SDLP: proof that SF knew about OTR legislation

I’m blogging this on the run myself: a statement from the SDLP. From the SDLP

The SDLP has uncovered final proof that Sinn Fein accepted state killers getting away with it – and has accused the British Government of blatant double standards on loyalism.

Speaking at the launch of an SDLP briefing document 12 things they don’t want you to know about the NI Offences Bill, the SDLP?s Alex Attwood stated:

– Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams have both said publicly that Sinn Féin did not accept that members of the British state forces should be part of this process.

– They did accept it – and we have final proof. We have gone back to the Sinn Fein/British Government side deal of April 2003. It states that ? a qualifying offence would be any scheduled offence committed before 10 April 1998.

– Scheduled offences are offences like murder, bomb making, possession of weapons and are always tried in Diplock Courts.

– State killings in Northern Ireland are scheduled offences. That’s why people like Guardsmen Fisher and Wright and Lee Clegg were tried in Diplock Courts.

– So when Sinn Fein signed up to anybody who committed any scheduled offence before 1998 being able to skip jail, they accepted state killers getting away with it – now and in the future. They accepted this in black and white in the Hillsborough side deal.

Turning to other defects in the proposals, Mr Attwood stated:

– The IRA had to decommission and commit to end all activity before the Government would even introduce this legislation.

– But loyalists will be able to benefit even if they do not decommission a single bullet. Even if they do not end their drug dealing, intimidation, ?punishment? shootings and crime. If this legislation is assed, the UDA will be able to benefit right away.

– For thirty years the British Government has failed to take loyalist violence seriously – even though loyalists have been responsible for over 800 murders – most of them sectarian. So the blatant double standard applied to loyalist violence, while appalling, is not new.

– What is new is that Sinn Fein is complicit in this too. Their side deal only required loyalist organisations to have a ceasefire. Even though the IRA had to decommission, Sinn Fein did not insist that loyalists should have to do likewise – or commit to end their crime.?

– The British Government has said that it does not like this legislation – but has to introduce it to honour the deal done with Sinn Fein. The way out of this mess is simple. Sinn Fein should call on Tony Blair to withdraw this legislation. Let?s go back to the drawing board and devise a proper process that deals with OTRs proportionately while getting truth and justice for victims.?

NOTES TO EDITORS

Paragraph 4 of the British Government/Sinn Fein side deal states that:

– Legislation would set out who and what offences qualified for the scheme. A qualifying offence would be any scheduled or equivalent offence committed before 10 April 1998 . It would include offences committed by, or in the course of, escaping, or committed as part of an incident involving a scheduled offence. A qualifying person would be someone:

– who was not a supporter of a specified organisation;
– who was not currently involved in acts of terrorism; and
– who had not been convicted of a serious offence committed after 10 April 1998 for which he had received a sentence of five years or more.

State killings are scheduled offences. Therefore Sinn Fein signed up to this. Nowhere in the deal is it mentioned that state killers are not covered.

The only condition required for organisations to benefit is that they are not specified (ie. the Secretary of State recognises their ceasefires). The Secretary of State recognises the UDA ceasefire.

There is no condition requiring decommissioning or an end to all activity by loyalists in paragraph 4 or anywhere else.

  • “The Usual Supects”

    Remember! COLLUSION IS NOT AN ILLUSION!

  • Betty Boo

    Has anyone a link to this and particularly the part where it says that “State killings are scheduled offences”?

  • fair_deal

    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1996/j1996022.htm

    What constitutes a scheduled offence

  • Same Old!

    This is just another example of SF looking out for itself.

    There’s nothing new in that!

  • CS Parnell

    1
    Offences to which the Act applies

    (1)
    An offence is one to which this Act applies if it is—

    (a)
    an offence under the law of any part of the United Kingdom committed

    before 10th April 1998 in connection with terrorism and the affairs of

    5

    Northern Ireland (whether committed for terrorist purposes or not), or

    (b)
    an escape offence committed before that date in respect of an offence

    within paragraph (a).

    (2)
    In subsection (1) “escape offence” means—

    (a)
    an offence specified in paragraph 9 of Schedule 9 to the Terrorism Act

    10

    2000 (c. 11) (offences under the Prison Act (Northern Ireland) 1953

    (c. 18 (N.I.))), or

    (b)
    an offence committed in another part of the United Kingdom which

    would, if committed in Northern Ireland, have constituted an offence

    specified in that paragraph

  • seannaboy

    This legislation is, rightly or wrongly, referred to as ‘OTRs’ or ‘On the Runs’. That is people, usually Republicans, who are quite literally ‘on the run’ because of their involvement or their alleged involvement in breaking the law ( sic.) as a result of the conflict in Ireland. Does anyone anywhere know of any member of any British or Northern Irish State forces or State apparatus who can be or could be defined as ‘On the Run’because of their involvment or their alleged invovlement in the conflict in Ireland?

  • DK

    The SDLP are like a rotweiler with this one – they just won’t let go.

    Still, like the UUP’s present strategy to out-orange the DUP, the SDLP are trying to out-green the shinners. This collusion deal is the best chance they have, but I wonder if they have considered what it means for NI in the long term.

    Sure they can bash away at Sinn Fein in the hope that some votes will fall out, but if they succeed and Sinn Fein withdraw from the legislation – what then for NI? Back to the drawing board for OTRs and colluders and another bit of the peace process is delayed.

    But Sinn Fein supporters should not feel too self-righteous about all this – after all, the SDLP’s previous policy of bending over backwards to accomodate them has not been a vote winner with Joe Catholic, who is voting Sinn Fein *as endorsed by the SDLP* in ever-increasing numbers.

    I think this is the start of a New SDLP that has given up on idealism and is getting down and dirty in the evolving politics of post-war Northern Ireland.

  • fair_deal

    Also to treat those alleged to have acted on behalf of the state any differently would lead to problems with the article 2 of the ECHR.

  • Alajn

    Given that all th facts at the top of this blog are all true, correct and verifiable, you have to ask what were SF doing? Did they get out manouvered? Were they doing a trade off for something we don’t know of yet? Or did they, as I’m sure my SDLP friends will claim, sell out their supporters?

    SF should have learned by now, no matter what media spin you try to put out, your sins will find you out!

    SDLP 1
    SF 0

  • Betty Boo

    Thanks Fair Deal, I have a read through it when I get home.

    “EXTRA-TERRITORIAL OFFENCES”???

    It will be a long night.

  • Siobhan

    You know the SDLP has hit a raw nerve by the amount of anti-SDLP spin which has already started to appear in some of the more vitriolic blogs. (And yes DK – I mean you!)

    SDLP have only ever acted honourably and is indeed very green..

    The treasonous Sinn Fein is a dirty green party which has only ever acted selfishly.

    You wanted proof? Well here it is!

    Alan

    I think you are being too generous I would score it

    SF – 0
    SDLP – 2 (own goal by SF in the final minute)

  • JD

    The problem with the SDLP misinformation campaign on this issue is that you would need to be coming to the issue of collusion with some integrity. The nationalist people have watched the SDLP down the years say that collusion did not exist, that it was republican propoganda. For years they spurned the Bloody Sunday families as a Sinn Fein front and only recently rejected a motion to Derry City Council from the family of Eddie Fullerton looking for an inquiry.

    Most people see through the political opportunism of the SDLP on this issue and their Press Office who initiated this thread. The families of victims of collusion are confused and vulnerable with such misinformation and smears being banded about and it is evident that the SDLP “rotweillers” care little for these families as they desperately try to score as many cheap political points as they can. It will not wash.

  • fair_deal

    “The nationalist people have watched the SDLP down the years say that collusion did not exist”

    Evidence for this claim? Quotes maybe?

  • J Kelly

    Article Printed in todays Derry News by Mitchel McLaughlin. This puts the entire issue in perspective.

    People in Glass Houses
    We have heard much over the past weeks from politicians, commentators and all and sundry that the conditions now exist for full participation and endorsement of the policing structures. These statements from people as diverse as Hugh Orde and Bertie Ahern are intended to shoehorn Sinn Féin into accepting the presently unacceptable policing.

    As events over the past number of months demonstrate the old style political policing of the RUC persists in the PSNI. The practice of PSNI Special Branch of carrying out high profile raids on the homes of republicans, many in the full glare of the media who were obviously tipped off in advance and informed of the identities of those arrested has remained unchanged since the so-called new beginning to policing. From Castlereagh to Stormont, the Northern Bank and now the Claudy bombing the RUC/PSNI have at every sensitive juncture in the Peace Process acted in a manner intended to have negative ramifications for progress on crucial matters.

    A very worrying aspect of the political theatre surrounding these raids is the compliant manner in which sections of the media are colluding in the demonisation of republicans at the behest of those anti-Peace Process securocrats in the PSNI and British Military Intelligence. There is no spotlight on the fact that following these high profile raids, that the vast bulk of the hundreds who were arrested are quietly released once the propaganda value has been achieved.

    Those, including the SDLP, who have colluded in delivering less than the people deserve in relation to accountable and acceptable policing have many questions to answer about their silence in the present circumstances. Support for the purchase, deployment and use of Plastic Bullets. Support for 28 day detention, Internment by any description. Are they telling us that this is the type of policing that they find acceptable? Do they now accept that by collapsing under pressure from the British government at Weston Park and signing up to less than was promised in Patten that they allowed the ‘Force within a Force’, the RUC Special Branch to move en bloc into the PSNI?

    Mark Durkan has spent the last two weeks dishonestly accusing Martin Mc Guinness and Gerry Adams of negotiating an amnesty for members of the British Security forces in the Weston Park proposals despite the fact that it is a public document and he knows that this is untrue. It would seem that large sections of the media have not troubled to present the actual position agreed by the governments at that time.

    For the record, the Weston Park proposals state very clearly that:

    · “Both Governments also recognise that there is an issue to be addressed, with the completion of the early release scheme, about supporters of organisations now on ceasefire against whom there are outstanding prosecutions, and in some cases extradition proceedings, for offences committed before 10 April 1998. Such people would, if convicted, stand to benefit from the early release scheme. The Governments accept that it would be a natural development for such prosecutions not to be pursued and will as soon as possible, and in any event before the end of the year, take such steps as are necessary to resolve this difficulty so that those concerned are no longer pursued.”

    (Extract from the Weston Park Proposals – 1 August 2001)

    This is the only position negotiated by Sinn Féin. It is obvious that Mark Durkan and the SDLP rather than criticise the British security forces who were guilty of collusion prefer dishonest, cheap political opportunism.

    Furthermore the SDLP in Derry City Council rather than accept a Sinn Féin amendment to strengthen a motion on OTR’s which stated

    · ‘that this council rejects all attempts by the British Government to use the Weston Park Agreement, which was designed to only deal with those termed as OTR’s to provide an amnesty for those within the British army, the RUC Special Branch and their agents who have murdered Irish citizens’

    have now attempted to create a smokescreen around the issue by accusing a Sinn Féin Councillor of making disparaging remarks. By declaring their intention to oppose this amendment the SDLP’s true position on collusion has been laid bare. If they were sincere in having British state killers exposed then they would have supported the amendment

    The SDLP needs to learn that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones as it seems they feel it is acceptable to accuse the leadership of Sinn Féin of colluding with the British Government over the issue of state killers, a calculated and blatant lie in itself, yet when confronted with the same issue about their own party the SDLP run away from an opportunity to discuss these issues.

  • Sean the Great

    Sinn Fein Press Office must be working overtime tonight working on this blog!

    A rant from Mitchel which is as long as it is predictable

    Sounds like they’re really trying to convince themselves! Spinn Fein can try and run from this one but really anyone with eyes can see they’ve been caught out on this one!

    The treasonous Sinn Fein is a dirty green party which has only ever acted selfishly
    Yip – no argument there!

  • DK

    Siobhan,

    Normally I’m accused of being anti Sinn Fein. And if you read my post you’ll see that I have a go at them as well. Politically I’d call myself a unionist (small “u”) who could be easily persuaded that a United Ireland is a good thing, but can’t really face the bother it would entail.

  • Nice to see Sinn Féin exposed as the cretins they are.

    It’s a case of protecting their balaclava-wearing buddies and f*cking over everybody else.

    Sell-outs the lot of ’em!

  • lámh dearg

    And now the Pat Finucane Centre have come out against the legislation, agreeing with the SDLP’s analysis of it. Not a usual SDLP-backing organisation.

    The only question left is whether SF are cynical enough to shaft their own voters for the sake of their OTR colleagues, or are the totally inept at negotiating a deal with T Blair

  • seannaboy

    Is there anyone doubting the accuracy of the extract from the Weston Park documents contained within Mitchel Mc Laughlins article in todays edition of the Derry Journal that is in the post by J Kelly? If this extract is accurate, the Stoopers have stooped even lower than previously thought possible.

  • lámh dearg

    “The only question left is whether SF are cynical enough to shaft their own voters for the sake of their OTR colleagues, or are the totally inept at negotiating a deal with T Blair.”

    If you watched Martin McGuinness’ performance on Hearts and Minds a few weeks back it is quite clear that McGuinness knew full well that British State forces would benefit from the OTR legislation.

    Sinn Féin are more than willing to shaft their voters for the sake of their OTR colleagues.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Is there anyone doubting the accuracy of the contents of the side deal referred to by Alex Attwood? Err… no.
    The Shinners are well caught. A superb job by the SDLP and food for thought for unionists too. Isn’t it funny how everyone wins when Sinn Fein loses?

  • lámh dearg

    Seannaboy

    But that doesn’t matter, if SF negotiated this “in good faith” (in their terms) and didn’t realise/know/understand the consequences then they should have and the fact that they didn’t reveals that they are just thick and inept at negotiating.

    Is that better than cynically shafting your own voters?

  • seannaboy

    The extract quoted by Mitchel Mc Laughlin from the Weston Park talks of Aug 01 seems to be a verbatim account of what was agreed. The extract by the Stoopers of the ‘side- deal’ of April 03 is the Stoopers interpretation of it. In terms of what was/is proposed in the current legislation what would the SDLPs definition of a ‘qualifying offence’ have been? There is no doubt that the Brits have undoubtedly taken advantage of the situation to look after their own operators. However I believe that whoever wants to benefit from this legislation should do so openly and publicly, explain why they want to participate in this scheme and what it is that they were being accused of. Republicans, I believe, would have no problem with this approach. State operators, I believe,on the other hand would not touch it with a proverbial barge pole. Finally, and to fly off at a slight tangent, what is the point of the SDLP participating in Westminister if their presence has been proven to be totally ineffective in this matter?

  • lámh dearg

    Seannaboy

    So they were just thick and inept.

    Thanks

    Lámh

  • seannaboy

    lámh dearg
    The relevant quote out of the Weston Park section about the OTRs is: ‘ about supportters of organisations now on ceasefire against whom there are outstanding prosecutions’. To repeat an earlier question;Does anyone anywhere know of any member of any British or Northern Irish State forces or State apparatus who can be or could be defined as ‘On the Run’because of their involvment or their alleged involvement in the conflict in Ireland? As to the (subjective) matter of what party is ‘just thick and inept at negotiating’ that depends on what that party is trying to achieve. However it is downright for the SDLP or any of their supportters to talk about ‘thick and inept negotiating’ after the complete horlicks that the SDLP made of the policing issue. Talk about cynically shafting the whole Nationalist population of the North never mind their own voters.

  • fair_deal

    “The nationalist people have watched the SDLP down the years say that collusion did not exist”

    Still waiting on some evidence to back this claim up…

  • PatMcLarnon

    Cannot help thinking that if the SDLP had known of the alleged significance of what was agreed at Weston Park then they would have been trumpetting the fact every day since instead of waiting all of 33 months and another election defeat later.

    The SDLP have been a party in search of a good media story for years, why would they ignore this free one for the best part of 3 years?

    The silence of the SDLP in the intervening period indicates that they have been caught on the hop by the tagging on of the Crown Forces paragraph to the OTR legislation just as much as SF.

    However, the belated interest of the SDLP and the likes of Pat Rabbite to the issue of collusion, finally recognising that it actually took place, can only be welcomed.

    While these murderers may not serve time in jail the increasing awareness of the role played by Crown Forces personnel in controlling unionist murder gangs may well force further investigations. The important matter is not whether some knuckle dragger from Liverpool or Hackney is a fall guy and does a bit of time, it is the role of those further up the chain of command who must be identified and shamed.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Sackcloth and ashes then, Pat?

  • lámh dearg

    “The important matter is not whether some knuckle dragger from Liverpool or Hackney is a fall guy and does a bit of time, it is the role of those further up the chain of command who must be identified and shamed.”

    Which won’t happen if the deal negotiated by SF goes through and becomes law.

  • Sean the Great

    Spin Fein certainly has its feathers ruffled!

    When caught on the back foot over OTRs, what’s Mitchel’s response? He adapts the Hermann Goering defence of condemning “the pacifists for their lack of patriotism”.Mitchel said :

    The SDLP needs to learn that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones

    Meanwhile, back home in Derry, Spin Fein new boy Cllr Kevin Campbell transgressed a verbal agreement governing personal comments being made in the Council Chamber ((i>Irish News .01-12) The SDLP have said they will not return until such a time Cllr Kev withdraws his remarks. Cllr Kev’s response?

    The SDLP needs to learn that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones

    Oh the stench of spin and dirty tricks! Oh what a web we weave!

  • bigwhitedove

    As I said in a previous thread, it looks like SF were caught sleeping on this one, however the SDLP cant really deliver the killer punch needed on the issue of state collusion.
    The anti-SF vitriol,”cretins, treasonous and dirty” by SDLP bloggers on this site leads me to ask the same questions to the honourble SDLP bloggers which they dont seem to be able to answer.
    Is the murder of Collie Marks still a “job well done” by the state forces or should those who murderded him now face criminal charges?
    Would the proposed SDLP amendments to the OTR legislation have closed this loophole?
    Lack of consistency and gross hyprocisy by the bucket load for sale!!!

  • “Lack of consistency and gross hyprocisy by the bucket load for sale!!!”

    It smells like a red herring to me. 🙂

  • Reader

    bigwhitedove: or should those who murderded him now face criminal charges?
    Surely – those who murdered anyone should face criminal charges? And isn’t that the SDLP’s position?

  • Sean

    ‘Irish Premier Bertie Ahern has already said he had no advance knowledge that British soldiers would be included under its terms.’

    Is Bertie stupid, naive, or whatever esle Sinn Fein is being accused of here?
    Or are Sinn Fein correct in sayin that this has been ‘a breach of faith,’ by the British Government.
    Fair-Deal, I would ask you in return to show here where the SDLP have throughout the troubles actively engaged with, or represented, the victims of British-Loyalist collusion.
    The upswing of this whole debate is that it appears to have become standard to acknowledge that state- death squad collusion DID INDDED TAKE PLACE, further vindicating the position of the Republican community who for years have been appealing to the deaf and dumb of the SDLP and Irish governments.

  • Sean

    “The upswing of this whole debate is that it appears to have become standard to acknowledge that state- death squad collusion DID INDDED TAKE PLACE, further vindicating the position of the Republican community who for years have been appealing to the deaf and dumb of the SDLP and Irish governments.”

    In case you haven’t noticed, the ‘Republican community’ (sic) have just been sold out by the Shinners.

    It’s almost as if terrorists have no morals!

  • CS Parnell

    Given that the SDLP have called for Sinn Fein to ask for the legislation to be withdrawn and Sinn fein will not do so then I think the SDLP have won this one hands down.

  • fair_deal

    Sean

    Nice try to move the goal posts but an individual made a claim and I am asking some evidence to back up the claim that
    “The nationalist people have watched the SDLP down the years say that collusion did not exist”

    I am just looking someone to produce the quotes, speeches documents were the SDLP made such a claim

    As to your question, one example is the SDLP regulalry attacked the UDR for alleged collusion throughout the Troubles. Every time PIRA murderers were killed by security forces the first to demand inquiries and explanations why they weren’t arrested was the SDLP. The SDLP defending the name of Pat Finucane
    http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/1999/05/11/ihead.htm

  • harpo

    I’m amazed at the brass neck of Provo Sinn Fein complaining about the draft NI Offences bill. They say that they negotiated in good faith and that HMG has abused that good faith.

    So far as I can see the legislation contains exactly what they asked for and got as a result of those negotiations.

    What is obvious now is that Provo SF forgot to demand that the legislation should ONLY apply to OTR Provos. HMG obviously agreed to draft legislation that covered the OTR Provos, but didn’t agree to limit coverage to that group. Thus HMG could (and have) added in coverage for any other group that they like – they didn’t agree to coverage being limited to only OTR Provos. So the draft legislation covers loyalists, security forces and even civilians like one-legged red-haired Chinese lesbians, as well as the Provo OTRs.

    I’d like to see the media ask a direct question to Provo SF representatives – preferably Adams – ‘did you ask for coverage under this legislation to be limited to OTR Provos?’. If the answer to that is ‘no’ or ‘we never discussed that’ then the Provo SF folks have nothing to complain about. They got what was agreed to by them and HMG. It just so happens that the legislation covers more than the HMG/Provo SF agreement, but that isn’t PSF’s concern if they didn’t get agreement on limitations of coverage.

    The Provos have got badly sideswiped here and they don’t have a leg to stand on.

    Now they are acting like a spoiled 6 year old child who, having been promised and given a new toy, are stomping their feet because every other child in the room got one too. Their attitude is that of the spoiled 6 year old – ‘I’m special, I’m the only one who was supposed to get this’.

    Frankly this situation looks good on them. As usual their words don’t match their actions when it comes down to crunch time. They whine for years about collusion and nationalist victims of the security forces and loyalists, but when it comes down to crunch time they make a deal that pisses on those victims.

    Contrast that to the SDLP, who despite not being as noisy over the years have been consistent – everyone should face the full consequences of the law. That applies to republicans, loyalists the security forces and civilians.

    It shows once again that Provo SF’s actions fail to match their words. Words cost nothing and when it came down to the crunch we see that all of the Provo SF words were just hot air – hot air that dissipates as soon as they see an opportunity for 60/70 of their OTR pals.

  • seannaboy

    Harpo, to repeat an earlier question in relation to the proposed legislation:
    Does anyone anywhere know of any member of any British or Northern Irish State forces or State apparatus who can be or could be defined as ‘On the Run’because of their involvment or their alleged involvement in the conflict in Ireland?

  • bigwhitedove

    Still no takers on the the SDLP proposed amendments? Would they have closed this loophole?
    For all you SDLP bloggers out there your lack of consistency and hypocrisy on this issue means you will not get the knockout punch you need, to regain lost ground on SF.
    This supposed crisis of conscience is only for the optics, now go home and keep your petty abuse to yourselves

  • CS Parnell

    bigwhitedove, read what the SDLP are saying. They are calling for the Bill’s withdrawal, not its amendment. They have voted against the Bill – you guys have said and done nothing.
    Indeed by challenging the SDLP to propose amendments in this way you seem to be saying that the only way to deal with OTRs is to let state sponsored killers off the hook along with your pals the non state sponsored killers.
    Maybe the truth is that the SDLP don’t think either group should be let off?

  • Nick Jay

    It always unnerves me when provo apologists kick off about the fact that crown forces should be brought to trial for their crimes and punished for the sake of the victims, whilst their own gang of child murdering mates can all be released on license and come back to NI without answering to the courts for their crimes.

    There is a gross lack of parity here, and the double standards being employed by the shinners is breathtaking. According to SF and the IRA the conflict in NI has been a war against the British govt. A war where people have died in the H Blocks to achieve political prisoner status and one where the IRA claims to be the legitimate instrument of physical force of the Irish nation/people. Yet when operations end up with their own side being killed (Loughgall, Gibralter etc) they are the first ones to whinge and moan that the evil state has a shoot to kill policy and how unfair it is. It is either a war, in which case take the consequences of your actions, or it is a nasty terrorist campaign in which case don’t moan about the OTR’s.

    You can not have it both ways………

  • Paul

    This issue highlights the total hypocrisy of SF and their morally unsustainable position re “the armed struggle”. Basically they want their murderers to get off with it, but object to state murderers getting the same privilege. Unfortunately for them the circle can’t be squared, even the poodles in the NIO wouldn’t agree to that one. Of course, with SF, the army tail wags the dog and so the leadership will always put the interests of “the volunteers” above the general interest of their supporters. The leadership have always been military elitists, if you haven’t carried a gun or done your time then neither your opinion nor your life counts, so why should this be a surprise to anyone?

  • Circus watcher

    The Nationalist electorate won`t be fooled by the Sdlp taking over the mantle of the Dup, it becoming the new British bootboys.

    Farcical group of idiots. Can`t wait for the Stop SF posters at the next election, their last before they finally split.

  • Northern FF

    ONe of the greatest attributes of Slugger is that it gives you an insight into how PSF ‘market tests’ various rebuttals. Look back in the archives and see how positions have evolved in relation to the McCartney murder, Northern Bank kidnapping / robbery, electoral defeat in Derry etc.

    The great thing about this thread is that it shows there is NO effective rebuttal to the SDLP’s attacks on the OTR issue.

    Lamh Dearg summarised it best to my mind:

    PSF either
    1. Did not realise that the amnesty would apply to state killers because they didn’t think it through

    2. Did realise it would apply, but figured that it was worth it to get comrades off the hook and bring them home

    But, I think there is a third and most likely explanation:

    SF knew that the legislation would apply to state killers, were non-plussed because it was more important to bring their pals home, but were convinced that the SDLP would not stand up to them. They figured that the SDLP would not risk criticism in strong nationalist areas and would hold their noses and let it through.

    Thank God. Yes, Thank God that they were wrong. The SDLP has stood up to them and exposed PSF’s filthy stinking motives for what they are.

    SDLP may well be punished for doing the right thing – they have been before. But to paraphrase:

    Better for them to die on their feet than live on their knees.

  • This whole ridiculous incident just shows the ineptitude and self-serving nature of Spin Féin.

    They think they’re smart doing side deals, and then it comes out in the wash that they’ve completely botched it, and they try to backtrack, but it’s too late.

    The SDLP has its finger on the pulse of nationalist feeling on this issue (indeed, on the the pulse of all right-minded feeling on this issue), and the electoral results will reflect this in the short to medium term.

  • bigwhitedove

    CS, wrong yet again only three weeks ago Albran McGuinness was touting proposed changes to the legislation that would have timeframed eligibility for OTRs, their amendments would also insured that state murderers got off the hook,

    Of course there is an effective rebuttal to SDLP attacks on SF on this issue, from amendment to withdrawal of legislation, is a big step in three years, when did the SDLP first raise their concerns? Weston Park?
    What victims support groups did the SDLP consult on the proposaals?
    The SDLP have their finger on the pulse of nationaist Ireland, not bad for a post nationalist party!! LMAO

  • JD

    This mutual back slapping by supporters or apparatchicks of the partitionist parties because they imagine that they have got one over on Sinn Fein for the first time in years, is forgetting one thing. The families of victims of collusion and state killings see through this cheap political point scoring exercise. They know that the SDLP has been no where to be seen in relation to their demands for years and it is too late to try and claim some integrity on this issue now. They can see that this is another example of British duplicity. This legislation was never about and is not about OTRs it was drafted for the explicit purpose of covering their backs on collusion and other state killings. That is why no amount of demanding this legislation be withdrawn will work, as this legislation is for Brits not OTRs and the British Government will ensure it passes.

    The SDLP need to get off their high horses and stop being so pleased with themselves and realise that the British Government has shafted everybody not just Sinn Fein.

  • Ian

    If we lived in an ideal world with a fully independent prosecution service, then yes it would appear that Sinn Fein have shafted the victims of collusion.

    In reality, the system is massively stacked in favour of the British establishment, so the choice is really between two scenarios:

    Scenario 1: OTR legislation is passed.
    No of Republicans facing prison if they return to NI = zero.
    No of security force personnel facing prison = zero.

    Scenario 2: OTR legislation is withdrawn.
    No of Republicans facing prison if they return to NI = several to dozens.
    No of security force personnel facing prison = zero.

    Nick Jay: “There is a gross lack of parity here, and the double standards being employed by the shinners is breathtaking.”

    Former paramilitaries are barred from joining the new police service (in line with Patten), yet colluders & human rights abusers transferred over from the RUC (Patten’s “bad apples”) can stay in post. “There is a gross lack of parity here, and the double standards being employed by the British authorities is breathtaking.”

  • CS Parnell

    They must get through a hell of a lot of brasso in SF. Because what else is it but brass neck to suggest that those who argue that the law should be used to prosecute state sponsored killers are “Brit boot boys”.
    Newsflash, baby: the Brits and the Shinner are on the same side of this one. The Brits’ bootboys on this question are none other than Sinn Fein. “Not a bullet, not an ounce”, anyone?

  • seannaboy

    The policy of collusion, which resulted in hundreds of people being killed here in Ireland has oftimes been depicted as a spiders web comprising of civil servants, soldiers, policemen and women, spooks, securocrats, spies and so on.It is safe to assume that members of the RUC were also involved in this policy. It is also safe to assume that members of the RUC involved have transferred into the PSNI. Generally, what has Alex Attwood or any other member of the Policing Board, concerned with this policy of collusion done to highlight/ investigate/scrutinise any aspect of this policy? Specifically, what has Alex Attwood or any other member of the Policing Board concerned with this policy of collusion done to find out where exactly in the PSNI is those people involved in both the design and implementation of this policy that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people?

  • Dualta

    I think the basic fact of this matter is that Sinn Fein entered into an agreement with the British government which has allowed state employees who are guilty of crimes as bad as murder to get off the hook.

    If they entered into this agreement knowing full well that this is they case then they should be utterly ashamed of themselves and if they negotiated this deal not realising the full outworkings of it then they should still be totally ashamed of themselves.

    Are those responsible for the ordering and the execution of the Bloody Sunday massacre now going to get away with it with the help of Irish Republicans?

    This is an extraordinary turn of events. An unbelievable turn of events.

    Ourselves alone indeed. The rest of the Irish people can go to hell it seems.

  • JD

    “If they entered into this agreement knowing full well that this is they case then they should be utterly ashamed of themselves and if they negotiated this deal not realising the full outworkings of it then they should still be totally ashamed of themselves.”

    What people seem to be missing here, is that, Sinn Fein did not negotiate the legislation. The issue of OTRs needed to be resolved, everyone agreed that the British needed to short it out, that was as much as was negotiated, its in black and white after Weston Park. It could have been done a number of ways without any legislation however the British insisted it needed legislation, now we know why. What the British have done is present a piece of legislation that no one else has seen until now and have written it in such a way as to include all their own forces and agents to cover their rear on collusion. Extremely clever, but the Brits have centuries of practice at this stuff. So anger about what is contained in the legislation needs to be directed at those who drafted it and who will ensure it becomes law.

  • Ian

    Interesting point: If you check Hansard when the OTR legislation was in the pipeline sometime last year (to be published following ‘Acts of Completion’ – though not for loyalists, the SDLP are spot on in that regard), at NI Question Time the Tory spokesman brought up the subject and said it would be unfair to allow an amnesty for republicans whilst members of the security forces face prosecution for collusion offences. The SoS at the time (can’t remember whether it was Murphy or Hain) replied along the lines of, ” I doubt that members of the British army would take kindly to being labelled as morally equivalent to IRA terrorists”.

    Now the legislation is published, the NIO have indeed included the security forces amongst those who can qualify, and it’s the Tories who are up in arms about the “moral equivalence” being drawn!

  • seannaboy

    Dualta, the basic fact of the matter is that the SDLP did not, do not and will not care about the victims of collusion, their families or their feelings. Witness the total lack of action by Alex Attwood et al on the Policing Board in relation to the entire issue of collusion.

  • Dualta

    JD,

    Please explain the part of the SDLP press release which heads this thread that states:

    Paragraph 4 of the British Government/Sinn Fein side deal states that:

    – Legislation would set out who and what offences qualified for the scheme. A qualifying offence would be any scheduled or equivalent offence committed before 10 April 1998 . It would include offences committed by, or in the course of, escaping, or committed as part of an incident involving a scheduled offence.

    The point in this being that state murders are scheduled offences.

  • Dualta

    Seannaboy said:

    ” ,the basic fact of the matter is that the SDLP did not, do not and will not care about the victims of collusion, their families or their feelings. Witness the total lack of action by Alex Attwood et al on the Policing Board in relation to the entire issue of collusion.”

    Seannaboy, you’ll not explain away Sinn Fein’s extraordinary behaviour here by pointing out the flaws in the SDLP’s performance on collusion.

  • seannaboy

    Dualta, And who was this definition aimed at? ‘supportters of organisations now on ceasefire against whom there are outstanding prosecutions’ ( Weston Park, Aug 2001). That is what SF negotiated and that is what they are responsible / accountable for, not for the legislation brought in by the British Governement.

  • Dualta

    seannaboy,

    Para 4, according to the SDLP’s release, states that the deal done between SF and the British government states that legislation would be drawn up dealing with those involved in scheduled offences. Sinn Fein agreed to this.

    The inclusion of state murderers in this deal was agreed long before the legislation was drawn up.

  • Northern FF

    Seannaboy’s comments are an excellent example of the SF position evolving when they are under pressure. The problem with trying to evolve clever lines on this one, as I mentioned earlier, is that PSF miscalculated things very badly – they thought the SDLP would put up and shut up.

    Most recently, Seannaboy says:

    “Dualta, And who was this definition aimed at? ‘supportters of organisations now on ceasefire against whom there are outstanding prosecutions’ ( Weston Park, Aug 2001). That is what SF negotiated and that is what they are responsible / accountable for, not for the legislation brought in by the British Governement. ”

    Big problem buddy – Gerry’s heir apparent Conor Murphy flew to London to attend a Westminster press conference to welcome the LEGISLATION – not some different thing that ‘SF negotiated’ as you are trying to present it- the MP for Newry & Armagh flew to Westminster to welcome THIS legislation, which lets state killers off the hook.

    There’s no wriggling out of it.

  • seannaboy

    Dualta, ‘against whom there are outstanding prosecutions’.Does anyone anywhere know of any member of any British or Northern Irish State forces or State apparatus who can be or could be defined as ‘On the Run’because of their involvment or their alleged involvement in the conflict in Ireland or because of any outstanding prosecutions?

  • Northern FF

    A footnote – as far as I can see this was only the second such press conference that Conor Murphy has held since being elected as MP.

    The first was to protest the innocence of Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy following the broohaha in Manchester.

  • Northern FF

    Another problem there seannaboy.

    ‘On the Run’ doesn’t mean anything. You are talking about allowing killers to return here without attending court or serving time. A proper legal definition is therefore required.

    What would you suggest?

    “Innocent repuublican heroes caught up in the armed struggle, forced to bear arms and reluctantly kill men women and children in the name of freedom”? Was that ever really going to happen.

    The Provisional Movement knew what defining ‘On the Runs’ would mean and were happy enough for others to bear the cost.

  • seannaboy

    Northern FF, what has the innocence or otherwise of Thomas ‘ Slab’Murphy got to do with Roy Keane leaving Manchester United?

  • Dualta

    seannaboy,

    ‘against whom there are outstanding prosecutions’

    That’s not part of the deal. If it was no member of the state forces would be able to benefit from this legislation.

    Face it, even the Republican grass roots are furious about this. There’s no denying it any more, it’s all there in black and white.

    The OTR legislation enjoys the full support of Sinn Fein and it allows for the people responsible for Bloody Sunday, Rosemary Nelson’s murder, Dublin/Monaghan, Pat Finucane’s murder and numerous other crimes against the people of this island to walk free without ever being taken to task.

    It’s breathtaking.

  • seannaboy

    Northern FF, ‘against whom there are outstanding prosecutions’ does me.

  • seannaboy

    Duallta, whether you like or not, agree with it or not ‘against whom there are outstanding prosecutions’ is what was agreed ar Weston Park Aug 2001 and that is why SF are 100% correct in saying that no members of state forces would / should benefit.

  • Dualta

    seannaboy,

    I think the pertinent deal here is not that made at Weston Park in 2001, but the one referred to by the SDLP in their press release which was agreed in April 2003.

  • Northern FF

    “and that is why SF are 100% correct in saying that no members of state forces would / should benefit”

    Sorry Seannaboy, that doesn’t stand up –

    Sinn Fein MP Conor Murphy flew to Westminster to welcome THIS LEGISLATION. Sinn Fein have endorsed the legislation that is letting state murderers off the hook, so their pals can come home.

    Is Conor going to be the fall guy here? What? He endorsed it before reading it? Give me a break.

    PSF knew what it meant and thought the SDLP would just say nothing.

  • seannaboy

    Dualta, let me try this way. This legislation should be for: ‘ those involved in scheduled offences ( para 4, SDLP Press release about April 2003 meeting)against whom there are outstanding prosecutions’ ( Weston Park,Aug 2001). This would still not apply to people involved at any level in the collusion project – nor should it.

  • Peer Gynt

    We have seen that Sinn Fein clearly bows to the demands of the Bhoys before listening to the people who gave them their mandate. SF has been caught on the back foot on this issue. Quite simply it looks like SF want to turn local warlords in to local law lords – at any price! Surely justice has to mean justice for everyone not just a case of jobs for the Bhoys.

  • Mickhall

    Firstly SF are not the authors of this bill, something we should not lose site of, that sin, like many others lays at the feet of the British government. Having said this, the Shinners are not the only people who care about the British state amnestying those members of its security forces who were engaged in criminality with paramilitaries. I have no doubt some members of the SDLP believe these people should be brought into the light. Thus I feel whataboutary is counter-productive and simply dims any light which can be shed on this sad tale.

    If SF where hoodwinked by the Brits they should say so, no shame in this, but if it happened a little humility would not go amiss. Although I have to say, so far the evidence does look like the SF negotiators were party to this wretched deal.
    If so, they need to admit as much and tell us what the rest of the deal entails. Did the British also promise when the dust has settled and the Northern Assembly Administration is once again up and running, to facilitate it introducing further down the line some sort of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, it would explain why the Shinners negotiated such a deal.

    What the shinners to me seem to be doing is their normal method of dealing with what they regard as unsolvable problems, that is when they believe the truth will do more damage than being economical with it. i e they use bullshit and a great deal of bluster and await better days. They even nominate the same individuals as there spokes-men for bullshit and bluster to put their case, [funny how Mary Lou is never to the fore in this type of work.]

    Irish republicans always trip over their own feet when they enter into secret deals with the British, no shame in this, as someone has already posted the British State have had hundreds of years to draw on of ripping off colonials and their own people. The answer for SF is to trust their own electorate and refuse to negotiate the finality of deals behind closed doors.

    By the way this deal who ever new about it, just goes to show how closely choreographed this peace process has become and how much the British trust the Adams leadership not to sink the boat..

  • Peer Gynt

    Mickhall

    ‘Agree 100% but with regards to ” a little humility would not go amiss”

    This is highly improbable as SF only appears to knows arrogance.

  • CS Parnell

    Simple question: do SF want this legislation to be passed or not? The SDLP position is very clear, they have voted against it.
    If the Shinner position is ‘this is a price worth paying’ then they should say so, otherwise they should call for the legislation to be withdrawn. Given that Conor Murphy went to London to praise the legislation I think we can all assume it is the former.

  • harpo

    seannaboy

    You said this:

    ‘Dualta, let me try this way. This legislation should be for: ‘ those involved in scheduled offences ( para 4, SDLP Press release about April 2003 meeting)against whom there are outstanding prosecutions’ ( Weston Park,Aug 2001). This would still not apply to people involved at any level in the collusion project – nor should it.’

    Since what PSF negotiated with HMG was the result of meetings between only those 2 parties, why do you assume that no other side deals were negotiated with other parties?

    I think it is very arrogant of PSF to be whining effectively ‘no one else was supposed to get this, just our boys’. This proposed legislation gives PSF exactly what they wanted doesn’t it? But it also gives it to other parties as well as Provo OTRs. What’s the problem? PSF is getting what it wants.

    Are side deals the exclusive territory of the Provos? Can’t HMG come to side deals with other parties – the loyalists for example? Or even the security forces?

    It’s breathtaking hypocricy to hear people like you state ‘This would still not apply to people involved at any level in the collusion project – nor should it’.

    I ask you why not? If PSF negotiate a scheme that covers their criminals, can’t other parties negotiate similar schemes to cover their criminals? And since such agreements are none of PSF’s business why would PSF expect to be told about them?

    The SDLP are being consistent here – they are against such side deals in all cases. PSF are as usual trying to have things their way. A deal for their boyos, no deals for anyone else.

    I’ll ask it again – did PSF get agreement that this scheme would be exclusively for them? If not, they have no grounds for complaint. HMG can apply the scheme to anyone they like, so long as they fulfil their committement to PSF.

  • heck

    Mickhall,

    Very well said. I agree with most of what you posted. It seems to me that SF was out negotiated by the Brits and need to have some humility and say so. There is no shame in that and if they don’t they will just look silly.

    You are also correct when you point out that the Labour government not SF wrote this legislation. There is a lot of opportunism here from people who do not care a fiddler’s F about the issue of collusion but who just want to take a swipe at the shinners. (These are the same people who got exercised about the McCartney killing but who ignored all the loyalist killings that were happening.)

    It also proves to me that the collusion and the cover-up was not just the work of “bad apples” but was orchestrated by the cabinet and Downing street. (Is there anyone left who does not think that army and RUC were hand in glove with loyalist death squads?)

    It shows the hypocrisy of Jack Straw when he lectured Syria at UN about collusion with terrorists in Lebanon and their cover-up of the murder of a prominent Lebanese citizen. Straw is part of the government and is responsible for the cover up of state murders in Northern Ireland. Syria is co-operating with the UN investigation and has let their agents go overseas to be questioned. Compare this to Blair’s actions.

    The current labour government is so bad that they can make brutal Middle East dictators look good. The bathists in Syria are an example of openness compared to New Labour.

    Now –to all you unionists out there—why do you want to be ruled by this cabal?

  • Alan

    Hypocrites, hypocrites,

    I can’t help but see the whole of this thread as a very tired, if illuminating, spat between family members whose only interest is in their own.

    What is obscene and, ultimately, self serving is the contention that the victims of state violence are the only ones due any kind of justice. Now there’s a hierarchy of victimhood for you.

    What is ultimately defeating about this turgid self-seeking is that, by refusing to confront your own responsibility for murder and maiming, you absent yourself from the task of defining a future that is free of violence – you hand the generations of killers their victory.

  • Reader

    Ian: Former paramilitaries are barred from joining the new police service (in line with Patten), yet colluders & human rights abusers transferred over from the RUC (Patten’s “bad apples”) can stay in post.
    Actually, both sets are barred (if convicted), and neither are barred (if not convicted). So there is no disparity.

  • seannaboy

    Harpo, ‘PSF’ agreed this scheme for people ” against whom there are outstanding prosecutions”

  • Dualta

    Seannaboy said:

    ‘Dualta, let me try this way. This legislation should be for: ‘ those involved in scheduled offences ( para 4, SDLP Press release about April 2003 meeting)against whom there are outstanding prosecutions’ ( Weston Park,Aug 2001). This would still not apply to people involved at any level in the collusion project – nor should it.’

    Seannaboy, you can try it like that if you want, but it doesn’t wash. The Weston Park deal is obviously superseded on this point by the latter deal. It’s simple really and no amount of political shuffling can get around the fact that Sinn Fein agreed the basic terms of this legislation and they have continued to support it even when the detail was clear for them to see.

    I think that Sinn Fein and the IRA recognise that if they are to get their amnesty then the Brits must get theirs too and as I said earlier, the rest of the Irish people can whistle for justice.

  • Ian

    Dualta:

    “The OTR legislation enjoys the full support of Sinn Fein and it allows for the people responsible for Bloody Sunday, Rosemary Nelson’s murder, Dublin/Monaghan, Pat Finucane’s murder and numerous other crimes against the people of this island to walk free without ever being taken to task.”

    Not Rosemary Nelson’s killers, she was killed in 1999, after the GFA.

    Seannaboy:

    “Duallta, whether you like or not, agree with it or not ‘against whom there are outstanding prosecutions’ is what was agreed ar Weston Park Aug 2001 and that is why SF are 100% correct in saying that no members of state forces would / should benefit.”

    Are you seriously suggesting that if the ‘cold cases review’ leads to fresh prosecutions against Republicans after the legislation is enacted, that Sinn Fein would oppose members of the republican movement making use of the legislation?

    If it really is only about those already convicted and On-The-Run following a jailbreak, or those who escaped after having spent time on remand pending their court case, then surely if they returned those individuals wouldn’t EVEN have to face the full two years under the existing GFA provisions? Only the balance of the sentence that takes them up to 2 years served (which most of them may have served already). In which case, what is all the fuss about? – it seems a lot of hassle to save a few OTR’s from serving a few months in prison. (Admittedly, an amnesty from prosecution for committing the act of breaking out from prison might be necessary if the Prosecution Service choose to be spiteful, but that would only further highlight their double standards – see my next comment).

    Reader:

    “(Ian: Former paramilitaries are barred from joining the new police service (in line with Patten), yet colluders & human rights abusers transferred over from the RUC (Patten’s “bad apples”) can stay in post.)
    Actually, both sets are barred (if convicted), and neither are barred (if not convicted). So there is no disparity.”

    That would be true if the Prosecution Service were independent and acted fairly, but it’s been a few years since Stevens Third Report on Finucane, when files on several members of Special Branch (at least two still serving officers at the time) were ‘forwarded to the DPP for consideration’. I don’t remember any court cases emerging from those files. Of course, the ‘Ordinary Decent Terrorist’ identified by Stevens, the UDA’s Keith (it’s a bit of fun)Barrett, is still banged up even though he clearly qualifies for early release – obviously knows too much – I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he gets the ‘King Rat’ treatment before he gets out…

  • abucs

    Of course Sinn Fein don’t like the idea of the Security forces not being transparently prosecuted for breaking the laws they were supposed to be upholding.

    Of course it is a breaking with the faithful like the ROI government will do with the McCabe case. And of course they are putting a political spin on it to cover themselves against the SDLP.

    It’s called compromising and getting on with your former enemies for the benefit of society.

    As for the comment that everyone wins when Sinn Fein loses, the people doing most of the winning lately are Sinn Fein and the British Government.

    Sometimes you WILLINGLY give up in order to get along.

    A lesson some others might like to start trying.

  • Belfastwhite

    It is indeed a bit rich of the SDLP to now be asserting themselves as the champions of the victims of state murder. Where were the SDLP at the vigils and demonstrations for all these victims? What are they doing in their capacity of Policing Board members to have the files reopened in all the cases of these murders? When are they going to demand the abolition of plastic bullets and if they are so serious why remain on the policing board while these weapons can still be used? Have they asked if anyone involved in these State murders are still in service in the PSNI etc. I’m all for the SDLP standing up for the victims of state murder so why don’t they call a public meeting to discuss a strategy I’d be there.

  • harpo

    Seannaboy

    You said:

    ‘Harpo, ‘PSF’ agreed this scheme for people “ against whom there are outstanding prosecutions” ‘

    Sorry if my posts are too long for you to see my point, but the point is ‘so what?’.

    So what if PSF agreed a scheme that covered people against whom there are outstanding prosecutions? They are covered in this legislation, aren’t they? PSF have got what they bargained for and agreed would happen.

    My other point is that unless PSF got agreement that ONLY Provos (or paramilitaries) would be covered by the scheme and/or it would only apply to people actually on the run, then they can’t go criticising whatever else is in the bill.

    The bill contains what PSF agreed, doesn’t it? PSF should be content. It also contains other things on top of what PSF agreed. Things that PSF don’t like. That really is too bad but none of PSF’s concern. They do not break any promises made to PSF. HMG was and is entitled to put anything else it likes in the legislation so long as those things don’t break whatever promises were made to PSF.

    Think of it like this. Sean makes a deal with his teacher that he will get an apple if he gets over 80% in his test. The test is done and the marks come out. Sean gets 85% so the teacher gives him an apple. The teacher then hands an apple out to every other child in the class, and also gives oranges out to 3 other children.

    After the class Sean goes to the teacher and objects. ‘Why did everyone get an apple and why did some get an orange too? The apple reward was only supposed to be for me.’ The teacher says in return ‘did you get what we agreed you would get?’. Sean says ‘yes, but everyone else got it too, and some got more.’ The teacher says ‘we never agreed that this reward would only apply to you, did we? So I can give whatever I want to whomever I want. I decided that everyone deserved what you got, and some deserved something different too.’

    End of story – PSF got what they bargained for. They are just whining now.

  • seannaboy

    Harpo, In your interpretation”‘HMG’was and is entitled to put anything else it likes in the legislation” may well be correct but this thread started off as an accusation that SF leaders knew/ agreed/ ‘colluded’ with HMG on this point, that they knew about and so on and so on. The case against SF leaders does not stand up. Me fears that instead of this one being another example of ‘resolution’ that this will run and run and run……Ah Perfidious Albion and Schoolteachers.

  • Northern FF

    ‘Wish it and it will be so’ isn’t real Seannaboy.

    You say, “The case against SF leaders does not stand up.”

    Can you answer then why Conor Murphy flew to London to welcome this legislation? This legislation that is letting state killers off the hook?

    Is Conor no longer ‘leadership’ material? Did he just not know what was in it / what it meant? Clarification would be welcome.

  • harpo

    Northern FF

    You asked:
    ‘Can you answer then why Conor Murphy flew to London to welcome this legislation?’

    I think the answer is ineptness on the part of PSF. I don’t think that they colluded with HMG. I think they were just blissfully unaware of what might happen, and dispatched Murphy off to take the glory at a press conference. ‘The glory’ referring to what they thought would be a piece of draft legislation dedicated to Provo OTRs.

    The simplest answer is often the truth, and that is the simplest answer. That their heads are so filled with thoughts that it’s all about them, that they never considered the possibility that HMG could add anything else into the draft legislation.

    Your question gets to the core of the issue – the issue that Seannaboy would rather ignore. Either PSF were unaware of what was to be in the legislation (my theory that they asumed that it would only address Provo OTRs), or else they were very well aware of what was in it but didn’t think there would be much reaction to it (that would fit in with the other theory that they cleared in advance the text of the draft legislation).

    So the possible scenarios are that they are either very inept or total hypocrites. It’s good to see them squirm, isn’t it? Seannaboy can pretend that the case doesn’t stand up, but it very clearly does. That’s why he won’t answer your question.

  • seannaboy

    Harpo: This thread, ‘SDLP: Proof that SF knew about legislation’. And then in your own words’I don’t think that they ( SF) colluded with HMG’ ( post,06.35pm). So, in fact you are very clearly accepting yourself that the case against SF DOES not stand up. Conor Murphy can speak for himself but his words ( either before or after the publication of the legislation?) needs to be juxtapositioned with those of other SF leaders vis a vis this legislation.

  • harpo

    seannaboy

    You said:
    ‘And then in your own words’I don’t think that they ( SF) colluded with HMG’ ( post,06.35pm). So, in fact you are very clearly accepting yourself that the case against SF DOES not stand up.’

    I don’t think the case that they colluded does stand up, but then that’s just my opinion. Feel free to have Gerry, Martin or Conor quote me if they wish though if that helps you all – ‘harpo sys there was no collusion, so there you have it’.

    However the case that I am making – that they are all inept – does stand up very well.

    As I said before, it’s one or the other. And your statement that ‘his words …needs to be juxtapositioned with those of other SF leaders vis a vis this legislation’ proves it for me.

    They had no conception of what was going to be in that draft legislation, and Conor M was wheeled over to welcome what they THOUGHT/ASSUMED was coming out. They hadn’t seen it, so held a press conference based on their assumption. Conor M welcomed it, and it was only afterwards that they worked out what it actually was and started with the ‘hang on a minute, we never agreed to all of this’ position.

    They were inept, stupid, incompetent, complacent. Choose whatever word you want to describe it. They were taken to the cleaners.

  • seannaboy

    Harpo, ‘that they are all inept’ different preposition altogether.

  • lámh dearg

    Seannaboy admits SF leaders are inept!

    Hold the press!

    An interesting discussion. SF have presumably weighed their options and decided ineptitude is preferable to duplicity.

    A further sign of their advance from murderous private army to nascent (but still inept) political party?

  • harpo

    Seannaboy

    You said:
    ‘Harpo, ‘that they are all inept’ different preposition altogether.’

    No kidding – well spotted.

    That’s my opinion and I see you don’t dispute it. You seem almost overjoyed to have found someone who doesn’t agree with the SDLP accusation that started off this thread. If you think you have a victory on your hands because the original SDLP accusation has been debunked, I wouldn’t get too carried away.

    My point is the only other logical alternative, and it means that PSF are inept. In true PSF fashion I think you will try to weasel out of any further discusion of my point and rest on your laurels of debunking the SDLP point. All the while trying to limit the discussion to the original point. I’ve found that PSF fans are not big on discussing various points at once.

    On that subject I think PSF will try to ignore the point that I am making too, and just keep on bashing away at the SDLP. They don’t like logical follow on questions being raised either. The media should be asking them why Murphy welcomed the draft legislation. Asking until they get an answer.

  • Northern FF

    Harpo
    I don’t believe that it is simple ineptitude, although we have seen increasing displays of that from PSF over the last 6 months.

    No, they have been kept under pressure on this subject from their own quarters for years. It would therefore be fair to assume, I think, that PSF have been in consultation with the Brits for quite some time on what form it would take.

    AS I have pointed out before to SS, ‘On the Runs’ means nothing, so the definition would have been discussed and agreed with PSF. That definition, as we now see, included State murder squads.

    Conor Murphy is not a junior member of staff in PSF – he is the MP for Newry & Armagh, the Leader of the Assembly Party and considered to be Party leadership material. When asked about his full throated support for the LEGISLATION, “Conor Murphy can speak for himself” just doesn’t cut it SS.

    He doesn’t speak for himself when he organises a PSF press conference in London to welcome OTR legislation. He speaks for the Party SS. Like it or not.

    What I firmly beleive happened here was that the Provos took a chance – they assumed that SDLP would go along with it, or the most whinge a bit about the Agreement. They did not think that SDLP would get their teeth into this to the extent that they have and risk political progress.

    But they have, and fair play to them.