Adams and McGuinness are the IRA?

Well the Channel 4 Dispatches programme on the Northern Bank raid is on tonight at 9p. Its author Kevin Toolis has a piece in The (London) Times today, laying out some of the findings of his nine month investigation into the background. First up is the Prime Minister Tony Blair, for what Toolis describes as the lie that there was ever any distinction between Sinn Fein and the IRA. The robbery was just another political punch in a long political campaign.

  • Henry94

    That was a very disappointing arctile from Tollis. His main source appears to be Michael McDowell! And his main point appears to be an attack on Tony Blair. Incredible.

    If the program is as hysterical and agenda driven as this then it won’t be up to much.

  • Yokel

    Thsi is nothing new. Considerable cross over between Sinn Fein & the Provos (This is not the like the Hibernians and the Orange Order, you can be members of both) and Tony Blair is pretending all the bad things here that go on are not going on.

    We know this already, we live here, we not not to get in the way of certain people beause they are Provos, or UVF or whatever.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    If that’s all he’s got, a hodge of McDowell mediocre-speak and his own personal bile, it seems, agains SF’s Gerry Adams and Michael McDowell, he’d be better off with the Sunday Independent.

    Less Woodward and Bernstein, more Comical Ali….

  • Fergal

    SF is the greatest threat to Irish democracy since the civil war.

    Until the IRA has been demonstrably shown to have gone away in its entirety, the party should be barred from standing for election.

    I don’t care if that undermines the will of the People..they’re criminals and murderers and the blood of the thousands of victims of the Troubles is on the hands of every party member and voter.

  • middle-class taig

    This programme sounds like it’s going to be a PR bonanza for the Shinners. This kind of thing makes shinners of sdlp voters.

    I thought this evening was going to be a devastating exposé (and btw, if the provies did it, I have no problem whatsoever with a devastating exposé). I’ve been quite excited to see it. I was really hoping it would be good.

    But from the article, it seems likely to be long on allegation, short on fact. I’m now expecting a series of “talking-head” pieces from political opponents of SF.

    Anyway, don’t want to be premature. I’ll tune in anyway. Here’s hoping to be surprised.

  • circles

    yes, yes Fergal – deep breaths now. Remember the IRA weren’t all alone up here in the north – the other 1800 were the police, army and loyalists.

    I like your hypocrisy though (“I don’t care if that undermines the will of the People”) – if you don’t like soemthing then it shouldn’t be allowed – and you have the cheek to call SF a threat to democracy! What next – press censorship for SF cause you don’t like what they say? How far back would like us to turn the clock Fergal?

  • Francis

    Fergal theres no blood on my hands. So please withdraw that remark.

    Is there blood on the hands of everybody who supports Fianna Fail over their support for the Americans to use shannon for their murder of innoncent people in Iraq.

    100,000 and counting……..

  • Mick Fealty

    Well it sounds like ‘he don’t got the bookkeeper’. But as Henry has wisely counselled before, it’s probably best to watch the film and draw conclusions afterwards.

  • mentaur

    I get the shinners’ objection to Michael McDowell as a worthy source, but I don’t see how he goes beyond a statement of fact. Does anyone here really hold the position that Adams and McGuinness weren’t on the Army Council at least until very recently? And in insisting on such distance aren’t republicans implying that the IRA are a terrible bunch to be associated with? Genuine questions

  • Harris

    Does anyone know if there is a way of viewing the “Dispatches” program over here in the states?

  • Henry94

    mentaur

    I hold very strongly to the position that I don’t know who is on the Army Council and even more strongly to the position that I don’t care.

    My primary objection to McDowell is that he has a narrow political agenda in all this. He is, as I see it, playing to a particular gallery in the south in an attempt to win votes from Fine Gael.

    I have no sense that he has any interest whatsoever in the peace process. Or the north.

  • Ringo

    Francis,

    Strange analogy. Is the US Army the military wing of Fianna Fail?

  • Lonely Pint

    I will of course watch the programme, but as I’ve said earlier I suspect a great deal of the ‘findings’ will come from the mouth of Minister McDowell.

    He does play up his credentials in the article to a great degree, he’s the Irish home secretary your know…

  • mentaur

    Henry 94
    It’s rather ad hominem to focus on McDowell rather than what he actually says. Alasdair McDonnell is saying the same thing in the article, and though with his own gallery to play to, you can’t land exactly the same accusations against him.

    Everybody outside of Sinn Fein who has commented on the subject has had Adams and McGuinness at the heart of the Army Council for a long time. It’s such a damaging claim that you think the RM would have leaked alternative candidates for their positions there. SF don’t after all make such a song and dance about Brain Keenan’s role, so anonymity doesn’t seem such a big deal.

  • Henry94

    mentaur

    It’s such a damaging claim that you think the RM would have leaked alternative candidates for their positions there.

    I don’t think you understand the extent to which this is a non-issue for republicans.

  • Mick Fealty

    Harris to answer your question, I don’t think so. This is all I can find on the site.

  • Ringo

    Henry

    I hold very strongly to the position that I don’t know who is on the Army Council and even more strongly to the position that I don’t care.

    If you don’t know/care who is on the Army council, (or I assume, involved at any level with any paramilitary organisation for that matter,) then you obviously don’t care what other (daytime) roles in society that these paramilitaries play. Most importantly, you cannot identify the inevitable conflicts of interest that arise in their day jobs.

    Is this a permanent situation (bluntly: corrupt) or do you see this as a transitional phase, where one day it will matter to you what subversive organisations public servants and elected representatives belong to?

  • Ginfizz

    Ah Mick, its great to see the Sinn Fein internet police have so comprehensively taken over this site that most Unionists have abandoned it.

    I have just viewed some of the other threads – I’m afraid Slugger has fallen.

  • mentaur

    Henry 94

    Then why is it routinely denied? For new and potential SF voters I imagine it would be an issue if Adams and McGuinness could be tied directly to the robbery. You don’t appear confident enough to deny 1) their membership and 2) PIRA responsibility for the robbery. The case hasn’t been proven in the public domain, but isn’t it legitimate for questions to be asked given even your hesitancy?

  • JD

    Mentaur,

    Republicans are not overly bothered about Michael McDowell or Alaisder McDonalds politically motivated protestations about who is on the IRAs Army Council as it is an irrelevance. If the enemies of republicanism have known for years who is or isn’t in the Army Council, presumably from an informer on the Council, then why did the war last thirty years and end in a military stalemate. Surely such a well placed informant could have served the IRA up on a plate and kept the British informed of every IRA move.

    Most republicans are content that while McDowell and others were focusing on Adams and McGuinness, the real Army Council were getting on with business.

  • Ginfizz

    “Most republicans are content that while McDowell and others were focusing on Adams and McGuinness, the real Army Council were getting on with business.”

    Right enough, that red diesel won’t shift itself over the border.

  • Ringo

    who is on the IRAs Army Council as it is an irrelevance

    JD – I’m posing the same question to you I posed to Henry :

    ‘If you don’t know/care who is on the Army council, (or I assume, involved at any level with any paramilitary organisation for that matter,) then you obviously don’t care what other (daytime) roles in society that these paramilitaries play. Most importantly, you cannot identify the inevitable conflicts of interest that arise in their day jobs.

    Is this a permanent situation (bluntly: corrupt) or do you see this as a transitional phase, where one day it will matter to you what subversive organisations public servants and elected representatives belong to?’

  • mentaur

    JD,

    If I get you right you’re saying Adams and McGuinness may or may not have been on the Army Council yet any attempt to say they were must be politically motivated?

  • Henry94

    mentaur

    Then why is it routinely denied?

    Because it is routinely asked.

    A few months ago we were told that they were off the Army Council. Now they are supposed to be on it again. I just don’t take it seriously.

    Ringo

    You are trying to create a concern where to me none exits. But I would say that phases are by definition transitional.

  • JD

    Mentaur,

    I am saying republicans are happy enough for their opponents to bluster about how they know for a fact that Adams and McGuinness were/are on the IRA Army Council, as the actual members of the Army Council could get on with business, ie pre-ceasfire prosecuting a war, post-ceasefire pursuing the peace process.

    Ringo,

    As I clearly do not feel that Adams or McGuinness were on the Army Council then your question does not arise.

  • Sickofthis

    Stupid republican lies are killing this website.

  • John East Belfast

    Henry94

    I assume you don’t care if Adams or McGinness are on the Army Council because you do not consider a democratic politician’s participation on such a body something to be ashamed off ?

    Would it bother you if Sir Reg Empey was Brigadier of East Belfast UDA ?

  • Henry94

    JohnEastBelfast

    Would it bother you if Sir Reg Empey was Brigadier of East Belfast UDA ?

    I think he’d be a excellent choice.

  • Ginfizz

    John EB

    Excellent question.

  • crow

    Adams and Mcginness have been members of the army council.This does not come as a shock to anyone.The IRA did commit the Northern bank heist.This also does not come as a shock to anyone.Blair ignored intelligence about the robbery because it suited his political agenda.No shock value there.

    This programme will not have any effect on the RM as they do not care about what anyone thinks of them except maybe in the states.

    Anyone who does not believe any of this probably have their own agendas.

  • Shay Begorrah

    From a republican point of view Unionist politicians did not need to be members of illegal paramilitary organizations as the legal military ones did their bidding. Hence the lack of interest in the paramilitary associations of more or less anyone.

    Might there be another issue here about Unionism’s up to recently strong belief in the virtues of law and order being not unrelated to them interpreting the laws and giving the orders?

  • John East Belfast

    Henry94

    Henry I expect you to do better than that. You are making light of a very important question.

    I would like to know where you stand on the question of democractically elected politicians belonging to an organisation that is beyond the law.

    If you think it is ok then you somehow consider the Army Council to be no bad thing – if this what you believe then just say it.

    If you think it is a bad thing then how can you support politicians being members of it ?

    It is a pretty clear question and I can’t see why you feel the need to wriggle out of it – unless you are ashamed of your answer ?
    Or possibly fearful of being honest ?

    I would have no truck whatsoever with UUP members belonging to so called loyalist paramilitaries

  • Harry Flashman

    You gotta love the Chucks though don’t you. Deny, deny, deny the bleedin’ obvious “We didn’t murder a widowed mother of ten and secretly dump her body…we didn’t bomb Claudy…we didn’t shoot that wee girl in Derry…we didn’t line up ten civilians against a bus and slaughter them…we didn’t shoot Garda McCabe…we didn’t fillet McCartney…them guys in Columbia are nothing to do with us…er, ok they are but they were birdwatching” then when the blindingly obvious is presented to them: “YES YOU FREAKIN’ WELL DID!” they say “Well we must put all this behind us and move the process forward, draw a line under the past (except for Bloody Sunday, Pat Finucane, Loyalist collusion etc)”

    Christ help us they’re like the Moonies, no actually I believe Moonies occasionally suffer brief periods self doubt in the dark hours of the morning, this lot will argue a black crow’s white – and actually believe it!

    Look here it is nice and simple Henry, JD et al, you know damn well that the Provies knocked off the Northern ok, you know damn well that Martin and Gerry were until recently in the Army Council. Now, no amount of bloviating about the Sunday Independent or Michael McDowell is going to change that, so stop insulting our intelligence right?

    You are in serious danger of compromising your sanity if you persist in denying something that is staring you right in the bake.

  • DP47

    JEB
    The north and west belfast parades forum seem to me to be a group beyond the law do you have a problem with your elected representatives sitting on this.

    Whether SF leaders are on the Army Council or not is irrelevant because without doubt republicans have been the people who have given the peace process the momentum to bring it this far. Gerry Adams should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Who would have believed that he could have steered republicanism to the current position.

  • Richard

    Just to echo the points made by Ginfizz and sickofthis. RIP Slugger.

  • Ringo

    JD,

    As I clearly do not feel that Adams or McGuinness were on the Army Council then your question does not arise.

    You’re a smart lad, why the need to misinterpret the question? I made no reference to them. If you accept that there is an army council, and that it is made up of people in Ireland (fair enough assumptions on the whole) the question still stands.

  • Henry94

    JohnEastBelfast

    I would like to know where you stand on the question of democractically elected politicians belonging to an organisation that is beyond the law.

    The freedom and independence that most of Ireland enjoys was acheived by such people. So I’d have to say it depends on the circumstances.

    If you think it is ok then you somehow consider the Army Council to be no bad thing – if this what you believe then just say it.

    I understand why the Army Council exists and I welcome their huge contribution to the peace process.

    I would have no truck whatsoever with UUP members belonging to so called loyalist paramilitaries

    I don’t much like them being in the Orange Order but I still want my side to talk to them and not to try to find excuces for not doing so.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ginfizz,

    I’m very keenly aware that Unionist commenters are few and far between these days. I’m not sure what’s keeping them away. But I’m not going to shoo away those commenters who do post here on the grounds of their politics. I tend to think that the poor quality of the posts reflects as much on the politics of the contributor as it does on Slugger per se.

    It is undoubtedly true there has been some extraordinary straw man building going on in which some commentators have crudely characterised all Unionists as rioters or worse.

    Slugger has always been a competitive space. It’s not really my role to step in and challenge an individual’s opinions, although recently I have more than once expressed doubts over the wilder discursive fantasies that have dominated the posts.

    It really is up to Unionists to come back and challenge the kind of pejorative slurring of a whole community we’ve seen on Slugger recently.

  • Ringo

    Gerry Adams should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Who would have believed that he could have steered republicanism to the current position.

    Considering where he steered them to, in previous decades, it is hardly surprising that only republicans see him as a man of peace. Bloody Friday?

  • Henry94

    Do unionist posters really believe that Sinn Fein plant people here to put their point of view? It’s been said about me on a few occasions and it is complete nonsense.

  • JD

    Ringo,

    “Most importantly, you cannot identify the inevitable conflicts of interest that arise in their day jobs.

    Is this a permanent situation (bluntly: corrupt) or do you see this as a transitional phase, where one day it will matter to you what subversive organisations public servants and elected representatives belong to?'”

    Fair enough,

    To answer your question, I agree that public servants and elected representatives should declare extracircular activities so as avoid conflicts of interest. These included membership of the Orange Order, the Masons, Corpus Dei business and corporate affliations and indeed membership of the IRA Army Council, although the fact that this would illicate an automatic jail sentence might be slightly off putting. However, to the best of my knowledge, all Sinn Fein elected representatives have said that they are definitely not on the IRA Army Council.

  • John East Belfast

    Henry94

    “The freedom and independence that most of Ireland enjoys was acheived by such people. So I’d have to say it depends on the circumstances.”

    The 26 County ROI was not achieved by the 1969 to present day PIRA

    “I understand why the Army Council exists and I welcome their huge contribution to the peace process.”

    I would expect such a statement from a brain washed dummy having a string pulled on his back

    “don’t much like them being in the Orange Order but I still want my side to talk to them and not to try to find excuces for not doing so.”

    completely irrelevant to what is being discussed.

    It is a very simple question

    Do you believe that elected representatives serving in a 21st century liberal democracy should be on the command stucture (let alone being just associated with it)of a paramilitary organisation that operates outside the law and has a major body of opinion and indeed evidence that it is involved in criminal activity.

    Surely this is a Yes or No answer

    You see this goes to the heart of the problem here.

    For some reason the majority of unionists have a problem with this and for another Republicans and some nationalists don’t – however it is unionists who are being unreasonable ?

    Please don’t come back at me with all the crazy and embarrasing stuff that has been going on in loyalist areas – where I stand on that is pretty clear

  • George

    Ginfizz, Richard et al,
    re the dearth of unionist contributors.

    Six months ago as Sinn Fein were being hammered in all directions, there were claims that Slugger was too unionist.

    Now it is considered too republican.

    My own view is that there seems to be a correlation between the strength of one group and the number of its contributors on slugger.

    Unionism is on the back foot for the last month or two and hey presto, unionist contributors are thin on the ground and there is a republican bias.

    Republicans were few and far between post Northern Bank and McCartney and hey presto claims of unionist domination.

  • circles

    JEB: If they’re elected then somebody obviously agrees with them. Now do you propose that the opinion of the larger number of nationalists be ignored because you cannot stomach who they vote for? A simple yes or no would do.

  • Harris

    Richard

    Just to echo the points made by Ginfizz and sickofthis. RIP Slugger.”

    You can’t just tuck your tail and walk away, just because you don’t like certain posts. As Mick said, “It really is up to Unionists to come back and challenge the kind of pejorative slurring of a whole community we’ve seen on Slugger recently.”

    Why can’t some of you agree to disagree on the theory of democratically elected politicians possibly sitting on an army council? If most of you believe this to be true, why frustrate yourself with the argument? Move on!

  • Dandyman

    Richard, Ginfizz, Sickofthis:

    I have to say that is a typical Unionist reaction over the last few years…you can’t force your opponent to submit to seeing things your way on a particular thread, so you dismiss the whole website and walk away from the discussion, saying Slugger is dead. Just like Unionist politicians have been doing since the GFA began being implemented, hence the stalemate NI now finds itself in.

    Go back and read the article again and show us where there is any proof to back up the claims made. Watch the Documentary tonight and we’ll discuss it tomorrow (if I get to see it, my girlfriend will probably want to watch re-runs of sex in the city).

    “The gang’s hostage-taking modus operandi, the use of boiler suits and bleach to destroy DNA traces and the sheer size of the robbery team, were all signature marks of the Provisional IRA”.

    A f*cking laughable statement. What, the provos are the ONLY outfit to have copped on to this method of bank-robbing? AMAZING!!!

    For what it’s worth, I, like most other people, agree that the IRA are the chief suspects. But how can you suspend due process like this and expect everyone else to live up to higher standards? Since when do Police forces come out and say “yes we know exactly who did this”, and then go on to identify who they believe is responsible during a series of press conferences, almost before they’ve even had a chance to investigate the crime?

    The police are only making themselves look stupid. They think they’re being clever by coming out and telling everyone they know exactly who’s responsible, but when they follow it up by saying ‘but we can’t bring them to justice because we have absolutely no proof whatsoever’ the whole thing becomes an absolute joke.

    What about the conspiracy theories that flew around in the immediate aftermath of Princess Di’s death? Or journalists who swear blind that Tony Blair sits on the council of the Bilderberg group next to George Bush?

    It’s easy to make grand claims like “I know for a fact”, “the dogs in the street know..” etc. But at the end of the day that is just rhetorical bullshit.

    You cannot insist on the due process of law & order on the one hand and then suspend it in your rush to convict someone you don’t like of something you suspect them of, and desperately want to prove them guilty of but can’t because there’s no evidence, on the other.

  • Ringo

    Henry,

    You are trying to create a concern where to me none exits. But I would say that phases are by definition transitional.

    Isn’t this lack of concern because for you there is no conflict of interests, i.e., the aims of the IRA dovetail with what you want from your public representatives and public servants? It makes a mockery of the prefix ‘public’, and it is institutionalised corruption.

    JD,

    thanks for the straight answer.

    Do unionist posters really believe that Sinn Fein plant people here to put their point of view? It’s been said about me on a few occasions and it is complete nonsense.

    In fairness it is a bit sad when you see this. It was worse when Pat used to post (very) regularly. Begs the question, was he decommissioned?

  • Mick Fealty

    Henry,

    If I can step in, it matters not a jot. However one problem with the weighting as it stands, is there is a tendency for people to indulge themselves in hefty bouts of whataboutery or simply avoinding awkward questions.

    I don’t think that’s simply the personal fault of the posters. But lack of competition has led to a fall off in intellectual rigour. With the best will in the world Fair Deal can’t play off every faulty argument.

    Also the numbers sometimes give people the impression they’ve won an argument when sometimes they’ve simply shouted the opposition down.

  • Chris Gaskin

    I agree with George about the commentators on Slugger.

    After Northern Bank and the McCartney issue and Jean McConville there were very few Republicans posting on this site. Myself, Pat, Henry and a few others was about it. Unionists were crawling out of every where and there were calls of Unionist Domination.

    It reflects what the media is saying and at the moment Unionism is getting a slapping from all sides.

    Some commentators really need to stop crying and yapping as it shows a defeatist streak especially all this rubbish about RIP Slugger.

    If you feel this site has become too republican then either stay and fight the Unionist corner or set up your own blog.

    Just stop gurning

  • Chris Gaskin

    In fairness it is a bit sad when you see this. It was worse when Pat used to post (very) regularly. Begs the question, was he decommissioned?

    I agree Ringo but no Pat is still with us, both himself and Davros are regular posters on Balrog.

  • Henry94

    JohnEastBelfastEastBelfast

    The 26 County ROI was not achieved by the 1969 to today PIRA

    You didn’t mention them in your question. You asked

    I would like to know where you stand on the qdemocraticallycractically elected politicians belonging to an organisation that is beyond the law.

    In the republican tradition that has been a common feature What you like to describe as a 21st century liberal democracy was, at the time the Provisional Army Council, was established nothing of the sort.

    I’m perfectly willing to accept that the armed groups in our politics on both sides are a problem to be solved but I’m not prepared to accept that an obsession with one alleged manifestation of that on one side is reasonable.

  • PaddyCanuck

    Chris,

    How come Pat and Davros deserted slugger?

  • belfastwhite

    Within hours of the robbery British intelligence knew exactly who carried out the Big Heist.

    So that’s why the PSNI raided my seventy year old mother’s thrift shop a few weeks later but hey stranger things have happened with British Intelligence (mind you she is a Sinn Fein voter and highly suspect at that).

    The gang’s hostage-taking modus operandi, the use of boiler suits and bleach to destroy DNA traces and the sheer size of the robbery team, were all signature marks of the Provisional IRA

    Ahem….no-one else could or would use these very successful methods though…a bit naive or what for a supposably cut and thrust investigative reporter.

  • Chris Gaskin

    Chris,

    How come Pat and Davros deserted slugger?

    I don’t know Paddy

  • Henry94

    Ringo

    Isn’t this lack of concern because for you there is no conflict of interests, i.e., the aims of the IRA dovetail with what you want from your public representatives and public servants? It makes a mockery of the prefix ‘public’, and it is institutionalised corruption.

    Not at all. My lack of concern reflects my view that we are moving in the right direction towards a post-conflict political situation where the IRA have no role to play whatsoever. I don’t see the issue of membership of the Army Council as relevent. What is relevent is the overall disposition of the republican movement and I see that as very positive.

  • middle-class taig

    Ringo

    Adams was born in 48. Bloody Friday (horrific) was in 72. You reckon Adams was running the IRA at 24?

    I had trouble managing my bank account effectively at 24.

  • FewsOrange

    Adams might not have been the top dog in 1972 but he was doing something that got him invited to Cheyne Walk.

  • pacart

    Belfastwhite, the M.O. of criminals is normally the first thing the police look at. You can say other people could have used the PIRAS’s M.O. and you are right, they could have used parts of it, if they had the experience and know how. But only parts of it, and that use would point to previous experience with terrorism. However, they definately could not have mustered the number of people required for the operation, and been confident of no security breaches either before or after the operation. Nor could any other group feel confident in operating in Poleglass. To me that is well nigh impossible for any group other than the PIRA. Belfaswhite, If I was to go home today to find someone had replenished my coal bunker with 2 hundred weight of coal, who should I think did it? After all coal is freely available for sale to anyone, anyone could have transported it, it doesn’t require specialist knowledge, my back gate is unlocked, I didn’t see who left it, I have no forensic evidence linking the coal to anyone. Is this then a huge mystery? or would I be correct in assuming the coalman had left it? What if the coalman arrived at the door and I refused to pay him, on the basis that he couldn’t prove to my satisfaction that it was indeed he who delivered it? I would be considered a halfwit or an asshole. Who else could have done it?
    Also, if it wasn’t the PIRA, and considering the flak the RM have taken on this, have they been making enquiries into who did it, on their patch remember? Thought not. If they do they should ask OJ Simpson over, after he has finished tracking down his wife’s murderer.

  • GurnyGub

    Sorry Mick, thought that was both ambivalent and light hearted, never mind factually accurate not so long ago? My apologies

  • Richard

    First up, I woudn’t describe myself as a commentator on this site. I rarely comment. I come on the site primarily to read other people’s opinions, maybe learn something about the opposing viewpoints. This site used to show opposing viewpoints but no more.

    I am not involved in political work of any kind nor have I ever been. I’m not even that interested in politics. I’m a fairly normal person (by my own reckoning admittedly). As i said this site used to contain some good debate and good debaters. People have commented on the likes of Pat McC in the past but at least when he was in his prime there was some very entertaining back and forth between him and other regulars. That sort of thing has been lost. If there’s nothing entertaining to be gained from reading the site, and you’re only ever hearing one side of the story – what’s the point in visiting? I could just buy the Daily Ireland instead.

    Anyway, feel free to insult away to your hearts content – I won’t be back to read it.

  • Brian Boru

    If Adams and McGuinness were not members of the IRA Army Council, then would there be an IRA ceasefire, let alone decommissioning? Doubtful. Can’t have it both ways. You can’t on the one tell them to “get the IRA to decommission” while also telling them “don’t be members of the IRA”.

  • Ringo

    Henry

    We moved beyond a post-conflict situation in the Republic in the 1930’s. We now ‘allegedly’ (and I’ve no reason to doubt this) have a TD in the Dail who is on the Army Council. Martin Ferris’s loyalties lie with the republican movement and not his constituents and the state, who he is paid to serve. I’ll go into the whole Gerry McCabe thing if you want examples of where the two jobs don’t go hand in hand.

    MCT

    Because you had trouble managing your bank account at 24 (I had no hassle, when its empty there is a lot less management involved), Gerry Adams couldn’t have been heavily involved in Bloody Friday?

    What would be a reasonable age for this sort of thing in your opinion? And remind me what age Martin was and what his position in the IRA in Derry was on Bloody Sunday?

  • JD

    Martin McGuinness was 22 in 1972 and was the Derry Brigade’s Adjudant (source: Bloody Sunday Inquiry). However the Provisional IRA in Derry was a very new and rapidly growing organisation in 1972 and it for this reason that such a young member ended up in such a senior position.

  • Henry94

    Ringo

    We moved beyond a post-conflict situation in the Republic in the 1930’s. We now ‘allegedly’ (and I’ve no reason to doubt this) have a TD in the Dail who is on the Army Council.

    It was the conflict in the north which led to the involvement of the person in question in the IRA and to prison. I think it is best left to the people of Kerry North to decide if he is doing his job to their satisfaction as a TD. They will be aware of the allegations.

  • Dandyman

    ‘What’s the point in visiting? I could just buy the Daily Ireland instead.

    Anyway, feel free to insult away to your hearts content – I won’t be back to read it’.

    Fancy that – someone with a unionist perspective on events in NI refusing to engage in dialogue!!!

  • Ringo

    Henry,

    If the allegations are true the man should be in prison for membership of an illegal organisation. That is the law until the Dail says otherwise. As an elected representative of this state he is bound to uphold the law, none more so than ones that fall under the offences against the state. The votes of the people of Kerry North cannot absolve him of that responsibility. It is a contradictory and corrupt situation that has at its heart the membership of the army council that you dismiss as an irrelevance.

  • middle-class taig

    JEB

    “Do you believe that elected representatives serving in a 21st century liberal democracy should be on the command stucture (let alone being just associated with it)of a paramilitary organisation that operates outside the law and has a major body of opinion and indeed evidence that it is involved in criminal activity?”

    No.

    Having said that, I think the IRA are pretty sui generis in all this. We’re talking about a society moving slowly from conflict to democracy. Let’s not pretend that NI is or ever has been some liberal democratic nirvana. We’re talking about a society where members of the security forces arranged the assassination of lawyers and the police and army shot demonstrators.

    “Surely this is a Yes or No answer”

    What about Nelson Mandela’s membership of the ANC? Was that a yes or no answer?

    “You see this goes to the heart of the problem here. For some reason the majority of unionists have a problem with this and for another Republicans and some nationalists don’t – however it is unionists who are being unreasonable?”

    Neither you nor we are being unreasonable. We’re both guilty merely of looking through our own eyes.

    People in West Belfast, East Tyrone, South Armagh would have not dissimilar concerns about political leaders who were ex RUC, UDR, Ulser Resistance, etc. By and large, though, we bite our tongues, hold our nose and accept that if we want to live on the basis of equality and respect with unionists we have to deal with whoever you vote for.

  • Henry94

    Ringo

    If the allegations are true the man should be in prison for membership of an illegal organisation.

    Don’t tell me. Tell the Gardai. It’s up to them to turn the beliefs of the dogs in the street into an actual case.

    It is a contradictory and corrupt situation that has at its heart the membership of the army council that you dismiss as an irrelevance.

    But is he I wonder. Michael McDowell
    “>doesn’t think so.

    The Irish justice minister has said he believes senior Sinn Fein figures Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and Martin Ferris have left the IRA army council.

  • PatMcLarnon

    As Chris rightly pointed out post Xmas republicans faced months of onslaught on Slugger and a few diehards stayed around to try and fight their corner, despite the overwhelming odds they did not go away you know.

    As for myself I still consider Slugger to be the best site on the web, that does provide a forum for a diversity of views.
    The problem in defending a minorty position at any given time is that the author does act as a lightening rod for some unpleasant comments and does themselves become the focus of the debate. This tends to lead many discussions up a cul de sac.
    I prefer not to comment on Slugger at this time due to the reasons stated, though I do read every thread, every day.

  • John East Belfast

    mct

    this is all verty disheartening.

    Are there any constitutional nationalists on here who regard the so called Republican Movement as sinister criminals in the same way I consider the so called loyalist movement ?

    I hope this casual regard for who is suitable as an elected representative is not typical of what nationalists really feel – I know that when it comes to selecting corruption the nationalists in the 26 counties have got it badly wrong but is this some kind of trait in the Irish nationalist tradition ?

    Can those Republicans on here defending the Army Council’s existence please tell me what it exists for at the minute ?

    Also Henry and MCT if there is even one shed of truth (or at least a case to answer ) that the Army Council is

    1. Engaged in cross border smuggling
    2. Engaged in bank robberies
    3. Engaged in protection rackets
    4. Distributing justice, often violent, in nationalists without what would be regarded as due process
    5. Would be found guilty of Human Rights abuses by an organisation such as Ammesty
    6. Controlling the distribution of drugs
    7. Engaged in significant money laundering
    8. Construction tax fraud
    9. Perverting the course of justice and covering up when any of its high ranking members is involved in crime
    10. Publicly threatens to murder any of its members who committed a crime against what they considered as an innocent

    are you honestly telling me that if there is even a hint of any of the above being true that you wouldn’t care if an Elected Official was a leading member of such an organisation ?

    Also if you think all of the above is Unionist, British, US & Irish Govet lies and fantasy then perhaps you could tell me why PIRA and its Army Council exist and what do they do ?

    What kind of society and administration do you want here ?

  • John East Belfast

    All this stuff on here about recent lack of unionist participation has, IMHO, more to do with the change in the Inter Unionist debate rather than its discourse with nationalism.

    ie if you looked at Slugger in detail this time last year the most heated and viscious debates were often between Pro Agreement and Anti Agreement unionists.

    With Trimble gone, a move to the right by the UUP and the DUP objectives achieved the latter have won the unionist battle but as I always feared will ultimately forefeit the Constitutional War.

    They have no real interests in debating with Republicans – having said that if I can’t get past “it is ok for ongoing criminality in public office” then perhaps they are right.

  • Mario el Argentino

    Same Kevin Toolis who wrote Rebel Hearts? Times have changed. Certainly not the same Kevin who was runnning around Tyrone trying to date IRA girls and visiting Derry while praising Mr McGuinness’ Nationalist leadership credentials.

    I gues we all must make a living.

  • Yoda

    Why would anyone believe that NI would suddenly turn into a normal functioning democracy?

    By all means call for it. However, it seems to me that a lot of the condemnation industry and its proponents are engaging in a strategy for the removal of political opponents. Pretty thin ice for “morality.”

    To state the bleedin’ obvious, there is violence and criminality in every society. As long as it is only seen as sectarian, it will always be sectarian.

  • Mick Fealty

    Dandyman,

    “Fancy that – someone with a unionist perspective on events in NI refusing to engage in dialogue!!!”

    Not simply playing the man, but an extrememly cheap shot all things considered. Not exactly a cardable offence either. But please, if you can’t return a substantive point with another one then just hang back and let someone else who can do it!

  • middle-class taig

    JEB

    “They have no real interests in debating with Republicans – having said that if I can’t get past “it is ok for ongoing criminality in public office” then perhaps they are right.”

    I find that kind of comment worrying. It’s almost like saying “agree with me or this conversation is over”. However, let me engage with your underlying point.

    I understand why unionists feel a sense of frustration with the treatment of the the RUC, UDR, etc. I really do. These were the people from your communities who put their lives on the line when bravery was called for. So they did some horrifically nasty stuff – that’s tragic, they shouldn’t have been at that, but those were the days that were in it. They held the line against the destruction of your community. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be here.

    This is how many, many nationalists feel, rightly or wrongly, about the IRA.

    In the post GFA landscape, the IRA, the RUC, the UDR, the Special Branch, etc are dinosaurs, anachronisms. So let’s just get rid of them, I hear you say (well, at least with regard to one of them!).

    Problem is, these are powerful people who are held in high esteem in their communities. They are leaders. These people became who they became because they were among the best their communities had to offer. It wasn’t just that they stepped up – their communities looked to them. Just getting rid of them is not easy, nor is it desirable when they have much by way of leadership to offer and great influence over more dangerous elements, looser cannons.

    As time goes on, they will become increasingly irrelevant. We grow old. Influence wanes. A new generation takes over. A new generation that didn’t have to tell their partner’s widow and orphan the night he died or pick up body parts of friends in Newry or in Enniskillen. A new generation that didn’t get interned or do the blanket or watch Bobby’s life-force ebb away before their eyes. The means of the extinction of their kind lies in our own hands – yours and mine. Make politics work. Make democracy work.

    I don’t want the person who ordered the murder of Pat Finucane running policing in my area. I don’t know who he is, but at the moment, I have to accept that he might be doing just that. I hope you understand my unease. For all I know he’s paying touts so as to line up members of my commmunity for assassination to tidy up the loyalist feud.

    You don’t want someone who might have been an Army Council member running your child’s education system. I certainly understand your discomfort. For all you know he’s planning to run state schools into the ground and favour Irish language schools.

    But things have changed a lot here. The pressures on these two individuals are different than they were 20 years ago. Old enmities mean less and less, old shibboleths don’t resonate in quite the same way anymore. We’re all part-Brit part-Mick now, even people in the South and in England.

    Maybe, just maybe, if we both try to live with it for a while, to set aside our doctrines and our dogma, these two guys (monsters and heroes both, depending on your eyes), now released from the shackles of those doctrines and that dogma, will be able to deliver on the skills and qualitites we each know them to have, and do a decent job for all of us. And as people whose moral frames of reference are defined by judaeo-christian morality, maybe we can recognise that people of the calibre in question are capable of changing, of setting aside old ways and becoming leaders not just of their own kind, but of all.

    Let me know what you think.

  • spirit-level

    nice one mct, well argued and balanced.
    You must make Mick proud of his efforts to raise the tone on sluggers I’m sure.
    Been making the same point myself recently about Sinn Fein going from Caterpillar to Butterfly.
    They’ve had the wake up call, and are responding positively.

  • Democratic

    Excellent post Middle Class Taig – well thought out with the right amount of foresight into the “other side’s” feelings – good stuff.
    What you say is true from any Christian point of view – the replies will be interesting – though I admit myself even from a position of agreement – it is damn hard to forget and even harder to forgive – I suspect many on both sides feel exactly the same.

  • John East Belfast

    mct

    I can’t say I share subsequent poster’s enthusiasm for your post.

    I have never said that those with a past couldn’t have a future etc etc – I was and still am a Pro Agreement Unionist. I am not talking about one man’s freedom fighter v one man’s terrorist.
    If the armed struggle is over then there is no need for either so why is there a need to defend the indefensible ?

    My problem is the present and future – it simply isn’t excusable for people to hold public office today and tomorrow who are acting illegally.

    Unionism’s biggest challenge was to accept a Republican past – matters are floundering because the same people also appear to want to have a criminal future.

    What disturbs me is that not one nationalist poster here thinks that is a bad thing.

    Instead I have had whataboutery and daft comparisons with Nelson Mandela.

    The bottom line is I want a Northern Ireland, Six County, Ireland – call it what you like – where criminals (I don’t care if their background is Unionist or nationalist) or those associated with it are not held in high esteem but are quite rightly drummed out of office and/or forced to change.

    There is a serious moral deficit in what is being posted here and it stinks.

  • looking in

    Five minutes in and on supposition of a notable few it was the ‘Ra that done it.

    …and lo the secret rota was known…

    Sorry – but I’m still ROFLMAO – the soundbites on this program are just too tabloid’esque – shite of sunday sport levels – thank god its the adverts! I was going to boak!

  • Richard Dowling

    [ middle-class taig ]

    Shucks. If only Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness were
    given REAL power, what magnanimous creatures they would
    be. How those capable hands would mould the New Ireland,
    the Eire Nua of the future.

    Personally, I’d rather see David Ervine (of the PUP) as a future
    President of Ireland. And no, I don’t see these revered
    Republicans as monsters. Just sly and devious. Opportunists
    who want to jump the queue. Does anyone imagine that these
    guys would be happy with a United Ireland in which Sinn Fein
    was in permanent opposition, relegated to the back benches by
    the very parties they tried to squash in their quest for power?

    Not on your nelly.

  • looking in

    How come the doc. never mentioned the apperance of a large wad of cash in the (ruc) Newforge sports club….

    anyone fancy a punt at that…..

    The program has ranged far and wide and yet the ONE tangible fact about where (some) money eneded up was missed. Why?

  • stan

    The programme claimed that it had exposed who did it and what it was for – after intensive investigations.

    I didn’t hear anything in the programme which had not been said before.

  • Mario el Argentino

    But did he finally get that date with the Doris girls from Tyrone?

  • 9countyprovience

    God what a terrible program! [ed Mod] ‘that’s a lot of pints of guinness’ and insinuating that Ireland is some kind of corrupt hierarchy in saying ‘In Ireland you can still buy power’. Tell me one western country where money doesn’t equate to power of some description? He also doesn’t know the makeup of his own country when he states that the robbery was ‘the biggest bank robbery in Britain’. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t NI in the UK but not in Britain? Loads of soundbites, loads of conjecture. no hard evidence, sloppy journalism (did he ask anybody one hard hitting, awkward question?).
    I see it so clearly now, of course the IRA did it because some PD TD’s and an ex RUC special branch guy said so!
    Now I’m not saying they didn’t do it, but this programme was more like a sky one/the sun production than a channel 4 investigation.

  • davey

    Was this programme billed as ‘investigative journalism’

    You would find out more by googling ‘Northern Bank’

  • pacart

    9countyprovience, you know the PIRA did it, there are no other possibles never mind probables. The PIRA apologists act like we are in a court of law here, with its strict rules of evidence, we are not. If you genuinely and honestly think someone else might have done it, then let us hear your theory. If you cannot come up with a plausible theory, which fits the known facts, as outlined in the programme and countless articles, then the only honest conclusion is the one which does fit with what we know, it was the PIRA. “I don’t know who did it and I don’t even have any ideas about who might have done it” just will not wash from such highly opinionated individuals. If you or Henry or MCT or any of the other apologists cannot come up with an alternative theory we can take it that your shouts of “you can’t prove it, you can’t prove it” are just so much BS.

  • looking in

    But did he finally get that date with the Doris girls from Tyrone?

    Posted by: Mario el Argentino at September 22, 2005 10:17 PM

    Referee……!!!

    What happened to my post prior to Mario’s…..

    a new verb? when a moderator takes a toolis of a post, thereby making a subtle modification to reality?

  • looking in

    apologise – bottle of shiraz – makes not takes a toolis of a post!

  • JJM3

    RE: Terrorists as politicians.

    The 13 colonies revolted against British Colonialism once.

    When that fight for independence was won. How many “terrorists” became Governor, and or President?

    As far as the continued existance of the paramilitaries goes, it seems to me the concern should be about the extent to which these “leaders” DO become politicians.

    Isn’t the alternative to these “leaders” getting into mainstream leadership racketeering, extortion, smuggling, more robbery… etc…

    In July I visited Belfast and part of my visit included attending a dog and pony show put on by the new PSNI (they have a difficult job to do, it has got to be hard to be in the middle of a fight with few friends on either side).

    In that presentation, the officer stated that new officers, in order to meet the 50-50 were/are being given wavers for prior criminal activity… joy-riding, petty theft, etc…

    Perhaps there should be more concern about neighborhood and community issues rather than who is no longer part of the IRA?

    What are the folks that still are doing?

    As the political process begins to outdate the Provos… What about folks like the CIRA/RIRA ( I get them mixed up… my apologies)?

    As far as Politicians and paramilitary groups go, I read that Ian P wanted to start his own?

    How do you make people feel safe, and trust the system? When do you turn the PSNI on the paramilitaries that remain engaged in organized crime?

    When can house sized murals stop being used for intimidation? Perhaps there is a way to memorialize the murals and then paint over the over sized pictures of masked men with guns. Perhaps someone should rename RPG street? Banner’s too? How about repainting the curbs? How about bringing neighbors together rather than dividing them with walls or running them off with petrol bombs?

    When does the hate and violence stop on both sides?
    When will Protestant children and Catholic chlidren sit in the same class room together as a norm not an exception?

    It seems to me that while Adams and Co. have done a great deal, there needs to be a grassroots effort to cross the interfaces?

    Conflict resolution theorists will tell you that Adams and Co… must remain connected to the more radical side of Republicanism. As does the DUP leaders on their side of the fence. If the leaders start to agree on things, then they will lose their constituency in favor of a new leader that has not sold out.

  • DaithiO

    An hour wasted listening to the anti-republican rantings of McDowell, clearly delighted with the chance of an early party political broadcast.

    Toolis has done nothing for his reputation, his months of research clearly bore no fruit.

    The money trail led where ? Two men attended a meeting in Bulgaria to discuss investment. Yeah, so … ?

    Nobody has been charged for this crime.

    zzz…

  • pol

    Watched the programme (was it a re-run) i just recall hearing it all before.

    You know when your watching a crap film and you don’t want to turn it over thinking something might happen soon, and it doesn’t. Well it ended up a bit like that.

    The only redeeming factor was Michael Mc Dowell Performance as the joker.

  • 9countyprovience

    pacart

    My problem was with the style and manner in which this programme was made. I do not have a problem with the IRA being fingered for it. You’d be a fool to discount it.
    It was sloppy journalism with no real breakthrough in new facts or evidence. If something new had been revealed that would have been great. Some movement and arrests on this subject (Whoever is responsible) would be great. It was billed as investigitive and it wasn’t. It put into pictures the facts that have been known since january. I’m dissapointed that C4 has gone so downhill. I want my money back!

  • missfitz

    In my mind, the biggest joke of the robbery concerned the whereabouts of the top PSNI brass at the very moment the robbery was taking place.

    I hear the Apartment does a nice Christmas function.

  • pacart

    9countyprovience, I have to agree with you about the programme, money for old rope really. I think it was made for a UK audience who might not be so familiar with the details. BBC NI did a better programme on the robbery a few weeks after the deed.
    By the way, is Dessie O’Malley related in any way to the late(and great)Quentin Crisp?

  • 9countyprovience

    “I think it was made for a UK audience who might not be so familiar with the details.”

    That’s what it looks like alright. All it needed was an action montage with the Prodigy playing for background music and it would have been exactly like a sky one ‘history’ programme!

    “By the way, is Dessie O’Malley related in any way to the late(and great)Quentin Crisp?”

    I belive he co-wrote “Doing it With Style” 😉

  • Richard Dowling

    Looking in

    If that wad of cash had been found in the back yard of a
    Republican drinking club, then you could safely bet it was dirty
    tricks. But on a golf course frequented by the PSNI? Get real.

    Does anyone know if those “lie detectors'” used to test the
    truthfulness of responses over the telephone can be applied to
    recorded television interviews?

    The only real titbit of information, insignificant at the time, may
    be the the ‘fact’ that Phil Flynn gave the Bulgarian property
    developers the distinct impression that the Bank of Scotland
    (Ireland) was bankrolling the whole investment (20 million euro
    worth). And though he and Ted Cunnyngham ‘pleaded the fifth
    emendment’, they must have known where the money was
    coming from. Or, like Gerry Adams, the whole operation may
    have been farmed out on an ‘executive need to know basis’,
    which might help them cover their tracks and prevent them
    from incriminating each other in any subsequent investigation..

    Two-and-a-half million in a wheelie bin? This seems more like
    Danny De Vito territory.

  • Richard Dowling

    Looking in

    If that wad of cash had been found in the back yard of a
    Republican drinking club, then you could safely bet it was dirty
    tricks. But on a golf course frequented by the PSNI? Get real.

    Does anyone know if those “lie detectors'” used to test the
    truthfulness of responses over the telephone can be applied to
    recorded television interviews?

    The only real titbit of information, insignificant at the time, may
    be the the ‘fact’ that Phil Flynn gave the Bulgarian property
    developers the distinct impression that the Bank of Scotland
    (Ireland) was bankrolling the whole investment (20 million euro
    worth). And though he and Ted Cunnyngham ‘pleaded the fifth
    emendment’, they must have known where the money was
    coming from. Or, like Gerry Adams, the whole operation may
    have been farmed out on an ‘executive need to know basis’,
    which might help them cover their tracks and prevent them
    from incriminating each other in any subsequent investigation..

    Two-and-a-half million in a wheelie bin? This seems more like
    Danny De Vito territory.

  • Dandyman

    Mick

    Apologies if my remarks came across as a cheap shot. But it seems to me that refusing to participate any further in discussions because there are fewer people backing you up than you’d like, or because it seems like the argument is being lost, is nothing but petulant childish behaviour. Two weeks ago the world watched and listened while orangemen and loyalist paramilitaries turned areas of Belfast into downtown Beirut in the mid-1980s and then turned around to the international media and blamed it all on Republicans, the two governments, the parades commission, anyone but themselves. Now commentators on this site are bitching and moaning because a bank got robbed and the whole of SF aren’t in jail. Jeffrey Donaldson was on H & M last night peddling more whataboutery and honestly the level of debate on Slugger is light years ahead of the politicians in the north at this stage.

    When, IF, NI ever calms down and becomes a normal society, we will have a de facto UI, border or no border. It is my view that this realisation is beginning to sink in with many unionists, and things are just too quiet for their liking, hence the shift in power to the DUP over the last couple of years. Except now that the peace process seems to be moving on regardless of Paisley’s increasingly ludicrous histrionics and firebrand rhetoric, the search for reasons not to sit down and engage in any kind of meaningful communication becomes ever more desperate.

    I heard Toolis being interviewed on The Last Word with Matt Cooper yesterday evening as well on the way home from work, and he had absolutely nothing whatsoever of any substance to add to what has already been said about the NB robbery. The situation is already farcical enough, let the PSNI get on with their investigation. If they really know who did it, let them gather what evidence is available to them and bring charges.

    As for that TV Ad which has been running for the last fortnight on C4 with the line: the robbery was carried out with jaw-dropping audacity/’audaciousness’ (is audaciousness even a word)? – the real ‘audaciousness’ is to have a bunch of talking heads in what purports to be a serious documentary, saying “we know it was themmuns ‘cos there was no trace of forensic evidence left at the scene. Our evidence is that there is no evidence”.

    No arguing with that really is there?

  • Moderate Unionist

    Dandyman
    There is no point in carrying on a debate where one say’s will, other say’s wont.

    Somebody robbed the Northern Bank and I doubt if they were from England.

    This is a gangster state, run by paramilitaries. If as you suggest, NI cools down, they will be able to export this form of governence to the south. Be careful what you wish for..

  • Dandyman

    Maybe it was Ocean’s 13.