been an enormous own goal that barely serves any of the party’s longterm objectives. Although individual members of the party believe Orde was out of order in making his accusations without evidence or arrests, there is also disblief that the IRA could have put the party in such a difficult position vis a vis the peace process.

It certainly leaves the party’s leadership severely wanting in terms of its long term credibility. It’s been opened to ridicule from opponents. And perhaps most damagingly, it has created an impression (rightly or wrongly) of the IRA having the ultimate authority over Sinn Fein’s own elected representatives.

In the week to come there will be speculation as to what this means for the peace process: will the party be forced out of the process; what price might they be forced to pay to stay in; and what are the implications for future reform of policing?

We’ll do our best to keep you in touch with the latest comment from across the board!

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    There’s only one thing for it, and that’s for Sinn Fein to abandon the IRA and sever it’s ties completely. Whether the IRA committed this or not, it’s clear that the link is quickly becoming a millstone around their necks.

    Strategically it seems like an obvious move. It would cut out at a stroke ramifications from events like this, and completely disarm the unionists of all of the arguments they have used in the past and present to stay out of talks with them.

    The question is how would unionists respond ?

  • peteb

    “Some believing it was an inside job”, Mick?

    In this case that some happens to be the self-declared “Socialist Democracy” organisation – “Socialist Democracy is a Marxist organisation standing in the tradition of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky and Connolly. We believe that the poverty and misery, the oppression and exploitation that marks our society is the result of control of the world’s wealth and productive resources by a tiny class that exploits the vast majority of society.”

    Sheesh… Sounds like a reputable source to me, Mick! 😉

  • Mark McGregor

    Pete,

    It is a belief that has quite widespread credence, a few Slugger regulars hint at agreeing (non-Republican), some mainstream journos even do a raised eyebrow when it is raised. (Castlereagh)

    The problem with dirty tricks as suggested is if they happen they give a legitimate get out clause when evidence is not presented.

    The only difference between this and Castlereagh at present is time.

    The political outing of the previous ‘security source’ will eventually lead to questions on allegation without substantiation.

    Now of course it would be unsupportable at this early point to suggest Hugh Orde may be getting his intelligence from a politically motivated DUP supporter. The proof of that only occurred last time long after the crisis when the ‘source’ was sacked for being unprofessional and politically motivated.

  • peteb

    “Unsupportable” but you’ll do it anyway, Mark. 😉

    and I was merely pointing out the source of that particular article BTW.

  • James

    Yeah, a real tide change alrighty.
    Direct rule for the time to come, just like last year. Nothing has been resolved and nothing will be resolved until you figure out which of the four worlds you are living in.

    ONE
    Sinn Fein knew that the IRA was going to do the job.
    All the approbation in the world will not phase them as it is obvious that you do not have the slightest clue of what their game is. This also implies that they have found that they don’t have to grind up a truck full of fertilizer to screw up the economy. Should all this be true, I wouldn’t discount a major counterfeiting operation in your future as well. (Can they bleach those new notes to get the banknote paper?)
    Better find one hell ova bigger stick than the Queen has used in the last thirty years; one that doesn’t make them stronger than they were.

    TWO
    Sinn Fein did not know that the IRA was going to do the job.
    WHY GIVE SINN FEIN THE TIME OF DAY, SINCE IT IS OBVIOUS THEY ARE OUT OF THE LOOP?
    You still need the bigger stick.

    THREE
    The IRA is not a monolith but has fractured into crews with no allegiance to each other nor to Sinn Fein now that the war is over. Maybe some crews are out for lease. The Shinners are still out of the loop here and I’d get ready for some killer feuds. You’ll still need the bigger stick, but more than one.

    FOUR
    It’s all smoke and mirrors.
    You’re really screwed here.
    It would help, though, if the cops could prove that they aren’t dancing on the strings manipulated by the politicians in your wee archipelago. Convictions would nail the coffin lid this notion; don’t let it simmer and fester like the Castlerea and Stormont jobs. We managed to put the mob, Jimmy Hoffa, LaRouche and even Jim Bakker and Martha Stewart in the slammer, some with even Hoover’s myopic FBI. It took you long enough to adopt our technique on criminal assets so why not buy the whole cow and use RICO? So get to it.

  • spirit-level

    I agree with Roger
    The IRA are a spent force, in the old days there was something romantic about them that appealed to everything honourable and unselfish in man.
    Now they are a burden and the elements within them that cannot change/adapt have no place in the modern world.. sounds like I’m talking about unionism, and in a way theirs is the same problem.Crminality has flourished because there’s been no government in the north.We have to sideline these idiots, and the way for sinnfein to to abandon the IRA. And the way for Unionism is to stop obstructing and sit down and talk.
    See if the unionists wanted to they could address the problems sinnfein are having with their past links to the IRA, but they are making the equal and opposite error by not aiding sinnfein. Like they want SF to fail so they can blame them.
    Both sides need to get real and deliver for the people of Northern Ireland.

  • Henry94

    Mick

    there is also disblief that the IRA could have put the party in such a difficult position vis a vis the peace process.

    I don’t see any evidence of that in republican circles. I would describe the mood as relaxed. There is an election to be fought in May and we will see then what the nationalist people think of the Attwood/Orde, guilt by accusation approach.

    After May exclusion will not even be theoretically possible. The deal that was so close before Christmas will be fine tuned, Hugh Orde will be sent packing and the institutions will be restored.

  • Davros

    Henry- I’ve been wrestling with the difference between Unionism and Loyalism. How do you see the difference between Nationalism and Republicanism ?
    What do you mean when you write of “the nationalist people ” ? Catholics ? SF is both a nationalist party and Republican. Do you regard all Nationalists as latent Republicans ? Is there room for non-socialist nationalists within SF ?

  • Henry94

    Davros

    I’ll have a go for the sake of argument to draw a distinction from my own subjective point of view. We are talking in an Irish context.

    Nationalists are people who want Ireland to be independent. Republicans are people who believe Ireland was established as an independent state in 1916, ratified in 1918 and see their political objective as freeing all of that republic from British rule.

    The nationalist people are people who consider themselves nationalist. Their religion is their own business.

    Do you regard all Nationalists as latent Republicans?

    I like to think most people are open minded.

    Is there room for non-socialist nationalists within SF ?

    Yes. I’m not a socialist. I don’t think socialist policies could survive contact with actual political power in the modern world. I think a party which wants to represent the interests of the working class should recognise that those interests can often be best served by a market system. But also that they often can’t and that the state has to actively intervene in some cases to meet defined equality based objectives.

    But that doesn’t mean the state has to run the busses or the (ahem) banks.

  • cg

    Davros
    Nationalism is changing.

    Nationalism doesn’t necessarily mean catholic.

    Sinn Féin is a party supported by both nationalists and republicans. Most nationalists are “Republican” (i.e. wish to see a united republic). Republican is used instead of nationalist to show a range of emotions and beliefs.

    There is room for many people in Sinn Féin however Sinn Féin is a socialist party and people must respect and adhere to party policy.

  • mickhall

    Henry,

    Henry,

    Im a bit confused here, are you saying that SF is not a socialist party, it simply has a political programme part of which, due to the necessity of being pragmatic when holding office it has no intention of implementing if it gains power. If so then when the SF ministers of health and education implemented PPF it was not an aberration but part of SF pragmatic politics.

  • Davros

    Thanks Henry and cg. These are terms we often use and they can be remarkably difficult to pin down.

    The reason I specifically asked about “nationalist people” was because ‘people’ hints- in sort of thinking in my course- at an ethnic or religious grouping, but I know that a lot of people don’t use language according to the patterns I tend to interpret or ‘see’. No slight intended.

    cg- you wrote “Sinn Féin is a party supported by both nationalists and republicans.” I would have thought that all Irish republicans are nationalist or at any rate all members of SF are both nationalist and republican ?

  • Henry94

    mickhall

    Im a bit confused here, are you saying that SF is not a socialist party

    You are a bit confused. I said I was not a socialist. I vote for but don’t speak for Sinn Fein in any way. Its policies are clearly socialist.

    I don’t think those policies are realistic and as long as it advocates them it could only ever be a minority party in the south.

    Goodnight all.

  • Davros

    Night Henry. Blowing up one heck of a storm here in Souf Derry!

  • cg

    I am only speaking personally

    The reason why I said nationalist and Republican is that nationalist is not usually something I would call myself, even In the Irish sense, due to the perverted concept of a (capitalist) nation state.

    For me nationalist is an acceptance of that state. I wish to see a new type of state but until then I feel Republican represents me much better.

    It’s probably neither here or there but 😉

    I accept that the term nationalist or republican (Irish sense) do describe an ethnic background, an Irish background.

  • cg

    Davros
    Must also add that I don’t think the Irish background/nationality is made up of just nationalists and republicans 🙂

  • Davros

    I was wondering how to phrase asking you about that LOL.Then got lost in music.

  • cg

    Worded the original post wrongly and that’s why I had to add that last post, Tired, it’s not my fault I can no longer feel my fingers.

  • Davros

    Studying does that to me as well 🙂 The sister’s a gibbering wreck! I’m going to retreat into the Ferriter book – into the last 60 pages, the modern era. It’s been an excellent read. After that a couple of leisure books – fiunally got my hands on a copy of Seamus Deane’s “Reading In The Dark” and Tom Murphy’s “A Whistle in the Dark” and the similarity of the titles appeal to me.

  • cg

    When I get Adverse Possession finished I intend to go to bed re-reading “Harry Potter: Order of the phoenix”

    Don’t laugh I am absolutely hooked on the books as are a lot of law students I know, there must be a correlation.

  • Davros

    Ahhh…it’s obvious! They are morality tales.
    When I was doing my A levels I devoured the Lord of the Rings 🙂 God Knows what that says about me.

    p.s. have you bought Harry Potter agus an Orchloch ?

  • Davros

    pps- try the Duncton Wood Series!

  • cg

    There is nothing wrong with Lord of the Rings, I am a huge fan.

    “p.s. have you bought Harry Potter agus an Orchloch”

    Not yet 😉

    “pps- try the Duncton Wood Series!”

    I heard it’s very dark.

  • Davros

    I like dark LOL Beat Poets, Bukowski, Burroughs Naked Lunch and all that.

  • cg

    If you like the dark side you are defiantly a republican deep down LOL 😉

  • cg

    “They are morality tales”

    That probably explains my fascination with He-man as a child.

  • Davros

    I am 🙂 I want a European Socialist Republic.
    And I suspect there’s a bowler hat lurking deep in your soul – it’s the next step after suits you know !;)

  • cg

    I think I would look quite good in a bowler but its the walking that would really piss me off 😉

    BTW I don’t even own a suit.

  • Davros

    Well, goodnight and God bless.

  • cg

    oiche mhaith

  • James

    “I like dark LOL Beat Poets, Bukowski, Burroughs Naked Lunch and all that”

    it’s time for all wee gargoyles to trip off into slumberland, even the wee twisted gargoyles. Don’t let the mugwumps bite.

    I’ll see if I can score that bottle and a broad.

  • toronto

    Henry, do you think Ireland under “market capitalism” can actually have a meaningful sort of independence?

  • Henry94

    toronto

    Maybe not in the sense that a young De Valera or Enver Hoxha would have understood it. But is there any serious alternative to the market based system available?

    The south tried various forms of state control and people were leaving in their droves. Having embraced the market system people are flocking in.

    I support state intervention where it has a clear purpose and a good case. The smoking ban for example was a blatant interference in the free market because people wanted smoke free bars and the market failed to provide them.

    I also believe in state appointed but independent regulators to ensure competition in areas that tend towards monopoly or cartel situations.

    The market is a force which we can harness on a pragmatic basis in the national interest. But we need a first-class political system to do it well.

    Dail Eireann is not it. Neither is the Assembly. We should put aside our old arguments and build an all-Ireland system that delivers progress for Ireland which is a natural political and economic unit.

  • ulsterman

    Happy Days are here again.Oh what a victory. A leopard never changes its spots.Listening to the news this morning I heard some SF scumbag rattle on about the integrity of MCGuimmess and Adams.

    What integrity. The two of them are mass murderers.

    No to SF,

    No to powersharing,

    We won,

    God Save The Queen.

  • J Kelly

    Uksterman
    Without commenting on your rantings I have a question for you What have you won?

    Listening to Blair and Ahern both of them blame the IRA for the Northern Bank, and without producing any evidence I must add, but both still insist that the peace peocess must survive and what does this mean SF in government. So who win?

  • Davros

    “The smoking ban for example was a blatant interference in the free market because people wanted smoke free bars and the market failed to provide them.”

    It could be argued that the State imposed a majoritarian decision- not all people wanted all bars to be smoke free – so the pendulum swung from No smoke free bars for a majority to No smoker bars for a minority. Minorities should have rights as well!

  • Henry94

    Davros

    Minorities should have rights as well!

    But not the right to pollute the air for people who work in pubs and resturants.

    The rights of workers overrules the rights of smokers.

  • Davros

    What about the rights of workers who smoke ?
    In my local the owner and the 3 bar staff all smoke….

  • Henry94

    Davros

    Thta doesn’t mean a non-smoker will neve rwork there. One of them might stop smoking.

  • Henry94

    Davros

    I mean..

    That doesn’t mean a non-smoker will never work there. One of them might stop smoking.

  • Davros

    Minority rights are every bit as important as majority rights Henry, that’s a lesson we should all have learned by now!

    Has anybody challenged the smoking ban via the constitution ? They ain’t cherishing all the children of the nation equally as smokers face discrimination!

  • Davros

    One of them might stop smoking.

    If someone working in an abbatoir becomes a vegan, does that mean all the other workers have to lose their jobs ?

    It’s a lovely day for the meoment, I just saw my first new-born Lamb of the year- a dorset no less, while out with the dog for our walk, so I’m in a good mood.

  • Henry94

    Davros

    If someone working in an abbatoir becomes a vegan, does that mean all the other workers have to lose their jobs ?

    A vegan could work in an abbatoir with meat eaters without suffering any ill-effects from passive meat eating.

    Minority rights are every bit as important as majority rights

    But declaring something a right does not make it one. There is no right to harm others by smoking. You do accept that smoking is harmful don’t you?

  • Davros

    You do accept that smoking is harmful don’t you?

    I’m not convinced about passive smoking Henry.

  • Davros

    A vegan could work in an abbatoir with meat eaters without suffering any ill-effects from passive meat eating.

    But would suffer tremendous psychological stress, which is damaging, by the ongoing killing of animals.

  • Henry94

    Davros

    I would assume that any vegan applying for a job in an abattoir would have come to terms with what the work involved. Like a Free Presbyterian looking for a job as a lap dancer.

    But the job of serving tables and pulling pints does not have to involve passive smoking.

  • Davros

    I would assume that any vegan applying for a job in an abattoir

    Not really relevent Henry. We are discussing what happens when someone, a smoker, happily working in a smoking bar stops smoking, rather than a non-smoker applying for a job.

  • Fraggle

    Davros, you’re onto a loser with this minority rights for smokers.

    The passive meat-eating effectively ruins your abbatoir analogy.

    At your local pub, maybe the smoking that goes on discriminates against potential job applicants who are non-smoking.

    Ragarding passive smoking, there is a lack of firm evidence for serious harmful effects at present. One reason is the difficulty in finding comparison cohorts. It is very difficult to find two groups of people whose only difference is the level of passive smoke they are exposed to. The introduction of smoking bans in certain countries may well provide the data which is needed.

    I noted today that the Italian smoking ban has been introduced with the first fines already handed out.

  • Davros

    Davros, you’re onto a loser

    It’s not for the first time and it won’t be for the last time Fraggle 😉 But It would be churlish, and no fun, to only debate sure-fire winners.

  • Fraggle

    lol

  • willowfield

    cg

    … Sinn Féin is a socialist party …

    Henry94

    I vote for but don’t speak for Sinn Fein in any way. Its policies are clearly socialist.

    LOL! PSF is not a socialist party. It’s a bourgeois ethnic nationalist party that wants to transfer NI from one capitalist state to another.

  • Henry94

    Davros

    i But It would be churlish, and no fun, to only i debate sure-fire winners.

    You should, occasionally, treat yourself.

    We are discussing what happens when someone, a smoker, happily working in a smoking bar stops smoking, rather than a non-smoker applying for a job.

    Do you think ex-smokers have less rights than those who never smoked? Why? I would consider us more admirable.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Has anyone heard if the overstaffed and overpaid PSNI are any closer to providing an iota of evidence regarding this case. It is coming up to 4 weeks since the heist and these people in Cpl Jones fashion are running around shouting don’t panic.
    If Orde, Kincaid etc had any self esteem they’d resign.

  • Davros

    Do you think ex-smokers have less rights than those who never smoked? Why? I would consider us more admirable.

    Different issue Henry. The hypothetical person giving up smoking is happily working in a bar where the rest of the staff and the OIwner and customers smoke. You say the whole place should be closed down because one member of staff quits smoking ? I say that person should find a job elsewhere, just as the hypothetical abbatoir employee who becomes a vegan should find a new job rather than expect all the others to suffer.

  • Fraggle

    evidence seems to be on it’s way with suspicious activity in Portadown or Craigavon or somewhere like that. wherever those awful sounding places are.

    Davors, your analogy is rubbish. You are not comparing like with like. The smoke ban in the bar is in place (in Ireland at least) to protect the health of employees. That all present employees smoke is immaterial. It may even be the case that the employees began smoking as a result of inhaling the dangerously addictive cigarette fumes. A smoky workplace discriminates against non-smokers. Non-smokers will always prefer fresh, smoke-free air. A smoker will inhale smoky air out of choice but, I’d imagine, be able to tolerate smoke-free air some of the time.

    As for the vegan working in an abbatoir, the worker is not being forced to eat meat. Tee-totalers run pubs etc. The psychological stress aspect is something that can affect all workers in such environments and not just those who will eat the end product. Mind you, I wouldn’t rule out some workers claiming post-traumatic stress in the future, such is the present direction of society.

  • cg

    I have to agree with Davros on the smoking ban.

    As a smoker and a barman who works in the 26 counties I have to work within the confines of this law.

    In the hotel I work in the majority of the staff are smokers who have rights as well.

    The smoking ban isn’t being followed as much as the Irish government would have you believe.

  • Davros

    Fraggle, the analogy is fne in response to Henry’s argument which you may not have been following.

    We were discussing my local where ALL the staff smoke – he raised the question of one of the staff quitting smoking. It’s that – the change in circumstance, that I am addressing, not the wider issue, with the vegan/abbatoir.

    I’m arguing for choice. If a bar such as my local chooses to allow customers to smoke then patrons have the choice to leave. Premises should be allowed to decide what is on offer and let Joe public vote with their feet. Why are the anti-smoking zealots afraid of that ? IF the legislators feel strongly, fine, BAN TOBACCO and there won’t be any need for all this. But as it’s legal and the government is happy to take vast amounts of Tax from smokers, I think we smokers should have some rights.

  • Fraggle

    is tobacco your logical Achilles heal I wonder Davros? you would be even more incensed (pardon the pun) if smoking was banned. it would be rather cruel to ban tobacco outright with so many addicted. you and others would be propelled against your will into a life of crime. the workplace ban is, in my humble opinion, an entirely sensible compromise between a person’s right to smoke and a person’s right to a healthy workplace. I firmly expect the ban and subsequent drop in tobacco sales to have a positive effect on the health of the nation.

  • cg

    Fraggle is that drop in legal cigarettes or cigarettes in general 😉

  • Davros

    Actually, I would support making it illegal as that would make it easy for me to quit Fraggle.

    p.s.- any benefit from decreasing consumption for smokers out on the beer will be offset by the different method of smoking they use when popping out. Then one inhales more deeply and more rapidly before heading back inside. That nullifies to a great extent the decrease in numbers consumed. Same thing was found to an extent with smokers switching to low tar fegs. They inhale more deeply to get the hit.

  • PS

    Smokers have their right of freedom to smoke

    Non smokers have their right to freedom from cancerous smoke been blown in their faces while socialising.

    When any two rights conflict, they must be taken on their merits and balanced appropriately.

    Smokers do the balancing outside the door, please.

  • Henry94

    Davros

    The only reason not to ban smoking is to avoid the creation of a black market. On every other ground it would be as right to ban smoking as it was to ban asbestos as a building material. Choice is not an issue. Smokers are hooked on the addictive drug nicotine. It is a serious public health problem and it is a legitimate policy objective to discourage smoking in every workable way.

    Polls in the south show that most smokers support the ban because it will help them fight their addiction.

  • Fraggle

    you have the balance just right there PS.

    “Fraggle is that drop in legal cigarettes or cigarettes in general ;)”

    I’m tempted to comment that, as a member of Sinn Fein, you’d know more about that than me but, out of politeness, I’ll not. :p Seriously though, there was a 17% drop in (legal) tobacco sales following the ban. There was no huge hike in tobacco taxation during this period or other event which would have encouraged smokers to resort to illegal sources (if you discount that truck in Dublin). It follows that the smoking ban was responsible for at least some of the reduction in tobacco sales.

    Davros, your position is somewhat dubious. A smoking ban in pubs would still help you quit as the temptation to light up ought to be reduced due too the lack of people smoking around you. This is one of the main reasons I support the ban (I’m the sort of person who can go months without thinking about a cigarette but will crave one when drinking with smokers (smoking smokers that is, not smokers who are not smoking at that moment in time)) although as someone who occasionally masquerades as a health care professional, I have a public health interest too.

  • Davros

    Non smokers have their right to freedom from cancerous smoke been blown in their faces while socialising.

    They would still have that right Paddy. Nobody would be forcing them into Pubs with a sign on the door stating that Smoking is Permitted. What is wrong with pubs having the option to designate themselves as smoking and no smoking ?

    The only reason not to ban smoking is to avoid the creation of a black market.

    That argument doesn’t work Fraggle. When new drugs come along they are added to the list of proscribed substances, and it was only in the twentieth century that drugs like Opium were made illegal.

  • Fraggle

    “The only reason not to ban smoking is to avoid the creation of a black market.”

    it is one reason but not the ONLY reason.

  • cg

    “I’m tempted to comment that, as a member of Sinn Fein, you’d know more about that than me but, out of politeness, I’ll not. :p”

    I don’t know what you are inferring by this statement Fraggle 😉

  • Davros

    Here’s a thought – if this legislation is based on an assumption that has not/cannot be proven, that passive smoking seriously damages health, then could the legislation be challenged ?

  • cg

    It could Davros but Public policy considerations suggest it would be defeated.

    You labour under the false impression that the judiciary apply the law when in fact they merely give the own view, beholden to their values, and find some obscure element of law that will support that view.

  • Davros

    Have you read Colm Tóibín’s book, “The Heather Blazing” cg ?

    In a foul mood now, have 3 seperate interpretations for the essay question. Bloody arts. So vague.

  • cg

    “Have you read Colm Tóibín’s book, “The Heather Blazing” cg ?”

    No what’s it like.

    “In a foul mood now, have 3 seperate interpretations for the essay question. Bloody arts. So vague.”

    You are in a foul mood, I have a land law exam on Wednesday and I am F****d. Each year around 100 of the 300 students fail and I am near an emotional breakdown. On top of that I have a criminal law exam on Saturday morning which I haven’t even started revising for yet.

    The fellow who wrote my exam timetable is a reprehensible… Well you know 😉

  • Davros

    It’s awesome. High Court Judge, Eamon Redmond (nice touch the melding of the two strands into one name) dealing with personal and constitutional issues.

    Relax. Stress kills brain cells. I hope Locozade doesn’t.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    well cg, someone could always get “the lads” to come around and “advise” the QUB examiners in a completely transparent way which does not violate or interfere with the progress of the peace process.

  • cg

    Davros

    Book sound’s good but I could never respect a judge and defiantly not a judge by the name of Redmond 🙂

    I have finished the lucozade and started onto a concoction of coffee, ice cream and coke (coca cola), all in a blender. Now that doesn’t kill brain cells but until the exams are over the whiskey will have to wait.

    Roger W. Christ XVII
    LOL Ha Ha
    Do you know roger you are like “Miller?”
    You never miss a genuine opportunity 😉

  • Neal

    Davros

    The evidence that passive smoking is harmful is accumulating. As Fraggle pointed out there are some methodological issues but several studies have been published in the last couple of years linking it to poor cognitive development in children, coronary heart disease, and mortality, AFAIK. I have a few of the PDFs, email me if you’re interested.