Hostage interviewed on television tonight

Following on from this morning’s Irish News front page story, one of the two employees taken hostage during the bank raid is interviewed on Spotlight tonight BBC1 Northern Ireland at 11.15pm. The Irish News also reports that as a result of the raid some forty members of staff are to be moved from the bank’s headquarters as a result of the raid.

  • Davros

    Mick the most surprising thing to me in the Irish News story was that none of the gang who took over Mr Ward’s house wore masks.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    the most surprising thing I note is that nowhere does it appear that the question whether the IRA were involved was put to Mr Ward. Isn’t that the crucial question – or did the police minder sitting outside the shot prevent that question from being put, answered or reported?

  • willowfield

    If the guy knew the kidnappers were Provos he would hardly say so on TV! Not if he valued his knees (or his life).

  • Jimmy Sands

    I think it’s extremely unlikely that he hadn’t been asked prior to Orde’s announcement.

    As to possible reasons why he wouldn’t want to have answered it on tv, I wonder if any of our other posters would care to help Oliver out with that particular puzzler?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The fact that the gang wore no masks is unsurprising, after all the gang that waltzed into Castlereagh didn’t wear any masks and didn’t even bother to wear gloves. Nor did they fear being picked up on the CCTV, being they turned them off.
    In both cases it seems the people responsible were confident that there was little possibility of arrest.
    Certainly narrows the field a bit.

  • alex s

    Pat, I assume you mean the provos afer all they shoot ‘informers’ don’t they, who knows the family might even be spared a funeral, at least for a couple of decades!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Alex S,

    You are insinuating that the people involved must be witholding information, a serious allegation to make in such circumstances. Back it up or withdraw it.

    Care to explain the behaviour of the people who robbed Castlreagh, surely they weren’t going to imtimidate the cops in Castlereagh. BTW what about the cop who let the robbers into the room at Castlereagh, why wasn’t he able to identify them?

  • willowfield

    I see Pat’s on defending the Provos again.

    He’s not a supporter, mind.

  • willowfield

    I see Pat’s on defending the Provos again.

    He’s not a supporter, mind.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    I see that when faced with a logical question over suspicious events Alex s goes off on a tangent and fails to address relevant points over the Northern and Castlreagh.
    So much better to feed off the fantasy stories populating the media.

  • ulsterman

    There is something disturbing about this robbery. While I rejoice at the closure it brings on the GFA I do wonder who was involved.

    There would have to be massive intelligence gathering and why was 30 million pounds not better guarded. I think the Papist employees should all be brought in an interrogated. Clearly some of them did give information.

    God Save The Queen.

  • barney

    Ulsterman makes a good point. The bank was so poorly guarded that it was effectively robbed three times by the same gang on the same day (once using a carrier bag and twice using the fabled white van). If the robbers are ever caught they could claim entrapment. I mean, if you leave money lying about and show no interest in it then somebody will eventually pick it up. We may never know because the way things are shaping up we are no more likley to see charges brought in the Northern case than in the Castlereagh affair.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    In fairness, it would be inappropriate for the journalist to ask the victim of a crime, `Who did it’? I saw it asked on BBC last night and thought it irresponsible. What answer could he give to a journalist other than to say he didn’t know? Was he ever going to say `It was the IRA’? How would he even know, unless they took the unlikely step of telling him? If he didn’t personally know and recognise who the men were, then how could he answer that question?

    The interviews with this guy are of interest because of the ordeal he went through at the centre of a massive crime. It’s unfair to involve him in the political fall-out from the crime.

    The poor guy and his family have suffered enough without being thrown into the media/political bearpit.

    (Interestingly though, he said they mentioned the operationally-similar Ulster Bank robbery in Strabane which, unless I am mistaken, was linked to dissident republicans?)

    I’ll tell you the huge journalistic question that has somehow gone unasked. It’s to Hugh Orde.

    “Mr Orde, you have gone on record as saying you believe the Provisional IRA was responsible for the Northern Bank heist. Might you be mistaken?”

  • unionist_observer

    “The poor guy and his family have suffered enough without being thrown into the media/political bearpit.”

    Yes but the man did agree to do an interview on national TV, any sane person after having gone through what he went through would not want to do that and put his family at risk all over again.

    The Strabane bank robbery from what I heard was the Real IRA, and it very much seems like a practise run for the Belfast job. If I was to put a bet on who was behind the robbery I’d say it was the Real IRA.

  • Fraggle

    Rebecca, it’s good to see you using some objective thought on this issue.

  • Dec

    To be fair the underlying reason he went on TV was to reinforce the fact that he was a victim of a crime and as a response to media insinuation(West Belfast, Celtic supporter…must be a bit dodgy). All too similar to the non-existant Stormont Spy Ring where it seemed people were falling under suspicion due to their postcode. I can clearly remember a headline along the lines of ‘West Belfast Civil servant arrested’.
    Of course the IRA could have carried out this raid but to suggest as Politicians, the Police and the Media have that they are the only grouping possessing the capability is deeply flawed and does not stand up to any scrutiny. Yet this seems to be the foundation on which Hugh Orde is basing his assumptions.

  • Davros

    I can clearly remember a headline along the lines of ‘West Belfast Civil servant arrested’.

    Who was that ? Stan Mallon ?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    he was a middle ranking officer who worked in the OFMDFM who was subsequently released, but remained suspended for some time, although now thankfully back in post.

    As regards Mallon although orignally from W Belfast and a former civil servant at the time of his arrest he was living in Crumlin and was employed by The Ulster Scots Agency, so obviously the it couldn’t have been him.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    “Yes but the man did agree to do an interview on national TV, any sane person after having gone through what he went through would not want to do that and put his family at risk all over again.

    Yes Rebecca but I was making the distinction between the centrality of what he had to say as the human being caught up in the biggest story of the year, and the extraneous attempt to draw him into the political fall-out.

    He went on the record to tell his story. I can understand why he wanted to do so. But I thought he looked very uncomfortable when asked to contribute to the political game-playing and could well understand why he refused to be drawn on questions of who did it.

    I also noted with interest that he was asked about his political views – as though there is a burden of proof on west Belfast residents to prove they are good, decent folk by ritually distancing themselves from Sinn Fein.

    He accepted the invitation to declare that he had no political views, which, given the context, was in fact an invitation to tell Protestant viewers that he was not a Sinn Feiner and therefore not up to his neck in it. (Do you think an east Belfast interviewee would be asked: `Are you a loyalist?’)

    Had he said he was a Sinn Fein activist, you can be sure that there would already be murmurs here and in the media that he MUST have been behind the job himself.

    See what nationalists are up against?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Billy

    So despite the fact that he said he had no political views and you are defending his right to do so, you are labelling him a nationalist?

    Errrrrrrmmmm…

  • Billy Pilgrim

    I happen to know that he is of the nationalist community, that’s all I’m implying. He says he has no interest in politics – wise man. But he does come from one of the two tribes. Almost all of us do.

    Mt point is that because of his background – a Catholic from Poleglass who runs a Celtic supporters club – the BBC reporter (probably correctly) assumed that it would be necessary for Mr Ward to ritually distance himself from Sinn Fein. Otherwise, the reporter knew, most Protestant viewers – and I do mean most – would immediately treat someone who, let’s not forget, is a victim of crime, with suspicion. Hell, he’d be seen as nothing less than a suspect.

    So my question remains: see what nationalists are up against?

  • unionist_observer

    by the way Billy, Fraggle and others, you don’t know my name is Rebecca, please don’t make assumptions, I suggest if you feel the need to address me you do so by using the handle I use. Thank you.

    Dec

    “To be fair the underlying reason he went on TV was to reinforce the fact that he was a victim of a crime and as a response to media insinuation(West Belfast, Celtic supporter…must be a bit dodgy).”

    yes but the other guy didn’t go on TV, maybe its because the other one was a bit older and had a bit more sense.

  • willowfield

    Billy Pilgrim

    Had he said he was a Sinn Fein activist, you can be sure that there would already be murmurs here and in the media that he MUST have been behind the job himself. See what nationalists are up against?

    Um, if someone is an activist in the political wing of a criminal organisation, then they are “up against” things of their own choosing and making.

    unionist observer

    yes but the other guy didn’t go on TV, maybe its because the other one was a bit older and had a bit more sense.

    Or maybe because he is the assistant manager of the Northern Bank HQ.

  • unionist_observer

    what was the other guy then? was he not reasonably high up as well?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Last night’s Spotlight is available here.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Last night’s Spotlight is available here.

  • ulsterman

    It just all seems to easy for me. There had to be real collusion between someone in the bank and the IRA.

    This guy that was interviewed could well be an innocent victim. However if I had been abducted by the IRA the last thing I would want is to appear on national tv. This may well prove to have been mistake by him. I remember Ian Huntley appearing on T.V appealing for information on the kids he murdered. This was the start of his undoing.

    I think the bank has a lot of explaining to do as to why the money was not better guarded. The Real IRA would not have had the knowledge to undertake such a job. The police know it was the IRA. Still it does defy logic as to why. If they were serious about the peace process as Adams says they are why do something that blew away the GFA?.

    There will many questions to be asked about this robbery in the future. Somebody will do something foolish. The interview from Loughbrickland may well prove to be the start of the foolishness.

    God Save The Queen.

  • willowfield

    what was the other guy then? was he not reasonably high up as well?

    No.