"Cannot be regarded as committed to non-violence"

Given the conclusion reached by the IMC, in their most recent report – “Sinn Féin cannot be regarded as committed to non-violence and exclusively peaceful and democratic means so long as its links to PIRA remain as they are and PIRA continues to be engaged in violence or other crime” – it’s difficult to see how the report’s recommendations can be viewed as anything other than wholly inadequate.

That quote in context (page 7-8, paragraphs 13-14) –

In our first report, published by the two Governments in April 2004, we said that it was difficult to be precise about the relationship between Sinn Féin and the PIRA or about the PIRA’s decision-making processes but we summarised what we believed to be the situation in these words:

“– Some members, including some senior members, of Sinn Féin are also members, including, in some cases, senior members of PIRA.

– Sinn Féin, particularly through its senior members, is in a position to exercise considerable influence on PIRA’s major policy decisions, even if it is not in a
position actually to determine what policies or operational strategies the PIRA will adopt. We believe that decisions of the republican movement as a whole
about these matters lie more with the leadership of PIRA than with Sinn Féin.

– Within the PIRA some decisions follow a process of consultation with the membership initiated by the leadership”.

We went on to conclude that Sinn Féin had to bear its responsibility for the continuation by PIRA of illegal paramilitary activity and had to recognise the implications of being in this position.

We draw the same conclusion about the responsibility of Sinn Féin in relation to the recent series of abductions and robberies. In our view Sinn Féin must bear its share of responsibility for all the incidents. Some of its senior members, who are also senior members of PIRA, were involved in sanctioning the series of robberies. Sinn Féin cannot be regarded as committed to non-violence and exclusively peaceful and democratic means so long as its links to PIRA remain as they are and PIRA continues to be engaged in violence or other crime. Although we note Sinn Féin has said it is opposed to criminality of any kind it appears at times to have its own definition of what constitutes a crime. We do not believe the party has sufficiently discharged its responsibility to exert all possible influence to prevent illegal activities on the part of PIRA.[my emphasis]

As the IMC report acknowledges (page 9 paragraphs 20-21) –

If the Northern Ireland Assembly was now sitting we would be recommending the implementation of the full range of measures listed in paragraph 12,
including exclusion from office. We say this recognising that this would have implications for the running of the Executive and the Assembly.

And, so, their recommendation is –

…in the light of the provisions of the
legislation we have decided to recommend that the Secretary of State should consider exercising the powers he has in the absence of the Assembly to implement the measures which are presently applicable, namely the financial ones.

with a hint at possible further financial penalties for others to implement –

It has also been suggested that Sinn Féin should not continue to receive public money from other sources if they are denied it in the context of the Northern Ireland Assembly. However, this is outside the measures available to us to recommend.

  • spirit-level

    “it’s difficult to see how the report’s recommendations can be viewed as anything other than wholly inadequate”
    pete I wouldn’t be that depressed because there’s no sanctions.
    SF have been fingered, and are really being given a chance ( again ! ) to think things over.
    Unionist demands of punishments is not how to play SF right now IMO, SF are cornered and have to face the moral realities.
    Best to observe SF’s moves.. ssshhhh.

  • spirit-level

    softly softly catchee monkee

  • drumcree

    spirit level – as long as SF/PIRA are quite clear there are no more nuts never mind banannas to be thrown to the monkey

  • spirit-level

    drumcree nice one
    just give em enuf rope……
    psst… don’t tell everyone 😉

  • Malachy

    Does anyone think the publication of this report and the continuing efforts to humiliate the leaders will have a negative effect on the votes gained by Sinn Fein in future elections north or south ?

    Is it possible that it will serve to increase their support ?

  • spirit-level

    That’s the 64mill question Malachy.

    If there’s no person or no nationalist party that can achieve support for exclusively democratic politics amongst SF voters;
    then its hard to see how their mandate will be any less after the next election.

    As a nationalist I’m heartened to see SF being taken on by Irish Parties,this ought to mean less support.

    I don’t quite agree with you on the point you made about
    “continuing efforts to humiliate the leaders.”

    They are having to face reality,
    its difficult for them.
    They have humiliated themselves
    and brought shame upon themselves already.

    We don’t need to put the boot in.

    Let them stew in their own juices.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Gerry Adams has publicly challenged Ahern to have him arrested. This is all very exciting 🙂

  • Malachy

    The governments are publicly stating that SF politicians are involved in a specific crime – they will have to do something to back it up.

    If they do produce evidence, surely they will have to arrest those responsible.

    If they do not produce evidence and follow it up, surely Adams or Sinn Fein collectively has access to European if not Irish or British Courts for libel ? Furthermore, it will be shown to be nothing other than an effort to humiliate

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Malachy, since nobody has been named there can’t be any suing for libel.

    I assume arrests will be forthcoming as the police investigation proceeds.

  • James

    “I assume arrests will be forthcoming as the police investigation proceeds.”

    If the perps don’t die of old age in the meantime.

  • Malachy

    Surely some leading Sinn Fein politician will now have to be named and arrested.

    I believe the british and irish governments have dug a bigger hole for themselves than for Sinn Fein.

  • spirit-level

    Malachy
    It’s because the british and irish gov’ts
    dont want to humiliate Sinn Fein that
    they are not naming names.
    I believe you have you moral wire crossed.

  • Malachy

    I may have both moral and legal wires crossed or I may just not be familiar enough with politics in the British Isles.

    However it looks to me that the British and Irish govts. have put themselves is a tenuous position by publicly stating that senior members of SF are guilty of a specific crime.

    It would be unusual for example for the labour party to accuse the conservatives of a specific crime and expect it to just be left at that.

    Surely they will now have to produce evidence and arrests including those of the senior members.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    “However it looks to me that the British and Irish govts. have put themselves is a tenuous position by publicly stating that senior members of SF are guilty of a specific crime.”

    A lot of people are going to look very, very stupid if evidence becomes available suggesting it was not the IRA. You’ve got the two governments, the chiefs of the two police forces on the island, the IMC, all the political parties and all the newspapers. Pretty much everyone, except Sinn Fein.

    One of the several reasons I believe the IRA were behind the robbery is the way that senior individuals in the authorities have publicly staked their respective careers on it. The more interesting thing is that a lot of sources normally sympathetic to SF (eg Brian Feeney; Sunday Business Post; etc) have taken the side of the security forces too which is very unusual.

    “It would be unusual for example for the labour party to accuse the conservatives of a specific crime and expect it to just be left at that.”

    There were lots of examples of this during the 90s, eg Tory sleaze allegations, Jonathan Aiken, Jeffrey Archer etc. We have the added detail that SF are linked to the IRA and the IRA are known to rob banks and knock over local businesses. After all how else could the one true government of Ireland survive ? They can hardly collect income tax off people.

  • Henry94

    Roger

    It is for the reasons you outline that I believe any evidence of involvement by anyone other than the IRA willl be buried deep.

    I think a credible international body like Amnesty International should be given a role in supervising the investigation.

    When political and police reputations are on the line the chances of a miscarraige of justice are increased.

    We have now had the iRA declared guilty by the Police, the governments and the IMC. But nobody has faced court. I expect senior members of Sinn Fein to be questioned about the robbery following this report. If they are not then the IMC will lose any credibility it had.

  • aquifer

    Don’t penalise SFIRA. Pay the other parties compensation for having had to wait for decommissioning and a settlement.

    Are the governments prepared to pay bigtime for repression of the IRA while trying democracy to exhaustion? The GFA gave them the authority to overule the ethnic parties and impose a just constitutional settlement. They indulged them instead. Why stop now?

  • New Yorker

    Even here in NY we kmow about the photographic evidens of the Northern Bank job van going up a lane in Ballinaby, to the place of a man I do not have to name, on the Armagh/Louth border. It was really stupid, but goons are not the amrtest peole. We also have heard about a contentious meeting in Jonesboro three weeks ago when the law was laid down by the hard men to Gerry and the jailbirds. I guess we are more in touch with what’s going on there than you guys.

  • JC47

    Bertie Ahern does not have the authority to have Gerry Adams arrested.In a democracy like the ROI there is seperation between state and the judical system. Unlike a paramilitary state where political leaders can have a woman dragged from her home in front of her 10 children and shot in the back of the head. In a democracy it’s called murder; in Sinn Fein land it’s not even a crime.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    New Yorker, if that photographic evidence exists it isn’t public. Did you see it, and if so where ?

  • cg

    “Even here in NY we kmow about the photographic evidens of the Northern Bank job van going up a lane in Ballinaby”

    NY, I thought you lived in South Armagh

    I presume you mean evidence not evidens?

    Show us the evidence you have

    “It was really stupid, but goons are not the amrtest peole”

    LOL, Pot, kettle, black HA HA, before you question anyone else’s intelligence learn how to spell

    “We also have heard about a contentious meeting in Jonesboro three weeks”

    Exactly where in Jonesborough did this fictional meeting take place?

    “when the law was laid down by the hard men to Gerry and the jailbirds”

    Gerry was in Jonesborough, When?

    “I guess we are more in touch with what’s going on there than you guys.”

    I am really worried that Americans like you have access to nuclear weapons 😉

  • Barry Turner

    Just a thought.

    I watched the highly entertaining Heart and Minds Q&A programme.

    What struck me most were Secretary of State Paul Murphy’s remarks on the IMC report. Twice he stated emphatically that the report left him in no doubt whatsoever that the IRA were guilty.

    Let’s think about that for a moment. Here we have one of the most senior members of government commenting on “evidence” that is not sufficiently strong to lay before a court; were it so then the raiders would surely be arrested by now. Yet Mr Murphy, having spent two whole hours reading the report, is in no doubt at all who dunnit. Presumably, were it in his power, then Mr Murphy would be prepared to convict the suspects and put them behind bars for a long time.

    In light of such an irresponsible rush to judgement by a Secretary of State, we can begin to understand how the Conlons, Maguires and other innocents came to be banged up.

    Should all UK citizens be worried?

  • Davros

    commenting on “evidence” that is not sufficiently strong to lay before a court

    How do you know this? He said he has seen some of the evidence. Have you seen any of the evidence ?
    Court standards don’t apply to his judgement. Therefore he may have seen conclusive evidence that is inadmissable, or evidence that for various reasons they do not want made public – e.g. to protect a source.

  • cg

    “or evidence that for various reasons they do not want made public”

    because it shows the IRA didn’t do it 😉

  • Davros

    because it shows the IRA didn’t do it 😉

    You got me there LOL

  • cg

    Long live the fox 😉

  • Barry Turner

    Wouldn’t the responsible course have been for Paul Murphy to say something like “in the absence of further evidence I cannot comment at this point”?

    I don’t like politicians in high office making statements based on no hard evidence. Didn’t GW Bush take the US to war against Iraq because he had “irrefutable” proof of a Saddam-Al-Qaida link, not to mention WMDs?

    Posters to this board can say whatever they like but men in high office should be more careful.

  • Davros

    Posters to this board can say whatever they like

    Oh no they cannot say whatever they like 😉

  • cg

    They can Davros but they have consequences

  • Henry94

    I thought Question Time was great. The audience member who asked Martin McGuinness what himself and Mitchell McLaughlin were doing discussing the monarchy was very sharp.

    And David Trimble starting out with his “bigger than Watergate” face but ending up joking about fishing with McGuinness.

    The fact that his personality emerged like that was a hopeful sign. No fear of that with Donaldson of course. It can’t emerge if it’s not there.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Some moments in QT were heated mainly due to McGuinness’ ignorance at not allowing other people their turn to speak. Aside from those I thought a lot of it was very warm hearted – McGuinness made a few jokes and even Donaldson smiled a bit. Did anyone spot the seating arrangements, McGuinness was next to Donaldson ? Previously on QT the seats were very carefully arranged so that the unionists did not sit next to the SF people.

  • alex s

    While the ‘crack’ on Question Time appears to have pleased the political junkies at home one wonders how it appeared over the water?

  • Alan2

    Barry – who is to say that this eveidence is not from an intelligence agent / informer within the IRA (is that state collussion with the IRA?) and to produce the evidence is to “out” the informer which might be against national security interests?

  • Alan2

    McGuiness and Durkan were both biting at the champ for each other. And McGuiness now has a “conscience” problem with fishing when talking about the hunting ban not applying to NI.

  • J Kelly

    Alan if the evidence comes from a informer/agent they couldn’t be that well placed as the job weny down and quite sucessfully from the robbers point of view. This agent/informer national security line is the oldest trick in the book for not releasing information or evidence.

    The PSNI have announced that they found nothing in Beragh. When these raids began the PSNI said it was intelligence that led them to this location it now looks like this intelligence was wrong maybe the rest is wrong as well.

    Does anyone think that maybe Hugh Ordes job is at risk over this entire situation. The biggest robbery ever on his watch, no signs at all it was coming, no evidence, no arrests and it looks more and more unlikely of them ever finding the money.

  • Alan2

    Yeah except Bertie Ahern also has evidence from the Garda and the G2 unit of the Irish Army.

    “This agent/informer national security line is the oldest trick in the book for not releasing information or evidence.”

    True but then again they could also be correct….

    As to the informer nor being well placed…so what..maybe he (or she) didnt gain an intelligence until after the raid and they were trying to shift huge amounts of money…..it could be for any number of reasons.

    I have no reasons to doubt the word of Bertie Ahern, Michael MCDowell, the Garda Commissioner, Hugh Orde, Paul Murphy, Tony Blair or the IMC. I do however have numerous reasons to suspect Sinn Fein IRA and indeed Loyalist grouping of criminal and paramilitary activities.

  • J Kelly

    You have no reason to doubt the word of Bertie Ahern the man who knew nothing of the brown envelopes running around Dublin when he was Haugheys right hand man. Michael McDowell has one big reason for lying to ensure that Sinn Fein do not become the next coalition partner and he and his party become extinct. Garda Commisioner the heavy gang, sallins, Donegal the garda are far from whiter than white. Murphy, Blair, and Orde one thing that brings them alltogether Pat Finucane. All these people and the organisations or parties have in the past lied or not been economical with the truth as have SF leaders so to end this once and for all Produce The Evidence

  • Ringo

    J Kelly –

    Murphy, Blair, and Orde one thing that brings them alltogether Pat Finucane

    eh??

    How exactly did a pair of backbench labour MPs (one a shaddow Spokesman on Welsh Affairs and the other the Shadow Secretary of Employment) and a London Police officer have anything to do with Pat Finnucane’s death?

    They can hardly be linked to him post-1989 now can they?

    Donegal Gardai – we’ll the worst of a long bad list of things they’ve done is to basically make explosives themselves, hidden them and find them.

    Now are you seriously suggesting that there are no members of Sinn Fein in Donegal that not alone have made explosives themselves, hidden them and then subsequently had them used to blow people up across the border? Are you appalled that the pair of gardai left all that good fertiliser go to waste?

    All these people and the organisations or parties have in the past lied or not been economical with the truth as have SF leaders so to end this once and for all

    Typical republican apologist rubbish. ‘They lied sometime and we lied sometime so we’re all as bad as each other. The did some bad things and we did some bad things so we’re all as bad as each other. But we did it for Ireland they did it for greed’. It might work on the poorly educated, historic simpletons with whom Sinn Fein find favour, but that’s about it. And lets face it, they don’t really care one way or the other anyway.

    And if you want to really want to go into a comparison between Bertie Aherns integrity versus that of Gerry Adams, or Michael McDowells for that matter please do….

    Produce The Evidence
    The mantra doesn’t work. For some particular reason people are slow going on the record regarding activities involving the IRA.

    Sinn Fein are asking the police forces to produce the evidence but they are explicitly refusing to advise the anyone with any such evidence to provide it to the PSNI OR even more damningly, the Gardai. Is this normal behaviour from a democratic party in your view?

  • J Kelly

    Murphy, Blair and Orde may have had nothing what so ever to do with the killing of Pat Finucane but all three are to this day involved in the attempted cover up. Orde was part of the Stevens Team so he knows all the craic in relation to what happened what has he done about it since becoming Cheif Constable not a thing. Blair and Murphy have had access to both the Stevens and Cory report on this matter and are still actively blocking the inquiry.

    Did you not have answer for the heavy gang tactics or the framing of Nicky Kelly. So its alright for corrupt garda to mess about with the law because ‘They lied sometime and we lied sometime so we’re all as bad as each other. The did some bad things and we did some bad things so we’re all as bad as each other. But we did it for Ireland they did it for greed’.

    Ahern can I take it by your silence that you agree with me on this issue.

    Produce the evidence is not a republican mantra its a simple question and one that in such circumstances is quite fair and proper. The government in the republic has spent millions because many of their leading politicans were being accused day and daily of corruption and sleaze. The innocent among them demanded of government to hold inquiries so that if any evidence was available it could be produced and produced it was. The most ironic moment of the last week was Fianna Fail Senator Martin Manseragh on a week in politics demanding the Martin Cullen be afforded due process. Martin Cullen is quite entitled to due process but so are Sinn Fein.

    “It might work on the poorly educated, historic simpletons with whom Sinn Fein find favour”, just for information ringo there were 342000 such people on this island at the last count and come the next election there will be more poorly educated, historic simpletons. And if you believe that the superior master race which you belong too is any more entitled to justice than those who vote for Sinn Fein I honestly pity you.

  • Ringo

    J Kelly –

    Well done. Not paragraph in the answer that hasn’t been trotted out by some Ubershinner in the past fortnight. The party will be proud.

    paragraph 1) – Policing, Securocrats, hidden agenda, collusion. Mix, sprinkle in Policemen, British political figures -stir vigorously then copy and paste.

    paragraph 2) – Policing, southern securocrats, hidden agenda, collusion. as above using free staters instead of brits.

    paragraph 3) – show us the evidence mantra, make equivalence between southern sleiveenists and Sinn Fein. (This time its equating hiring a PR firm for dubious reasons with the leaders of a policial party being implicated in the robbery of £26m via their paramilitary organisation.)

    paragraph 4) – mandate, 342,000.

    For use later: Unionist veto, majoritarianism, want to see the day all armed groups on this island etc etc…, discrimiation, 800 years of oppression.

    None of this drivel is an answer to the allegations lined up against Sinn Fein.

    Now is there any chance you’ll allow your own brain to come up with an answer without resorting to the usual old party line shite for once?

    Here we go:
    If anyone from a republican area supplied evidence or information leading to evidence proving the IRA committed the the police/gardaí wouldn’t their lives be in danger?

    Due process is being twarthed at source by Sinn Fein and the IRA, regardless of who did it. (Due process in the Omagh Bombing investigation is hindered by mainstream republicans. Not surprising really, the only difference between the Omagh bombers and the Provos is a few years.)

    So all utterances regarding the evidence mantra or due process, by youself and any other party liners are irrelevant.

  • aquifer

    There are a set of posters debating here concerned about the standards that apply in politics and public affairs,and about the legitimate and legally sanctioned use of force, and who have a basic assumption of equal rights.

    There are other posters who claim historic but obscure anticedents for their mission to rule, who refuse to be accountable to anyone but themselves, who exact tributes and steal private property by threat or violence, and who insist on retaining the right to use exemplary and extreme violence against anyone who questions their right to rule.

    Are there some aristos in the republican ranks?

  • cg

    “There are other posters who claim historic but obscure anticedents for their mission to rule, who refuse to be accountable to anyone but themselves, who exact tributes and steal private property by threat or violence, and who insist on retaining the right to use exemplary and extreme violence against anyone who questions their right to rule.”

    Which posters in particular?