Provo Policing…

EAMONN McCann isn’t convinced that the two governments really want the IRA to go away completely, and cites recent statements by NIO ministers as evidence. He suggests that a modern-day version of the Broy Harriers could be on the cards.

  • peteb

    It’s not just the two governments, Gonzo.

    The same dangerous idea permeates most of the media coverage.. even the better reports..

    “But who then will police difficult nationalist areas if, as was evident on Tuesday night in Ardoyne, head honcho republicans couldn’t control a deeply disaffected, nihilistic group of young people?”

  • Dessertspoon

    Interesting thought- how exactly do they sell this to the DUP or do we just assume that London and Dublin will just wait for the big man to retire or kick the bucket and then seduce Robinson and Dodds back into government? I’m not sure NI plc can wait that long we are dangerously close to bankruptcy as it is and things only seem to be getting worse economically not better.

  • bigwhitedove

    Fairly straight forward analysis from McCann, amid all the clamour for the RA to disband it has been forgotten that, firstly the IRA are( and will continue to be) a stabilising force in the peace process and secondly that they have popular support and hence “police” republican areas with a large degree of consent.
    The question must be asked, of the two Governments, who will replace them if they go?

  • spirit-level

    Simple the IRA will all get new jobs as coppers.
    Errm yeah right!

  • Mick Hall

    Broy Harriers may happen, are memories really so short about the last few years? I doubt the members of the Broy Harriers when first set up to by Dev, thought they would end up doing down old comrades they had fought alongside in the civil war, but these things end up having a momentum of there own. Especially when ambitious politicians are involved.

    Regards to all.

  • Nathan

    Spirit-level

    ‘simple the IRA will all get new jobs as coppers Errm yeah right!’

    spirit-level – the future objective of the Provisional movement is to get involved with policing big-time. In the meantime, they’ve laid out a primary pre-condition, in order for this to become a reality i.e.) Patten reforms need to be implementated to the max first and foremost.

    If the Provisional movement gave the all-important go-ahead to this sort of development, then legislation would need to changed, because at present, prisoners are not tolerated within the ranks of the PSNI. Not to worry though, special arrangements can be made to treat former PIRA prisoners as special cases -Denis Bradley broadly supports this outcome, not to mention the the Dublin-based National Economic and Social Forum.

    NESF in fact, goes one step further than Bradley, because they, like Coiste, support the quashing of criminal convictions in certain circumstances, as a quid pro-quo for full commitment to the Garda.

    A fast-track programme would need to kick into being as well, to ensure that former Provisional prisoners occupy high positions within the PSNI. After all, these people are not your typical Provisional movement footsoldiers/canvessors i.e.) minion riff-raff with feck all management, military and commanding experience – so naturally enough you’d can’t have PIRA people coming in and starting low down in the food chain, so to speak. Their duties will include imprisoning the next generation of IRA people, who will, in the monarchist tradition of continuity, resist at every opportunity against British rule.

    So folks, we must watch and wait to see if the Provisional movement completes the full circle – repeating history before our very eyes. Good article by Eamonn – refreshing as it is not every day that we read a comparison between suggestions that Provisional members might be included in the future PSNI and the induction of former official IRA members into the Free State police force.

  • aquifer

    So apart from revolutionistas and news editors who needs paramilitaries to stick around? Lots of countries seem to be able to do without them OK.

    The IRA and its ilk would have to be long gone before it’s ex-members should be in any police force.

  • spirit-level

    I disagree aquifer, Nathan is right to point out the difficulties: but in principle they, the ex IRA members ought to welcomed into a public, accountable role,immediately, policing not just in nationlaist areas ,but all over the North of Ireland.. same as loyalist ex-paramilitaries.

  • Andrew

    “but in principle they, the ex IRA members ought to welcomed into a public, accountable role,immediately, policing not just in nationlaist areas ,but all over the North of Ireland”

    Are you quite sane spirit-level? IRA members (as well as those in the UVF,UDA ETC) have been responsible for some of the most barbaric acts ever committed in western Europe. They murdered not only Police officers and soldiers,but also innocent women and children. They have shown utter contempt for human life, and you feel that these people ought to be welcomed into a public role? Have you taken leave of your senses man?

  • Betty Boo

    You better get the British Army out then.

  • Millie

    ‘Simple the IRA will all get new jobs as coppers’

    Why not? It worked for the old UVF.

  • bertie

    “but in principle they, the ex IRA members ought to welcomed into a public, accountable role,immediately, policing not just in nationlaist areas ,but all over the North of Ireland.. same as loyalist ex-paramilitaries.”

    The most worrying thing about this is that in Nothern Ireland there is nothing so ridiculous or despicable that the government won’t try it.

  • spirit-level

    quite right I mean it can’t get any worse can it

  • JD

    Robert McBride on a recent visit to Ireland talked of his experience. Robert was a leading member of the military wing of the ANC and was sentenced to death of his part in the conflict there, has now become the chief of police in a large area of a major South African city. Indeed many of his former enemies in old South African police are now under his command. His views on policing are very progressive and innovative, he has introduced many new measures that have proved very successful in combating crime and increasing morale among his men. When asked the question how can a former ANC querilla make the transition to a police man? He replied, “Quite easily, I’ve been fighting criminals all of my life.”

  • spirit-level

    marvellous JD I knew there was a study somewhere to show its not quite as silly as it sounds.
    You see if you give these buggers a salary : train them up, instill some discipline, make decent honest citizens of them,. The results would be we can all relax and enjoy the cricket.
    You need bread and flowers in this life:
    Bread to feed you, and flowers to give you a reason for living 😉 ………….{junior minister at the NIO}

  • JD

    I have dealt with the issue of republicans and policing on a previous thread. However I will reiterate republicans have always been pro-policing. However we have not had a policing service in the north since its inception, we have had an anti-insurgency militia trying to pass itself off as a police force. Alot of progress has been made through negotiations on policing however we are not there yet. But if key issues are addressed republicans would engage in policing, in my view. That opens up all sorts of scenarios that could echo some of experiences in South Africa.

  • Andrew

    Republicans have always been pro policing? Surely that is in direct conflict with their money laundering/drug dealing/fuel smuggling operations!

  • ct-tyrone

    I am very much anti-sectarian, anti-terrorism, anti-everything that isn’t peaceful and democratic, but ironically, in the area that i live, we could not do without ‘ex-ira’ men to ‘stare with furrowed brow’ at the anti-social elements of our the community. Without these individuals, the area would descend into ‘hood’ areas. This is sad, but true. In fact, it is no coincidence that with the (partial)standing down of the ira, anti-social gangs (see hoods) are on the up.It may sound hypocritical of me, but we never had anti-social problems ten years ago. In my area, whereas i do not welcome their political objectives, I do welcome their vigilante presence. The problem is, who will police the vigilantes

  • Nathan

    Andrew,

    “IRA members (as well as those in the UVF,UDA ETC) have been responsible for some of the most barbaric acts ever committed in western Europe. They murdered not only Police officers and soldiers,but also innocent women and children. They have shown utter contempt for human life, and you feel that these people ought to be welcomed into a public role?”

    Excuse my intervention, but just because former IRA people have a past in their closet, doesn’t mean that they should be denied a future you know. Why should former IRA members be ostracised from society long term, just for your benefit.

    At present, former IRA prisoners hold criminal convictions. That is the be-all and end-all as far as employers are concerned. Not surprising then that certain jobs (e.g. Irish civil service, teaching positions in National schools, and yes the police force) are closed to them.

    I don’t think the 2 governments can keep this up long term – ex-prisoner outlets such as An Eochair, Coiste and EXPAC associations are here to stay – and they will continue to press for further progress in the struggle to break down the major barriers to societal re-integration.

    In a nutshell then, former PIRA prisoners (like their predecessors) will be successfully reintegrated into society, the slate will be wiped clean – its just a case of when.

    p.s.) You may benefit from a read of this pg.93/94 focuses on republican ex-prisoners.

  • Mick Hall

    Direct rule from Westminister is still operating, the six counties are still part and parcel of the UK, yet we have people who claim to be Republicans demanding the right to become British policemen, funny old world.

    The comparison with Robert McBride’s situation simply does not hold water, If things get out of hand, he can call first on the SA version of the SB to gain intelligence, if he needs extra muscle he can call upon the SA armed forces. both of which will be commanded by his former comrades. The ANC won there struggle, Republicans are no where near doing so, hence the need for a new turn, i.e. a non violent strategy. It is difficult not to conclude Mr McBride was paraded around Ireland to kid the gullible that the GFA was some sort of victory for Republicans, not a major compromise.

    If there is no law and order in Tyrone, then it is for republicans and others to organize the local community to do the job under a civilian leadership, until such a time as the two governments set up a police service that is acceptable to all. Not substitute the local PIRA unit for this and certainly not expect republicans to become the sharp elbow of the British State in the north of Ireland or to cripple unruly teenagers. Are we really so unimaginative we can not deal with anti social behavior in any way but through violence. If so what does this tell us about when/if SF gains governmental power, will it be more prisons for YPs, corporal punishment in borstals and approved schools/detention centers. Is this what the struggle was for?

    It is not for Republics to demand they have a right to serve in the PSNI. It is for the British State to understand if there is not a full democratization of the PSNI, then the compromises necessary to bring the last thirty odd violent years to an end simply will not be attainable. The best hope of an impartial police force would be to merge the two police forces on the island under a joint command structure, both political and operational. But this would need real leadership from Blair, not sound bites about the hand of bloody history.

  • Chris Gaskin

    Mick Hall

    “then it is for republicans and others to organize the local community to do the job under a civilian leadership”

    That is exactly what is happening in South Armagh this last 3 weeks. Local Sinn Féin councillors called a public meeting about crime in the area. A large number of people attended including Business people ,GAA reps from local clubs and members of resident groups as well as locals.

    The meeting was then led by a facilitor who took community suggestions on how to tackle crime in the absence of a competent or acceptable police force. A steering group was then formed to formulate ideas and report back to the next meeting.

    The meeting was a huge success and has lead to an empowered community that is determined to tackle crime in the community by the greatest weapon they process, the community itself.

  • spirit-level

    “The best hope of an impartial police force would be to merge the two police forces on the island under a joint command structure, both political and operational. But this would need real leadership from Blair, not sound bites about the hand of bloody history”
    This seems most sensible Mick Hall.

  • Henry94

    I agree about the need for a unified police service. Otherwise policing in the north will remain political.

  • JD

    The need for movement towards or the creation of all-Ireland policing structures is one of the key areas needed if policing is to be taken out of the political arena. There is however as great a need for a radical overall of policing structures in the Gardai Siochana and judical system as there is in the six counties (the Morris Tribunal makes this clear). In the movement towards an all-Ireland policing service, I would suggest an all-Ireland Policing Board, all-Ireland ombudsmans office and free flow of personnel between the two jurisdictions.

  • Henry94

    There is however as great a need for a radical overall of policing structures in the Gardai Siochana and judical system as there is in the six counties (the Morris Tribunal makes this clear).

    Absolutely

  • Mick Hall

    Chris,
    Well done the SF councillors in South Armagh, apologies if my post seemed as if I was trying to teach you and your comrades to suck eggs, but as im sure you would agree it is imperative that local communities understand that the PIRA can no longer be a substitution for their own actions on policing. The fact is if Republicans are to fully take the road of non armed struggle, then im sure you would agree policing becomes of primary importance. For a society that does not have an acceptable police-force cannot be democratic nor free.

    I realize many unionists will feel a joint authority police force will be a step to far, but the gains from it would be enormous. not least in detecting crime. Inter-pole works fine and there is increased co-operation between the various police forces throughout the EU. Something which was unthinkable twenty years ago when British criminals sunned thyself in Spain, whilst sticking two fingers at the UK police by giving interviews to the media.

    To be honest whether I like it or not, the Unionist community have got the link with the rest of the UK written in stone under the GFA, i e only the democratic will of the norths people can change it. The unionist community have been generous on some issues and can well afford to go further for the greater good of all and policing is one of these issues where they need to accommodate their fellow citizens further.

  • willowfield

    Nathan

    In the meantime, they’ve laid out a primary pre-condition, in order for this to become a reality i.e.) Patten reforms need to be implementated to the max first and foremost.

    The Patten reforms have been implemented. Patten is a red herring. The Provos are holding back on supporting policing until they get a political deal with the government and DUP that they can accept. Patten doesnÂ’t come into it.

    Why should former IRA members be ostracised from society long term, just for your benefit.

    They shouldnÂ’t. But the discussion is about their suitability for serving as police officers. I think it is more-or-less universally accepted that it is reasonable to bar those with criminal convictions from serving in police forces. Certainly those with serious criminal convictions.

    At present, former IRA prisoners hold criminal convictions. That is the be-all and end-all as far as employers are concerned. Not surprising then that certain jobs (e.g. Irish civil service, teaching positions in National schools, and yes the police force) are closed to them.

    Exactly. So whatÂ’s the big deal?

    Andrew

    They murdered not only Police officers and soldiers,but also innocent women and children.

    Among the police officers and soldiers, included innocent women.

    Mick Hall

    It is for the British State to understand if there is not a full democratization of the PSNI, then the compromises necessary to bring the last thirty odd violent years to an end simply will not be attainable.

    What does “democratisation of the PSNI” mean?

    For a society that does not have an acceptable police-force cannot be democratic nor free.

    Am I right in saying this implies you do not think NI has an acceptable police force? If so, can you explain why you think it is not acceptable?

    Henry94

    I agree about the need for a unified police service. Otherwise policing in the north will remain political.

    It will remain political for so long as the Provos feel it is to their advantage to keep it political. If they wanted they could instead join the Policing Board and endorse the police and stop it being “political”.

    JD

    Alot [sic] of progress has been made through negotiations on policing however we are not there yet.

    Really? WhatÂ’s missing?

    But if key issues are addressed republicans would engage in policing, in my view.

    The key issues, though, have little to do with policing. The key issue is a “political settlement”.

    The need for movement towards or the creation of all-Ireland policing structures is one of the key areas needed if policing is to be taken out of the political arena.

    WhyÂ’s that? See above for an easier and more sensible alternative.

  • JD

    Willowfield

    “The key issues, though, have little to do with policing. The key issue is a “political settlement”.

    There are key issues in relation to policing that have yet to be resolved.

    Although progress has been made on Patten, 61 of the 170 Patten recommendations have yet to be implemented, some of those unimplemented recommendations cover areas of greatest concern such as accountability mechanisms.

    The transfer of policing and justice powers from Britain back to elected representatives in Ireland. This is a crucial area and will be a battle royal over what and how much power is transfered. This is obviously linked to a political settlement as there must be a working assembly in place to transfer the powers to.

    The all-Ireland architecture of the new policing service is a key area for republicans as early posts have made clear. This has the potential to remove the political aspects from policing and allow us to focus on the logistics of improving a genuine new beginning to policing.

  • bertie

    I’ve heard it all now – an all Ireland police force is not political. yeah right!

  • willowfield

    JD

    There are key issues in relation to policing that have yet to be resolved.
    Although progress has been made on Patten, 61 of the 170 Patten recommendations have yet to be implemented, some of those unimplemented recommendations cover areas of greatest concern such as accountability mechanisms.

    Can you be a bit more specific about these unresolved key issues? It would help the discussion.

    If, however, as you say, these non-implemented Patten recommendations are what is holding back the Provos from supporting the police, how do you explain the December 2003 near-agreement with the DUP, in which they agreed to support policing as part of an overall political deal, not conditional upon any further police reform that was not already in place or planned?

    Infact, the only “key issue” on policing is “nationalist consent”, i.e. the Provos’ claim (not backed up by polling evidence) that the PSNI is “not acceptable” to nationalists. December 2003 tells us, however, that what is “unacceptable” to the Provos is merely the fact that the police are supposedly “unaccountable” (and by this they mean to a NI Assembly rather than the Policing Board which the Provos opt not to sit on, although they are so entitled). Therefore the only impediment to nationalist acceptance is the absence of devolution. And the only (or at least the main) impediment to devolution is the Provos’ failure to disarm or disband their death squads and crime gangs.

    So, as I said, the “key issue” is not policing, it is a political settlement. And the answer is in the Provos’ own hands.

    The transfer of policing and justice powers from Britain back to elected representatives in Ireland.

    Er, yes. ThatÂ’s what IÂ’ve been saying!

    The all-Ireland architecture of the new policing service is a key area for republicans as early posts have made clear. This has the potential to remove the political aspects from policing and allow us to focus on the logistics of improving a genuine new beginning to policing.

    As I said above, the “political aspects” (i.e. nationalist non-consent) can be removed from policing simply by the Provos signing up to it. Nationalists will take their lead from Adams et al. “All-Ireland architecture” is irrelevant. It is in the Provos’ interests, however, for the “political aspects” to remain so that they can use their consent to policing as a negotiating chip. This is the only reason why policing remains an issue. This is all too obvious, surely?

  • JD

    “how do you explain the December 2003 near-agreement with the DUP, in which they agreed to support policing as part of an overall political deal, not conditional upon any further police reform that was not already in place or planned?”

    The near-deal in December incomposed a wide range of issues including further movement on policing legislation and a committment on the transfer of powers. Enough to bring the issue of policing to a threshold where Sinn Fein would convene a special Ard Fheis on this issue for debate, this is not a decision for the Sinn Fein negotiating team.

    Rather than listing the 61 outstanding recommendations, if you are interested, consult the latest report from the Police Oversight Commissioner.

    “Therefore the only impediment to nationalist acceptance is the absence of devolution.”

    Nationalists and Republicans have been faced with a anti-insurgency militia pretending to be police force for at least three generations. Notwithstanding the changes towards a new policing service that Sinn Fein and others are attempting to bring about, it could be quite sometime before ordinary nationalists/republicans feel in any way accepting of the new policing arrangements. That is the unfortunate reality of the situation on the ground.

    Anyone who thinks that policing is simply a negotiating chip for republicans is not living in the real world. The RUC has been responsible for hundreds of nationalist deaths during our conflict, they have tortured people in interrogation centres and set them up for loyalist assasination. There are countless stories of incidents in the community where I live of their brutality and inhumanity. These experiences over many years leave a long legacy and make this issue highly emotive among the nationalist/republican community. If unionists think that Gerry Adams and the Sinn Fein leadership can flick a switch they are very much mistaken.

  • willowfield

    JD

    The near-deal in December incomposed [sic] a wide range of issues including further movement on policing legislation and a committment [sic] on the transfer of powers. Enough to bring the issue of policing to a threshold where Sinn Fein would convene a special Ard Fheis on this issue for debate, this is not a decision for the Sinn Fein negotiating team.

    “Further movement on policing legislation” is very vague. Please tell us what the “key issues” were. Your evasion on the question indicates that there were no “key issues” at all. If the Provo “Ard Fheis” had followed the lead of the Provo negotiators (as would have been extremely likely), then my point would have proved.

    Rather than listing the 61 outstanding recommendations, if you are interested, consult the latest report from the Police Oversight Commissioner.

    Again, evasion and vagueness. Tell us what “key issues” are represented by these 61 recommendations.

    Nationalists and Republicans have been faced with a [sic] anti-insurgency militia pretending to be police force for at least three generations. Notwithstanding the changes towards a new policing service that Sinn Fein and others are attempting to bring about, it could be quite sometime before ordinary nationalists/republicans feel in any way accepting of the new policing arrangements. That is the unfortunate reality of the situation on the ground.

    Well, polling evidence does not support the view that – even presently – nationalists do not “accept” the police. And even if we accept that they do not “accept” the police, the Provos signing up will very soon transform the situation. In any case, it will be easy to find out: the Provos measure non-acceptance by their own vote, so if the Provo vote holds after they sign up for policing, that will demonstrate nationalist acceptance.

    Anyone who thinks that policing is simply a negotiating chip for republicans is not living in the real world.

    IÂ’m unaware of anyone who thinks that. It is not policing, but nationalist acceptance of policing, that is the negotiating chip.

    The RUC has been responsible for hundreds of nationalist deaths during our conflict, they have tortured people in interrogation centres and set them up for loyalist assasination. There are countless stories of incidents in the community where I live of their brutality and inhumanity. These experiences over many years leave a long legacy and make this issue highly emotive among the nationalist/republican community. If unionists think that Gerry Adams and the Sinn Fein leadership can flick a switch they are very much mistaken.

    So, really, what you are saying is that the reason for nationalist “non-acceptance” of the PSNI is the historical distrust of the police; Patten’s supposed 61 recommendations are really a red herring. As I have been saying all along.

    Best thing for Adams and McGuinness to do would be to join the Policing Board and give leadership to their voters. That would accelerate the process of achieving nationalist acceptance. If that’s not enough and they want devolution, then they should end their veto on devolution and close down their death squads and crime gangs. But they won’t because both their “consent” to policing, and their death squads and crime gangs, are their main negotiating chips.

  • Nathan

    ‘They shouldnÂ’t. But the discussion is about their suitability for serving as police officers. I think it is more-or-less universally accepted that it is reasonable to bar those with criminal convictions from serving in police forces.’

    Unfortunately, your right willowfield – that is the prevailing attitude – and it all boils down to general prejudice, with regard to the ex-prisoner community.

    It for this reason that ex-prisoners are not deemed suitable for employment in the Ambulance Service or Royal Mail either, so lets not pretend that the whole issue of suitability for employment is merely confined to the police force. There is much more to it than that – and it has a lot to do with the perennial stigmatisation of ex-convicts, no matter what job they wish to apply for. Thats why few exceptions to this discriminatory rule exist – yes, you can be an ex-prisoner and an elected MP in Westminster or a TD in Leinster House, but nevertheless be permanently barred from providing a vital service to your local community as a police officer or as a paramedic. Why persist in the criminalisation of republican ex-prisoners with regard to the latter and not the former?

    Moreover, why bother treating PIRA ex-prisoners as ordinary criminals at all, when it is entirely contrary to the GFA thought processes under which they were released. All you have to do is think very carefully about the reasons upon which PIRA ex-prisoners were selected for release, and you soon realise that they were treated differently to your ordinary criminal. Little wonder then that IÂ’ve become resigned to the fact that some day, ex-paramilitary people will be finally admitted to the Policing Partnership Board, as well as becoming police officers in NI.

    In the Irish Republic, itÂ’s a different story altogether because a precedent already exists for the admission of ex-paramilitary people into the ranks of the police force. We know this to be the case because the biological father of TV star Nicky Campbell was an official IRA recruit turned policeman, something which Nicky Campbell later admitted to in that autobiography of his (available at all good book stores).

    So, even though Nicky Campbell’s father was involved in the smuggling of explosives and guns into NI in the 1950s, and later taken in for questioning by the RUC (although never charged with anything), that didnÂ’t prevent him from signing up with the Gardai in later life. By all accounts, he was a success story because within a matter of years he was promoted to the ranks of the Special Branch, before being transferred to work as a Detective Sergeant in Wicklow Town.

    So you see, any sort of blanket ban on ex-paramilitary people is inappropriate. Unionists, I feel, suffer from short-sightedness alot of the time because they refuse to recognise that former IRA people may be, indeed are, capable of reform and of change.

    “Exactly. So whatÂ’s the big deal?”

    The fact that it doesn’t have to be this way – a review of the Employment Equality Act was initiated in the Irish Republic in 2001 regarding a possible widening of the grounds within the legislation under which members of the public could claim discrimination. Some involved in the review suggested widening the definition of discrimination under the Act to include having a criminal conviction. Thats the route I’d like to see both governements go down. Failing that, the 2 governments could always expunge the criminal convictions attached to political ex-prisoners – I don’t think unionists, like yourself, could stomach this, but you soon may have to – before long, Sinn Fein will want all this done and dusted.

    I off for now so have a good weekend

  • Nathan

    “The RUC has been responsible for hundreds of nationalist deaths during our conflict, they have tortured people in interrogation centres and set them up for loyalist assasination. There are countless stories of incidents in the community where I live of their brutality and inhumanity. These experiences over many years leave a long legacy and make this issue highly emotive among the nationalist/republican community.”

    JD, the former chair of Democratic Left (NI) – Paddy Joe McClean – was interned for 5 years by the British and subjected to various degrees of torture in his earlier life. He managed to come through this horrific ordeal in the absence of any bitterness towards his torturers and with his humanity intact. Today, he’s an independent member of the District Policing Partnerships – what does that tell you 🙂

  • bigwhitedove

    Says more about paddy joe than it does about anything else, by the way Nathan do you mean the RUC when you say he was interned by the British?

  • red stan

    The Workers Party were making a few quid in those days, protection rackets,drugs etc..

    What does that tell you

  • bertie

    ” I don’t think unionists, like yourself, could stomach this, but you soon may have to – before long, Sinn Fein will want all this done and dusted.”

    and what Sinn Fein wants Sinn Fein must be given.

  • Nathan

    red stan

    Let me get one thing straight here – I’m NO actor for ANY political party and never have been. For one, I’m not on the ground for most of the year – I’m a recent ex-pat currently living in England.

    As for those alleged goings on within the old WP, I’m not of that generation, so leave me out of it because I’ve never been directly involved with that party. Treat me as a lay person if you will – relatively young and impressionable – I don’t mind 🙂

    bigwhitedove
    The British army was responsible for the torture of ye man. Great news for the Provisionals, because they were able to make political capital out of someone else’s misery.

    You see, before internment they were an irrelevant fringe group – marginalised by all of good taste and decency. But when internment was ongoing, the Provisionals had all the ammunitation they needed to lift off that ultimately futile armed campaign of theirs, resulting in the wastage of countless lives.

    bertie

    $inn £ien are well able to milk the system, I’ll give them that. As an objectivist, I believe all the credit should go to the bigwig negotiators. As for those sentimental minions, you know, the ones convinced of their own self-importance – they don’t even come into it. Lets hope that one day, they’ll be named and shamed as the disposibles that they are.

  • aquifer

    ‘The near-deal in December incomposed (encompassed) a wide range of issues including further movement on policing legislation and a committment on the transfer of powers. Enough to bring the issue of policing to a threshold where Sinn Fein would convene a special Ard Fheis on this issue for debate, this is not a decision for the Sinn Fein negotiating team.’

    So Sinn Fein are not able to conclude any negotiation on their own. i.e. No point in talking to them really.

    Its enough to make the DUP decision not to play russian dolls with the RM look entirely rational.

    Some of you guys out there are still on the revolutionary war gig, arn’t you?

    Paddy Joe and the Workers Party called that one right a long time ago. The working class is split on sectarian lines. No prospect of revolution.

    And no special police jobs for ‘freedom fighters’ either, except perhaps in training up the Met.

    Think growth sectors such as building, tourism, recycling. Things are better than in the 70’s, honest.

  • Gonzo

    Don’t mean to intrude, but does Paddy Joe live in Antrim (town area)? There was a DL guy I used to know from there, and he was called Paddy.

    Nice fella.

    Good discussion, BTW – cheers Nathan and Willowfield. What yous are talking about here is very likely integral to the talks that are going on behind the scenes.

  • JD

    Willowfield,

    Key issues include:

    Special Branch resistance to the changes proposed in Patten, particularly on accountability and their amalgamation with CID.

    Need for increased powers for DPPs to holding local policing properly to account.

    The continued use of plastic bullets.

    The role and accountability mechanisms of new sections formed within the PSNI such as REMIT and special branch personnel regrouping with them.

    Human rights abusers that transferred en mass to the PSNI.

    The fact that only new personnel must take the human rights oath.

    Where the real power lies between the triumverate management structure of the SoS, the Chief Consatble and the Policing Board.

    Outstanding unestablished inquiries into many areas of collusion and the resistance of Hugh Orde to releasing security tapes in the Rosanne Mallon case, for example.

    Examples of clear political policing – Operation Torsion, the Stormont raid, Hugh Orde’s decision to offer his ‘opinion’ on the Northern Bank knowing the political damage that would cause.

    I could go on.

  • Mick Hall

    How do list members fell about MI5 taking over primacy for dealing with terrorism etc. If this happens will there be a need for a PSNI Special Branch. Would it not be beneficial and make the PSNI more acceptable to the minority community if the SB were to be ‘stood down’?

    regards to all

  • JD

    Special Branch in its current form should be stood down, as it was at the core of the collusion policy and other aspects of the dirty war, maybe they could become an old boys association.

    However MI5 cannot be allowed to take primacy over intelligence gathering, they are a totally unaccountable agency of the British state with no connection to the proposed policing arrangements. Some form of intelligence gathering branch should be formed as part of the new beginning to policing that would perform this necessary task within delivering an effective policing service.

    If PSNI personnel can demonstrate that they where not involved in the murky world of RUC special branch then there should be no barrier to their involvement in new arrangements.