Are the public interested?

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Wales, Peter Hain, has declared that it is not in the public interest to hold an inquiry into the spy-ring at Stormont. Just as it was not in the public interest to prosecute the three men charged, despite the previous assertions that it was not for lack of evidence. Would it be in the public interest to explain what public interest the Secretary of State is actually serving? or is it, like so many, apparently, that he also doesn’t know? Update More detail on what Peter Hain had to say hereSome extracts from the update –

“If it was not possible to proceed with this trial because, as the director of public prosecutions decided, it was not in the public interest to do so, what purpose would an inquiry serve?” Mr Hain said.

“Frankly, we have had inquiries galore in Northern Ireland. They cost hundreds of millions of pounds. I am not going down that road when it is quite clear that it is not in the public interest to do so.”

And some information on the intelligence gathered –

Mr Hain said it was a fact that there was a paramilitary intelligence-gathering operation at Stormont.

“The facts are many, many documents – perhaps over a thousand – were stolen from this Northern Ireland office of the most sensitive kind, including conversations with foreign governments,” he said.

“The facts are that they turned up in west Belfast. A crime was committed and that is why the prosecution followed it.”

Except, of course, the prosecution didn’t follow it through..

  • Would it be in the public interest to explain what public interest the Secretary of State is actually serving?

    Maybe he just needs to clarify whether ‘the public’ is that of NI, or that of the UK of GB and NI.

  • Pete Baker

    The thing is, Hugh, I tend to agree with the earlier thread that an inquiry would be a distraction and a delay, and, probably, a waste of time and money.

    But, the current official position of Hain, Blair and Ahern – that no-one knows anything about why the various decisions have been made in this case – doesn’t hold water.

    And that just allows the tin-foil hat brigade to run with the story.

  • Crataegus

    Now this to me tends to prove that the actions were at the behest of the British Government or at the very least they had full knowledge.

    Hain says, “I am very clear that no security service elements, or security force elements, misled myself or the secretary of states prior to me over the last few years that this has been in play.”

    From this are we to assume that the previous Secretary of State knew what was going on or were they informed after it “came into play”? Either way they claim full knowledge.

    Increasingly it is looking like attempts at political engineering. To prop up Trimble, to discredit SF, hand an ace to the DUP…..who knows?

    The idea, that this all took place in the manner it did; at the specific time it did; with a spy in the middle of it; all simply to grab some computer equipment, and with the full knowledge of British politicians really begs the question what to hell did they think they were playing at. Obviously this would collapse any power sharing Executive. SO WHY??? If it was intelligence what was so important and if so what is it? I must confess I find it hard to think of something so important that would justify the cost especially as you have a spy to assist by other means. No this was clearly political engineering.

    To our esteemed Secretary of State, “stop patronising us and tell us the truth. Shock us”!

  • Betty Boo

    You mentioned the timing before and I suspect as well, that hopes are up that we will digest it nicely with the turkey.

  • BogExile


    I know that I shall meet my fate
    Amid the ruins of Stormontgate
    Those that I fight I do not hate
    That which I guard I do not love
    My voters are extremely cross
    My fallen dead are at a loss
    My likely end would bring relief
    To infiltration past belief
    The years to come seemed waste of breath
    A waste of breath the years behind
    In balance with this life, this death.

    With apologies to that dreamer WB Yeats

  • 50+

    I am interested in the position of the SDLP.
    When they joined the policing boards they said that they would be in a position to influence the operational structures and strategy of the PSNI.
    Could Alex Attwood now tell us what influence he and his parties representatives on the policing boards can bring to bear on the PSNI to explain the operational logic behind the PSNI raids on the Sinn Fein offices in Stormont.
    Why did Hugh Orde try to countermand the order to raid The SF offices?
    Most nationalists think that the stormont raids were a coup d’etat by the PSNI on a democratically elected government.
    If the SDLP have no power or influence on the PSNI – why stay on the policing boards?

  • Gerry McGandy

    If Stormont was closed due to Sinn Fein spies, Shouldn’t Westminster go the same way over British government spies?