'We don't go around picking up people off the streets'

As Mick has noted, the bombast level appears to be stuck at 11. But the Taioseach wasn’t slow in responding to the ‘come and get us’ demand – “The one thing we don’t do in our kind of politics is go around picking up people off the streets, that’s other political people do that” – Ouch.

The Irish Times covers the same ground, Ahern ridicules claims by Adams on criminality

As Mr Adams said he wanted to meet the Taoiseach as soon as possible to try to calm the fevered political atmosphere, Mr Ahern went on the offensive to describe Sinn Féin’s repeated denial of IRA involvement in the robbery and other crimes as “senseless”.

A day after the Independent Monitoring Commission report led to renewed tensions between the Government and Sinn Féin, Mr Ahern dismissed Mr Adams’s claim that he should arrest the Sinn Féin president for involvement in the robbery.

At a Fianna Fáil function in Naas, Co Kildare, he said the law of the land did not allow him to arrest anyone.

“I just want to get on with it. I think all of this thing is a little bit childish, a bit of nonsense. There are serous matters that have happened and it’s no good people letting on that they didn’t. That’s silly,” he said.

Mr Ahern said that the IRA’s involvement in crimes set out in the IMC report was a matter of fact and had been corroborated by the Garda, the PSNI and the British government.

“They’ve happened. We knew they’ve happened. And all we want to do is get to the end of it and get on with implementing the Good Friday agreement,” he said.

“Letting on that the other cigarettes weren’t taken, or that the drink wasn’t taken, or the petrol wasn’t taken, or the punishment beatings didn’t happen, sure that’s kind of childish stuff and, I mean, all we were stating were facts.”

Even more pointed was the quote attributed to a spokesman for the Taoiseach in this UTV report

Anybody familiar with the rule of law in this country would know well that the Taoiseach has no power to direct the arrest of anyone.”[my emphasis]

And so it continues, with Adams calling for “clear the air talks”, and, in this RTE report claiming that the issue at the heart of the current problem was – “Sinn Féin’s radical political alternative”.. although.. wasn’t that radical alternative what Bertie was referring to?

Meanwhile, those questions haven’t gone away you know

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    It was clear from Orde’s interview in the Irish News that we was trying to distance himself from the ongoing argument of who knew what and when. Bertie and Mc Dowell seem to want to retain the right to say what they want when they want and get a bit miffed when asked to back up their argument.

    I actually feel a degree of sympathy with unionists when they state that iff all these allegations are true and can be substantiated, then why aren’t Adams et al arrested.

    Also Bertie’s mock horror of who and under what circumstances people can be arrested are a bit laughable considering the involvement of Fianna Fail in the Dowra affair.

  • alex s

    Pat, whether or not it’s ever proved that the provos were involved in the bank hiest is of secondary importance, the problem for the Shinners is that the vast majority of the population know that the provos are up to their necks in crime, be that the Northern Bank, Makro,stealing lorry loads of cigarettes or the shooting young men through both hands. It may be that 340 000 nationalist/republician voters are prepared to look the other way, the rest of us are’nt!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    alex s,

    It is not of secondary importance at all, as we head into an election it is in fact of primary importance. Simply because the SDLP have attached themselves very firmly to the PSNI. I believe that if the PSNI carry on they way they did at Beragh (and in their desperation for results they may well do so) the SDLP may suffer as a result. The argument within nationalism will then switch, as it will, to the behaviour of the PSNI.

    I think that you’re claim to speak for everyone else is a bit dubious, i’m prepared to wait for May 5 and see how things pan out. I believe that the SF vote will increase yet again.

  • Davros

    Pat – apart from looking a bit foolish with diggers-
    I wonder who slipped them the dodgy info, cui bono ? , How did the PSNI misbehave at Beragh as you seem to be implying ? Were there any beatings or Doors kicked in during the wee small hours ?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    they invaded the homes and property of these families in a quite overt way and very publicly linked this family to the robbery. Unionist paramilitaries have been pointed in their direction.

    As for the dodgy info, that petard is of the PSNI’s own making. Just to think it was that type of info the IMC was acting on.

    Let’s just admit it, the PSNI aren’t very good. Maybe an advert in the daily newspapers would help LOL.

  • Davros

    Pat- how does one search premises and use a digger covertly ? It all looked open and above board to me . It wasn’t as if the police abducted any family members and said cooperate or your family die, is it ?

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Pat, Sinn Fein attach themselves rather firmly to the IRA. Don’t you think that murder by stabbing the other week is going to be a factor in the elections?

    Why would the nationalist electorate ignore a murder but have strong opinions over an invasive PSNI search ? Even for people who are republican minded, the IRA has often shot dead people on mistaken identity or false information. Is the PSNI being held to standards that the IRA isn’t ?

  • ShayPaul

    We have been told by everyone from the Taoiseach to the IMC that the IRA is guilty of the bank raid, and also that the leadership of SF sanctioned said raid.

    No evidence has been forthcoming, but we are expected to hold faith with Mr Orde and his secret service personnel.

    Why then are the PSNI digging up Tyrone looking for crocs of twenty pound notes.

    I know that rainbows only appear on rainy days when the sun shines, but is this really the height of the “intelligence” on which all and sundry are acting ?

  • alex s

    Pat, you miss my point, whether the Shinners vote goes up will not will be as relevant as which of the 2 unionist parties come out on top, none of them will have any real power and that is the fault of the provos, as for your comments about the searching in Beragh, at least the families did’nt end up in the bog like a good many others over the years who found themselves at odds with provo justice, and on the subject of provo justice, what about those shot through the hands following the collaspe of the talks, not everyone is turning a blind eye!

  • ShayPaul

    alex s

    ” as for your comments about the searching in Beragh, at least the families did’nt end up in the bog “

    Whataboutery !

    Surely it is a reasonable debating point to remark that the PSNI searched an area for 2 days for nothing, this clearly weakens the “rock solid intelligence” that we are all expected to believe exists ?

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    “Surely it is a reasonable debating point to remark that the PSNI searched an area for 2 days for nothing, this clearly weakens the “rock solid intelligence” that we are all expected to believe exists ?”

    No, it doesn’t. It just means the police did a search and didn’t find anything. This happens frequently enough with police forces around the world, and if republicans had a more mature attitude to policing the society they hold a stake in they would understand that. There isn’t a single police force in the entire world which at all times possesses 100% razor-sharp intelligence. upon which it can rely, the only way it could would be to have a CCTV camera on every corner and a bug in every house. As a result he possibility exists, irrespective of what state or nation we live in, that some day we are likely to suffer as a result of the police pursuing an investigation even if we are not suspects.

    Regarding the evidence the police do have, the various players who believe it was the IRA say they do so on the basis of intelligence and evidence that they’ve seen. We already know that this evidence does not comprise the van or the cash, since we already know that the police have not found those yet.

    [I’m wondering how easy it will be ever to find the van. Surely an experienced chap with an angle grinder and/or cutting torch could make light work of it … ]

  • ShayPaul

    Roger

    Going into an area to dig with a JCB for 2 days to look for the proceeds of a bank heist, is in most parts of the world an important act of policing.

    Anywhere in the world the fact that a “major” political party was linked to said heist by said police force is an important act of policing, and a very political act.

    After 2 days digging finding nothing, would anywhere in the world, lead non-aligned people interested in democracy to ask questions.

    But then of course we aren’t “anywhere in the world”.

    Keep politics out of policing, and police out of politics.

  • ShayPaul

    PS :

    ” There isn’t a single police force in the entire world which at all times possesses 100% razor-sharp intelligence. upon which it can rely, the only way it could would be to have a CCTV camera on every corner and a bug in every house”

    The NI statelet is up to its ears in intelligence agencies and camperas and bugs, god knows how banks survive in the rest of the world ?

  • aquifer

    “Let’s just admit it, the PSNI aren’t very good. Maybe an advert in the daily newspapers would help LOL.”

    Yes when dealing with professional criminals and subversives who are schooled in the rules of evidence and in how to resist prosecution we should go further.

    I would like to see full page adverts thanking informers for saving lives and inviting further applications. Only the brave need apply.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    “Going into an area to dig with a JCB for 2 days to look for the proceeds of a bank heist, is in most parts of the world an important act of policing. “

    With the attitude that you are expressing Shay, Fred West would never have been caught because you’d not have supported the police digging up his back garden and his house. Or would you ?

    “Keep politics out of policing, and police out of politics.”

    I’m all in favour of that, but in this context it is of no relevance to the question of whether or not that unfortunate family should have had their garden dug up or not which is what we are talking about. Let’s stick with the programme.

    “The NI statelet is up to its ears in intelligence agencies and camperas and bugs, god knows how banks survive in the rest of the world ?”

    That’s a silly statement I’m afraid. Sure there is a high instance of surveillance and intelligence gathering, but pretty much none of it is dedicated towards detecting or preventing domestic crime. In my opinion the bank’s procedures were clearly extremely lax.

  • Henry94

    Let’s not forget that in the run up to the last General Election Martin Ferris was arrested in a blaze of publicity. We were told charges would follow but of course they never did.

    Any claims that that arrest wasn’t political can hardly be taken seriously.

    Of course it didn’t stop him topping the poll in North Kerry.

  • Jacko

    “Keep politics out of policing, and police out of politics.”

    Nice soundbite, pity that it’s complete nonsense. Unless of course we want a police service that is accountable to nothing or no-one but itself. Is there a country in the democratic world where political decisions don’t impact directly on policing? Likewise, where policing isn’t directly accountable to elected politicians? Or where politicians, but locally and at a national level, don’t lay down the rules that police officers enforce?

  • ShayPaul

    Jacko

    The police are paid to apply the law not politics.

    If you look around you will find that societies in difficulties confuse the two, as you have just done.

    Roger

    Of course I support the police digging, when it is justified and based on reasonable intelligence, as would anyone. The digging is not the issue, it is the “rock solid intelligence” we are all expected to take for granted.

    As for silly remarks bout the bank – You cannot have it both ways :

    On the one hand accepting the word of the “intelligence forces” that “they did it and we have the evidence”.

    On the other hand saying “it is really impossible to know exactly what went on without a camera on every corner”.

  • ShayPaul

    The greatest error of the NI state-let was that it confused politics and the application of law.

    The police where embroiled in the political system and its application from the beginning.

    It is not surprising that Unionism objected so much to Patten, a conservative MP and governor of Hong Kong (hardly a closet republican).

    Why did they object ?

    Very simple really – they considered it “their” police force.

    This really is a key issue:

    Keep politics out of policing, and police out of politics.

  • Davros

    Shaypaul – are you saying that political parties are above the law ?

  • Davros

    The family involved – are they known to be involved with republican politics or have they been involved with a paramilitary grouping ? I hadn’t heard any suggestion of either – in which case why the screams ?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros & Roger,

    your defence of the PSNI is admirable, pathetic but amdirable nonetheless.

    Supporters of these people tell us that they although bereft of any evidence they do act on intelligence. That intellience has been put before our eyes with raids like Beragh. If that is the best the PSNI can offer then I would suggest that they should all resign as they are rapidly becoming an even bigger laughing stock than they already were.

    The fact that the SDLP have hitched their wagon to the old nag of the Continuity RUC perhaps indicates why that party has the reek of clay on it.

  • Davros

    ‘raids’ like Beragh ? What ARE you on about ?
    There was a robbery.
    Cops received info and they acted.
    They acted properly – no beatings, no doors kicked in at 2 AM, no hostages taken, no mother torn way from her children…

    C’mon Pat – it’s not as if the cops invaded a monastery. They went looking for a missing van in a scrapyard. Was it reasonable to decide that a scrapyard would be a credible location to find a missing van ?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    did they receive info? 2 months on from the robbery and the PSNI have achieved absolutely nothing and if Castlereagh is anything to go by they will not achieve anything.

    The much lauded and quoted PSNI intelligence has proven to be crap.

    We all know how the LVF et al operate, the PSNI have pointed them in the direction of the families at Beragh, a rotten, shameful but unfortunately natural thing for the police to do.

  • George

    Roger,
    “Sure there is a high instance of surveillance and intelligence gathering, but pretty much none of it is dedicated towards detecting or preventing domestic crime”

    But is it not the case that the PSNI claim the SF leadership knew and authorised this job which puts outside of “domestic crime”?

    They continue to have intelligence on SF and it seems strange to me that they would give up bugging them ahead of such important negotiations as those that happened in December.

    SF were bugged all the other times negotiations were going on so why do the PSNI say they have intelligence but don’t explain why they never acted on it at the time.

    The only other option is that they didn’t have any information at the time so how are they claiming SF leaders knew?

    Have they restarted bugging them and have Gerry and Martin discussed it since?

  • Davros

    You still haven’t justified using language like targetted pat. By all means criticise the Police when they get it wrong – but your attempts to portray this search in Beragh as being akin to RUC behaviour in late 60’s Derry is dishonest.

  • willowfield

    Amazing how Pat McLarnon has such knowledge and insight into the police investigation of the robbery.

    How does he know so much?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    targetted is a fair description of what happened. Two months on except for some old CCTV pictures of a van the PSNI are very publicly being seen not to be very good at their job. Personally I think Orde should consider his position.

  • willowfield

    Pat has high expectations for policing if he thinks investigations can be concluded in 2 months.

    With his insight and high standards, maybe Pat should replace Orde as chief constable?

  • Jacko

    Shaypaul
    “The police are paid to apply the law not politics.”

    Another nonsense line.

    Laws are the very epitamy of politics. Politicians make laws, police enforce them and courts interpret them.

    Good law, bad law, or indifferent the police apply whatever is laid down by their political masters and are also accountable to those same masters.

    The welfare or otherwise of any people depends on its politicians and its politics not its police. Like straws in the wind, the police go wherever the politicians blow them.

    Incidentally, police officers are duty bound to uphold and protect the state – how’s that for non-political?

  • cg

    “Good law, bad law, or indifferent the police apply whatever is laid down by their political masters and are also accountable to those same masters”

    That is exactly why the psni does not have the support of the majority of nationalists.

    The police should be accountable to the people and not their political masters (Spooks/Securocrats)

  • Davros

    The police should be accountable to the people

    which people ?

  • cg

    All the people

  • vespasian

    CG

    Who should SF/IRA be responsible to?

  • cg

    Sinn Féin are responsible to their electorate

  • johnhidd

    I agree that Hugh Ordure should consider his position. The sight of his officers, in full riot gear, cowering in fear from stone-throwing 10-year olds in the Markets area does not inspire confidence in the SDLPSNI.

  • alex s

    what about those shot through the hands following the collaspe of the talks, not everyone is turning a blind eye!

    To all those apparently concerned about the injustice of the police diggers in Beragh, no comment?

  • Warm Storage

    “Sinn Féin are responsible to their electorate.”

    So much for an Ireland of Equals…

  • alex s

    Can 26% of the electorate sanction punishment shootings?

  • Warm Storage

    Alex S,

    By endorsing that particular party, that’s exactly what they’re doing.

    342,000 people mightn’t be wrong, but they certainly have a propensity for naivety. By the way, has anyone done an audit on that figure? I’m aware it’s all-Ireland, but I wonder whether it only includes first-preference votes in the last Assembly election or is guilty of a bit of creative arithmetic.

  • ShayPaul

    Jacko

    “Shaypaul
    “The police are paid to apply the law not politics.”

    Another nonsense line.

    Laws are the very epitamy of politics. Politicians make laws, police enforce them and courts interpret them.

    Good law, bad law, or indifferent the police apply whatever is laid down by their political masters and are also accountable to those same masters.

    The welfare or otherwise of any people depends on its politicians and its politics not its police. Like straws in the wind, the police go wherever the politicians blow them.

    Incidentally, police officers are duty bound to uphold and protect the state – how’s that for non-political?

    Posted by: Jacko at February 13, 2005 09:11 PM”

    Obviously, you are really very confused about this Jacko.

    Politicians make laws of course, and the NI state-let made some very abusive ones.

    A state-let established undemocratically, mismanaged undemocratically, a complete and utter political failure.

    “A democracy is judged by the way it treats its minority.”

    By any measure of judgement the state-let fails miserably.

    To compound things the police where totally integrated into the political mindset to such an extent that they have often considered themselves above the law, and acted as a tool in the hands of their political masters.

    This is not the role of a normal police force in a normal state. The separation of judiciary and politics are essential in the preservation of a modern democratic state, that is what stops politicians from being above the law.

    This has lead to Unionists considering the police as “their” police and thereby creating the conditions for the isolation of the minority from the police.

    Tony Blair revealed this same mindset when he apologised to the Conlons for a judiciary error. This is a constitutional mistake as the prime minister cannot intervene on behalf of the judiciary, only the judiciary is competent to deliver such an apology.

    Perhaps Jacko could explain how in NI a First minister might be charged with corruption if evidence existed since as he claims :

    “Like straws in the wind, the police go wherever the politicians blow them.”

    Unfortunately he is right, that is why we are in such a mess in this place.

  • davidbrew

    Personally I think Orde should consider his position.

    Posted by: Pat Mc Larnon at February 13, 2005

    Perhaps you’d prefer Bobby Storey? bet he’d solve this crime…oops, wrong act, in minutes.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    davidbrew,

    i’d prefer Roger Hutchinson, at least he’d get to the bottom of it.

  • DerryTerry

    Can someone help me understand why some intelligence, like that which apparently points to the IRA for the Northern job is 100% and cannot be questioned, whilst at the same time other intelligence, say the Beragh stuff, is obviously not 100% sound and shouldn’t be expected to be?

    Surely you cannot have it both ways. Either all intelligence is to be accepted, or all intelligence has to be questioned. For my part I think intelligence should be viewed as unreliable until proven otherwise.

  • DCB

    Pat – there is a very real and visceral hatred between the LVF and the PSNI. No bad thing either.

  • alex s

    Derry Terry, was Al Capone a gangster or a tax evader?

  • Cill Ros

    ‘We don’t go around picking up people off the streets.’

    No, our method is more subtle. We open our airports to warplanes. Or shut down the hospitals so people can die on the side of the road. See? No blood on our hands.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Didn’t Ms. de Brun close down a hospital?

  • spirit-level

    Cill Ros
    ya old mucker ya
    its not such a long way from Live Journal.
    Nice to hear from yous