Bertie talks tough.. again

Speaking in the Dail, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has stated that “a number of operations that took place during 2004 – not just the Northern Bank robbery – were the work of the IRA, had sanction from the Army Council and would have been known to the political leadership of the IRA”, citing the security assessment by Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy and PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde. However, as RTE reports, he also accepted that, “that meant that Sinn Féin had been negotiating in bad faith during that period”. Having accepted that assessment, as Taoiseach, how long he can wait for those answers remains to be seen.

  • El Matador

    The sooner the Gardai and PSNI produce the evidence and make arrests, the sooner this can be made stick. Until then PSF will just play the victims.

    They must have enough evidence now to move it on to the next level

  • DerryTerry

    Never mind the evidence when you’ve got electioneering to do. Honest to God either Bertie is auditioning for stupidest person in the world or he thinks the rest of us have already been granted the award.

    Just to get it right, and correct me if i’ve got it wrong, up until the latest briefing he didn’t know about all these “other operations”, but hey, there were loads of them.

    This endless waffle based on intelligence from sources that were so good they knew nothing about the robberies beforehand but know everything after the event is getting plain embarrassing. Why not just cut the waffle and get straight to the point, “Don’t vote for SF because we don’t want you to.”

  • El Matador

    The only people that are embarrased are the Northern Bank and PSF.

    Bertie looks like a fool now for cowtowing to Gerry et al pre-Christmas. I’m sure he isn’t now turning on them (and making himself look a bit silly) for nothing

  • J Kelly

    Elmat maybe they dont have any evidence that the IRA were responsible. What if they have evidence someone else carried out the robbery. Just a thought.

    Does anyone think that Keystone Orde will ever catch the robbers.

  • George

    Bertie says he only just found out from Garda Commissioner Conroy that the IRA were planning this all along.

    First question: Why did the Gardai decide not to mention this rather important fact to him up until now?

    This is all the more strange when you consider that last December in an interview with The Sunday Business Post, Justice Minister Michael McDowell said IRA criminal activity in the Republic “has now stopped as far as I know in the run-up to this particular set of negotiations”.

    McDowell said then that he receives regular security briefings from Garda Commissioner Conroy.

    “It is very significant. It shows they can do without that method of fundraising,” the minister said.

    “There has been a number of incidents involving a number of IRA members, [but] none of it qualifies as major crime and I am not in a position to answer the question about whether the small stuff is authorised or not.”

    How does Conroy explain the fact that his briefings to McDowell as late as December 2004 didn’t mention anything about “something big” being possibly in the pipeline while now two months later he knew all along?

    Why did the PSNI also not bring up their intelligence with Tony Blair beforehand?

  • J Kelly

    Tom Brady reporting in the Belfast Telegraph highlighted the evidence to date “The analysis pinpointed a number of key factors that underlined their views:

    *The kidnapping of a bank official from the heart of republican west Belfast.

    *The theft of an unusual type of van, required to “clone” a similar vehicle known to regularly cross the Border, from a compound in Gwent in Wales.

    *The secrecy surrounding the heist which left the security sources without any prior hint.

    *The subsequent disappearance of the money and the van.

    It is also accepted the Provisionals remain the only group, either paramilitary or criminal, with the capacity to successfully carry out such a robbery without leaving tell-tale evidence”

    If after over a month of 45 of the best PSNI investigators on the job and this the best Hugh Orde can produce maybe its time he got the sack. The PSNI must be seen as the keystone cops of modern day policing. Orde is a joke.

    On the topic of embarassment does the stoops not look at little embarrassed they believe their man Orde but are afraid to do anything about it. A thought comes to mind that encapsulates the SDLP they haven’t the b@115. Elmat you must be questioning this whole affair if you are now requesting the production of evidence.

  • El Matador

    I don’t question the affair at all. The dogs in the street know the provos did it.

    What I’m saying is now it’s time to make the next move.

  • willowfield

    George hints above that there might be “communication difficulties” between Ahern and his security advisers, or that Ahern may not be fully aware of security information.

    Why, then, does he dismiss the same possibility on another thread (the Cusack one)?

  • DerryTerry

    Evidence, evidence, we don’t need your stinking evidence! All we need is the word of the man who was so moved by the Northern job that he decided, on the basis of god knows what, that the IRA did it and he would announce this publicly for the public good.

    Of course, the same caped crusader wasn’t similarly moved by the murder and government inspired cover up of the murder of PAt Finucane. Would nearly make you wonder.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    There is nothing new in this story he is simply alluding to the fact that the SFleadership ‘must’ have known of the robberies.

    I can’t help in being puzzled about allthis certainty around these robberies and the intelligence involved. There seemed little to no intelligence before these robberies and since the robbery at the Northern precious little to show by way of a breakthrough. Seems like the election fever is taking hold.

    BTW the ‘senior republican’ arrested over the bar murder seems to have been released either due to lack of evidence, bad intelligence or indeed a bit of both.
    At least after the pre Xmas raids there were a couple of pairs of shoes banged up, seems all the latest door kicking was for nothing.

  • J Kelly

    Have a look at the evidence as compiled and obviously briefed on by the PSNI to Tom Brady.

    West Belfast it has to be the IRA.
    The unusual type of van that crossed the border stolen in Wales it had to be the IRA.
    The secrecy of the robbery. What robbers would tell the police before they would do it.
    The disappearane of the money and van did they expect them to give them back the money. Of course the only people capable were the IRA. At least the PSNI have moved the investiagion on at first they said five group were capable.

    The truth is the PSNI haven’t a clue and neither have you Elmat. Its more in hope than belief that you are relying. I can agree with you on one point make the next move and produce the evidence.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Over at the Danny Morrison board, it seems evidence is not required to blame a group for the robbery either…

    A NOTICE on the message board of Danny Morrison’s website recently informed a user by the name of Jozer41 that he had been banned from posting future messages because of his (allegedly) “racist comments, personal insults and unsubstantiated allegations”.

    So much for republicans’ commitment to free speech.

    Sadly, the fatwa against unsubstantiated allegations on this website doesn’t appear to apply when the allegations are directed at those who have the gall not to be republicans.

    Not content with calling Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) chief constable Hugh Orde “sectarian” and “bigoted” for blaming the IRA for the stg£26m Northern Bank raid, fans of the former Sinn Fein publicity director have also been leaving a string of posts stating, with absolute conviction, that either MI5 or the PSNI carried out the raid to make IRA/Sinn Fein look bad.

    As if the Provos needed any help in that department.

    Blaming the Brits is par for the course, but things took a nastier turn as respondents started to toss around names with abandon.

    First up for blame was a named former Special Branch officer, who was confidently fingered as the mastermind. Proof?

    Who needs proof when you’re having fun?

    Outrageously, readers were informed that it was an inside job: on top of this laughable assertion, the “suspects” were then identified! Responsible media outlets would have to back up such claims against named individuals or quickly find themselves before a libel jury.

    Once again, republicans act as if they consider themselves above the law.

    That’s something to remember next time Danny Morrison or one of his like-minded cohorts pops up on Morning Ireland to loudly condemn as “speculation” any report that the IRA is anything less than saintly.

    Perhaps Danny should put his own house in order first.

    Eilis O’Hanlon

  • DerryTerry

    El Matador,

    The dogs in the street knew the Birmingham 6 and Guilford 4 did it. They also knew the men and boys killed on Bloody Sunday were gunmen and bombers. They even knew that the British State and it’s organs would not have been involved in collusion, and defintely not in the arming, organisation and direction of UNionist death squads.

    Of course, relying on what the dogs in the street know can often mean you end up standing in, or talking s***.

  • J Kelly

    Gonzo I will state from the outset that I do not have a clue who robbed the Northern. It could i have been the Brits after Pat Finucane was murdered many said they wouldn’t do something like that. But they did. It also has to be pointed out that the Brits were behind a very similar operation with the Littlejohns in Dublin in the seventies. All I will say is that I am not prepeared to believe the PSNI until they produce the evidence.

  • willowfield

    Why don’t you believe Bertie A-hern?

  • El Matador

    DerryTerry- christ u sound like a broken down record player tossed in the scrap beside Connolly House

  • J Kelly

    I am not calling Hugh Orde or Bertie Ahern a liar all I am saying is that for me to be convinced it would need those accusing republicans and jeopardising the peace process to produce the evidence.

  • DerryTerry


    Because his opinion is based on an acceptance of the opinion of Hugh Orde, what the dogs in the street know and wishful thinking. Now, if he, Orde, or anyone lese wants to show us the evidence, show us any evidence, then i might be more tempted to believe them.

    Until them, i just cann’t trust the lying liars and the lies they tell.

  • DerryTerry

    El Matador,

    Is that your opinion or is it based on what the dogs in the street know?

    Of course, if you want to ignore the fact that the people whose word you are relying on as to who carried out this robbery have been engaged in murdering their own citizens, arming unionist death squads, covering up British army killings and generally behaving as if they are above and beyond the law that is your business.

    Call me old fashioned, or a broken down record player tossed in the scrap beside Connolly House, oe even call me Al, but don’t avoid the issue.

  • aquifer

    Cut and paste is great. Collect all this denial and put a date on it, or simply count the characters or words, and keep them just in case we see Provos in the dock.

    But the Provos have been doing plenty besides.

    Maybe Bertie is simply insisting that SF take responsibility for IRA actions. ie They must know about them, split from the RA, or else get the hell out of his office.

    ie Bertie may be wrong about Gerry and Martin knowing details, but in defending democracy he is in the right to demand that they should know.

  • PONeill

    I would say that the IRA “definitely” know who carried out this robbery.
    If it wasnt them and they dont know who carried it out, then they have lost their grip and are not as effective an organisation as they once used to be.

  • PONeill

    In 1997 a massive bomb went off in the Canary Wharf region in London.
    Did anyone believe Martin McGuinness when he said he had no knowledge of it?
    Wasnt Gerry calling the Whitehouse the night before warning of trouble in the process?
    Come on people, are there people out there who thought Adams and McGuinness had no knowledge of the Canary Wharf bomb?
    Who was screaming for evidence then? Does anybody actually live in the real world anymore?

  • aquifer
  • James

    “a number of operations that took place during 2004 – not just the Northern Bank robbery – were the work of the IRA, had sanction from the Army Council and would have been known to the political leadership of the IRA”.

    Knowing that, Ahern was knowingly sitting across the table in January from an accessory to the Stg 26.5 heist and he didn’t think to call the cops to make the collar. What was holding him back, stunned admiration?

    I was watching RTE’s Seven Ages last night. Even after a kazillion brown envelopes have passed under the bridge Haughey cuts a hellova lot better figure than Bertie.

  • Davros

    Of course, relying on what the dogs in the street know can often mean you end up standing in, or talking s***.

    DerryTerry- does the same not apply when SF are listening to the dogs in the street ? Or do they know which dogs to believe and when ? ( Fido wags his tail when he’s lying ! )

  • Davros

    DT: “Until them, i just cann’t trust the lying liars and the lies they tell.”

    Then why do you believe SF and the IRA who time and again have been shown to be liars eg their denials that the IRA had anything to do with the murder of Jean McConville or that any of the Colombia 3 had a connection to SF – which was only corrected when the Cubans spilled the beans ?

  • alex s

    To all the apologists of SF/IRA, was Al Capone a gangster of simply a tax evader

  • New Yorker

    Today in the Dial Bertie Ahern said it was the IRA that robbed Northern Bank and there was foreknowledge by SF leadership and he was relying on his own intelligence services, including Commissionner Conroy. From this side of the Atlantic, that’s the end of any doubt about the heist and the worthiness of SF being in any government. Any doubters from now have an intelligence or mental health problem. As it is clear to any reasonable person that you can not have bank robbers and conspirators in government, SF are history and best dealt with by security services. The next chapter has opened. We’ll be watching on how well you write this chapter, especially those of us who advise on inward investment into NI. I hope you do the right thing.

  • maca

    Apologies if this has been raised earlier in the discussion, I don’t have time to read it.

    IF Bertie learned for the first time this Tuesday that SF knew of the robbery how did he manage to claim two weeks ago that they new?

  • peteb


    What Bertie actually said, as I recall from the RTE report, was that this was the first time he had heard this assessment in person from Hugh Orde – which would be consistent with receiving written reports previously, or even by telephone converstaion.

  • DerryTerry

    Davros, regarding the dogs in the street i am convinced no one should listen to them. I wouldn’t believe a bark out of their mouths and i would advise others to do the saem. Two wrongs make how many rights again?

    As to judging between two people, organisations or institutions that can both be demonstrated to have lied in the past then we face a problem. If they all lie then we need evidence, and guess what, we are still waiting for any evidence.

  • Davros

    “Two wrongs make how many rights again?”

    In a nutshell that explains why the IRA had no right to start their “war”.

  • Davros

    And , come to think of it, ditto the UVF in ’66.

  • DerryTerry


    So the IRA and the UVF started it? Nothing to do with anyone or anthing else? No one else was involved? Two wrongs make no rights, but wilful ignorance can certainly contribute to making a wrong.

    As to who to believe when everyone has in the past lied, I would still appreciate an opinion.

  • Davros

    Those were what are known in the trade as “examples” DT 😉

  • Davros

    Re opinions – has Hugh Orde been caught out the way Gerry was wrong-footed by the Cubans ?

  • DerryTerry


    The examples we choose are often as revealing as the examples we don’t.

    The opinions we form, particularly in the absence of evidence, are often equally revealing. So which bunch of liars are you buying the used car off? And why?