Meltdown unlikely.

Robin Livingstone, editor of the Andersontown News, has an interesting article in the Guardian, This crisis threatens to halt the advance of Sinn Féin, in which he assesses the impact of the Northern Bank Robbery and the McCartney murder on Sinn Féin.

My only objection to this otherwise excellent article is that he ignores the terrorising of the families held hostage during the robbery.

His comments about Wednesday’s IRA statement ring true, although the slightly acidic “keening” jars –

Sinn Féin’s terse response that anyone who knew anything should make a statement to their solicitor was in keeping with their opposition to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, but it sounded callous against the keening of the McCartney sisters, and the grumblings of discontent in Short Strand could be heard in Cork. Hence Wednesday’s unexpected IRA statement, which was warmly welcomed by the family. “Anyone who can help the family should do so,” the statement read.

Thin gruel indeed, you might think. But in the carefully considered language of P O’Neill, that line contained much more than nine words. Given that the family had stated that it was four-square behind the police in its attempts to catch the killer, any “help” given to them would be passed on to the PSNI. That’s a reality that the IRA acknowledged when it issued its statement.

Whether any witnesses will take advantage of this effective amnesty from the IRA to come forward only time will tell.

After pointing out that SF should consider themselves lucky to have 10 weeks to recover and regroup, he ends the article with a surprising reminder of the damage done by the disappeared.

  • aquifer

    The savagery and cynicism within the RM project is laid bare by their handling of the CcCartney and Northern Bank jobs. Political negotiations show that it is not all somebody elses fault, and demonstrate how the RM view their own interests. The Green Smokescreen of blame and sanctimony gets thin and patchy enough to catch glimpses of the bodies and moneybags.

    Sinn Fein remain consummate politicians, and the media are transfixed by them. Their political opposition are barely up to the task of jointly facing down the mix of gangsterism and electoralism.

    People are benefitting from peace and prosperity. The IRA can do away with this but this would be seen as only a cynical ploy and a diversion from the political task.

    Voters can avoid difficult moral choices by staying away from the polls, and that is bad enough for SF.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Acquifer,

    what would be achieved by voters staying away from the polls?

  • Henry94

    Having taken yesterdays events at face value I note that with the release of Tom Hanlon without charge and the charging of an alleged dissident there is as of now no link to Sinn Fein in this case.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Henry,

    Tom Hanlon was the personification of the ‘smoking gun’ to unionists, the media and the majority of bloggers to this site. He was the person who linked SF to the Northern robbery. This is despite the fact no link to the Northern was ever established to begin with.

    As you state he has been released but the reporting of such will not receive the fanfare of his arrest. His reputation as a completely innocent man has been vindicated, unfortunately the same cannot be said of others. I wonder if those people who run sites that are linked to slugger rush to get the names and addresses of the Gardai behind this arrest into the open as quickly as they did that of Tom Hanlon. Will they out the addresses of some of the journalists who quite obviously lied through their teeth during the past 48 hrs.

    It as quite obvious that even anchor newsmen on both the BBC and UTV joined in the hunt and found it difficult to contain their own bias (UTV especially take note). Will Jim Cusack ever be able to offer an’expert’ opinion without the place breaking into giggles.

    I could name some of the bloggers to Slugger who went down the ‘historical’ aspect of this case route and perhaps in more sober moments will reflect that their own contributions were more hysterical than historical.

    So at this time no one from SF is in custody on any charge. No link with the Northern job exists. The ‘smoking gun’ remains in the realms of fantasia.
    But of late we have had the Chief Executive of the UUP sentenced on fraudcharges another Senior UUP member from Fermanagh facing fraud charges and are currently awaiting the outcome of tests on money that was recovered from a complex used extensively by the PSNI.

    You’ve got to laugh at all that.

  • Davros

    A lot of what you write is fair comment pat – however I’ll point out a difference between your examples and those involving SF – neither of the UUP examples you quote involve violence – real or threatened – unlike the extortion case, the whole Binead saga and the Northern Bank robbery and there is no suggestion that the UUP as a party was to benefit financially from any criminal acts.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    the main difference is that the charges laid at the door of the UUP are real and substantive, those at SF are not.

  • JC47

    A Story: Gerry and Martin in Wonderland.
    Scene 1:PSNI Leisure Complex.

    Gerry; “LOOK INSPECTOR PLOD NORTHERN BANK NOTES IN YOUR LOCKER”

    Inspector Plod:”OH THANK YOU GERRY YOU HAVE SOLVED THE CRIME. HOW CAN WE EVER REPAY YOU”

    Scene 2:SDLP HQ.

    Martin: “LOOK INSPECTOR PLOD HERE IS THE KNIFE THAT BUTCHERED ROBERT McCARTNEY”

    Inspector Plod:”OH THANK YOU MARTIN. ANOTHER CRIME SOLVED”

    Scene 3:Government Buildings, Dublin.

    Bertie:” I AM SO SORRY. THANKS TO YOU DEMOCRACY IS SAFE ONCE AGAIN” (sticks head back up his ass)

  • Dave

    Sorry how does Tom Hanlon’s release get SF off the hook. I know the parties supporters don’t have the best understanding of law and order in Ireland but I would have thought they’d understand that he’s being released and a file sent to the DPP, then he’ll be rearrested and charged when the evidence has been prepared. That’s how the system works.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Dave,

    Hanlon has been released unconditionally, no file is being sent anywhere, so obviously understanding of the law was not as universal as first thought.
    But while there is a straw in this case, keep clutching

  • Davros

    Cough, Cough Pat 😉 Binead case isn’t substantive ? That SF chap being tried for extortion is every bit as “substantive” as either of the two cases where UUP members face trial…..

  • aquifer

    Pat

    You ask what would be achieved by voters staying away from the polls.

    The voters who may face the moral issues of gangsterism in politics most acutely, and who might then abstain, are Sinn Fein voters, whose attendance at the polls has already dipped.

    You talk of publishing the names and addresses of law officers and journalists. In the context of IRA warnings, this could be threatening to them.

    The security of SF representatives is best secured by standing down the IRA.

  • ShayPaul

    Aquifer

    “The security of SF representatives is best secured by standing down the IRA.”

    Is that a threat ?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    god you’ve lowered your sights substantially in the past 24 hrs Davros, but fair play to you for staying in here, i expect a lot of others to start hibernating to hide their embarrassment.

    Dave,

    further to Irish Law, the businessman at the centre of these allegations has now been released and a file has been prepared for consideration, that did not apply in the Hanlon case.

    So latest update only one person now remains in Garda custody all have been released expect the person charged yesterday with Real IRA membership.

    What a whirlwind, what a blow out.

    Sooner or later all these allegations are going to have to be backed up, plenty of verbage, little or no evidence.

    Although lets see how the PSNI involvement plays out.

    Also loved the way the PSNI raided the wrong house in Derry yesterday looking for a guy who had no connection with the house. PSNI intelligence, you gotta be proud.

    Aquifer,

    got you now, you weren’t talking of all voters only nationalsist voyers. Sure as hell beats gerrymandering that one. But how would that stop criminality in unionist politics?

  • Davros

    god you’ve lowered your sights substantially in the past 24 hrs Davros

    Eh ? I have been very low-key since the raids pat and deliberately so ! Remember when I pointed out that the arrests didn’t provide ‘proof’ ?

  • Davros

    Also loved the way the PSNI raided the wrong house in Derry yesterday looking for a guy who had no connection with the house.

    Dare I say it ? Sure don’t these shinners all look the same pat ? ( sorry ! )

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    you were indeed the model of restraint, you’re right about the Shinners.

  • Davros

    Couldn’t resist looking …and not disappointed by todays’ Irish Independent …. blimey, reminds me of the bit in the exorcist when the kid’s head starts spinning LOL

  • fair_deal

    I’ve always admired the skilful propaganda writing from the Andersonstown News Group and this piece is one of the better examples.

    The intriguing thing was that the article left the door open to the IRA being responsible for the Northern Bank robbery.

  • Dave

    It’s amazing that Sinn Féin who wanted everyone to wait for the dust to settle are now using the fact that people have been released uncharged despite files being sent to the DPP as meaning they’ve gotten off scot free.

  • Jacko

    fair-deal
    I agree, not a bad piece from a purely propagandist point of view – I wonder who wrote it.

    Pat Mc Larnon
    Couldn’t agree with you more, buddy. For my part, I’m too long at this gane to jump to conclusions without proper evidence. At least some of us can still hold our heads up.

  • Jacko

    I wonder who the bright spark caught burning the notes belongs to. That will be interesting, seeing as, along with the AK47 rounds found, there was also a substancial amount of COCAINE.

    Talking of bright sparks, someone should have explained to the Daz box guy that “laundering” money doesn’t involve putting it through the washing machine.

  • Henry94

    Dave

    No file has been sent to the DPP in relation to Tom Hanlon who was the only Sinn Fein member arrested.

    That is key to this story. A dissident republican was arrested with cash on Wednesday and a couple were arrested with cash on Thursday. The arrest of Hanlon at the same time gave the impression that he was arrested with cash too. but he wasn’t.

    It looks like he was piced up to link Sinn Fein to a Garda operation which may have established that the dissidents were behind the robbery thus undermining earlier claims made by Ahern, McDowell and Orde.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Dave,

    could you please tell us who the SF members are who had files on them sent to the DPP?

  • aquifer

    Shaypaul 11.10

    You ask was this part of my post a threat

    “The security of SF representatives is best secured by standing down the IRA.”

    It was not intended as a threat in any way. I lobby for change, practice non-violence, and have done some light civil disobedience, but disagree with the systematic use of violence in politics when other options are open, and would not issue threats. I would be very upset to see Sinn Fein elected members, some of whom I have met and talked with, hurt in any way.

    My post was not in any way a threat, but an observation on practicalities. I would be concerned with the safety of all concerned, Garda, Journalists, and all elected members. For democracy and politics to have primacy I believe the lives and safety of elected members to be most important.

    Hope that clears up any misunderstanding.

    Pat

    “criminality in unionist politics?”

    Aside from parties that arose from the UDA & UVF, who are only hanging in politics by their fingernails, illegality by Unionist party members seems to be very small beer, isolated petty fraud etc. White collar pilfering rather than armed protection rackets. Unless you have more on DUP members’ joint endeavours with paramilitaries than I have seen?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Henry,

    it is clear that when the Garda raided the house in Cork and found the money sections of the media thought that the conveyor belt system of arrests would see them carted of to jail and thus normal rules of proof had evidence should be set aside amd the game was on to print and say anything you like.

    It was apparent at tea time yesterday that journalist who had made some detailed claims over this money realised that they were to be marooned after being informed that there would be realeases instead of charges and it was time for a change of tact.

    It was apparent from the interview between Mike Nesbitt and Jim Cusack of Independent Newspapers on UTV live that Jim knew the game was up.

    Previously Jim has stated that the mainstream IRA was the only organisaton capable of the robbery. On the Vincent Browne programme on RTE radio Jim spoke almost in awe at the meticulousness and the professionalism of those involved. He emphasised the security around the job itself and the secrecy surrounding its planning, how they had used chemicals etc to overcome the forensic capabilites of the PSNI.

    Yesterday after the charging of a man with Real IRA membership in an amazing volte face Jim told UTV that in the Munster area there was no difference between the mainstream IRA and the Continuity & Real versions.
    So this fantastically secure and professional organisation who carried out this robbery would then entrust the spreading of the money down to a motley crew of individuals which involved members of organisations that can hardly ‘J’ walk these days without being picked up by either the Gardai or PSNI(and we know how difficult that is).

    No, after rushing to print and being so definitve the charging of one solitary individual was going to cause embarrassment all round especially as SF involvement, originally proven, was off the agenda.

    Mainstream republicans had to be kept in the frame lest editors start asking questions why some ‘reporters’ get a pay cheque each month. So it will continue, the nods and the winks, ‘we can’t prove anything but sure don’t we know that it was the Shinners anyhow.’ There is a ready, unquestioning audience for this type of garbage so the lies can repeated until they are repeated often enough to be declared fact.

    If the notes at New Forge turn out to be the notes from the Northern, the PSNI need fear no heavy questuioning to how this money got onto a secure site, sure it would only spoil the script.

  • Davros

    On the other hand pat … if a member of the RIRA is found to have been involved in laundering Norhern Bank Money that doesn’t prove that PIRA didn’t do the actual robbery … Money laundering usually involves outsiders 😉

  • George

    Dave,
    SF’s Hanlon is now out of the loop. He has been released without charge and no file has been sent to the DPP.

    Being questioned by police before being ruled out of an investigation hardly signifies a smoking gun. If it did, then I no longer live in a democracy. I’m already questioning that after the man was named even though he hasn’t been charged with anything. That is an absolute disgrace.

    Incredibly, Sinn Fein are still hanging in on this one as there is still no link to the Northern Bank.

    What is incredible is that if none of this money is from the Northern Bank job it shows how big the black market business is on this island.

    But that’s hardly surprising considering partition has proven a smuggler’s paradise.

    One reason I’m a Cork City norrie is because it keeps me out of Republican strongholds like Wilton.

  • Henry94

    davros

    if a member of the RIRA is found to have been involved in laundering Norhern Bank Money that doesn’t prove that PIRA didn’t do the actual robbery

    It doesn’t prove anything one way or the other and it doesn’t change the burden of proof either. I was willing to accept yesterday that the arrest of a Sinn Fein member with the cash was evidence. It turns out he was nowhere near the money and faces no charges of any kind. What the hell is going on?

  • alex s

    Pat, a good deal of the article at the start of this blogg concerned the murder of Mr McCartney, remember him? As for the money found in Cork, the wheels of justice grind slow, especially in cases of this type!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    ‘On the other hand pat … if a member of the RIRA is found to have been involved in laundering Norhern Bank Money that doesn’t prove that PIRA didn’t do the actual robbery … Money laundering usually involves outsiders ;)’

    The point I was making is the fact that the mainstream IRA find it hard enough to vouch for their own security without taking these other groups on trust. Even the thought seems bizarre in this particular case.

    alex s,

    I have written extensively on the Mc Cartney case on other threads and have reached the conclusion that while it may impact locally in that area, overall it will not.
    On the Cork money, while the wheels of justice grind slowly they were much too slow for a lot of the media and bloggers, who at this moment look decidedly foolish. Just pointing out the fact that even they realise that.

  • alex s

    Pat, was it not the Sinn Fein leadership who said that people should refrain from rushing to judgement until the matter had been fully investigated, maybe you should follow this advice yourself.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    alex s,

    a bit like a reformed drinker there alex, you get to enjoy the imbibing, however, once suitably satisfied lectures others not to indulge.

  • alex s

    Pat, I don’t take advice from Sinn Fein or accept as gospel the utterings of the ‘bearded one’, you seem to

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    alex s,

    the reason the threads are so lively is the fact that some people don’t seem to accept the utterances of anyone at all.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Jacko,

    any links to the COCAINE story, can’t find it anywhere myself?

  • ShayPaul

    Aquifer

    OK very clear thanks.

  • Davros

    D: if a member of the RIRA is found to have been involved in laundering Norhern Bank Money that doesn’t prove that PIRA didn’t do the actual robbery

    Henry : It doesn’t prove anything one way or the other

    I agree Henry 🙂 Pat seemed to be implying that it was proof that the robbery was nothing to do with the provos …. and it was the robbery that involved terrorising the hostage familys. We know that there is cooperation between various paramilitary groups when it suits – remember the fuss when one loyalist faction was discovered to have done deals with republicans ? We also know that there is freelancing. This is one heck of a large pie and I should imagine by now there have been a lot of fingers in it.

  • Jacko

    Pat Mc Larnon

    I read it today in the Irish Times. I think it was quite a few grands worth.

    Police have just confirmed that the money found at the sports complex (£50,000 in 5 sealed wraps each of £10,000) was from the Northern Bank.

  • PaddyCanuck

    Davros: you are clasping at straws, I have not seen any evidence of PIRA and dissident republicans working together when it suited them. Do you have any examples/ CIRA, INLA, and RIRA cooperation yes, but PIRA no.

    And it is now confirmed the only NIB money identified thus far is A) And an RUC Socila Club, B) in a DAZ box in the possession of a RIRA man.

    Sinn Fein member released without charge, the only link he has to anything as far as I can see is that he worked in the same bar occassionally as the RIRA man.

    Crisis what crisis? The only crisis is that Nationalism on this island is attacking itself, while the British, Securocrats and unionists watch on in glee.

    Less that 2 months ago the IRA offered to decommission completley, and disband. Sinn Fein offered to embrace policing if the necessary reforms were implemented. This is were we need to get back to.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Jacko,

    fair play never read that one, knowing the internal dynamics of nationalism that would have more far reaching consequences than the bank raid, whoever that one could be laid at would be finished.

  • Jacko

    PaddyCanuck
    The IRA refused to provide photos of decommissioning, I agreed with that. Those would have been exploited endlessly. If I had been in that position I would have told the DUP to go f… themselves.

    What set my alarm bells ringing was when they pointedly refused to give promises around criminality but would move into a “new mode”. This talk of moving into a “new mode” was the old trick of not being publicly specific about an issue, briefing positively behind the scenes, and allowing the rest of us to read the best into it. Therefore, carry on before without being able at some time in the future to be accused of breaking a promise. It didn’t work this time because they have played that tactic to death.

    I think the more astute amongst them will have realised after last night’s UTV and BBC NI’s news reports that there are an awful lot of journalists in NI who have been taken in so often that, the first chance they get, they are going to nail the Shinners to the floor.
    Too many people have been used and abused and, in some cases, made complete fools of – a price will be paid.

    The only people who come close to politicians in terms of self-regard are journalists.

  • Davros

    P-C – I was careful how I worded my post.

  • spartacus

    Can anyone point me to Jim Cusack’s take on yesterday’s events? Someone mentions above that he won’t be able to show his face after his remakrs. Where can I find them? Last I heard he was announcing on ITV that the haul was now up to £10m. and that the Gardai were saying it was ‘definitely a Provisional IRA job.’ Is he from the same school as all the other gutter journalists in this island who make their living off of paramilitary gossip–ex-Stalinist, now reformed Bush-lover?

  • Jacko

    Yes UTV can really pick the experts can’t they. When the bearded midget comes on to talk about local security matters it’s either a case of him pointing out the bleeding obvious, or running a highly dubious line of his own.

  • Jacko

    Sorry about the above. Is anyone else having trouble signing in and posting or is someone trying to tell me something

  • Alan

    Jacko,

    Yes I’ve been having problems signing in too. The comments box refuses to appear until I hit refresh.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Jacko,

    yes the signing in is crap, BTW is the bearded one Alan Murray coz he really is crap.

  • Davros

    The pure life I lead has resulted in me having no problems at all with this site 🙂

  • Jacko

    Alan
    Thanks for the tip on refresh, better than what I was having to go through.

    Pat
    In a word, and with an eye on legalities, yes.