Ahern will not call for an inquiry…

Looks like Bertie’s prepared to let the Stormontgate affair go without an independent inquiry.

  • Briso

    http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2005/1219/3782911836HM7BERTIENORTH.html

    This sums it up for me. Bertie is completely baffled and doesn’t believe a word anyone is saying, except Tony of course.

    I feel exactly the same, except I don’t trust Tony either…..

  • Henry94

    I suspect Bertie will now calculate that he could find more prodductive things to do in the year before an election than waste his time on the north.

    The basic levels of trust required simply aren’t there.

  • seabhac siulach

    He won’t call an inquiry…he’s too busy searching for more harmless and meaningless adjectives to describe Stormontgate…already we have had ‘interesting’, ‘bizarre’, ‘stretching his imagination’, amongst others. (Honestly, I reckon it doesn’t take much to stretch this man’s imagination). When is this man going to stand up for nationalists’ rights. Where is the anger and the leadership that is now required? We have been left for 3 years without an assembly that required a substantial change in the 26 county constitution and which was voted in by people in the South. So the fall of the assembly directly affects the 26 counties. As the head of the 26 county state he should be vocalising all of this and looking for answers. Serious answers and a promise from the brits that the messing around is over. But, all Bertie can say is that it is ‘bizarre’. How about showing a bit of anger, a bit of energy or passion that nationalists’ rights have been trampled on again by a biased police force working in collusion with an unaccountable MI5. Do we get the leaders we deserve?

  • Briso

    My selective quotations:

    Speaking to reporters at the conclusion of the EU budget negotiations, Mr Ahern said he had always been “totally sceptical” about the Stormontgate affair – the police raid on Stormont which was reported to have discovered a major IRA operation involving spying on other parties, and the collection of information on the security forces.

    The affair was the final trigger for the collapse of the North’s political institutions in late 2002, when Ulster Unionists said they could not continue to share power with Sinn Féin in such circumstances.

    “Remember what happened,” the Taoiseach said. “That film piece that they still show of all of the storm troopers charging up the stairs with heavy armoury to collect a few files, and to arrest a few people. It never added up.

    “Last week when I asked Tony Blair why did it [ the trial of the three men charged in the wake of the raid] collapse, he couldn’t understand it either. So I’ve never been happy with it. And it created enormous grief for us, because the whole institutions were brought down, it created huge difficulties for David Trimble.”

    While expressing lack of comprehension, he repeatedly stressed the political significance of the Stormontgate affair, and the way news of it had emerged. “This was a huge case. It doesn’t get bigger than bringing down democratically-elected institutions that people voted for. What this is about I just don’t know.

    “Now we are asked to believe that the person Sinn Féin had in there looking after the administration was also in there by the British security. So he had the confidence of Sinn Féin and he had the confidence of British security to be in a key position that ultimately brought down the whole institutions. It stretches my imagination.

    “Stormontgate never added up to me. A large number of police and huge armaments, storming in, to collect a few clerks and a few files and the TV was in first.”

    …..

    From a Sinn Féin point of view the situation was beyond his comprehension as well. “On the face of it what we are now being told is the person who was the head of the administration, Donaldson, who we are aware of for a long time, that he was a spy.

    “When they raided his house at that time, he opened the door and he happened to have a whole lot of grenades or something in a box under the telephone table. It never made sense.”

    …..

    “I don’t know, I just don’t know.” He said he was confused about the fact that one minute Mr Donaldson was being told by the security forces that his life was in danger “and the next minute he’s coming down to RTÉ . . . This spy drove from Belfast to Dublin to be interviewed by Charlie Bird. He’s obviously stopped being a spy. So it sounds extraordinary.”

    He said the security forces had initially said there was “irrefutable evidence” of a spy ring at Stormont. “When I asked Tony Blair, having waited for three years for what was irrefutable evidence, he had absolutely no detail on it.

    “This wasn’t just another case, this wasn’t just another investigation, another prosecution. This was an action that took place by the security forces where they said when they had collected the files and all of their stormtroopers – and a few secretaries – that this huge evidence was going to really prove everything, and the consequence of that was that it brought down the institutions. And it has caused us huge grief.

    ….

    “I don’t think Tony Blair knew. I think that he didn’t know. It’s fairly bizarre and I can’t read it.”

    He said he would not attempt to read it “until we just see what the circumstances are . . . It is a confusing state of affairs and if all of this proves to be true it would be a serious concern but we have to wait and see what really is the position.”

  • David

    Stormont, Brit rule, decommissioning, spies…

    Any chance of someone in Sinn Fein being outed as an Irish republican?

    Thought not…

  • BogExile

    Ourselves (Not) Alone 🙂

  • Brian Boru

    He won’t call for one because he doesn’t want SF being exhonerated close to a General Election. Remember that SF has taken around 20% of FF’s votes from them.

  • Keith M

    This is an issue which involves the security of the state so no matter how many times Unionists ask there won’t be a public inquiry. They should content themselves with the knowledge that MI% are actually doing their job, and that SF/IRA has been rocked to the core by all this.

    SS : “We have been left for 3 years without an assembly that required a substantial change in the 26 county constitution and which was voted in by people in the South.”

    You’re actually completly off the mark there. The changes in articles 2 + 3 make absolutly no reference to the assembly. Should the assembly never sit again it does not effect articles 2+3, let alone the people of the Republic.

    The changes to the constitution removed the illegal claim to Northern Ireland and allowed the government to appoint ministers to cross body organisations, nothing more.

  • Brian Boru

    But Keith M, when I and 95% of us voted to remove the claim, it was in the understanding that the rest of the GFA would be implemented. If you are not going to play ball then maybe we should reintroduce it. At least the South kept its side of the bargain.

  • TAFKABO

    Brian.

    I’m not sure you want to go down the road of arguing what you believed you were voting for in the GFA refrenda.
    After all, Unionists thought they were voting for complete disamrament of the IRA within two years of the poll.

    I guess we all shoulda read the smallprint instead of being persuaded by the rhetoric.

    As for the topic at hand, people are trying to make sanse of it all, when their probably isn’t any sense to be made.
    People on both sides cocked things up in various ways, and we are left with this mess.

    pick a conspiracy, any conspiracy, and run with it.

    My own favourite is that the whole affair was concocted to keep the blogsphere ticking over during the Christmas holidays…..

  • Henry94

    TAFKABO

    My own favourite is that the whole affair was concocted to keep the blogsphere ticking over during the Christmas holidays…..

    Last year they had to rob a bank.

  • TAFKABO

    And next year we get to find out who they
    are…..

  • I wonder are the Brits more worried about Sinn Féin or Blogaigh Na hÉireann 😉

  • TnaD

    …the security forces had initially said there was “irrefutable evidence” of a spy ring at Stormont. “When I asked Tony Blair, having waited for three years for what was irrefutable evidence, he had absolutely no detail on it.

    Why wait three years given the enormous political impact of this incident? In a situation where Bertie has to balance any potential SF electoral advantage against his duty to represent the interests of those in the 26 counties who signed up to the GFA, no prizes for guessing which side is going to lose out.

  • seabhac siulach

    KeithM:

    “You’re actually completly off the mark there. The changes in articles 2 + 3 make absolutly no reference to the assembly. Should the assembly never sit again it does not effect articles 2+3, let alone the people of the Republic.”

    Articles 2 and 3 were a longstanding legitimate claim that the island of Ireland can be considered national territory. A legitimiate and peaceful aspirational claim. There was a supreme court rulings in the 26 counties to the effect that the articles were merely aspirational and did not amount to an obligation on the govt. to force (by whatever means) national unity. Therefore, they were merely stating that (as much as England) the 26 counties has a right to claim the 6 counties as national territory (and allow those born there to be Irish). Some would even say that the 26 counties has more claims than a UK dominated by England.

    A lot of Southern Irish people had major problems in renouncing such a claim to national territory…but were willing to make a very large (and much undervalued, unappreciated, so far) concession on the assumption that the GFA would be implemented in full. In this, they were misled.
    In return for the concrete concession of articles 2 and 3 there has been not much (constitutionally) given in return. The UK (and unionists) have not agreed, for example, that the 6 counties is legitimate Irish national territory, merely having to agree to a referendum (sometime, never?) if a majority wishes unity with the South. In return, 26 county voters had to swallow their pride, and in return for a promise of a referendum some time in never never land and power sharing for Northern nationalists renounce a long held national idea and dream. This has been largely unappreciated by unionists and others and Bertie Ahern should now be strongly standing up for the 26 county voters who made that difficult decision…and demanding the full implementation of the GFA and an end to dirty tricks by the PSNI, MI5 and others. Not merely meekly saying that it is ‘bizarre’.

    TAFKABO mentions:
    “After all, Unionists thought they were voting for complete disamrament of the IRA within two years of the poll.”

    Yes, well they got complete IRA disarmament 6-7 years after the poll. Not bad, and not too slow (if you consider it in a historical context).

    What have nationalists North and South gotten from the GFA in terms of concrete constitutional advancement? Nothing, that is what. Unionism through the peace process has copperfastened partition: they have got rid of articles 2 and 3, have caused the IRA to disarm completely and have caused Sinn Fein and others to recognise partionist structures. And yet, we are supposed to believe that it is unionists that are the ones conceding concession after concession. Name one concrete constitutional concession that unionism has had to make? There have been none…

    The removal of a few unnecessary hilltop forts and the disbandment of unnecessary RIR batallions are not concessions, merely a recognition of IRA disbandment…

  • Reader

    So – hands up who wants to go back to the status-quo prior to the GFA…

    Well – that’s Paisley and seabhac siulach, then. Any more?

  • seabhac siulach

    Reader:

    I do not want to go back to the status quo. I, unlike ‘Dr’ Paisley, want to see the GFA implemented in full. If the GFA is not to be implemented (and it is starting to look that way) then the original articles 2 and 3 should be put back in place. There should be no incentive for Unionists to sit on their hands. It is for Ahern to defend the rights of his citizens, one of those rights is to see the implementation of the GFA…

    So, no one answers the question…what constitutional concessions have Unionists had to make. The answer is none! All constitutional concessions and compromise are from the one side.

  • Reader

    seabhac siulach: what constitutional concessions have Unionists had to make
    Power sharing with SF is a concession. Where else in the world would you want to impose power sharing? In the south? And although I always assumed that a version of the Principle of Consent applied anyway, SF used to complain that the 6 counties were trapped by Brit will. Well – not any more – unionists have no guarantee other than their ability to get out the vote, these days.
    And the real point about the new Articles 2 & 3 is that they are better than the old ones, and a far better match to the aspirations of the electorate of the Republic. The hope that the old versions might be restored is strictly for dinosaurs.

  • Cahal

    “Power sharing with SF is a concession.”

    FFS, this sort of comment makes me despair.

    It has been ELEVEN years since the first ceasefire and still the main unionist parties do not want to share power in some meaningless assembly. If it is like this in another 10 years then what? Is this acceptable? Are we waiting for this generation of unionist leaders to leave politics?

    I’m starting to think the GFA has served it’s purpose. Joint authority or repartition look more likely and more appealing by the day.

  • headmelter

    Is Bertie a bootlicker in stoops clothing?

  • Reader

    Cahal: It has been ELEVEN years since the first ceasefire and still the main unionist parties do not want to share power in some meaningless assembly.
    “first ceasefire”, eh? What about the second ceasefire? What about the IRA’s last (latest?) killing? And Sinn Fein are still smirking over the Northern Bank robbery, for goodness sake. Sinn Fein’s most important negotiating position in the last year has been a determined effort to let murderers off.
    For what it’s worth, I’m in favour of power sharing once the IMC has given a couple of clean reports, but don’t imagine it’s because I regard SF an a normal political party.

  • martin Ingram

    Ex Force Research ( FRU) Handler interested in Bringing killers to justice and closure to all victims.

  • seabhac siulach

    Reader:
    “Power sharing with SF is a concession.”

    Perhaps, but a very very minor one and one that does not change by one little bit the constitutional set-up of the six counties. Sinn Fein by agreeing to share power with Unionists in a partitionist settlement have actually conceded the major point…that the border is semi-permanent. Where is the equivalent concession on the Unionist side, who will not even agree to harmonisation of economies, blow fuses at the merest hint of cross-border bodies, etc.
    So, is that it? Is that the limit of Unionist ‘concessions’? Big deal. The fact that Unionism makes such a big noise about every minor change or initiative inflates the importance of even the smallest move forward. Unionism can then claim a ‘concession’ for the most minimal things that would be happening anyway, e.g., barracks closures, removal of hilltop forts. An old trick that they have perfected.

    So you think that the new articles 2 and 3 are better than the old ones…perhaps,…who cares? The simple truth is that they were changed for only one purpose, to allow the GFA to succeed. (By the way, the new articles have caused a lot of problems with regards immigration, so perhaps not everyone is overjoyed with them) If the success of the GFA is not forthcoming then all cards should be off the table. There are plenty of people in the 26 counties that would gladly see the claim to the 6 counties restored. Do not fool yourself. Bertie should be pressing this point. The national idea should not be compromised further.

  • Briso

    Reader: “Power sharing with SF is a concession.”

    What power sharing? What concessions?

  • Cahal

    Reader
    It may be speculation but I have no doubt that if the SDLP where in SF’s position today, the unionists would still not be sharing power. As the DUP say, we are all pigs from the same litter (SDLP and SF).

  • Reader

    Briso: What power sharing? What concessions?

    Power sharing has operated, and will operate again. Maybe next time SF will behave? After all, in real politics you can dump a coalition partner if there’s reason enough. But what options are there here?