How equality concessions undermined law enforcement

If, as Danny Morrison argues, the party is still long war mode, Jim Cusick believes that neutering the detective powers of the police service has been one of the key political objectives of Sinn Fein.

He aruges that policing reforms, which have been key to Sinn Fein’s objections to concluding a definative deal, were what made the Northern Bank robbery possible:

The Sinn Fein-led campaign against this so-called collusion received masses of media exposure, creating a situation where intelligence-gathering became synonymous in many people’s minds with complicity in loyalist murder and terrorism. But intelligence-driven undercover policing is the most effective tool any police force has in combating organised crime.

Almost unbelieveably, he alleges:

This situation was virtually achieved about five months ago, when a direction was apparently given that the PSNI could no longer use informants with criminal records. This effectively meant the IRA had carte blanche to set up the operation to carry out the biggest bank heist in history.

He also alleges that equality concessions have de facto led to:

The ability to place moles in key positions, which was seen in the operation of the IRA spy ring at Stormont and the St Patrick’s Day break-in at the Special Branch headquarters in 2000, arose from the introduction of “equality” laws which forbade the PSNI from carrying out security vetting on people applying for sensitive jobs. Previously, prospective employees were checked to ensure they had no links with terrorist groups.

From the IRA’s point of view, these were the two key concessions – supported by the Irish Government and agreed by the British – in the deal to underwrite the 1997 IRA ceasefire. A further unwritten concession was that the IRA could continue in existence and become involved in organised crime, so long as it did not murder police or soldiers or carry on its bombing campaign.

He argues that the concessions were another case of talking at cross purposes that has characterised much of the polemic since 1998:

The concessions granted by both governments were based on the belief that Sinn Fein and the IRA were intent on pursuing a purely democratic agenda, and that the IRA would somehow agree to disband. This “historic” prospect was trumpeted loudly in the run-up to the talks that finally collapsed in Belfast shortly before last Christmas.

  • Travis

    I agree with Jimbo. Those peskey Fenians are a security risk and shouldn’t be let anywhere near the palaces of the mighty. They are dangerous subversives one and all, and you would never have had bank robberies or crime or sultry lady terrorists tempting Ulster’s finest into the sack to get the gen on security procedures at our top military bases back in the good old days.

    Back when the RUC was the RUC, the Unionists (who could be trusted with security documents and what not) ruled the roost, and everything was right with the world.

    If you wondered where he got this from or what is agenda is – the phrase ‘so-called collusion’ should, paradoxically, clear things up.

    One of the bitterest, most fantastical, and feverish pieces of hysterical paranoiac I’ve ever read in any newspaper ever about Northern Ireland.

    And that really is saying something. Maybe Jim should go and lie down in a darkened room somewhere…

  • Davros

    Travis, sadly there were incidents in the past where insider information DID lead to deaths. Part-time UDR and part-time Police reserve details were passed on from the civil service, and one RC civil servant was jailed for passing on info that led to the IRA murder of an (RC) Judge.

  • Mick Fealty

    Which judge was that Davros?

  • Davros

    One of the important steps that led to Hitler completing his destruction of the Weimar republic was getting Himmler appointed as head of the Munich Police, then Bavaria and eventually all of Germany.

  • Donnie

    How many people were convicted from ‘Stormontgate’ and Castlereagh?

  • Travis

    Answer: none.

  • PS

    Stop it Donnie!

    You know you’re not supposed to ask that question!