Investigative politics

I noticed earlier that Mr has found time in his day to be annoyed at Peter Bowles call for Sinn Fein MLA Caitriona Ruane to be interviewed by the Police over the Columbia three incident.

Interesting that she isn’t the first Sinn Fein MLA to fall foul of Cllr Bowles.

  • crat

    “Interesting that she isn’t the first Sinn Fein MLA to fall foul of Cllr Bowles.”

    Can you expand?

    I thought the PSNI ignored Bowles last time. I’m confident they will do the same this time.

  • Chris Gaskin

    I can always find time Michael to be annoyed with an irrelevance like Bowles 😉

  • Chris Gaskin

    Is Michael now using this site as an extension of the Young (snigger) Unionists site?

    just wondering

  • Chris Gaskin

    “You should check your grammar on the Bowles post – balrog. It leaves a lot to be desired.”

    LOL, My grammar always leaves a lot to be desired

  • crat


    When will the bold Bowles call for the PSNI to interview members of the UUP on their meetings with Loyalist Paramilitaries through shared membership of the Loyalist Commission?

    Hypocrisy? Surely not?

  • Lyn

    Hi! I’m from Puerto Rico, and I was just wondering, did they ever catch the Northen Bank robbers? The one’s that pulled the big robbery last year?

    Oh, and what’s going on with the negociations between the Irish Rep and Northern Ireland? Does the mayority of North Ireland want to join the republic, or want to stay part of the UK?

    I’m curious because as you might not know, Puerto Rico is kinda in the same state as you, caught among being a state of the US, being independent or staying a “commonwealth”… um… minus the paramilitary organizations, people here just vote… and wait.. oh well…

  • Dave Clarke

    I think that this article is a good bit of investigative politics. Why shouldn’t Ruane have to face questions about the whereabouts of these narco-terrorists?

    Any other members of society probably would if they admitted that they met with convicted narco-terrorists who are currently fugutives from justice, whether they admit it to a Provo rag or whoever.

  • Jo

    I think Caitriona might usefully be questioned:

    She represents south Down.

    The chances are that the 3 may have travelled across the Atlantic by boat.

    There is a port at Warrenpoint.

    There was a major Fleadh there a couple of weeks ago, with amny SF present.

  • Newbie

    Why do people refer to these 3 guys as ‘narco-terrorists’..? what exactly is meant by this … I thought ‘narco’ had something to do with sleeping (..?)

  • Jo


    In answer to your first point, no, the Northern Bank robbers have not been caught, indeed the police team on the case appears to have been scaled back.

    As regards your second query, may I suggest that you do a little more research on NI history?

    One of the basic issues is that the majority of the population in NI DO NOT wish to be united with the southern state (the Republic.)

    The reasons for that are historical – which is why I recommend that you do more research. 🙂

  • circles

    It seems like Cllr Bowles has taken his cue from David Copperfield – hoping that if he provides enough smoke, mirrors and outcry we’ll maybe take our eye of the game for a minute and forget about the fact that the unionists now have to actually do something themselves in the peace process to move it on and stop their endless distraction tactics.

    If the Cllr really does feel the urge to call on the police to get involved in something then maybe he should step up and offer some advice with regard to the “loyalist” feud – God know the DUP aren’t going to do anything about it.

  • Fanny

    Gaskin’s blog is a bit crap though, isn’t it?

  • Dave Clarke

    Newbie: Narco – narcotics – FARC being major cocaine exporters.

    Fanny: It is bit of a diatribe.

  • circles

    Fanny: Well if you don’t agree with his point of view then I suppose you could say that. I’m sure loads of people say that about your posts too.

    Dave: Would you maybe have some good links to info on the set-up in Colombia?
    As far as I know everyone there (government, paramilitary militia, FARC) are up to their necks in criminality – Narco-government hunts down Narco-FARC aided and abetted by Narco-milita – no white hats to be seen at all there. So I’d appreciate a link to your inside track that seems to have everything in nice simplistic shades of black and white.

  • Newbie

    Thanks Dave – I’ve only been hearing the term with regards to these 3 guys … Surely there are certain active paramilitary groupings here who may be as worthy of the term..?

  • Newbie

    Thanks Dave – I’ve only been hearing the term with regards to these 3 guys … Surely there are certain active paramilitary groupings here who may be as worthy of the term..?

  • carlosblanco

    What is that thing on the blog that looks like a sheeps head?

  • Northern FF

    Carolos Blancos.

    That’s a Balrog you eejit – disturbed from the depths of Moria by over-excited dwarves.

    Now get back to work.

  • Fanny

    Hell, it’s not because I disagree with his point of view – I read loads of blogs that I strongly disagree with. But Gaskin’s is just dreadful. Hint: it’s not enough to go “but what the eff like?” You need an argument.

  • Dessertspoon

    Hey Jo – If we suppose for a second that they came over the Atlantic by boat why the hell would you make the trip all the way around the top of country into the Irish Sea and then to Warrenpoint. Would it not be easier to dock somewhere quiet on the West Coast? Just a thought.

    Why would the PSNI want to question CR about the C3? It’s nowt to do with them. I suppose if the Gardai asked them to assist with their inquiries but they don’t even seem that interested in carrying out the Interpol warrant. I really think Unionists should be concentrating on more important issues.

  • Newbie

    “I really think Unionists should be concentrating on more important issues”

    – too true Dessertspoon – not too much noise coming from Unionist quarters about the narco-terrorist feud here at home!!

  • David

    Fanny I am actually usually quite impressed with the standard of some the debate on Balrog and I found it nearly on a par with here on some occassions in the recent past. Its always interesting to read others opinions on controverstial issues

  • Jo


    That might indeed be what happened, just a conspiracy theory I have had since I saw CR at the Fleadh in Warrenpoint 😉

  • Dandyman

    Isn’t anyone going to answer yer man from Puerto Rico?

    I heard yesterday on some talk radio show that the reason the Gardai haven’t picked up the C3 yet is because apparently there’s no such thing as an ‘interpol arrest warrant’. Just like people bandy about the name ‘Interpol’ every now and again because it has the first 2 syllables of the word ‘international’ in it and think it sounds really important, but nobody has ever really seen ‘interpol’ patrolling on the beat anywhere and secretly a lot of people wonder whether they actually exist at all.

    Anyway it appears that without an extradition agreement between the two countries, i.e. Colombia & the Republic, this ‘warrant’ isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. It is a bit strange how the Gardai don’t seem to have any interest in even talking to them, though…maybe they’re waiting for all the hard-working politicians in the Irish Govt to get back from their real lives – oops, sorry, I meant holidays – because without ‘Mad Dog’ McDowell barking his head off and chasing around and around in circles like a demented fool, they are totally incapable of making a move.

  • Dave Clarke

    Tell you what circles:

    Lets start where we find ourselves. I reckon most people have a base understanding of how certain parts of S America are no go areas for authorities, not unlike parts of SE Asia where drugs are the biggest export goods for criminal cartels.

    I did not expound on my points in relation to this. You point about ‘inside tracks’ makes you look pretentious and somewhat obcessed with tackling the posters rather than the subject in hand.

    Perhaps, seeing you did expound on your little knowledge of narco-terrorism, you could elucidate your ‘inside track’ by providing links. You made a hell of a lot more unsubstantiated remarks than I.

  • Chris Gaskin


    You can’t always expect excellance 😉

    I normally blog about 5 pieces a day. My post is only ever the introduction to the argument, like slugger.

    Of course it is provocative, that is what starts debates

  • Fanny

    Your first step to excellence might be learning how to spell it.
    If this is what the new generation of Shinners is like, no wonder they haven’t had a leadership contest in 27 years.

  • circles

    Calm down there fella.
    I said “as far as I know”, simply because its what I’ve read and been told by people I know from Colombia (Bogota), but can in no way substantiate it. Your pronouncements were so definite – knowing just who the narco-terrorist are and the size of FARCs cocaine export – I thought you must have known something else.

    Now you say that “most people have a base understanding of how certain parts of S America are no go areas for authorities” – which would imply again that its somehow common knowledge – but where did you get this common knowledge from? You see I don’t enough about Colombia to come out with very definite statements about the situation there, or to make clear judgements about whats right and whats wrong – but you seem to and I would be grateful to you if you could provide me with some info.

  • Chris Gaskin

    “Your first step to excellence might be learning how to spell it”

    a spelling mistake, sue me!!

    Some people will find anything to be negative about

  • Fanny

    Try not to eat while you’re typing.

  • David

    Man not ball Fanny?

  • Chris Gaskin

    “Try not to eat while you’re typing.”


    Fanny, if you have something to say just come out and say it!

  • Jo


    I did provide a response to Lyn, who I would perceive as a “she”

    Anyone else care to shed elucidation on the PR student, I think (s)he has linked to their email 🙂

  • Jo

    …eating is preferable to boozing while you’re typing – the latter tends to upset the grammar department in the brain.

  • Alan McDonald


    I’m going to take a shot at elucidating on PR/NI for Lyn. As a New Yorker, I have had more direct contact with Puerto Ricans than emigrants from Northern Ireland. Most of the Puerto Ricans have been Hispanic and have moved to New York for economic reasons. None of them, to my knowledge, was involved in politics before leaving Puerto Rico. Some became active in the Democrat party in New York. The subject of the “constitutional question” about PR or NI never came up.

    Twenty years ago I was at a sales meeting and ended up talking with our company’s salesman in Puerto Rico. He was an Irish American named Kelly who had lived in PR all his life and was fluent in Spanish and English. He was very interested that I knew something about the violent separatist movement in PR, so I tried to get him to compare it to the situation in NI. Unfortunately, when I referred to the Thatcher government as “conservative,” he went ballistic, complaining that the British were a bunch of Communists. End of conversation.

    The point of my story? There are Americans (and others) who believe that any system other than absolute laissez faire capitalism is an abomination, and that trumps any issues of constitutional nationalism.

  • Jo

    Interesting, I have had webchats with various US citizens over the years and my occasional comment on our NHS or my own “vacation time” seems to provide endless amazement (and envy) in equal measure.

    As for mentioning trade unions – wow! I won’t be raising that one again in a hurry!

  • Alan McDonald


    The last full time job I had here was with a German company that bought a Kodak subsidiary because it would be cheaper to make their product in the US than in Germany. At the risk of sounding MOPEy, we’re becoming a banana republic here in the US, and it’s all our own fault.

    That’s enough venting … back to Catriona and the Colombia 3.

  • Dave Clarke


    Look fella,

    If you want info on S America or anything else, go and get it yourself.

    I have not seen a post from you yet that has any bearing whatsoever on the matter of this thread.

    Just admit it. Ruane has behaved despicably and has (typically for a Shinner) wrapped up her actions in media spin – ‘bring them home’ etc.

  • circles

    “I have not seen a post from you yet that has any bearing whatsoever on the matter of this thread.”

    Well apart from pointing out that all your posts are based simply on your own prejudice, you have an axe to grind against Ruane / SF, and a Miami Vice style understanding of what is actually going in Colombia (as well as mentioning the fact that this whole story is anyway simply a unionist smoke and mirrors trick to try and take attention away from the fact that they have absolutely zero intention of contributing positively to the peace process) – I would agree with your assessment.

    Now Dave, if you have anything factual to say, or anything you can back up with anything but rant, I’d be glad to read it.

  • Dave Clarke


    If you had not been so caught up in your own ‘it’s the securocrats’, ‘what a conspiracy!’ nonsense, you could have seen that I was discussing the following issue:

    “Why shouldn’t Ruane have to face questions about the whereabouts of these narco-terrorists?

    Any other members of society probably would if they admitted that they met with convicted narco-terrorists who are currently fugutives from justice, whether they admit it to a Provo rag or whoever.”

    Posted by: Dave Clarke at August 8, 2005 07:18 PM

    Perhaps you could give me your views on the duties (if any) a public representative like Ruane is under to forward information relevant to current international criminal investigations to the investigating authorities in her jurisdiction?

    Why has she not already passed this information on?

    Are SF saying that in this new era of IRA rehash, that their representatives are still prepared to defy the law (be that British, Irish, International)?

    If I was a unionist in South Down I would be spitting nails, that one of the constituency’s representatives openly cavorts with convicted on the run terrorists.

    If I am incorrect please inform me. I am not even sure of the legal duties upon someone with a nexus like Ruane’s to these criminals and narco-terrorists, to pass information on to authorities.

    I know that you are eager to have a go at me (perhaps reverting to a tried and tested model of divertion, smoke/mirrors etc), but I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the above and any other angle you have.

  • circles

    Firstly, to try and represent this entire case as being simply about “on the run terrorists” is, and I think you’ll agree with this, a gross simplification. The case is / was a lot more complicated than that and heavy overshadowed by the political scene in the north. I think you’ll also agree that the legal process in Colombia also left a little to be desired (guilty of the lot, then no, ok then, false passports and suspended sentence, then no, no, guilty of the lot again – the paid informers and not exactly fair trial).

    Regarding Ruane’s responsibilities I can only give a personal opinion. If she were to be approached by the police regarding information she would be in a position where she would be obliged to supply information. If the gardai are not actively looking for the men I do not any ground why she should approach them and volunterr information they are not looking for.

    Nowhere did I say that this situation was caused by “the securocrats” – but what I do strongly feel is that when we consider this case through the small crack in the door that is our view of the world there is no way we can understand the whole situation, and simply reducing events down to fit into our understanding of how the world (well the wee NI world) works does nobody any favours. Would you agree with that?

  • Dave Clarke


    Thanks. I appreciated reading your views.

    I undersdtand that I did take a narrow approach to this thread, prob because of my malice towards SF and Ruane. I was point scoring.

    I appreciate your last point, however, it is mankind’s fate, the fate of the individual, never to behave as a being in control of all the facts, views, thoughts and sensitivities of others etc.

    I was merely fulfilling my role, as it appeared to me, upon reading this story. Ruane’s antics do annoy me. The possibility of her getting away with it and re-inforcing the palpable atmosphere of lawlessness and renagade politics we have to endure on these islands.

    I have a three hour set to play now in Perth.

    I have enjoyed our chat.

    Best wishes,


  • Jo

    I dont think malice or frustration is an uncommon reaction to Ms Ruane in various circles, if you excuse the pun! I seem to remember Dr John Dunlop exploding at her trite and ohsosoftly spoken sectarianism during the “Seven Days” Sunday show on RU.

    It certainly made for an interesting lunch!