And what about IRA criminality?

That’s what the Irish Examiner is asking. It notes that Gerry Adams may have deftly shifted the focus away from IRA criminality and onto a possible act of decommissioning (or possibily none). In simply switching the focus of public conjecture he may have done enough to let the question slide, at least for the duration of the campaign.

  • Gonzo

    Thank God one paper picked up on this. Certainly neither unionist party did during the last round of talks.

  • james quigley

    Are any other groups involved in criminality or just the PIRA, have they PIRA killed more people from the ceasefires started than the other groups? Have they handed over weapons? its just that for whatever reason they never seem to get a mention. any ideas??

  • Ringo

    James –

    I don’t think any Loyalist organisations are involved in much criminal activity within a hundred km of Academy St, Cork.

  • Circles

    Nice attempt to side step Ringo – but I think you know what James’ point is.

  • Ringo

    No side step – the article is in a newspaper published and read predominantly in Munster. Criminality by paramilitary orgaistations in the area is restricted to Republicans. That’s why criminality allegations gained traction with the public down here more than decommissioning.

  • Levitas

    Well Ringo you clearly don’t know much about criminality in Munster…(or are you being deliberately obtuse) I suspect the latter.

    I speak regularly with some of my former colleagues on the Irish Examiner and I think you will find that the loyalist paramilitaries are well known to “do business” with both Cork and Limerick drug gangs,and some suggest that one of the feuding families in Limerick gained access to weaponry in a deal with loyalist paramilitaries.

    That point aside, you seem very loathe to answer the question- which is, “is it not the case that loyalist paramilitaries are up to their necks in criminality….so what are the loyalist politicians going to do or say about that?”.

    It is a complete red-herring to say that they do not have any influence within 100 km of Academy Street in Cork, they are active and very heavily involved in Cocaine, Ecstasy, and Heroin dealing throughout the Ulster Counties, and their influence stretches far beyond those nine counties, and well you know it.

    So quit stalling, with the end of the IRA in sight,(and mark my words its going to happen whether you like it or not) then the question is what will loyalism do to clean up its own stinking augean stables- up til now silence has been the policy, from now on that will NOT suffice, and you had better get used to it!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Levitas, I’d answer your question but before doing so, can you give any firm opinions of your own on commitment to non-violence by politicians seeking political power ? Do you have any minimum standards that you expect to see enforced ?

  • Circles

    Comrade Stalin – whilst your question deviates subtly from the acutal subject of this thread I’d just like to ask if we can also assume that this commitment to non-violence you mention should be applicable also after political power (or rather political office) has been obtained?

  • Alan McDonald

    Circles and Stalin,

    While we subtly drift, I wonder how political power or even political office can attach to a cndidate that won’t take the job even if elected? As an American, I have never been able to understand how even a parliamentary government can accomodate MP’s who won’t sit.

  • Circles

    Won’t take the job or won’t go and sit in parliament? 2 different things.

  • Alan McDonald

    I thought the job involved sitting in parliament. If I elect a legislator here in the States and that person does not show up at the legislature to vote on legislation, I beleive that person could be replaced.

  • Ringo

    Levitas –

    Are you really suggesting that if the Limerick clans were all to depart the scene that Loyalists would be down, dealing drugs themselves in Limerick? Not very likely is it? Or the Cork lads declare undying loyalty to the Crown and start wearing Union Jack underpants? Even more unlikely, isn’t it?

    There is a subtle difference between ‘doing business with’ and what the provo’s are at.
    Its a bit like saying that the Dutch are involved in criminality in Munster because Munster gangs buy drugs from them, or Eastern European gangs are involved in criminality because they supply weaponry to people in Limerick. Now from what I’ve heard both of these things are true, but I don’t really expect the Examiner to do an editorial about it. The primary problem we’ve got is the the Limerick and Cork gangs. (but isn’t Cork actually significantly underrepresented in the table of top Irish criminal gangs? Two maybe?)

    Republicans on the other hand are involved in criminal activity in their own locality in the Republic. They are the criminal end-user. The ultimate example is the Adare robbery and the killing of Garda McCabe. Essentially, they’re our problem. Loyalists aren’t.

    Loyalists may indeed be the source or even destination for drugs, but even if they all disappeared tomorrow we’d be left with no improvement down here. Whoever they’re supplying would just get what ever they need elsewhere.

    So quit stalling, with the end of the IRA in sight,(and mark my words its going to happen whether you like it or not)

    I’m not sure what you think my position is, but I’ll be delighted if they really do go out of business, and the sooner the better. But given the antics that ex-INLA dudes are getting up to in Dublin and probably elsewhere regarding drugs, I’m very sceptical that the people already involved in criminality within the IRA will stop. Why won’t they see it as ‘privatisation’ of their business and perhaps a chance to expand into markets that under previous management were off limits?

    you seem very loathe to answer the question- which is, “is it not the case that loyalist paramilitaries are up to their necks in criminality….so what are the loyalist politicians going to do or say about that?”.

    damn all, from what I can see. But it will be an awful lot harder for them to justify their existance once the IRA has gone away – totally.

    BTW – what info do your mates at the Examiner have about the money laundering operation and other Republican criminal activity? They must have way more info on that than they do on the Loyalists?

  • Alan McDonald

    Further on the issue of no-show elected officials. A few years ago I was elected to our local school board. This is the governing body for the public schools in our town. It has legislative and executive authority within the district. The members of the board elect a president and vice president. So, it is essentially parliamentarian in structure.
    The first order of business after a board member is elected is the oath of office, followed by election of officers and regular attendance at board meetings where votes are taken. The board has the authority and responsibility to remove and replace any member who does not take the oath or refuses to attend meetings. Always seemed like a fair process to me.

  • Circles

    “I’m not sure what you think my position is, but I’ll be delighted if they really do go out of business …. But given the antics that ex-INLA dudes are getting up to in Dublin and probably elsewhere regarding drugs, I’m very sceptical that the people already involved in criminality within the IRA will stop.”

    So what you’re basically saying Ringo is that IRA criminality should stop and that (I assume) Gerry Adams should call for this – but even then, when there is no more IRA, there will still be IRA criminal activity (sorry ex-IRA criminal activity), on the basis of what you’ve seen with the INLA.
    But if thats the case I would actually suggest that this criminal activity is actually being perpetrated by criminals – to whom the existence of and their association with the IRA may at times prove useful, but in no way qualifies these people to call themselves republicans.

  • Alan McDonald

    Circles,

    Is there a list somewhere of activities that can be called criminal and other activities that can be called republican? I think identifying the acts rather than the actors is always a good idea, especially where the rule of law applies.

  • Circles

    Alan, what if in a democratice system, the electorate willingly vote for a representative who they know will not accept his/her seat on a legislative body – and indeed this is one of the reasons people actually vote for them. Should this elected representative (and therefore the people who voted) be removed from responsibility with elections being re-run until someone is actually elected who will take the seat? And what if this doesn’t happen?

    At the same time, taking up a seat in parliament is not a complete reflection of the consituency work you do on the ground on behalf of the electorate, and not taking it up does not mean you aren’t doing your job

  • Ringo

    Circles

    Can’t say I argue with any of that really.

    Without the cover provided at the moment by Sinn Fein it will be easier to deal with them, and the likes of the McCabe killers would be sitting in Mountjoy instead of gardening in Castlerea.

  • Circles

    I don’t really get your question Alan regarding the lists.
    Being a republican has absolutely nothing to do with being a criminal, and drawing up a list of “how to tell one from the other” would be rather senseless.
    Its like drawing up a list of how tell a teacher from an alcoholic, or an artist from a vegetarian – of course you’ll get some of one set that are also members of the other, but membership in one group does not automatically include you in the other. Even insinuating that there is a need for a guide to tell reps from crims I find to be more than a little insulting to republicans.

  • Alan McDonald

    Circles,

    Sorry to confuse you with the list question. It is this: Do you agree (I think you do) that actions are either criminal or not rather than branding individuals? When Gerry Adams said, “We know that breaking the law is a crime. But we refuse to criminalise those who break the law in pursuit of legitimate political objectives.” it was confusing to me. That’s why I looked for clarification.

    As to people elected to legislative bodies who won’t legislate, no amount of non-legislative work makes up for that. I truly believe that in America, such people would be removed from office for nonfeasance.

  • Circles

    Hmm – I aint gonna touch Gerry Adams’ word play there. It confuses me too. But I suppose the question would be – are politically motivated offences a crime (or at least are they considered as such by those involved in the activity) in the same sense that common theft is a crime? And when does one cross the border into fuzzy uncertainty and downright criminal activity?

    And with regards to expelling those who don’t take their seats – the question there is what does that mean for deomocracy?

  • Alan McDonald

    Circles,

    I really appreciate discussing this with you. My concern about the effect on democracy is this: If an election to office does NOT require the winner to show up and actually govern, it is really just a beauty contest.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    Just for my 2 cents,
    “Is there a list somewhere of activities that can be called criminal and other activities that can be called republican?”

    Republican activities are those carried out in persuit of creating/joining/promoting a republic. Criminal ones are those that are against the law. The two are neither syonymous nor mutually exclusive. Actions can be either, neither or both. When you commit a crime you are a criminal, regardless of motivation.

  • Alan McDonald

    2 cents sounds so American.

    In America, motivation does matter, but it can be inferred from the activity surrounding the “criminal” act. A defense of necessity or justification or “working for a higher good” ususally fails in US courts.

  • Circles

    Alan:
    Not necessarily – in fact in my opinion the repeated election of a candidate to an office that the electorate know they will not occupy says a lot more about the the esteem the office is held in – or its relevance to the electorate.
    Beano – what actions can be both republican and criminal? (just want an example)

  • Alan McDonald

    Circles,

    I am going to let you have the last word on elections. It has been a good discussion.

    Now I’m going over to the “Too little, too late” thread to watch the endless slagging match that’s going on.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    Circles – murder of crown forces officers (including the PSNI/RUC) for a start?

  • Circles

    Oh dear beano – this could be the start of a circular discussion which really has no end.
    Lets leave it with murder is always a crime – however takes a life is a criminal. I can wholeheartedly agree with that

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    I should qualify the above, it is not republican per se, but in the context of the Northern Ireland definition of Republicanism that incorporates the ideology of Irish nationalism.