Orde: Sinn Fein can join Policing Board tomorrow

Today, Hugh Orde gives Sharon O’Neill an interview focused on recent events (subs needed). The Bank raid and its consequences are in the foreground> He remains resolute on bringing the robbers to justice, but would welcome Sinn Fein onto the Policing Board: “If Sinn Fein don’t want to join, go and ask them why. They can join tomorrow as far as I am concerned”.

On sharing evidence in public he says:

We cannot share intelligence and evidence which will eventually, if we are successful, end up as the main prosecution case. No chief would do that. What is different here is no chief would come under the sort of pressure I came under for many weeks to attribute the crime.

I did not come rushing out to say ‘it was X, despite the pressure and despite the personal attacks on me for not doing that. However, it became operationally necessary, which was when I did stand up and say what I said.

It was operationally necessary for a number of reasons. One is it seems to have been forgotten there are some very real victims in this crime. People need to be reminded that this was a very brutal crime. Families were abducted, terrified, intimidation and threatened.

“Point two was it was impossible for my investigating officer, because of the ‘headless chickens’ running around trying to make political capital out of this, to get proper appeals into the press and proper information out to the public.

So it was getting in the way of the investigation, which was the other reason I decided it was necessary to do it [a press conference]. If people seriously think I was going to make such a statement without being 99.9 recurring per cent certain of my facts, then they must be mad. This is a career-threatening statement if it was wrong.

In terms of convincing people, be they from both sides of the divide, then they have to judge me on whether they trust me or not.

  • spirit-level

    I urge Sinn Fein to join.
    One of the biggest “mindset” problems SF has is on policing and the courts.
    Now I can understand the reluctance of a community perceiving itself, rightly IMHO, to be wary of a criminal justice system, especially when for the last 100yrs + it has been a total sectarian sham to them.
    But if they are serious about moving into a world of democratic institutions which include policing, criminal justice, respect for the law etc then they really have to join.
    The problem is that criminality is not top of SF’s agenda, ( it is for the Unionists)
    they want their United Ireland, by the back door. Expecting naively that law, courts , civic responsibility etc would somehow magically fit into place when the Unionists vote for UI.

  • ShayPaul

    SL

    I wish they would join also, and that everyone would support the police.

    Problem is “Trees don’t grow just because you shout at them”, you’ve got to get the basic conditions right.

  • mickhall

    ShayPaul,

    Good point, you cannot expect a community who have experienced decades of abuse from the RUC, etc, to suddenly believe all is rosy with law and order just because the former have changed their name to the PSNI. As ShayPaul says, “Problem is “Trees don’t grow just because you shout at them,” you’ve got to get the basic conditions right.”

    The question is, will the northern statelet ever be a cosy enough house to make the nationalist population feel welcome in.

    Regards.

  • Davros

    The question is, will the northern statelet ever be a cosy enough house to make the nationalist population feel welcome in.

    mick – I would suggest the real question is dare republicans ever allow the 6 counties to become a cosy enough house for nationalists ?

  • Alan2

    “to suddenly believe all is rosy with law and order just because the former have changed their name to the PSNI.”

    Never mind the hundreds of organisational changes, the new Police Ombudsman, The new Policing Board made uop from local lay people and local politicians, and the local District Policing Partnerships again made up from local communities.

    Was it not elements of SF IRA who were implicated along aside dissident Republicans in Cookstown for intimidating local Nationalist members of the DPP? How many attacks of SDLP members of the DPP?

    Who exactly is unaccountable here?

  • mickhall

    Davros,

    I agree, this is one of the contradictions SF face if they are serious about the GFA. The more ‘comfortable’ the north becomes for them, the less likely nationalist will be prepared to demonstrate against it, as injustices will be fewer. However this does not in itself mean their desire for reunification will lessen. It just means that using arms to achieve it will be off the agenda.

  • spirit-level

    Forget this word “cosy”, law courts aren’t meant to be cosy.
    What is required is a fair judiciary.

    And when McLauglin says about the IMC:
    “This is an undemocratic body and is merely another weapon in the British Government’s arsenal as they attempt to stop the advance of Sinn Fein.” This is BS.
    The British Gov’t have been shepherding this process along with others for years,
    they are not trying to stop the advance of SF.

    Can anyone see Martin mcGuiness dressed in a wig?

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    spirit-level, agreed. The advance of Sinn Fein could have been stopped a long time ago by excluding them from the talks leading up to the GFA.

    Mick H, the police have been radically transformed, not just had their name changed, and they are more accountable than any other police force in Europe. I wish republicans would just describe what they think needs changed. Silly things like “disband Special Branch” aren’t constructive.

  • cg

    The problem is that Nationalists weren’t just intimidated and harassed years ago but now as well. For the vast majority of Nationalists nothing has changed, it’s just the RUC with a new name.

    Until Unionists accept the very real and tangible concerns Nationalists and Republicans have with the psni then we can have no movement on the issue.

    Someone on this thread suggested that some in Sinn Féin were involved in harassing stoops who are members of DPP’s, can they provide proof.

  • mickhall

    Roger,

    You write, “Silly things like “disband Special Branch” aren’t constructive,” Why at this stage do you feel a political branch of the PSNI is necessary, when the north is already overloaded with MI5, Army Intelligence Corp and a host of their spin off’s. You see, in the rest of the UK the main job of the Special Branch is collating political intelligence, gaining info on environmentalists, trade union activists, Leftists and members of the BNP, plus English based supporters of Irish Republicans and other international groups such as the PLO also now keeping an eye on what goes on in the local mosques. For example in my area the local special branch even takes copies of all political letters sent to the local paper. None of the activities of any of the aforementioned groups is illegal.

    Thus in a democratic society should the police be doing such things, I think not. I realise due to the violence of the last thirty odd years the north is a different type of society to England, but surly if the nationalist community is to trust the police, the Branch should be the first to go. In any case what purpose does it serve, I bet the vast majority of its work is already replicated by the security organisations I have mentioned. Lets aim at the bobby on the beat and less of mockney James Bond.

  • Alan2

    “Sinn Féin were involved in harassing stoops who are members of DPP’s, can they provide proof”

    cookstown last year. search the bbc.

    all others are creditied to dissidents.

  • Alan2

    “You write, “Silly things like “disband Special Branch” aren’t constructive,” Why at this stage do you feel a political branch of the PSNI is necessary,”

    Every police force in the UK has a special branch by law.

    Special Branch
    History

    The Metropolitan Police Special Irish Branch was formed in March 1883, initially as a small section of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Metropolitan Police. It’s purpose was to combat, on a national basis, a ‘Fenian’ (Irish) campaign of terrorism which was prevalent on the United Kingdom mainland at the time. Subsequently, the term ‘Irish’ was dropped from the Branch’s title, as over time it took on responsibility for countering a wide range of extremist and terrorist activity.

    Responsibilities
    Gather, collate, analyse and exploit intelligence on extremist political & terrorist activity
    Initiate, develop and conduct intelligence operations against terrorists and political extremists
    Disseminate intelligence for operational use to law enforcement agencies at local, national and international levels
    Provide armed personal protection for Ministers of State, Foreign VIPs and other persons at threat from terrorist or extremist attack
    Police the ports within the London area to detect terrorist or criminal suspects while travelling into, or out of the country
    Assist other Government agencies to counter threats to the security of the United Kingdom from:
    Public disorder
    The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, whether nuclear, biological or chemical
    Espionage by foreign powers
    Subversion of the democratic process
    Terrorism by Irish or International groups
    Sabotage of the infrastructure of the UK.

  • Alan2

    What exactly are you opposed to here?

    Exactly how does the PSNI operate differently to any other police force such as the Met, NYPD or Garda?

    Apart from the fact that the PSNI is the most accountable police force in the world?

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Is this the same Hugh Orde begging Sinn Fein to join the Policing Board as supplied the ‘intelligence’ to the Irish and British govts. and the IMC implicating SF leaders and the IRA in the Northern Bank robbery? Surely that doesn’t compute? If they carried out the robbery as Orde et al allege, then how can he credibly be inviting them to join the PB?

    Perhaps he now realises he’s been sold a pup by MI5, now the spymasters in NI, and is trying to row back on the damage his initial attribution of blame has caused. He should beware of the danger of riding two horses at once.

    I don’t accept for one second the PSNI has changed one iota from RUC. This week they were found out about their anti Irish language attitude – see story on http://www.nuacht.com. They have a poster hanging in police stations throughout the north welcoming visitors in 34 languages – Irish not included.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Mick, Alan2 makes the point about other UK forces, but in addition the Gardai have a special branch. Nobody’s calling for them to be shut down. I’d love to hear where you got your information about what the PSNI special branch are collecting. Have you passed a dossier to the Police Ombudsman ?

    The disbandment of the Branch wasn’t a stipulation of the Patten report, which Sinn Fein accepted and have requested be implemented in full with the implication that if it is they will support the resulting force.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    “I don’t accept for one second the PSNI has changed one iota from RUC. This week they were found out about their anti Irish language attitude – see story on http://www.nuacht.com. They have a poster hanging in police stations throughout the north welcoming visitors in 34 languages – Irish not included. “

    Wise up and wind your neck in. They leave Irish off a poster and this means they have an anti-Irish policy, absolute rubbish. There are a zillion places and organizations throughout the island of Ireland that don’t have Irish anywhere inside because they either forgot about it or think it’s a waste of time – that’s a sad but true indictment of the state of the language, not the PSNI’s cultural appreciation.

  • Alan2

    “Hugh Orde begging Sinn Fein to join the Policing Board as supplied the ‘intelligence’ to the Irish and British govts”

    Don`t forget the Garda Commissioner addressing Bertie and tony with Garda and G2(Irish MI5) intelligence reports.

  • Alan2

    Did the same PSNI posterhave an Ulster-Scots, Welsh,Scottish Gaelic welcome?

  • abucs

    Oilbhéar Chromaill / cg,

    what would you like to see change in the PSNI/policing arrangements for you to accept policing ?

  • Davros

    OC – any chance you might return to the thread where you talked of Priests being killen in 1969 ?

  • alex s

    Oilbhéar Chromaill how many of the provinces citizens only speak Irish?

  • PaddyCanuck

    Alan2:

    Your are forgetting a few Special Branch activities, and responsibilities, including:

    Recruiting,
    Training,
    Suppling weapons and information,
    and Covering up crimes of
    Loyalist Death Squads.

    All in secrecy and outside the realm of democratic scrutiny.

    Add also to the fact that the special branch is made up of Colluders, and human rights abusers, who are alnost entirely unionist and anti-republican/nationalist in orientation.

    They are secatian in nature and politically motivated.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    I believe that on the balance of evidence Orde probably didn’t want to get involved in the political theatre that has surrounded the Northern job. He obviously doesn’t want to spoil any chance of getting the met job, but join the circus he did.

    Orde and the apologists for his force probably think that they can get away with the lack of arrests or discovery surounding the robbery, preferring instead to give the wink, wink over intelligence. Unfortunately for these people we can judge the intelligence available to the PSNI.

    Raids are the most obvious manifestation of this intelligence, afterall we are told that the PSNI do not follow the old practices of the RUC and go on trawling expeditions through the nationalist community. The have to obtain warrants based on intelligence. It is fair to assume that given the pressure Orde et al are under these raids are based on the premier intelligence they have available. At that we can determine that the intelligence currently available to the PSNI is flawed and worthless.

    During dozens of raids in North & West Belfast pre Xmas, the PSNI, acting on their intelligence recovered absolutely nothing.
    This week the PSNI, acting on their intelligence, raided the homes of people at Beragh, Co Tyrone. Once again the results were fruitless and indicated the fact that once again the PSNI intelligence was worthless. The only thing that the PSNI succeeded in doing was to pin targets on the backs of the families involved.

    Given that intelligence from this source was central to the IMC report it is fair to draw the conclusion that a degree of scepticism be attached to the report. If nothing else the certainty of Grieve and Co delves into the realm of propaganda.

  • PONeill

    OC, I believe the PSNI have Irish language lessons available to their officers.
    I also think that the fact that Sinn Fein refuse to take on the new policing arrangements reinforces the view that they are involved in criminality or whatever you want to call it.
    What aspects of the Good Friday Agreement have Sinn Fein actually accepted? Would it be reasonable to say that Sinn Fein arent necessarily a pro Agreement party because they refuse to sign up to all it’s aspects?

  • spirit-level

    Pat
    You have me doubting now
    which is probably a good thing

  • mickhall

    Roger

    I was not describing what the PSNI SB do but what work is carried out by the SB in the rest of the UK. If you have a political police like the SB, then national security will be used as a reason not to have democratic accountability.

    What right has a chief constable or someone farther down the food chain to decide who is a subversive threat to the nation. It is ridiculous to give the police such powers as it will come back and bite us. As has happened in NI. The RUC SB was out of control due to the undemocratic nature of the NI state, especially over the last 30 odd years.

    The real question I posed is why the PSNI need there own political police that merely replicates the work already being done by MI5, Army Intelligence Corp, etc.

    As Paddy said in the north the SB is part of the problem, thus it should be shut down. As to the south having a SB, it is ridiculous, a nation of a few million having political police is a recipe for disaster. If I lived down there I would campaign to have it shut down before SF gets into government.

    Before someone claims it, I am not saying nations do not need national security agencies, but they should all be politically accountable. Learn from the past, the NI state has had a SB (I think) since its formation, little good it has done. since 1969 it was expanded massively, little good it did. As I said, clean the stables.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Roger

    The PSNI had to go to a great deal of trouble to exclude the Irish language to a poster which included 34 other languages. It takes a great deal of research to find 34 other languages in NI which might or not be spoken and to exclude a language which 162,000+ have knowledge of at least – and which is spoken daily by a significant proportion.
    It also takes some doing given the duty placed on the Government – of which the PSNI is an agent – by its commitment in the Good Friday Agreement to take take positive action to promote the Ianguage in public life and, to remove any restrictions on its use in public. Incidentally these commitments are published on the same page as decommissioning – remember that – in the GFA.
    I don ‘t know of any positive measure taken by the PSNI to promote the use of Irish within their ranks. since it was reported that some officers were taking Irish classes. I never came across one of these officers – do they exist at all? Or are they a PR illusion?

    The main question I posed in my post on Friday has not been answered. How can Hugh Orde welcome on board the Policing Board the party fingered by his briefing as the sanctioners of the Northern Bank robbery? It does not compute.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    The PSNI had to go to a great deal of trouble to exclude the Irish language to a poster which included 34 other languages.

    How do you know this ? Are you a spy or something?

    It takes a great deal of research to find 34 other languages in NI which might or not be spoken and to exclude a language which 162,000+ have knowledge of at least – and which is spoken daily by a significant proportion.

    Believe it or not old chap, there is a whole exciting world out there outside of NI waiting to be discovered. Immediately on our doorstep is a place called “Europe”, to which we are closely linked, and I suspect you will find the 34 languages are spoken in abundance there.

    It also takes some doing given the duty placed on the Government – of which the PSNI is an agent – by its commitment in the Good Friday Agreement to take take positive action to promote the Ianguage in public life and, to remove any restrictions on its use in public. Incidentally these commitments are published on the same page as decommissioning – remember that – in the GFA.

    I do not see how that provision of the GFA has been violated. There is nothing requiring any government agency, department or body in NI to use Irish or have signs in Irish and, accordingly, many of them do not.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Mick why are you singling out the British ? The Gardai have a Special Branch too and it harrasses Sinn Fein and the republicans all the time. Here’s an excerpt I found from an SF Ard Fheis speech following a quick Google :

    ===============================================

    At a meeting in Killinarden, in my Dublin South-West constituency earlier this year, local Garda Inspector Burke pleaded with a drugs meeting that while he was prepared to work with us “110 per cent”, he did not control the Special Branch. In fact, while he was inside talking to us, the Special Branch was outside taking down car numbers and spying on Burke’s audience.

    So who does control the Special Branch? Who guards the Guards?

    Who was responsible for ordering the arrest and charging of more than 20 anti-drugs activists for daring to defend their families and their communities.

    ===============================================

    Here’s a link describing the Garda SDU’s function. Is it really that far removed from the activities of Special Branches in the UK ?

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Your answer displays the wilful ignorance we have to deal with here in the north of Ireland in relation to matters cultural.

    In the Agreement the British Government commits itself to take resolute action to promote the language, to facilitate and encourage the use of the Irish language in speech and in writing in public and private life, seek to remove restrictions which would discourage or work against the promotion or development of the language and, possibly most importantly in the context of this discussion…
    make provision for liaising with the Irish language community.
    This i suggest involves speaking with us in our own language – not in 34 languages which we do not speak.
    As for Europe, it’s not just out there. We are European. And so is the British government who ratified Part 3 of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages in respect of Irish, a ratification if you cared to research it entails public authorities, such as the police, recognising effectively the special postion of Irish as a native language.

    if you do not see how the provisions of the GFA in this regard then you are being wilfully blind or just plain bigoted.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    if you do not see how the provisions of the GFA ARE BEING WILFULLY VIOLATED in this regard then you are being wilfully blind or just plain bigoted.

  • Davros

    OC – which priests were killed in 1969 ?

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Thanks Davros for pointing out to me that the year was wrong. Fr Hugh Mullan was shot by British soldiers in August 1971 while Fr. Noel Fitzpatrick was shot by British soldiers in July 1972. Fr Mullan had been administering the last rites, under a truce flag, to a wounded man and Fr Fitzpatrick was also carrying out the same sacrament to another wounded man when he was gunned down by a British sniper.

    Now can we return to this thread and deal with the questions I posed regarding the PSNI?

  • Davros

    Thanks OC –

    1) Fr Mullan was shot during a gun battle

    2) Noel Fitzpatrick wasn’t, according to CAIN, a priest.

    now we have refuted your attempt to misrepresent events of 1969…..

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Fr Mullan was shot during a gun battle while holding a flag of truce – a heinous act whenever it was carried out.

    Fr Fitzpatrick, according to Lost Lives, was a priest. His funeral was officated by his brother and was also attended by Cardinal Conway. He was involved in administering Last Rites.

    In 1969 a loyalist mob, led by a Unionist MP, John McQuade, invaded nationalist areas and burned people out of their homes. The B Specials – the hard men of the paramilitary RUC, went amok with machine guns, killing nine year old Patrick Rooney in his bed. Protestant Herbert Roy, who was part of a mob invading Dover Street, was shot by a republican. The rest of the shooting was done by the B Specials.

  • Davros

    Sorry OC – you have been caught out. You were trying to misrepresent 1969. Even IF two priests died during the 70’s that still doesn’t justify your attempts to misrepresent events of 69.
    Two protestants were killed in August 69, not one – which rather damages attempts by people like you to portray the Catholics as defenceless ….and adding in fictitious priest-killings is despicably sectarian of you.

    I have great respect for priests who went out during riots and gunbattles to minister – in fact I take it as a sign of divine blessing that so few were killed considering that the battles were so bloody.They were very, very brave men. And don’t forget to mention the innocent civilians killed by the IRA gunmen during these battles.

    But of course OC you won’t mention events of October 1969 when protestant civilians were killed by the British Army in battles in protestant areas as that wouldn’t suit your sectarian misrepresentations of the troubles.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    I may have got the dates wrong – but those two priests were killed. And if anyone’s adapting a blinkered view, it’s yourself. The fact is that the loyalists rampaged through Bombay Street and other streets razing them to the ground, they were led by a unionist politician and protected by the armed B Specials.

    If the British Army shot Protestants in October, that’s their business – but it might be worth pointing out that the killings of George Dickie and Herbert Hawe followed the shooting dead of the first RUC victim of the Troubles, Victor Arbuckle, who was killed by loyalists.

    I have no difficulty accepting there was wrong on both sides and acknowledging factual errors when they occur. But I won’t be called sectarian by a person such as yourself who would deny what really happened in 1969, the events which we are still trying to unravel today. Just as some people try to deny there ever was a Holocaust, others, like yourself, try to deny the bloody anti Catholic anti Irish nature of the Northern state and the events whcih are at the heart of our current impasse.

  • Davros

    Too late OC – you played the anti-priest card in respect of 1969 and were caught out. You didn’t get the dates wrong. You have had to be forced to retract your attempts to mislead about events of 1969.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    There was a factual error on my part – that’s it.

    Your policy appears to be deliberate information. Ag cur an dubh ina gheal ar as tis said in Irish.

    I hope now that we can return to the topic in hand

  • Davros

    As the Munster Proverb has it OC :’Ná bí ag déanamh Máire Ní Ógáin díot féin’.

    Stick to facts and when you do make a genuine mistake, own up to it.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Roger
    How come that you’re now so ‘silent and grave’ about the issue of the PSNI and the Irish language. Yesterday you were a ‘foolish prating knave’ on the issue?

  • Christopher Stalford

    “The problem is that Nationalists weren’t just intimidated and harassed years ago but now as well. For the vast majority of Nationalists nothing has changed, it’s just the RUC with a new name.”

    Nationalists were intimidated and harrassed on a much bigger scale by the IRA than they ever were by the police, maybe that’s why 75% of them in the Community Attitude Survey in 1998 cited fear of attack against them or their families as the main reason deterring from joining the RUC.

    Perhaps some people, after decades of lawlessness and criminality simply don’t want to be policed at all?

    Furthermore if you wan’t to talk about intimidation and harrassment, take a look at the fate suffered by the RUC officers murdered by criminal IRA scum down through the years. Intimidation indeed.

    Am I the only person who finds the moral-duplicity of Provo supporters disgusting?

  • cg

    “75% of them in the Community Attitude Survey in 1998”

    I prefer to look at more reliable evidence, elections

    Sinn Féin is the largest Nationalist party in the 6 counties and the 3rd largest on the island.

    The majority of the Nationalist electorate support Sinn Féin’s view on policing.

    You can try and pretend that its Republicans fault that Nationalists as a whole don’t support policing. They are ineffective and incompetent except at where thwarting the peace process is concerned.

    “take a look at the fate suffered by the RUC officers murdered by criminal IRA scum down through the years”

    Yes Chris the IRA killed RUC and
    British army, it’s what tends to happen in a war.

    What’s your point?