'Sicily without the sun'

Even the normally staid Observer, regarded by many Unionists as being too soft on Sinn Féin, joins the ‘tabloid’ feeding frenzy. Today’s leader, Sinn Fein has to renounce crime, addresses the alleged links between Sinn Féin finances and the IRA, making one surprising claim along the way…

The Northern Bank robbery and the smashing of an IRA money-laundering racket in the Irish Republic a few days ago demonstrate beyond doubt that the continued existence of the republican movement’s armed wing has become a millstone around the neck of the Sinn Fein leadership. Why, then, do Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness still need an IRA?

Open to discussion, but ….


They are, after all, and this is a matter of record, senior members of that organisation’s ruling body, the Army Council.

Whoa! Matter of record ?

The answer is simple: the IRA funds the republican movement. As well as being able to impose military discipline on members who also belong to Sinn Fein, the IRA can raise millions of pounds through robberies, smuggling, extortion, blackmail. This war chest funds Sinn Fein’s electoral machine.

Again open to discussion… but at least they don’t say it’s “a matter of record”.

  • Mick Fealty

    They must be refering to the legally unchallenged Moloney account of who is and has been on the Army Council.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    A matter of record in media terms is the means by which a thing assumes fact over a matter of time simply because it is repeated enough times.

  • Richard Delevan

    Also that Henry McDonald has on more than one occasion published his own list of Army Council membership that includes Adams & McGuinness –again, without any legal challenge of which I’m aware. Most recently it was on Feb 6,here:
    “The IRA’s supreme body is the Provisional Army Council comprising seven men who between them have held senior positions in the terror group for more than a quarter of a century. Their tenure at the top of the IRA has outlasted Jim Callaghan, Margaret Thatcher, John Major and, if there is a post-election coup in Downing Street, Tony Blair. They have also witnessed the passing of six Irish Prime Ministers over the same period. The body includes Sinn Fein’s top tier including Gerry Adams (although he has always denied even being a member of the IRA), Martin McGuinness and Pat Doherty. Also on the Army Council sits the Irish TD (MP) Martin Ferris, a convicted gunrunner, convicted bomber Brian Keenan and millionaire smuggler Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy.”

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Richard,

    so if no expensive legal challenge is mounted it then becomes fact, a curious assumption to make.

  • JC47

    Minister Ahern says that “recent events demonstrate beyond a slightest doubt that the government was correct in its judgement of the IRA”
    Sunsay Post 10am

  • Richard Delevan

    Pat, never said it was capital-F fact. I’m trying to explain the context of today’s Observer leader, which the original post suggested was out of the blue. It demonstrates that the Observer, corporately, believes it to be fact and stands behind McDonald’s assertions. It’s not the first time it’s made the assertion, either. No security source has disputed it directly that I’m aware of. And other than ritualistic denials on the record, no off-the-record IRA source has disputed it either.
    Those who hold the Observer’s brand in high regard (not just McDonald) can decide for themselves whether the paper was justified in calling it fact.

  • Davros

    Richard – I suppose it depends on how one defines “matter of record”. To me a matter of record is something that is undisputed or in the case of dispute has been decided within an official procedure – be it court or tribunal. Neither of these would apply to this claim IMO.

  • dave

    I just love watching people squirm when SF/IRA and their true “cause” oppress the catholic people and murder the British people (whatever their religion) is brought into focus.

    Now that people throughout the World are getting a glimpse of what Irish “freedom fighters” really do, they must feel pretty foolish and ashamed.

    Personally I love reading the comments posted by people who try to defend the indefensible. (what is wrong with these people) head, sand, and buried?

    SF/IRA (aka) The Rafia, are in reality nothing more than thugs, who bully the Catholic communities of Northern Ireland and then lay the blame on the British.

  • ShayPaul

    dave

    Why don’t you go and enjoy yourself somewhere else, unless you have something constructive to contribute to the debate ?

  • GavBelfast

    Shay, I’m sure Dave can defend himself, but that looked like a contribution to me and I think yor response was out-of-order.

    Do you do-down Dave and his contribution merely because what he says upsets you?

    In any case, deal with the point: what’s your view on this issue?

    Me? The Republican Movement should stop digging.

  • dave

    “Why don’t you go and enjoy yourself somewhere else, unless you have something constructive to contribute to the debate ?”

    I thought telling it as it is was constructive, silly me, I’ll just bow to your will and let you continue with the head in the sand routine.

    My comments on SF/IRA (aka) The Rafia) who oppress the Catholic community of Northern Ireland is true and therefore constructive.

    If you don’t believe my statement about (The Rafia) why not take a stroll down the Shortstrand and ask a few innocent questions about the murder of a local Catholic man, I’m sure that reality will show it’s face in one form or another.

    Are you saying the SF/IRA aka (the Rafia) are not thugs? Oh! How the truth hurts the blind.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Dave,

    ‘Personally I love reading the comments posted by people who try to defend the indefensible. (what is wrong with these people) head, sand, and buried?’

    perhaps you could furnish us with the names of those posters who have defended the indefensible and when they did so?

  • Richard Delevan

    Davros/Pat – Fair points and I concede that it’s different from being indisputable. Michael McDowell just upped the stakes on this very subject on Today FM this morning — according to an RTE bulletin (I didn’t hear the original), McDowell named Adams and Ferris as being on the Army Council.

  • Davros

    I wonder why he named those two in particular ?
    OK, Adams has had a lot of coverage in the media and they are ghaving a bttle, but how did Ferris come into the conversation ?

  • Richard Delevan

    He also mentioned McGuinness. I will have a tape of the discussion after 2pm and will post the transcript over at my place as soon as. McGuinness was on RTE, direct denials. But implications of justice minister making that claim are vast. I have request for comment into PDs to see if it is something MM stands over, and whether, I suppose, they’ll lock them up.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Richard,

    why is the fact Mc Dowell saying this surprising and have implications? He says it and it is denied. He can’t prove it so the game continues all round.

  • Henry94

    Mick

    They must be refering to the legally unchallenged Moloney account of who is and has been on the Army Council.

    Can we deal with the issue of not suing over allegations of AC membership. An allegation does not constitute a libel just because it’s not true.

    I could say that Ian Paisley was a member of the Orange Order. It’s not true but it is not a libel because Paisley could not claim to be damaged by it. His peers would not consider it a shameful thing to be a member.

    Gerry Adams could not claim he was damaged by the allegation. But that does not mean it’s true.

  • tom luby

    pat mclarnon said: A matter of record in media terms is the means by which a thing assumes fact over a matter of time simply because it is repeated enough times.

    does this mean that if i can get enough journalists to say that pat mclarnon is a provo hack who shills for gerry adams then this also will become a matter of record?

  • alex s

    so if no expensive legal challenge is mounted it then becomes fact, a curious assumption to make.

    Posted by: Pat Mc Larnon
    Some years ago I heard a story about Jack Hermon, when asked why his new boat was called MEN he replied that it stood for Manchester Evening News, via a libel court the paper paid for it, why should Gerry and Co be so shy?

  • Richard Delevan

    Pat: “why is the fact Mc Dowell saying this surprising and have implications? He says it and it is denied. He can’t prove it so the game continues all round.”

    With due respect, what is it you imagine the job of the minister for justice to be? If you don’t see a difference in a hack making the allegation and a serving minister for justice, I’m not sure I can help you.

    Regardless, the entire peace process to date has required the official fiction that there was a distinction between Sinn Fein and the IRA, in order to allow both governments to negotiate. That fiction is now no longer recognised by the competent legal authority of one of the governments. Again, if you can’t see the significance of that, I can’t help you.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Richard,

    you seem to be deliberately ignoring the personality of the person who passes as the Minister for Justice. He is a self publicist and egomaniac.
    If he behaves like a hack then he is simply bringing his office into disrepute. Virtually all Mc Dowells interventions re SF have one eye on the next election.
    If you can’t see that then i’m afraid that it is you who needs the help.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    tom luby

    ‘does this mean that if i can get enough journalists to say that pat mclarnon is a provo hack who shills for gerry adams then this also will become a matter of record?’

    It is a natural progression from the point I make, so yes. The legend once repeated enough takes on the perception of fact among a willing audience.

  • dave

    Dave,

    ‘Personally I love reading the comments posted by people who try to defend the indefensible. (what is wrong with these people) head, sand, and buried?’

    perhaps you could furnish us with the names of those posters who have defended the indefensible and when they did so?”
    ================================================

    Personally I don’t go for the man, I go for the ball.

    I’ll say this, if the hats fits then one should wear it. The idea that SF/IRA nka (The Rafia) were not involved in acts of criminality or that people within the nationalists areas of Northern Ireland are not living in fear of Rafia punishment squads is just not true.

    Anyone trying to defend the position of SF/IRA nka The Rafia or to deny their involvement in the persecution of the people of Northern Ireland (mainly the catholic community) need to get a reality check. Catholics live in terror of a rap on the door from SF/IRA gangsters.

    It may be the case that such people are psychopaths or monomaniacs. Who knows? The point is, there are people trying to defend the guilty, trying to paint a false picture of the events as they happen, I find such attempts comical.

    Lets face it one does not need to say much on this site to draw a nasty reaction from the defenders of those who are criminally insane.

    The cause for a united Ireland died when The Rafia took charge.

    The War is over, a new phase of lets get what we can, while we can started some years ago.

    Did you not realise this?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    If asked the question simply because I realised you would be unable to back up such a sweeping statement.

  • tom luby

    pat mclarnon wrote:

    “tom luby

    ‘does this mean that if i can get enough journalists to say that pat mclarnon is a provo hack who shills for gerry adams then this also will become a matter of record?’

    It is a natural progression from the point I make, so yes. The legend once repeated enough takes on the perception of fact among a willing audience.”

    and it would be true, wouldn’t it pat, just as its true that adams, mcguinness and ferris sit on the army council?

  • spartacus

    The ‘normally staid Observer’? Since when did being dull put off Unionists? ‘Too soft on Sinn Fein’? On the basis of what journalism? The Observer can occasionally muster half-decent international coverage, and its slant on British politics is bearable now and then, but when it comes to Ireland its pages belong to Henry MacDonald, who like most other establishment journalists in Ireland is vitriolic in his hostility to republicanism. He can tell a yarn as well as any of them–Myers, Cusack, Harris included.

    Don’t any of you remember his ‘scoop’ on the ‘Real IRA bomber’ who had gone off to Palestine to teach the intifadists (?) new bombmaking techniques, which ended up helping the Israelis justify holding an innocent West Belfast man for interogation for a week or so?

    Isn’t it obvoious after more than a month of this campaign that the PSNI, the Gardai, the governments North and South are making it up as they go along? Who cares what McDowell says? He’s a racist and a right-wing moron who could only make a go in politics in the smoke-and-mirrors age dominated by Bush and Blair. The rant about who’s on the Army Council is nothing new, not a revelation coming from him, is it? Pure propaganda, which has some street value only because there are so many other morons N&S wanting to believe him.

    The Short Strand stuff aside (because it is serious, and does present real problems for SF), I believe that if the fishing expedition continutes for much longer, and if the SDLP continue to display the same disgusting opportunism that they have shown the past couple of weeks, SF will end up increasing their vote in the North. I know that if it keeps up I will vote for them, and that will be a first.

  • vespasian

    SF/IRA are terrorists and gangsters just as the UDA/UVF/etc and their political apologists are.

    I am amazed at the sheer brass neck of some posters on this site who continue to defend the indefensible even when they KNOW the truth.

    We all KNOW that in areas of Northern Ireland Nationalist and Loyalist gangsters and terrorists are largely in control through intimidation, shootings, beatings and extortion. This is not a matter of conjecture it is a matter of criminal record.

    To defend these people is to be one of them, I suggest some of the posters on this site have a long hard look in the mirror before posing as democrats again.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    tom luby,

    if that natural progression is followed through, yes.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    vespasian,

    ‘We all KNOW that in areas of Northern Ireland Nationalist and Loyalist gangsters and terrorists are largely in control through intimidation, shootings, beatings and extortion. This is not a matter of conjecture it is a matter of criminal record.

    To defend these people is to be one of them, I suggest some of the posters on this site have a long hard look in the mirror before posing as democrats again.’

    who are the people on this site defending such behaviour?

  • tom luby

    pat mclarnan wrote:

    if that natural progression is followed through, yes.so

    you do admit it then, that you are a provo hack who shills for gerry adams – i mean everyone can see it but to see you confirm it is satisfying!

  • joc

    Pat,

    A matter of record in media terms is the means by which a thing assumes fact over a matter of time simply because it is repeated enough times.

    Would this be similar to statements such as:

    “I am not nor have I even been in the IRA”

    or

    “The IRA were not involved in the murder of Garda McCabe” – funny I think the might have retracted that one.

  • joc

    Pat,

    you seem to be deliberately ignoring the personality of the person who passes as the Minister for Justice. He is a self publicist and egomaniac.
    If he behaves like a hack then he is simply bringing his office into disrepute. Virtually all Mc Dowells interventions re SF have one eye on the next election.

    Whether or not he is a self publicist or not (after all most politicians are and have to be), I think the argument that he is looking to the next election is starting to wear very very thin.

    Personally I found Gerry’s compaint about Bertie and McDowell not giving him the low down on how they had the intelligence on the IRA very very funny. If you were in their position would you reveal your intelligence sources to such fine upstanding politicians and men of integrity ?

  • vespasian

    Pat

    I am specifically referring to those who support and condone the activities of such gangster and terrorist organisations or political parties that support such organisations and are way linked to them.

  • vespasian

    correction ……..are in anyway linked to them.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    tom luby,

    ‘you do admit it then, that you are a provo hack who shills for gerry adams – i mean everyone can see it but to see you confirm it is satisfying!’

    My criteria was that it has to be repeated often enough (the veracity of such is unimportant)so if you are starting from now you have some way to go yet. So keep on for a few months and then get back to me.
    At least you have met one of the other criteria in that you are a willing audience for such allegations. An addendum would be that the audience rarely if ever has the capacity or the will to adopt a questioning attitude to the allegations.

    Really Tom, stick to The Blanket, you aren’t subject to questioning there.

    Joc,

    are your posts a question to me or are you asking me to agree with you?

    vespasian,

    I know what your getting at, just no sure who specifically you are getting at?

  • vespasian

    Pat

    Everyone should look in the mirror and see if they fit the description and then if necessary cease in their support for such parties, people or organisations.

    Of course they can also choose to accept that they are not democrats and continue as before, the choice is theirs.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    You still haven’t denied tom luby’s claims McLarnon, so we have no reason to question whether what he has claimed is fact or fiction.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    CL

    central to the argument was the tenet that allegations didn’t have to be true for them to take on the illusion of fact before an unquestioning audience.
    To take the point to it’s ultimate conclusion at some stage definitive proof has to be supplied comprehensively to prove the allegations, lest we live in an ever decreasing circle of spin, propaganda and lies.
    tom luby has failed even to attempt to do so, given that fact no rebuttal is required. What you regard as fact or fiction is a matter for yourself.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    All you say is correct regarding definitive proof needed to determine fact, but do you honestly believe in your heart of heart that the intelligence services of the two governments do not have “definitive proof” of who’s who on the Provo Army Council?

    The reason that these men are not arrested is not a lack of proof, but purely political.

    By the way, Henry McDonald only had 6 names down for the 7 man Army Council. Veteran Belfast Provo commander Brian Gillen would be an informed guess as to being on the larger Executive, maybe even on the smaller Army Council.

  • Henry94

    Eammon Maillie who is a well respected journalist said at lunchtime that he didn’t know who the AC were. His republican sources would be better than McDonalds.

    McDonald would be relying on security sources. We have seen in the past that such sources are unreliable in that they are happy to lie to journalists.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Henry Mc Donald may know the identity of the Army Council but down around the Lagan Social where he plies his trade they only recognise one AC and that’s Official.

  • tom luby

    mallie also went on radio a few years back to say that if he ever came across information that was damaging to the peace process he wouldn’t use it – so the value of anything he says about the membership of the Provo AC has to be discounted by the fact that this is a journalist who brags about his practice of self-censorship!
    as for pat mclarnon it is now generally accepted, in fact a matter of record, that he is a provo hack who shills for gerry adams – the only remaining question is whether he is a paid provo hack, for how else can one explain a guy who spends his days sifting postings on this blog for any whiff of criticism of his party’s leadership and then peddles the party line back at the poster – either he’s getting paid or we really all should feel very sorry for someone who spends his life doing this, quite pathetic service for a bunch of liars and scoundrels!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    tom luby,

    your post has degenerated into the self serving bitterness that passes for comment over at The Blanket.
    Now we know that those who run that political site(sic) are now taking the silver from Independent Newspapers and we all know the prerequisite for writng for that particular chain and that site, but thankfully on this site all opinions are welcome.

    Your intervention on this site appears not to discuss or analyse but play the man, an indication perhaps of the level of debate you have previously been exposed to.
    I bear no grudge and will not reply in similar kind, I just have an overwhelming sense of pity for you.

  • tom luby

    getting under your skin, pat? hee, hee

  • peteb

    Tom and Pat..

    Lay off the personal abuse and Play the Ball

  • tom luby

    its not personal, its deeply political!

  • ShayPaul

    It is also pathetic.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    peteb,

    nothing I have posted can remotely be described as personal Advice don’t allow these personal attacks to build up before you then issue the pathetic i’m warning you both soory routine.

    tom luby,

    getting under my skin? you obviously are an infrequent visitor to the site, i’m probably the most personally abused on it. so get to the back of the queue.
    By the way do your posts have any point to uphold.

  • peteb

    Pat

    I didn’t ask for your advice. You’re already on a yellow, IIRC. And to quote Mick.. “I don’t care who started it”

  • tom luby

    pat mclarnon wrote to tom luby:
    By the way do your posts have any point to uphold

    [Tom you’ve been warned once.. I’ll not warn you again – ed. peteb]

  • tom luby

    yes,
    [Tom – you’re on a straight red card. ed peteb]

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    peteb,

    I don’t care if you asked for it or not you are going to get it. Personal attacks on me seem to be on the increase, if you are going to play being the moderator try and do it properly. Cut the personal stuff off at source.

  • dave

    If asked the question simply because I realised you would be unable to back up such a sweeping statement.

    Posted by: Pat Mc Larnon at February 20, 2005 05:35 PM

    Sorry it took so long to reply.

    I did answer your questions, like i said I don’t play the man.

    I notice that you have not said that my “sweeping statement” was untrue, is that not proof enough? the dogs in the street know the truth, therefore I am sure that the posters on this website also know the truth.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Dave,

    fluency in dog talk was never my forte, sorry.

  • Mick Fealty

    Pat,

    I don’t have time for this. Literally. And neither does Pete. Red Card!

  • Mark McGregor

    Baby got thrown out with the bath water there. People get red carded for responding to personal attacks while waiting for moderation?

  • Mark McGregor

    Pat, check the email address I have for you.

  • maca

    In all fairness lads, Pat gets a lot of abuse which more often than not goes unchecked.

  • ShayPaul

    Sorry Mick and peteb but you guys got it wrong

  • IJP

    Hmmm, well Pat Mc has been known to dish out hints at personal abuse without provocation, but I think yellow would’ve sufficed on this occasion.

    In the meantime, anyone want to respond to the actual thread?

  • Davros

    Ian – the problem was that pat was already on a yellow. Then Pete gave a joint warning …and then another warning. Then Mick stepped in.

  • IJP

    Davros

    Ah well in that case, it was two yellows.

    Although what offence had he committed in the first place?

    Anyway, as a qualified soccer ref myself I know what a tough job it is, so I’ll query it no more!!