When in a hole … don't send Mitchel

Hat Tip to Young Irelander for this story – McConville Murder Not a Crime-McLaughlin.

The murder of Jean McConville was “wrong but not a crime” and the IRA are the legitimate government of Ireland ? Oh dear Mitchel, that drives a coach and horses through SF’s position on participation in the Dáil and the GFA!

  • cg

    That’s not true

    He didn’t say her murder wasn’t a crime because it was carried out by the IRA but due to the fact that the IRA carried it out during the conflict. He expressed very clearly his belief that it was totally wrong and should not have happened.

  • Davros

    Did he deny that it was a crime cg?
    Did he claim that the IRA is or was the legitimate government of Ireland ?

  • Mark McGregor

    AU,

    Did you hear what Mitchel said? Is YI’s ‘I just heard’ paraphrased report an accurate account?

  • cg

    Davros
    I have already answered the first question with regards the last one. It did seem from what was said that he did, although there was shouting and McDowell’s question wasn’t as clear as yours.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    No link to the horse’s mouth, so to speak?

  • Mark McGregor
  • Davros

    I Just listened to it. Mitchel was destroyed.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Ta.

  • cg

    “I Just listened to it. Mitchel was destroyed”

    I don’t think so Davros, I thought he made some very good points.

  • Davros

    He made a couple of interesting points, but the big two destroy him.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    McDowell seems very keen on exclusion…

    What’s “a negation of the peace process”?

    Mitchel seems to hint that the issue of criminality can be nailed down next time round… a wee carrot.

    Mitchel denies the McConville murder was crime, but was wrong. McDowell says Bobby Sands was a criminal when asked by Mitchel…

    Starting to feel sorry for the two other panellists…

    Mitchel agrees Northern job was a crime, but certain not IRA. Would cause diffs between IRA and SF if guilt proved…

    Clip over.

  • Davros

    Gonzo, poor floundering Mitchel also said something along lines of “I don’t know who did it, I don’t know who didn’t do it” …. If he doesn’t know who didn’t do it how can he claim that he knows the IRA didn’t do it ?

  • cg

    They were tough questions, would you rather he lied and told ye what you wanted to hear or do ye still prefer the truth?

  • Davros

    I want him to be honest. One good point was made . Trust. If we hear what people are really thinking rather than the diplomat-talk then real progress can be made. I’d rather hear something I don’t like that’s truthful than something more palatable which I suspect or know may not be the truth. That’s why I have more respect for MM than GA.

  • cg

    “That’s why I have more respect for MM than GA.”

    Blasphemy!!!

  • Davros

    Just realised … The MM there stands for Martin, not Mitchel !

  • Henry94

    It was McDowell who said SF see themselves as the government of Ireland. McLaughlin does not believe that and neither does anyone else in Sinn Fein. And he did not say that.

    The interesting point for those who were listening is the very clear distinction he drew between the pre and post agreement legitimacy of IRA activity.

    The real gaffe on the program was McDowells claim that Bobby Sands was a criminal. He’s the one who will be backing away from his commets last night.

  • Alan

    *The interesting point for those who were listening is the very clear distinction he drew between the pre and post agreement legitimacy of IRA activity.*

    Far from being interesting, it was cynical and self serving – again.

    If nothing else, the McConville killing was a crime against humanity. It need not have happened, it had a terrible impact on the family, yet the RM want to label it as collateral damage.

    More concerning was Mitchel’s struggle to inform the audience that, if the conditions returned, that another IRA would step up to the plate – again. So another McConville incident could happen – again.

    When are the RM going to knock the chip off their shoulder, rather than try to up the ante with it. It is time to rid themselves of militarism. We will all cheer when that happens.

  • Davros

    It was McDowell who said SF see themselves as the government of Ireland. McLaughlin does not believe that and neither does anyone else in Sinn Fein. And he did not say that.

    He said yes to the question Henry.

  • davidbrew

    perhaps cg the law student has a view on whether the killing of Mrs Mconville was a crime…..?

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    The IRA views itself as a legitimate army. It’s fair to assume that the 330,000+ voters that SF gets at the very minimum view the IRA in that light.

    In the context of that, they will say that killing Jean McConville, while cruel and wrong, was not a crime. As will the British Army and RUC claim that all those civilians killed by them in the north were not crimes – or the thousands killed in Fallujah and throughout Iraq during an ILLEGAL (not my words but Kofi Annan’s) invasion of Iraq were not victims of crime.

    McDowell’s true colours were shown when he described Hugh Orde as a member of the Stevens Inquiry team which was investigating – as McDowell put it – ‘inadequacies in the Northern Ireland police system’.

    Is that what he terms collusion with loyalist paramilitaries in the murder of innocent catholics?

    In the final analysis – and going by the reaction from the audience – my own reckoning is that McLaughlin was that bit too good for McDowell and Bowman, ever the impartial chairman….

  • Davros

    McLaughlin does not believe that and neither does anyone else in Sinn Fein. And he did not say that.

    Untrue Henry.
    Listened to it 4 times now.
    Mitchel agrees with McDowell’s point – that Mitchel and his colleagues believe that ANY Volunteer committing ANY authorised action on behalf of the IRA IS NOT committing a crime because they believe the IRA IS the legitimate government of Ireland.
    McDowell states this and asks Mitchel is that your position ?

    Mitchel says yes.

    No ifs, no buts, he answers “yes” Henry.

  • Davros

    You mean the audience that didn’t applaud Mitchel ?
    Or were the shouts of “Shame” at him really some form of approval?

    Mitchel Agreed with the suggestion that he and SF believe that the IRA IS the legitimate government of Ireland. THAT is incompatible with their position on the GFA.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    I heard the shout of ‘shame’ too but as this was a divisive debate and it did cover controversial ground I think that’s no surprise, especially given the mood of mass hysteria which the establishment parties have tried to stir up over the Northern Bank heist.

    Whenever Bowman went to the audience, he found at least as many who supported SF’s position as those who didn’t and that’s why I think McLaughlin won the day. After all, there was no one on the panel to support him and Bowman abandoned his supposedly neutral position on more than one occasion to join the McDowell lynch mob.

    McLaughlin also made telling points, some described above by other posters, which left McDowell floundering and eventually ended the debate because they knew that there was no victory to be had here.

    It’s worth pointing out in response to your point to Henry 94 that McLaughlin did acknowledge that the Northern Bank heist was a crime and therrefore, by your own logic as applied to the IRA, it was impossible for the IRA to carry that robbery out.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Oliver,

    What’s this 330,000 votes crap all about ? SF in recent elections have scored in or around 160,000 votes.

  • Davros

    Nice try OC but no cigar. SF believe that the Dáil is NOT the legitimate government of the ROI and as such they are outside of the GFA.

    Mitchel tried to lay down smoke about The Hungerstrikers – just like The old days when the Unionists would bang the big drum , shout the fenians are coming and Rally to the flag. It failed.

    He was utterly skewered on SF’s own hypocrisy and dishonesty over McConville, Adare and The GFA.

    Irish people do NOT accept that the IRA is their legitimate government.
    Irish people do not accept that shooting Jean McConville and Gerry McCabe were not crimes.

  • Ringo

    Oilbhéar Chromaill –
    In the final analysis – and going by the reaction from the audience – my own reckoning is that McLaughlin was that bit too good for McDowell and Bowman, ever the impartial chairman….

    What program were you watching? I’ve never seen Mitchel floundering like that before. McDowell isn’t exactly a whizz in front of the cameras, but Mitchel practically made his points for him, e.g. we trust Hugh Orde’s word on collusion but his word on the bank is another.

    And the audience? One contribution from a myopic (in both senses of the word) plant versus all the rest and you think that the audience was behind Mitchel McLoughlin? And the heckles of ‘shame’?

    His assertion that what the IRA were up to in the past 30 years is ok because its no different from what the Old IRA did over 80 years ago is unreal. Well in that case use of mustard gas is perfectly acceptable and the attack on Halabja in 1988 by Saddam Hussein’s regime was perfectly fine.

    Mind blowing. And his declaration that Jean McConville’s abduction and murder wasn’t a crime is after going down a treat going by the appearance of Michael McConville on Morning Ireland. If that was judged as a success by Sinn Fein supporters I’d love to see what a disaster looked like.

  • Ringo

    Henry –
    The real gaffe on the program was McDowells claim that Bobby Sands was a criminal. He’s the one who will be backing away from his commets last night.

    What makes Bobby Sands’ case any different than any other Republican who was jailed?

  • El Matador

    It’s like 1984. Sinn Fein would say that black was white if it legitimised IRA activity.

    Fact: you don’t murder the mother of innocent children (in fact, you don’t murder anyone).

    Fact: SF believes it and the IRA are the legitimate government of Ireland by virtue of the belief that power was vested with a few surviving deputies from the Second Dail- those, and only those, who supported the IRA.

    These could pass that (apparent) legitimate Republican authority on to the IRA Army Council, which then could see itself as the rightful government of Ireland, with the right and the power to declare war on England, —which it duly did, early in 1939.

  • cg

    “perhaps cg the law student has a view on whether the killing of Mrs Mconville was a crime…..?”

    It was wrong and should never have happened

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Perhaps some of the unionist posters who ignored this topic on other threads would state if they believe the murder of Nora Mc Cabe was a crime and whether the perjury of the eleven RUC officers connected with the case was also a crime.

  • willowfield

    Oliver Cromwell

    The IRA views itself as a legitimate army. It’s fair to assume that the 330,000+ voters that SF gets at the very minimum view the IRA in that light.

    The IRA is not a legitimate army. The fact that it claims to be so and that PSF voters supposedly agree with them does not make them legitimate.

    In the context of that, they will say that killing Jean McConville, while cruel and wrong, was not a crime.

    On what grounds? Even “legitimate armies” do not have carte blanche to do whatever they want.

    As will the British Army and RUC claim that all those civilians killed by them in the north were not crimes – or the thousands killed in Fallujah and throughout Iraq during an ILLEGAL (not my words but Kofi Annan’s) invasion of Iraq were not victims of crime.

    Most killings by the Army and police were not crimes. Some, no doubt, were. Many killings in the Iraq war may be crimes if they contravene the law of war.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Willowfield – because they occur in an illegal war, illegal as defined by the United Nations, surely all killings in that war must be considered as murders – ie those who ordered them to be committed are guilty of a crime.

    It’s a bit rich expecting the IRA to abide by any rules that the UK and US would not abide by.

    I don’t understand how ‘most of the killings’ committed by the British Army/RUC were not crimes – were not some of these committed while in cahoots with loyalist terrorists/criminals? Was the MURDER of Peter McBride not a crime? And the MURDERS of Dan McCann, Mairead Farrell and Sean Savage – were they not crimes too, by the definitions of Michael McDowell and co? Need we go on?

    The IRA considers itself legitimate. The British government is dealing with the IRA – ie its political wing all the time – they must also consider it to be legitimate. The Irish and US governments ditto. At last week’s Sinn Féin Céad Bliain celebration, according to media reports, several members of the diplomatic corp attended as well as a former taoiseach – Albert Reynolds. Obviously governments would not send their ambassadors to a celebration of a party connected to an illegitimate army….

    Davros and Ringo

    Just two quick points: I don’t agree with your read of the audience – but even if the ‘myopic’ guy you talk about was a plant, that doesn’t mean other parties hadn’t plants there as well. Especially given last week’s edition where Bowman had to interrupt three contributors in succession to find someone who would castigate Sinn Féin.

    Secondly: McLaughlin said in answer to a question that the Northern heist was a crime – therefore, by your logic, it mustn’t be the IRA ‘wot dun it’.

    And another point – I didn’t here the point about the Army Council being described as the legitimate govt of Ireland but I read in Village in Adams’ interview that he accepted the Irish government as the legit govt.

  • davidbrew

    “perhaps cg the law student has a view on whether the killing of Mrs Mconville was a crime…..?”

    It was wrong and should never have happened”-cg

    Not good enough, as you’ll find if you try to be so evasive in front of a judge. Was it a crime? Presumably you’ve read Smith and Hogan, and know the definition of the mens rea and actus reus. How did this killing not fall within those tests?

  • El Matador

    I believe that Coke’s definition of ‘murder’ from the 1600s (on which modern murder law in based) would place Ms McConville’s killing in no other category other than as a murder.

    As Coke said: “Murder is when a man of sound memory, and of the age of discretion, unlawfully killeth within any county of the realm any reasonable creature in rerum natura under the King’s peace, with malice aforethought, either expressed by the party or implied by law.”

  • davidbrew

    Thanks amigo, and to tax young cg’s brain further, I wonder if he thinks the crime which was “regrettable” in 1972 ( consequences of “war” and all that) would be a crime if it happened today?

  • El Matador

    Sinn Fein say they are innocent until proven guilty over the Northern job. Fair enuff.

    But was Jean McConville given the same rights? I don’t believe she ever came before a court of law and given the opportunity to ‘defend’ herself. A bullet in the head and thrown in a ditch is all she got.

    So much for SF’s human rights agenda. It would seem you’re only entitled to human rights if you follow the SF political line…

  • Jimmy Sands

    I don’t understand why we are affecting surprise all of a sudden. The fact that provisionalism requires a belief that the army council is the only legitimate government and that this gives them the authority to kill and to steal is hardly a newsflash. This has always been their position. This is what provisionalism means. It’s like complaining that ice cream is cold.

  • El Matador

    Does that provisionalism stretch for 35 years of ‘non-crime’ murdering, especially now with PSF having elected representatives?

  • Davros

    OC- When a VERY senior SF official contradicts the President of SF, don’t you think we are entitled to ask for clarification? Are SF are a political party or are they not? If they are they have to answer questions.

    Jimmy – the surprise is that Mitchel came out with it. If he IS giving Sinn Féin’s view then there is NO GFA as SF do not recognise the legitimacy of two signatories.

  • Davros

    Mitchel accused the SDLP of being confused and divided on Monday LOL

    OC reports that Gerry Adams said in the Village that The Govt of the ROI is the legitimate Government and yesterday Mitchel said that the IRA is the legitimate Government of Ireland.

  • JD

    Posted by: JD at January 18, 2005 03:28 PM

    I didn’t think two posters with the same ID could post. Is this a glitch or can everybody have a double?

    that other post has been removed and investigated, apologies for delay A.U.

  • willowfield

    Oliver Cromwell

    Willowfield – because they occur in an illegal war, illegal as defined by the United Nations, surely all killings in that war must be considered as murders – ie those who ordered them to be committed are guilty of a crime.

    No. The law of war (i.e. the law of the conduct of war) applies regardless of the legality of the war itself.

    If anyone is guilty of anything, it is the governments who began the war (“war of aggression” as established at Nuremberg). But that does not mean that US, UK, Polish, etc., soldiers are guilty of murder so long as they act within the law of war.

    It’s a bit rich expecting the IRA to abide by any rules that the UK and US would not abide by.

    1. We’re not talking about the same rules: there was no war in Northern Ireland and abductions and murders are against domestic law in NI, as well as against European human rights law.
    2. Even if we accept that the UK and US don’t abide by the law of war, that doesn’t permit the Provisional IRA to break it.

    I don’t understand how ‘most of the killings’ committed by the British Army/RUC were not crimes – were not some of these committed while in cahoots with loyalist terrorists/criminals?

    Maybe you should invest in a copy of Lost Lives. Most Army and police killings were accidents or carried out in self-defence during gun battles and other terrorist attacks.

    Was the MURDER of Peter McBride not a crime? MayAnd the MURDERS of Dan McCann, Mairead Farrell and Sean Savage – were they not crimes too, by the definitions of Michael McDowell and co? Need we go on?

    Citing four particular cases does not amount to proof that most Army and police killings were crimes. It only provides that – if we accept they were crimes – four were crimes.

    The IRA considers itself legitimate.

    As I explained earlier, the fact that the PIRA considers itself to be legitimate does not make it legitimate.

    The British government is dealing with the IRA – ie its political wing all the time – they must also consider it to be legitimate. The Irish and US governments ditto.

    That is pure sophistry. There is an absence of logic in the leap from premise to conclusion.

    The government deals with the Provos for purely pragmatic reasons and because, sadly, they have sufficient elected representatives to be potential coalition partners in a power-sharing government. It has nothing to do with recognising the “legitimacy” of the PIRA. Catch yourself on.

  • willowfield

    Oliver Cromwell’s failure to respond is noted.

  • George

    Set my evening around Q&A once I heard Mitchel and McDowell were going to be up against each other.

    I don’t think it makes any difference if Gerry says he recognises the government of Ireland, after all he “isn’t” in the IRA. The IRA doesn’t recognise Dail Eireann, the Irish army or the Gardai.

    If Gerry recognises Dail Eireann as legitimate, he can’t recognise the IRA as having any legitimacy.

    Also, the day Sinn Feiners like Mitchel feel they can haul up the memory of people like Bobby Sands to try dig themselves out of a hole over criminality is the day the IRA should cut their losses and separate from SF totally. He must be turning in his grave.
    With friends like Mitchel, the IRA don’t need enemies.

    Also, on the McCabe killing. If it was an unsanctioned operation as the IRA claim, then the perpetrators should have been “courtmartialed” and punished. After all, they did murder someone in cold blood and endanger the possible release of hundreds of their comrades by their actions.

    Instead SF send all their TD’s to have a photocall with them in prison.
    Could someone explain that contradiction to me?

  • Davros

    I don’t think it makes any difference if Gerry says he recognises the government of Ireland, after all he “isn’t” in the IRA.

    It makes a huge difference if Sinn Féin say they recognise the IRA as the legitimate government of Ireland George. That denies legitimacy to the signatories of the Belfast agreement, making any “commitments” or promises made by Sinn Féin worthless.

  • George

    I thought you said Gerry said he did recognise Dail Eireann Davros, to which I replied this didn’t matter as the IRA doesn’t.
    If Gerry does and the IRA don’t then surely Gerry can’t recognise the IRA’s position.

  • Davros

    I thought you said Gerry said he did recognise Dail Eireann Davros

    His party chairman has admitted that he and his colleagues recognise the IRA as the legitimate government of Ireland. If SF recognise the IRA as the legitimate government then the Belfast agreement is invalid in their eyes.
    This needs clarification. SF need to state that they recognise that Bertie and co’ are the legitimate government of the ROI.

  • George

    I see your angle now Davros. Fair point.