Biter biten: did the British nobble SF?

The Irish Times editorial on the outing of a key Sinn Fein member as being a British spy:

Is it a case of the biter being bitten? Have Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness been exposed again as telling untruths when faced by embarrassing events? Three years ago, when the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) raided Sinn Féin offices at Stormont and arrested three of its members for spying, they claimed the charges were baseless and the raids were designed to bring down the Assembly and Executive and to damage Sinn Féin.

And when the Public Prosecution Service announced last week at Belfast Crown Court that it was dropping all charges against the men “in the public interest” they claimed vindication. Mr McGuinness insisted there had been no evidence to sustain the charges and described the arrests as “a damning indictment of the PSNI”. Mr Adams made similar complaints.

The reason the criminal charges were dropped, it transpired yesterday, was because one of the accused, Denis Donaldson, Sinn Féin’s head of administration at Stormont, had been working as a British agent for about 20 years. Employing such people is part of any intelligence-gathering operation. And, at the time he is said to have been recruited, the IRA was engaged in a bloody campaign of murder and mayhem. However if the cases had gone ahead, his role might have been exposed.

The key question now is the nature of that role: agent or double agent or something else? And the answer goes to the heart of Mr Adams’s and Mr McGuinness’s veracity over the so-called Stormontgate affair. Last night, Mr Donaldson admitted working with British intelligence but denied any involvement in a Sinn Féin spy ring at Stormont which he dismissed as a Special Branch scam. It is worth recalling, however, that the PSNI’s action in raiding Sinn Féin’s office in 2002 and in arresting Mr Donaldson, along with Ciarán Kearney and William Mackessy on charges of collecting information and possessing documents of use to terrorists, has been validated by the Police Ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan. She ruled last year, following a formal complaint made by Sinn Féin, that the raid was not only justified but was necessary to protect democracy. Last night, the PSNI denied any political motivation and repeated it had broken up an intelligence gathering operation of use to terrorists.

Sinn Féin is now playing the role of victim by claiming it has been subjected to a police conspiracy. A similar response was forthcoming in the aftermath of the Northern Bank robbery last Christmas, and following the murder of Det Garda Jerry McCabe.

These events took place before the IRA ended its campaign and decommissioned its weapons. Had it been otherwise, it is unlikely that Mr Donaldson would still be alive. That is a positive change. Of course many questions remain about this murky affair and experience suggests the truth may never emerge. The Taoiseach has said he would like to hear both sides before making up his mind. That is wise. But these events must not delay the re-establishment of the Northern institutions.

© The Irish Times

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  • A very odd editorial, i read it earlier anf thought……what the Fcuk are they on about….they seem to be suggesting that….what?

    “Have Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness been exposed again as telling untruths when faced by embarrassing events” – what is this supposed to mean? That sf convinced denis donaldson say he was a british agent?

  • Very poor editorial

    “They claimed the charges were baseless”

    Of course the charge was baseless, there was no Sinn Féin spy ring.

    That was just a fabrication carried out by their chums in RUC/PSNI Special Branch.

    “The raids were designed to bring down the Assembly and Executive and to damage Sinn Féin”

    That was the whole idea

    “Sinn Féin is now playing the role of victim by claiming it has been subjected to a police conspiracy”

    Of course!

    “A similar response was forthcoming in the aftermath of the Northern Bank robbery last Christmas”

    Would anyone be surprised if it was revealed that the Northern was the work of RUC/PSNI Speical Branch?

    Lets not forget that the only money recovered was at an RUC building.

    Why is the Irish Times pretending to be stupid?

    Does this revelation not suit their agenda?

  • Brian

    Speaking of touts and filth like Donaldson, methinks Michael McDowell is more than just a pro-partitionist west brit. Could the aforementioned tramp also be on HMG’s payrole? Is he motivated by mere hatred of Irish Republicanism or could there be more sinister reasons for his outrageous behaviour as a Minister in the current Dublin government? Mad McDowell – the Mole in Dáil Eireann. Something for the CPI to investigate, perhaps.

  • Dualta

    Firstly, just because Nuala O’Loan said that the raid was justifed doesn’t mean to say that it uncovered real evidence of any intelligence gathering operation.

    Secondly, the bringing down of the institutions on the wrong side of a proper inquiry into the affair or, indeed, any trial of those accused of operating such a spy ring, was jumping the gun, to say the least.

    I am not yet convinced by anybody that there was such a spy-ring. Where is the evidence? I have heard it said that there were sensitive documents recovered which could be of use to paramilitaries, but has it been established that these documents we procured as part of an IRA spy-ring operating out of Stormont? No it has not.

    I do not know exactly what happened in this whole affair, but I believe that the institutions of government, democratically approved by the people of Northern Ireland, were brought down without justification and for political benefit to certain parties. It is proof for me that the northern state is deeply flawed and undemocratic and it does not have my support.

  • LondonCalling

    One thing everyone seems agreed upon is that Donaldson was a Brit agent. Over the 20 years he was feeding secret information to his handlers, he was responsible to Adams and McGuinness. And there were others, some already known and others that may come to light, that were betraying the SF organization who were responsible to the current SF leadership.

    In the life of a vibrant organization when the leaders are without doubt either grossly incompetent or complicit, they must either leave on their own accord or be removed.

    The issue now is what are SF members and supporters going to do about it. This is a situation that separates the men from the boys. It takes men with real balls. Are the membership and supporters up to it? The boys are doing a lot of whinging about loosing the game they were playing, blaming the Brits, etc. Let’s see if they have the balls to show the leadership to the hills. The light is shining brightly on them.

    What say the posters above: Are you going to continue your whinging fit or take action like men and clean your own house? Or are you lost without Daddy Adams to change your nappies?

  • Brian

    It’s time for genuine republicans to reflect on this charade of a peace process. Perhaps it’s time to shelve electoral ambitions and give the Brits, their Free State Quislings in Pee dee land and Orange Settlers a reminder that the occupied statelet is ungovernable. Who said a return to war is no longer an option? Why should McDowells and Donaldsons be allowed to pursue a pro-British agenda without fear of retribution? Why are bombs in London not an option? Why are RUC/psno and Orange thugs not legitimate targets? Screw the Peace Process!

  • Alan

    *Who said a return to war is no longer an option?*

    Three and a half thousand deaths speak eloquently enough for me.

    Now is the time to see if SF really has changed, or if it remains a band of ugly-faced cheerleaders for fatuous and vainglorious militarists.

    The military option is no short term option, yet we can see now that the long war, alone, gave time for the infiltration of SF. You can be sure that the RA, which was a more obvious target, was equally riddled with whisperers.

    Perhaps the words of Pearce at the funeral of O’Donovan-Rossa can also describe the jingoistic militarism of the RA? That militarism subverted the very cause that it sought to advance, because militarism became more important than that cause.

    Many people joined SF in the recent past, because they felt that the party had changed. Perhaps it is time for them to assert themselves.

  • Henry94

    Brian

    Who said a return to war is no longer an option?

    The anti-peace elements in the security forces are working hard to bring that about. They would like nothing better than to de-rail the political progress of republicanism and bring us back to square one.

    What do you think frightens these people more; republican guns or republican Ministers.

    I think the answer is obvious. Friday was a blow but I am very impressed with the calm and resolute reaction of republicans in the process and on the streets.

    The plot to bring down the institutions worked and the Donaldson revelation was hard to take. But the people who are really in a panic are Sinn Fein’s enemies.

    Look at the new usernames showing up here calling for us to replace Gerry Adams. Do you think these are people with our best interests at heart?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    A mute point for the Police Ombudsman is whether at the time O Loan released her report justifying the raisd on the Sinn Fein offices at Stormont did she know Donaldson was an informer? Donaldson would have been able to tell his handlers that there was nothing of any importance in the offices. This is borne out by the fact nothing was recovered there. Therefore the raid was completely unnecessary and simply for the optics.

    If O Loan did not know Donaldson was an agent then the Police Ombudsmans office is ineffective simply because the PSNI can conceal facts from the office thus undermining the credibility of any reportss.

  • missfitz

    What a disjointed and biased editorial! Written from the perspective of blame the shinners at all costs, no matter what the truth might be.
    The editorial doesnt even mention or consider that our government in the north may have been scuppered by its own police force. Surely the Times should have been leading the cry for justice. (or not)

    Brian….. take a deep breath and calm down. I spoke to many people yesteray and the message has been the same. The RM has acted with dignity and restraint, and they should continue to do so.

  • John East Belfast

    Surely advocating terrorist bombs in London is a red card offence on slugger ?

  • Padraig

    The funniest comments for me came from the SDLP’s very own Alaistair McDonnell on Radio Ulster. He more nor less said, placing himself on the empyrean heights of ‘pure’ Republicanism the because SF had British spies in their ranks they were not to be trusted.

    Political opportunism of what? Its so wicked its admirable!!

    HA! HA! HO! HO!

  • willowfield

    Dualta

    I am not yet convinced by anybody that there was such a spy-ring. Where is the evidence?

    In the hands of the PPS. The case was pulled, remember?

    I have heard it said that there were sensitive documents recovered which could be of use to paramilitaries, but has it been established that these documents we procured as part of an IRA spy-ring operating out of Stormont? No it has not.

    No, because the case was pulled.

    I do not know exactly what happened in this whole affair, but I believe that the institutions of government, democratically approved by the people of Northern Ireland, were brought down without justification and for political benefit to certain parties.

    The institutions were suspended because unionists resigned. Nothing more sinister than that. (They can’t operate without power-sharing between nationalists and unionists. If nationalists had resigned, the same would have happened.)

    It is proof for me that the northern state is deeply flawed and undemocratic and it does not have my support.

    Some do indeed argue that power-sharing is undemocratic, but it’s really the only basis for devolution.

    PS. I think Brian’s contribution of 6.37am this morning is disgusting and should be removed on the grounds of incitement to racial/sectarian hatred.

  • “Speaking of touts and filth like Donaldson, methinks Michael McDowell is more than just a pro-partitionist west brit. Could the aforementioned tramp also be on HMG’s payrole?Is he motivated by mere hatred of Irish Republicanism or could there be more sinister reasons for his outrageous behaviour as a Minister in the current Dublin government? Mad McDowell – the Mole in Dáil Eireann. Something for the CPI to investigate, perhaps.

    Love or loathe McDowell, having to rely on such personal attacks simply shows how debased and devoid of legitimacy your argument is. Can you not counteract the claims of your detractors with cogent argument, or do you simply have to rely on playing the man, because you don’t have a cogent argument? Speaks volumes about the provo movement’s interpretation of ‘democracy’- go against it, and all of a sudden you’re ‘filth’, a ‘west brit’ or a ‘mole’. Change the record- let’s hear why people should support SF if they’re leaking like s sieve.

  • Brian:

    “Who said a return to war is no longer an option? Why should McDowells and Donaldsons be allowed to pursue a pro-British agenda without fear of retribution? Why are bombs in London not an option? Why are RUC/psno and Orange thugs not legitimate targets? Screw the Peace Process!

    Surely the most disgusting comment Slugger has seen in a long long time. Is this sinn Féin policy? In a democratic society, people dare to criticise Sinn Féin, so you threaten to ‘return to war’ blow up innocent people in London buses.

    Can we please have somebody on here representing Sinn Féin to reassure us that this dirge is not official provo policy? Otherwise, SF is clearly entering self-destruct mode.

  • missfitz

    Just read yesterdays Irish Independent on Nuzhound.

    One of the articles states that “In the early 1990s, as Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness advanced their grand peace strategy, the whispers suggesting that they, too, were in the pay of the British became louder. Indeed, some diehard republicans actually do suspect that either or both men are British agents whose objective was to enfeeble the IRA politically and cripple it militarily.”

    Thouhgt that might be of interest. Had heard it for years, but dont think I ever saw it in print before

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘Is this sinn Féin policy? In a democratic society, people dare to criticise Sinn Féin, so you threaten to ‘return to war’ blow up innocent people in London buses.’

    Such posts advocating violence and quite obvious trolling (see above) should not be allowed.

  • Nic

    Anyone else got that Cyndi Lauper tune buzzing in their heads at the moment? Anyone who’s read “Brian’s” posts, I mean. Anyway. Dualtas, as far as I know, there is no northern “state” – any more than there is a scottish or welsh one, though I’m sure you will correct (but probably not convince) me otherwise. Admonishing unionists, therefore, that they should accept inevitable “reality” and join a shinner united ireland is actually completely divorced from the reality that the union has been cmeneted politically, is not going anywhere in the foreseeable and the IRA thoroughly compromised and emasculated. I would mischievously propose that the shinners need to accept those realities, rejoice in their green-tinged UK-ness, and work hard to improve the lot of the young people they purport to care so much about by supporting the institutions that can make northern ireland a place worth investing in again. Who knows, if they do a good enough job of it, maybe Ireland will apply to join with them one day instead of the other way around…
    Oh yeah, for the others, I don’t think the shinners have reacted “calmly” at all. I think they’re flummoxed.

  • Realist

    “Who said a return to war is no longer an option? Why should McDowells and Donaldsons be allowed to pursue a pro-British agenda without fear of retribution? Why are bombs in London not an option? Why are RUC/psno and Orange thugs not legitimate targets? Screw the Peace Process!”

    Oh dear!

    Pat,

    “Such posts advocating violence and quite obvious trolling (see above) should not be allowed.”

    Aye…it might give the game away about what some in the movement are thinking.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Realist,

    ‘Aye…it might give the game away about what some in the movement are thinking.’

    What movement do you think El Matador is a member of?

  • Realist

    Pat,

    I was, of course, referring to the comments of Brian.

    El Matador is right on the money in his analysis.

    I understand that he belongs to a “movement” which never has, doesn’t, and never will advocate violence as a means to further their political aspirations.

  • missfitz

    Can anyone please enlighten me as to what trolling is please? If I did something in error, I apologise sincerely.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    missfitz,

    the post of el matador 10.20am is a clear example of trolling.

  • “the post of el matador 10.20am is a clear example of trolling.

    What?! What the hell are you talking about? I resent the accusation and demand you retract it. ‘Brian’ made very serious claims, which I and a number of other posters attempted to hold to account. To say that this is trolling makes you implicit in what he said, as you are clearly trying to undermine attempts to oppose this kind of disgusting comment.

    If you cannot defend the indefensible, then simply remain silent. Do not attempt to make those who are holding the likes of ‘Brian’ to account out to be the ‘trolls’. It’s completely out of order.

  • Joe

    For missfitz:

    “In Usenet usage, a troll is not a grumpy monster that lives beneath a bridge accosting passers-by, but rather a provocative posting to a newsgroup intended to produce a large volume of frivolous responses.

    The content of a “troll posting generally falls into several areas. It may consist of an apparently foolish contradiction of common knowledge, a deliberately offensive insult to the readers of a newsgroup, or a broad request for trivial follow-up postings. “

  • headmelter

    Ridiculous editorial.

    irespect to what is happening within sinn fein this whole episode presents more questions regarding policing and the involvement and motives of brit intelligence services relating to the governing of the six counties.
    It will be interesting to see what the reaction of Bertie is to the debacle.

  • missfitz

    Joe
    Thank you for that, i had to check the mirror earlier to make sure I hadnt turned green and gotten sharp pointy ears.

    Although I have to say that I think Brian had to be taken to account for what he said, we have long passed the stage of blowing up buses or looking for “targets”.

    We are living through a tumultuous weekend, as a people and calm heads will need to prevail

  • Let’s ignore brian’s outbursts.
    The Brit Gov’t will bury this.
    I would go as far to say that today the Labour party is a Fenian party. That’s great news for republicans. Pincer movement on unionism.
    I’m licking my lips, and rubbing my hands together at the prospects for next year.
    So to all republicans have a great Xmas and New Year. Rest up, get pissed and chill, because next year is the big one 🙂

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘What the hell are you talking about? I resent the accusation and demand you retract it.’

    No.

    ‘To say that this is trolling makes you implicit in what he said, as you are clearly trying to undermine attempts to oppose this kind of disgusting comment.’

    Brian made comments that should be removed from the site. You made a magnificent contortion and tried to link the comment to SF. A clear example of trolling and one that makes you look slightly foolish.

    ‘To say that this is trolling makes you implicit in what he said, as you are clearly trying to undermine attempts to oppose this kind of disgusting comment.’

    A tad hysterical as my posr at 10.25am points out that there is no room for comments such as Brians and indeed the trolling you are responsible for. Attempts by you to link my opposition to both of you as somehow supportive of Brian is there dishonest.

    This is a very important and interesting topic that is generating more questions than answers at the moment. It is clear that neither yourself or Brian has anything of relevance to add to the subject.

  • Harry Flashman

    Has anyone read a report by the senior security correspondent in today’s edition of a prominent Irish Sunday newspaper which if I’m reading it correctly is making allegations and I stress allegations (there, is that enough to keep the lawyers away?) against Caimnhan O’ Callaghain (sp)?

    If anyone has read this and comes to a different conclusion than me please help me out, but if it’s true we certainly gain a perspective about how opposition within the IRA to the move to recognise the Dail in 1986 was handled in a certain event a year later. Is it a surprise that the first Sinn Fein TD to benefit from the recognition of the Dail might have been involved in removing the chief opponents to that move?

  • seabhac siulach

    My own take on all of this…

    My prediction is that a further mole/spy should/could be revealed in the coming days. Their identity should be easily guessed by those ‘in the know’. Whether it is politically advantageous to leak the name of this person is another matter…

    It is clear, from Donaldson’s comments, that someone else (the other spy?) left a ‘duffle bag’ containing incriminating ‘spying’ information in his house. There may have been ‘spying’ taking place in general but it was not taking place at Stormont. The duffle bag was left at Donaldson’s house, to be subsequently found in a police raid, to make it appear that Donaldson, and by extension all of those at Stormont, were involved in spying. It is clear that the information found in the duffle bag did compromise the security of certain people, police, etc.
    If not, then the movement of police and others from their houses otherwise makes no sense, except as an over-elaborate and expensive piece of deception. In any case, ‘spying’ was not taking place in Stormont. This is the important fact. Whoever left the duffle bag at Donaldson’s house is the important link in all of this. He/she is the true ‘agent provocateur’…

    That Sinn Fein is riddled with agents is perhaps not surprising, if a little disturbing. Any movement with members in place for 20 years and more is bound to be so infiltrated. The strange thing is that the procedures for weeding out these agents is not in place. No one, and I mean no one, should be above suspicion. Stakeknife was not a single person…

  • Mickhall

    Lets try and look beyond Denis Donaldson, there is another scenario here, could the PSNI have been involved in a crime/scam to fit up a leading member of the PRM, [not SF]
    who is never the less close to Mr Adams. Where documents deliberately leaked to Donaldson/whoever which had been seeded with enough goodies that they would in the normal course of events find there way into the hands of a very senior Republican for analysis. The added advantage of this would not only be the arrest and conviction of a man, who bar Mr Murphy has been at the top of the RUC/PSNI hit list for years, but due to the fact that at the time the Provos had not been stood down and the closeness of the man to Gerry Adams, it would almost certainly have brought about the demise of the Stormont government. [It could be that these documents were what made O’Loan form her opinion, believing them to be genuine as the information within them was]

    Unfortunately the individual in question, being the cautious man he is, refused to bite and the documents simply sat in the house they had been sent to. Did the PSNI Special Branch begin to panic, after all the said documents would have been seeded with sensitive and truthful information to entice the man in question and the informer could hardly give them back as he had alread one presumes told the provos he had them. Where they getting nervous that far from falling into their intended victims hands, as intended they might end up with the media. Hence the raid and the three men are lifted. Mr Donaldson himself has said bar last week the last time his handlers contacted him was two days before the raid, was he handed the documents by them on that occasion to set the sting in place. Unfortunately for the PSNI not only did the senior Provo not walk into their web, when the shit hit the fan the normally reliable high court refused them a public interest immunity certificate, by so refusing did the judge see the sting in hand.
    Who knows as this is all John le Carrie country to most of us, but two things spring to my mind.

    Firstly what ever I may feel about the man, it is ridiculous to blame Mr Adams for not knowing about Donaldson, a more able politician than him, Willie Brandt was brought down by Gunter Guillaume, an East German spy who had run Mr Brandt office, in and out of power for two decades. I wonder if it is not time to revisit the pros and cons of a Truth and Reconciliation Committee, as the South African version brought into the light a fair amount of the dirty dealing that Boss was involved in during the period after the ANC were made a legalized Party but before the first election.

    Regards to All

  • Pat,

    ‘Brian’ is often on here as a provo supporter, so for him to raise such disgusting arguments from a republican viewpoint angers and worries democrats- again this is why it was asked whether this was a view supported by SF. This may not bother you, but it bothers most people, considering comments from the likes of Gerry ‘They Haven’t Gone Away You Know’ Adams, and Francie Molloy, who said the provos may go back to ‘what they do best’.

    Again I demand you retract your comment. Again you have misrepresented my condemnation of Brian’s comments. Who the hell are you to say I have nothing to add to the argument? I didn’t realise you ran this site. And now, thanks to your baseless attempts to accuse me of being a troll, the debate is falling by the wayside.

    Well done.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    el matador,
    ‘Who the hell are you to say I have nothing to add to the argument?’

    I have simply observed the fact that you have not commented on the object of the thread, ie the IT editorial. Preferring to go off on some rant with Brian and a lame attempt to involve SF.

    seabhac siulach,

    ‘The strange thing is that the procedures for weeding out these agents is not in place.’

    Surely that is an impossible task?

    On a previous thread mickhall advocated the need for SF to be more open and transparent. By doing so that would undermine the need for MI5 and the SB to infiltrate the party.
    What is clear is that small cliques or cabals no longer have a place within SF as it is clear the these are the point of focus for malevolent agents.

  • ifyouknowmeyouknowme

    This whole saga have a further massive impact on attitudes to policing within Republicanism. If anyone had hoped that expected January discussions could lead to a SF endorsement of policing during the February Ard Fheis must surely be reassessing the idea.

    Regardless of any deal that may be presented in the future I cannot imagine a motion that would encourage endorsement of the PSNI passing an Ard Fheis any time soon.

    Admittedly this may be another of the aims of recent actions coming from within Special Branch but many Republican activists will happily use this against anyone suggesting any form of endorsement of policing structures in the north.

    Though I’m sure the more strategically minded may be thinking this could be used to block any deal ahead of full devolution of policing and justice powers and widespread reforms across the PSNI and particularly SB.

    I have heard of motions being circulated greatly limiting the ability of the leadership to negotiate on policing issues due to be present to the Ard Fheis, at present I intend to lobby within my cuman to endorse any motion of this nature and to fight against any Ard Chomhairle dilution should such a motion be tabled.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Can we please try to stop the bitching, it is dragging this thread to the point of unreadability. I don’t believe that Brian’s post advocating a return to IRA violence is Sinn Fein’s position at all. I think Henry94’s much more measured response is much closer to reality. Undoubtedly there are people out there who would do that, but I imagine the present leadership of both SF and the IRA would face such talk down. That said, I do not believe it is a troll and I do not believe it should be censored. The guy was expressing a legitimate, even though reprehensible, point of view.

    seabhac siulach:

    The duffle bag was left at Donaldson’s house, to be subsequently found in a police raid, to make it appear that Donaldson, and by extension all of those at Stormont, were involved in spying.

    You’re relying a great deal on the testimony of a self-confessed British agent. Who can say for sure what he was doing or what his orders are ? If Donaldson said yes, that SF robbed the bank, what would you be saying then about his reliability ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Regardless of any deal that may be presented in the future I cannot imagine a motion that would encourage endorsement of the PSNI passing an Ard Fheis any time soon.

    It’s all very convenient, isn’t it ? SF member claims that he was a PSNI agent. SF therefore don’t have to take a devisive and difficult political decision about supporting the police. I wonder who actually wrote Donaldson’s statement ? I wonder if Donaldson was persuaded to slightly exaggerate aspects of it, or augment the truth of it with some politically convenient allegations against the PSNI ?

  • whatever is the truth, there are things SF and the Brit Gov’t don’t want to be exposed. Hence no public enquiry. This does not equate to SF being guilty of anything.

  • Brian who?

    jjcpdj@ looks about as convincing as a PSNI spy raid

  • “Can we please have somebody on here representing Sinn Féin to reassure us that this dirge is not official provo policy? Otherwise, SF is clearly entering self-destruct mode.”

    Firstly El Mat

    Sinn Féin do not issue statements or send representatives to this blog or any other blog.

    You know rightfully well that Sinn Féin policy is that we must achieve our aims and objectives through purely democratic means.

    Any call for a return to war is ridiculous and stupid, it will not happen.

    This is exactly what the Securocrats want but Republicans will not be taking that option.

    I have noticed a certain amount of smugness coming from you over the last 2 days but you fail to realise this.

    It is the Police force that your party support that brought down the Assembly!

    It was your party that told us we had a new start to policing!

    It was your party that told us they could “police the police”

    You are left dangling like a dying fish over your support for this rabble of Securocrats

  • Tiny

    It’s interesting that the pro-S/F bloggers keep referring to the raid on Donaldson’s desk at Stormont, what about the ‘sports bag’ stuffed with papers found at his ‘des res’ earilier that morning?
    As for Brain’s return to war comments, with the republician movement leaking like a sieve, now might not be a good time?

  • Tiny

    Chris, it was your party who in 1998 said they had put violence and subversion behind them!

  • Henry94

    Tiny

    what about the ‘sports bag’ stuffed with papers found at his ‘des res’ earilier that morning?

    By coincidence I am as I post about a yard away from a sports bag which contains papers. If the police raided my house they could truthfully claim to have recovered a ‘sports bag’ stuffed with papers.

    In my case they are old newspapers and my wife wants me to take them to for re-cycling. (I tell her most of the stories are already re-cycled)

    So what was in the other bag? The British agent’s bag? Do you know. Let’s stipulate that it was paper but other than that we have no idea.

  • “Chris, it was your party who in 1998 said they had put violence and subversion behind them!”

    Sinn Féin never made that statement and never engaged in those activities.

  • elfinto

    It makes me laugh hearing certain people advocating a return to war. Given that the republican movement has been shown to be riddled with touts and informers what could be acheived other than more dead bodies, more lives wasted in prison and an ignoble defeat. What an idiotic suggestion!

    Given that SF has shifted it efforts entirely to the political field, ultimately no longer matters who may or may not be a tout – no one is going to die or go to jail as a result of their activities.

    The traitor Donaldson has been mentioned as a key player in the Castlereagh raid as it has been alleged that he recruited the chef Larry Zeitschek (sp?) to work there, while he was based in the US. Assuming this is true (adnittedly a big assumption), the Castlereagh raid now has all the hallmarks of a very successful MI5 sting operation against the Provos.

  • Ha-ha, Gaskin’s foaming. He just can’t contain himself. Clearly Spin Féin’s blog policy is “If can’t beat them, insult them”

    “I have noticed a certain amount of smugness coming from you over the last 2 days.

    Glad you take such an interest in me. Tell you what, I’ll grant you permission to be smug when our lot have one of their top dogs outted as a British super agent. Oh wait, that’s not going to happen.

    I notice over on Gaskin’s site he says:
    “What a bunch of disgusting reptiles the Stoops are!

    Very rational arguing there Chris- again, if you can’t beat ’em, insult ’em.

    And then you come over to our site and start making untrue and unfounded accusations against the managers. Sorry to say Chris, but our site actually has real visitors.

    Stick and stones may break our bones (but not now ‘cos the provos are disbanded) but names will never hurt us.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Chris and El Matador, usually I find your contributions to be interesting but at the moment you appear to be using this blog to bitch at each other. Could you please declare a permament cessation and perhaps consider relocating your slanging match to another place ?

  • CS,

    Aye, sure you know I’m only having a bit of craic 😉

  • “Clearly Spin Féin’s blog policy is “If can’t beat them, insult them”

    I don’t know about Spin Féin but Sinn Féin doesn’t have a blog policy.

    I notice that you fail to tackle the crux of my argument and instead turn to whataboutery, how typical!

  • Chris Gaskin accuses someone of, “whataboutery”, pots and pams comes to mine. As for how typical is he having a laugh. HO! HO! HO!

  • “pots and pams comes to mine”

    Very weird comment

    “As for how typical is he having a laugh. HO! HO! HO!”

    Yes, that comment was really worth typing!

  • Alan

    *I wonder if it is not time to revisit the pros and cons of a Truth and Reconciliation Committee, as the South African version brought into the light a fair amount of the dirty dealing that Boss was involved in during the period after the ANC were made a legalized Party but before the first election.*

    From the outset, I was doubtful about the ability of a Truth and Reconciliation process to do anything other than set fires across the country, while we were all hoping that the flames had finally been quenched.

    I now see a Truth and Reconciliation ( or perhaps that should be truth and penitence ) Commission as the way out of this inescapable labyrinth that we are all trudging blindly through.

    It can’t however pander to one side, or focus on dead lawyers to the exclusion of ordinary people. We need a process that can be driven by the wider community, and by victims and families of victims. We need a process that can call to account the Governments and the Paramilitaries. We need to invest the process with a righteous anger and a clarity of purpose that drags out truth wherever it may hide.

    The first action would need to be the building of a list of the Truths that we want to discover. The second act might be to draft a balanced investigative agenda. The third act would be to place the list of those hidden truths on public record and name those organisations and individuals who seem best placed to answer. The fourth act would be to listen to their considered replies. The fifth act would be to publish those replies with commentary on the seeming veracity of the replies. The last act would be to shame those who would not speak.

    Duplicity never built a dry boat, and we seem to be drowning in duplicity.

  • Chris Gaskin. It is indeed a wierd comment, “pots and pams” which should have read, pots and pans, I humbly, sincerly and completly apologise.

    Typo errors are inexcusable but! since its no longer a hanging offence you can forget the above. However we are in agreement with this, that comment was really worth typing.

  • Patrick P.

    Donaldson’s treachery has revealed something to us all: Northern Ireland is a deeply flawed state. Democracy has failed there, made possible by RUC/Special Branch maneuvering. Because of this, a vital portion of the peace process was dissolved into extinction.

    Feel like the big men now, Brits?

  • Moderate Unionist

    Patrick P
    All government’s spy, they would be negligent if they didn’t try to find out what the other side was thinking. It is no greater attack on democracy, than 30 years of bombing,or the use of economic sanctions. Do the ends justify the means?

  • missfitz

    Surely MU, if Donaldson is correct and the spy-ring was a scam- this was the ultimate attack on democracy- the downfall of a democratically elected institution? I dont think that this end was justified, particularly if that end was one manipulated by forces within the police or MI5

  • Loylist

    I suggest you learn to read and write

    I said that the IRA would not be going back to war and that we would achieve our objectives through peacefull and democratic means.

    who won the war

    No one won, but the struggle isn’t over yet.

    It’s 0-0 at half time and the other teams heart isn’t in it.

  • Moderate Unionist

    missfitz
    Well actually you could construct any number of rationals supporting this (or any other) activity.

    By way of example, some people think that invading Iraq was about regime change, others about oil, some about national(Western) defence and yet more about Al Queda. What is the truth? I’m afraid I don’t know. All have been advanced to justify action which has cost thousands of lives.

    Are democracies entitled to take pre empitive action to defend themselves? (Say they knew a terrorist organisation had got a nuclear bomb).

    The only real sanction in a democracy is that every four or five years you get to vote one bunch of politicians out. In the intervening period you have to hope that the constitution, the legal system and the oversight committees do their job.

    This is the real basis of democracy. It may not work very well, but it is the best system that people have come up with to date.

  • missfitz

    MU
    We remain on the same wavelength. But take your own argument a little further:

    If democracy is the best system we have to date, surely the onus should be on the safeguarding of this.

    I’m not saying I believe one way or the other, but the suggestion has been made, and made strongly, that the policing or security forces could not tolerate republicans in government, and therefore facilitated the downfall of the democratic institution.

    If that is potentially the case, I believe we have a right to know.

  • Now that Mr. Donaldson’s role has been exposed, why didn’t the Irish Times have the balls to follow its own logic and call for the charges to be reinstated as a matter of urgency, given that its proffered “public interest” factor, that of protecting the identity of an informer, now no longer applies?

  • Sean,

    I’m glad you are comfortable that Donaldson’s exact role has been exposed because at the moment there are a thousand or more different theories about this one !! The latest within (some) Republican circles is that SF knew that he was a spy some time ago, that he confessed, and has since been used as a double-agent. By the way if you walk into any nationalist area in the north you will not a find a single person who believes any individual should be charged with spying. This whole affair makes it clear that the British have been spying for years, endangering the lives of many individuals in the process. They hide behind ‘national interest’ legislation to stop any of their own being charged or let alone prosecuted. Exactly what is different between what they do and what some SF officials are (alleged) to have done? I want a ‘real world’ answer here, not some sanctimonious bull…

  • John East Belfast

    macswiney

    “Exactly what is different between what they do and what some SF officials are (alleged) to have done?”

    It is because they are so different from the rest of us.

    If the British Govt had been caught spying on the Ulster Unionists, SDLP, DUP etc it would have caused a national uproar and indeed the resignation of the Govt. It would be on par with Watergate

    However everyone sees SF differently because it is riddled with an odious collection of convicted murderers and criminals who’s targets have included the entire British establishment and its institutions of Law and Order and those individuals employed to protect and enforce the same.
    Until quite recently they held onto the bulk of illegal weaponary.

    Even on Slugger we have a Party Member last week telling us it was ok to smuggle and be involved in counterfeiting activity.

    ie SF are not a normal democratic party (yet) and in the interests of national security they deserve to be treated differently.

    What would seriously concern me would be if certain elements within the security services started to extend that to others.

  • Belfastwhite

    Stormontgate, Castlereaghgate, Northenbankgate, the long war may be over but now the cold war has definately begun. Mr Hain yesterday got away with saying a huge number of documents were found in the home of one of those arrested. The interviewer god bless him didn’t push him as to which of those arrested it was ie Denis Donaldson yes their self confessed agent who was visited two days beforehand. I await with interest in what transpired at that meeting. The people of this country one of the most polically aware electorates in the world are in political limbo. We have spooks determining whether we have hospitals and schools and how much we pay for water rates instead of our own elected representatives.

  • JOHN EAST BELFAST

    John there is naivety and then there is just plain foolishishness. “If certain elements within the security forces started to extend that to others”. Do you SERIOUSLY believe that this is not ALREADY happening? Because I cant think of anyone else who does. RTE News last night reported that they understand a big story is set to break within the next week which will link security forces to activites involving loyalism within the past two years. (as you will know many people dies in various feuds). “An odious collection of murderers”. There will be many (including increasing numbers of neutrals) who are beginning to apply that same description to significant factions of British intelligence.

  • John East Belfast

    macswiney

    I didnt say I was not concerned.

    I was only responding to your question as to why SF are so very different – and loyalist paramilitaries for that matter

  • loyalist

    An interesting suggestion Chris. The English language is an evolving thing, not dead gobbledegook like “Irish”.
    I’m just pointing out that the Protestant community know what works on cowardly provo scum.
    As for who won the war, does it not get a bit hummin trying to watch Sky News with all that elephant dung lying about.

  • Brian

    To reiterate, the most recent phase of armed struggle by Republicans brought down the Stalinist Stormont regime, rendered the occupied zone ungovernable and scared the living shit out of those in Britain. It was the most succesful phase of armed struggle since Ireland was occupied. However, I am not a Shinner nor did I ever claim to speak on behalf of the mainstream republican movement. Rather, I am an Irish rebel who believes that the war of liberation ought to have continued for at least another ten years. Despite touts and west brits the INLA and IRA could (and can) continue to inflict casualties. There are many legitimate targets in our midst and most are cowards. So why not remove some from the equation? Not only is it therapeutic, but it is also productive. Why bother engage with Orange settlers? Their place is back in Scotland, they have no role to play in the New Ireland. What’s the point in a Peace process when only Republicans want peace whereas the occupier continues to wage a clandestine war? What’s wrong with all you self serving, west brits? The IRA should never have decommissioned. I remember Brian Keenan telling us that the only thing that will be decommissioned is the British occupation of Ireland. I don’t doubt Brian Keenan’s integrity, he is an Irish patriot. But what happened in the interim? The Brits remain in Ireland, Paisleyite homophobes, racists and Orange fascists are still granted access to the airwaves when they should be in a hole. What’s the matter with you people? Is this what Dominic McGlinchey, Frankie Hughes and Jim Lynagh died for?….My ass it is. Let’s get it on.

  • Anonymous moderator

    Have been trying ,as one of Mick’s hitmen, to ‘modify’ Brian’s postings but there’s something wrong with the darned apparatus! Have contacted Mick re same.

  • Yer Woman

    The more I read about this debacle, the more I despair with this Country.

    Who, on any side, can we trust anymore? I would have always considered myself as a moderate Nationalist who both supported the GFA and the provisions for Policing set out in the Patton Report. The events of the past week however have managed to change my mind, and I doubt I’m the only one.

    I’m no Sinn Fein supporter, but I no longer feel I can trust the PSNI to be a neutral unpartisan Police Force, or the Good Friday Agreement to adequately provide institutions that will govern our province fairly for both sides. The SDLP should withdraw all support from the Policing Board as soon as possible. A mockery of Democracy has be made in the past week, and even worse, a mockery of the good faith and trust of decent law-abiding people who were lead to believe that trusting those in power would bring about democratic and equal Governing institutions.

    Utterly pathetic.

  • Brian

    ‘Anonymous moderator’, yer looking for one “of mick’s ‘HITMEN’?” Don’t make me laugh, yer an orange fascist who would like to censor everything posted by a militant republican. Speaking of “hitmen”, it’s about time some were deployed on behalf of Irish Republicanism to remove gobshites like you.