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Secretary of State, Peter Hain, maintains that he could not have made any other decision, but by claiming, as reported by the Belfast Telegraph, that he re-released Sean Kelly despite Kelly breaching the terms of his early release licence – a claim that Hain denied the Independent Sentence Review Commission an opportunity to assess – he has arguably undermined his own call to support the rule of law.

From Chris Thornton’s Belfast telegraph report

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Hain said: “There was no forward plan to let him out.

“I locked him up because he was breaching his licence. I had a report that arrived in my red box one night from the PSNI and it would have been irresponsible of me not to have acted on that.

“Equally it would have been wrong of me to ignore the fact that the IRA statement was of a historic and completely different kind from anything that had come before and opened up a new era in Northern Ireland, a statement to which he was signed up.

“Given that sequence of events, I don’t think any other Secretary of State could have taken any different decisions.

“Is it the decision I’m most proud of? No, of course not. But given the circumstances I don’t think any of those decisions could have been different.”

  • David Vance


  • Jeremy

    Was Kelly really in breach of his license or was Hain made a fool of by locking up Kelly and then releasing him again after the statement. It would seem that the pro-consul (to use Brian Feeney’s great term) has only succeded in pissing off republicans by locking him and pissed off loyalists by letting him go.
    Quel Spa?

  • peteb

    Yes, David, as in “it is reasonable to propose”.


    One point, technically Kelly was released just prior to the statement being issued.

  • David Vance


    “Reasonable” as in to assume anything other would require self-delusion on a scale one can only find amongst the pro-Agreement brigade.

  • fair_deal

    A Secretary of State trying to defend a blatant display of double standards to appease the Republican Movement. Shurely Shume Mistake.

    The republican movement get enticements for any movement. Unionism get a lecture about how the world works and how they are gonna have to lump it (after they claim they have listened to our concerns of course).

    Anyone remember Mo Mowlam promising at the King’s Hall that she would try and address the concerns of those who voted NO. Same bull, different face.

  • Plum Duff

    As usual, from David Vance, a couple of one-line dismissals of anything he deems to be against his peculiarly right-wing view of how his ‘Ulster’ should be run. No argument, just one-line ‘slags’. It’s amazing. For a man who normally takes quite a robust and voluble stance toward Nationalist/Republican transgressions in the law and order field, he seems to have been remarkably coy with regard to the mayhem on Belfast’s streets perpetrated by those most loyal subjects of HMQ – the ‘Loyal’ Orange Order, ‘Loyalist’ paramilitaries, et al, who, for ‘God and Ulster’, have been actually photographed in their attempts to eliminate members of those same institutions they claim to support – police and RIR. What has happened, David? Did the verbal athletics of Johnny McQuaid, Sammy Adair, Dawson Bailie – those role models of articulate Ulster – freeze your tongue?

  • David Vance

    Plum Duff,

    Here’s a beginner’s course in condemnation for the hard of thinking. It may assist you in framing more coherent responses to my comments.

    1. I condemn ALL terror groups. (In detail, at length, daily, on ATW)

    2. I condemn ALL who resort to street violence. It is an abomination in a democratic society.

    3. I condemn ALL who insist on elevating the apologists for IRA violence into Government and then smugly declare that “violence doesn’t pay” Mr Hain falls into that camp.

    The evidence is that violence does pay, and pay big time, when one is dealing with moral equivocaters and appeasers such as successive British Governments. Pointing this out seems to annoy Republican apologists who like to pretend that three and a half decades of carnage never hapened – tough.

    Further, not sure where your little hang up on the term “Ulster” comes from -it’s not one I employ with any frequency.

    Finally, my tongue is far from frozen but your common sense is evidently in deep chill. Perhaps the heat from the street may warm it up?

  • Comrade Stalin

    David, I think you mean pro-agreement – with a lower-case “a”.

  • Plum Duff

    Thank you, David Vance, for your clarification. And let’s put my cards on the table as well. I am not an apologist for Republican violence. I abhor and condemn violence from wherever it comes – State, Loyalist, Republican or from low-lifes of the ODC (sic) kind who violate the property and persons of old folk, etc, etc, etc.

    My problem lies with Unionist apologists who, over the years, have perpetrated the myth that Loyalist/Unionist violence was merely reactive to that carried out by Republicans. And it can clearly be seen in the responses to the recent Loyalist/Unionist violence from the various Unionist leaders (again, sic!) where, rather than condemn the outrages outright and where, for a change, they couldn’t lay blame on Republicans, pleaded for understanding and sympathy for their misguided electorate. It was all due to their lack of education, the loss of the watchtowers, the disbanding of the RIR – you name it. Oh, my bleeding heart!

    No ‘A’ levels? – let’s petrol bomb the police. No security on the border? – let’s torch a score of cars. No RIR? – let’s burn a pensioners’ bus and rob them. If it wasn’t so serious, it would be ridiculous.

    I’m not sure what that last remark about ‘the heat from the street’ means. It seems to me to be slightly sinister and in conflict with what you said previously.

    And, finally, apologies to all for being ‘off’ the original topic.