The credibility question

In the Belfast Telegraph, Chris Thornton reminds us why many are sceptical of Sinn Féin’s denials, by way of this quote from Gerry Adams, – “‘The IRA has denied any involvement and I accept that’.. Crimes like this, he added, ‘can play no part in the republican struggle..’” Not the Sinn Féin president’s reaction to the Northern Bank robbery, but a quote from, as Thornton puts it, “June 1996, after a gang of IRA men killed Garda Jerry McCabe while robbing a post office van in Adare, Co Limerick.”

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Somehow I can’t see The Belfast Telegraph getting around to giving us a list of RUC/PSNI lies that have rendered anything that particular organisation has to say worthless.

  • Davros

    Fair comment Pat, but doesn’t address the point made that Adams and Co said much the same in the past.

  • Henry94

    Davros

    You don’t have to believe the Sinn Fein statements to place the burden of proof on the PSNI in relation to their statements.

    Tony Blairs WMD claims undermine him (ask Gordon Brown). Bertie Aherns’s relationship with Haughey Burke and O’Flynn undermine him.

    Let’s be skeptical about all claims until they are backed up.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Absolutely correct Davros, but the lies from Orde are a bit more contemporary.

  • alex s

    Does anyone really believe it wasn’t the Provos?

  • Will

    Henry
    Exactly what proof will you believe? Do you believe that the Provos were importing guns from Florida? After all, an American court found them guilty.

    No doubt you are one of those people who believes Gerry when he tells us that he was never in the IRA though. Gullability is just something no-one can legislate for.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    At least Thornton brings up the case of Larry the Chef. The police lied some time ago that they had such a comprehensive case against him that they were seeking his extradition. Years later, diddley squat.
    Added to that the lies told around a number of court case recently and we can see why the majority of nationalists view these people with considerable suspicion.

  • Henry94

    Will

    Do you believe that the Provos were importing guns from Florida? After all, an American court found them guilty.

    From what I remember of the case they were doing exactly that and I am totally opposed to that. But if the process had stopped then like unionists appeared to want we would never have had the three acts of decommissioning that followed. The process is a long and winding one but I think we should stick with it. What do you think?

    No doubt you are one of those people who believes Gerry when he tells us that he was never in the IRA though.

    The claim has been made and he has denied it. If someone wants to prove their claim let them do so. Like most nationalists I’m not one bit interested in speculation as to who was in the IRA and who wasn’t. It’s an obsession of unionists and the media. I couldn’t care less.

  • The Devil

    The glaring fact remains that almost every Nationalist with the exception of a few Sinn Fein muppets believe 100% it was the Provos

  • mickhall

    I think people are missing the point, it is not the job of the north’s most senior police office to go on TV and say who he ‘thinks’ robbed the bank. His job is to oversee his officers going about their work collecting evidence etc. Until such time as they are able to make arrests. Even then when people have been arrested and are waiting to go to trial he still has no role to play as far as the media is concerned. It is only after someone is convicted for this crime, should he then appear in the media to praise his officers who brought about the culprits conviction.

    To do anything else is simply muddying the waters and to put it bluntly is an absolute disgrace and if any other head of a British police force had done something similar, I have no doubt there would have been demands for his resignation, and in all probability from at least some members of his police committee. If politicians wish to make claims about who raided the bank, well that is the nature of the beast. That few, if any people from the unionist community have outrightly condemned Orde’s behaviour, just shows how deep northern Irish society is split and how few people seem to place civil rights above political advantage.
    And before anyone suggest I am saying this as I support the PRM they would be wrong, as I would have said the same if Hugh Orde had blamed the UDA.

    It matters not one jot, if true, that the majority of nationalist believe PIRA carried out this robbery, at the time of the conviction of the Birmingham six, %99 of the English population were certain of their guilt and %100 of the members of the UK’s police forces.
    I would finally add like almost everyone who did not participate in this bank raid, I have no idea who carried it out.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    I would have said the same if Hugh Orde had blamed the UDA.

    That’s the trouble Mick – republicans haven’t. On a few occasions in the past, particularly when the loyalists were in the middle of their pipe bombing spree, Orde and his predecessor Flanagan directly named the paramilitaries they believed to be responsible (usually the UDA). It has been the way of things since the 1997 IRA ceasefire and the activities of “Direct Action Against Drugs”. Republicans are only now questioning this policy because they are in the frame.

  • willowfield

    mick

    Who says it’s not the chief constable’s job to say he thinks a particular criminal organisation is responsible and investigations are following those lines? There are plenty of precedents for it in NI, and I’m quite sure it’s happened elsewhere.

    The Policing Board wanted him to make a statement, and he is due to go before the Board soon. Should he stonewall at the Board if members ask him?

    You seem to be getting confused between the naming of individuals and the naming of illegal organisations. It obviously would be quite wrong to accuse an individual of a crime before he had been charged or tried. But an illegal organisation is not a legal entity. There is no legal or ethical reason for him not to say which organisations, if any, the police are investigating.

  • maca

    A couple of arrests have been made after the cops found a bundle of bank notes…not confirmed yet if the notes found were from the ‘heist’.

  • Davros

    Are Gerry and Martin being punished like poor Nicholas in Saki’s wonderful short story The Lumber Room?

    This peace process reads like a Saki story….

  • Henry94

    The arrests were made in Craigavon and there are reports of people trying to pass notes in Portadown.

    I assume we’re agreed that if it turns out to be loyalists who did the bank then Orde is gone.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Henry you have to have integrity to resign. There were a number of attempted frame ups in the courts recently using PSNI agent provocateurs. The cases were dismissed and people walked free. This despite the fact that Orde had given interviews at the time stating they had dealt a massive blow to ‘dissidents’.
    No one had the decency to resign then. Why expect anything different if they are caught lying again?

  • Davros

    The arrests were made in Craigavon and there are reports of people trying to pass notes in Portadown.

    Why the implication that this would imply loyalists were involved in the robbery ? And going on previous collaborative ventures even IF loyalists were found fencing money , it wouldn’t rule out that republicans did the actual robbery.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Oh dear, another dead end for the hapless PSNI. They’ve just announced the money siezed has nothing to do with the Northern.

    Not even a chance for unionists to build up a head of steam on this one.

  • Davros

    Was announced a couple of hours ago Pat 🙂

  • fair_deal

    In the past 18 months the Republican movement have played their hand extremely badly;
    hanging David Trimble out to dry;
    playing their strongest hand card – full decommissioning/disbandment and getting nothing more than they were promised in 2003;
    failing to grasp the new dynamics in the process following a DUP victory;
    misjudging the DUP’s ability to withstand the pressure of the two governments (e.g. Leeds Castle talks);
    the Columbia debacle coming back to haunt them;
    generally getting the blame for no deal in december 2004;
    and finally, but by no means least, the Northern Bank robbery (plus the others e.g. Gallaghers hijackings, Makro etc).

    This mismanagement of the peace process by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness is comparable with the mistakes Yasser Arafat made.

  • IJP

    fair_deal

    I’ll leave others to debate this, but your suggestion appears to be basically that SF misread Unionists. A pretty significant error!

    I’m inclined to agree.

  • mickhall

    Willowfield,
    By naming the provisionals, Orde has done just what you said should not happen, as everyone is well aware if they committed this raid, it would have been authorised from the top. Thus by naming the Provos Orde all but named the individuals he believes are responsible.

    Fair deal,

    Im not really sure what mistakes you are talking about as far as Arafat is concerned, are you really saying he should have abandoned the Palestinian Diaspora for a will of a wisp statelet, that did not even cover the whole of the geographic area the Israelis occupied in 1967; and which is still regarded by the overwhelming majority of the worlds nations as an illegal occupation. Some people may be willing to blot their biography for another meal in the White house and a ministerial car, Arafat thought otherwise, I suppose only history will tell who was correct.
    To put it simply what you seem to be saying is, if someone comes into your home, occupies it by force, chases you and your family away. Then decades latter as things have become a little difficult in the neighbourhood, he offers you the right to return home, less your family, bar your old mum, as long as you give up all legal claim to the whole property, grant him the right to live in the house whilst you get the garden shed.

    Now if the old man had agreed to that he would have made a bloody mistake.

  • abucs

    What this robbery has shown is that it seems there are quite a few outstanding issues regarding Nationalists acceptance of state politics and especially state law and order.

    1. Many nationalists do not have confidence in
    their police force’s impartiality.

    2. Many nationalists believe that with any
    possible wrong-doing both the DUP / UUP really
    want it to be Republicans who are
    responsible, so they can be excluded
    politically.

    3. Many nationalists don’t care even if the
    Provos were involved, and would still vote for
    Sinn Fein.

    All of these make Northern Ireland politically unstable. I would think that for those who want a politically stable Northen Ireland, these issues should be resolved sooner rather than later.

  • maca

    Abucs
    The robbery has shown these things?
    I’d say 1 & 2 are the case anyway, robbery or no robbery. 3 I can’t comment on.

    “I would think that for those who want a politically stable Northen Ireland, these issues should be resolved sooner rather than later.”

    Solving these issues won’t make a politically stable NI. Far from it.

  • willowfield

    mickhall

    By naming the provisionals, Orde has done just what you said should not happen, as everyone is well aware if they committed this raid, it would have been authorised from the top. Thus by naming the Provos Orde all but named the individuals he believes are responsible.

    That is factually incorrect. Everyone cannot be aware that the raid would have been authorised from the top. I am not aware of that, hence everyone cannot be.

    Naming the Provisionals does not name any individuals.

  • barney

    “That is factually incorrect. Everyone cannot be aware that the raid would have been authorised from the top. I am not aware of that, hence everyone cannot be.”

    Clearly not everyone believes Bertie when he says the RM leadership new about the job beforehand.

  • willowfield

    What’s the “RM leadership”?

  • Alan2

    “I think people are missing the point, it is not the job of the north’s most senior police office to go on TV and say who he ‘thinks’ robbed the bank.”

    Actually it is. He was repeating what he said to the Policing Board who are there to hold the police to account and is part of the Good Friday Agreement.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    In the past 18 months the Republican movement have played their hand extremely badly;
    hanging David Trimble out to dry;

    The logic of this is so wrong it’s hard to know where to start. “Moderate” unionism would not have been out to dry – and indeed could have maintained the upper hand – if it had taken the multiple options afforded to it do have a powersharing deal with nationalism during the past 30 years, addressing the concerns that led to the ascendancy of physical force republicanism rather than dismissing them. It chose not to, and now finds itself much worse off than it would have been had it read the tea-leaves just a little better. Trimble would not have had to take the risks that he did if he’d only agreed to do all of this voluntarily some years beforehand.

    Secondly, following on from the above, it’s not the job of any other political party to save or shore up the leadership of their opposition, which in any case came from within his own party and from the DUP. The republicans don’t care who leads unionism – they care about how they can get to what they want, and events of the past 10 years have shown that they have made remarkable progress in having their demands met. I have no reason to believe that this progress will continue unless this bank heist business puts the brakes on the whole thing.

  • Peter Brown

    Re Adams IRA memership – The claim has been made and he has denied it. If someone wants to prove their claim let them do so

    What about the photos of Vol Adams on parade, the allegation in Faith and Duty that he fired shots at the army, the carrying of begley’s coffin, the list goes on…..no suing for libel to date?

  • maca

    Peter are you suggesting being on parade, an allegation and carrying a coffin is proof???

  • abucs

    Hi Maca,

    i’m not sure if i’m making myself understood.
    The obvious (i think) is that if there is normalised politics and nationalist confidence in the state and their partners in government (i.e. Unionists) then NI will be much more stable, which is what most of us want.

    I think unionism is much better off just doing a deal and getting some sort of normalised politics up and running. Of course the SDLP are also crying out for this. (BTW normalised politics is not excluding a large chunk of the voting public).

    While there is uncertainty, there is a lack of confidence and allegiance to any common shared politics. This is very unstable.

    From a nationalist point of view – it seems that many unionist politicians are so concerned with being labelled ‘sellouts’ within their community that they unwittingly contribute to the instability by preferring exclusion rather than
    shared government.

    I argue that they should forget exclusion, and focus on shared politics and accountability. But first there has to be something to be accountable to. When there is normalised politics, the pressure for good government will force people from both sides together to respect the state and the law.

    While there is no normalised politics, fear, distrust, fingerpointing, criminality and a lack of common allegiance are more likely to flourish.

    I ask unionists of all shades to come together and make normalised politics the main priority. Then we will find that on many things we will agree and things such as the robbery at the Northern will not be so divisive.

  • fair_deal

    Mick hall

    You seem to have mistaken my criticsm of Yasser Arafat as a support for Israel. I am afraid you are mistaken I have every sympathy with the Palestinian people and agree with a number of your criticisms of Israel.

    However, concern for a people does not mean I have to be full of praise for Arafat. When he rejected the deal Barak offered him at the talks in the USA he made a disastrous political decision. It deepened the cycle of violence there and let to the political isolation of himself and de facto his people for years. He became living proof of the old adage that Palestinians never miss the opportunity to miss an opportunity.

    Roger W Christ

    Your post about Unionism is a perfect example of the thinking that has helped dig the republican movement into its present hole. The ‘selfish’ attitude is logical but NOT good management of the peace process.

    The establishment of a peaceful community in a divided society requires working political relationships across the division. Trimble had engaged with republicanism and his reward was being done over in October 2003. Therefore, the existing partnership was destroyed and further more everyone became even more suspicious of dealing making with the republican movement.

    Also in terms of self-interest the more compliant the leader of the other community to your wish-list the better. Trimble had shown himself compliant. His reward being done over and fatally weakened. Therefore, the republican movement will find the possibility of new concessions much more restricted.

    In all the republican movement hanging Trimble out to die has meant that any future deal comes at a much higher price from republicanism than before and they are likely to be offered much less in terms of political gains.