Dermot Ahern and naivety

More pre-empting of the response to the IMC report, this time from the Irish government minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, as reported by Dan Keenan and Jamie Smyth in the Irish Times[subs req] – “You can’t expect that when you turn on a light that everything will be rosy in the garden. It would be naive to think that you can do that after 35 years of violence.” Also in the report, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern claims he hasn’t seen the IMC report, but that It would be “unfair to focus” on any specific finding on this issue at the the expense of an overall finding of significant progess.
The article begins by noting the pre-empting of the IMC report by the Irish Government… and by Sinn Féin –

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern has played down the importance of any finding in the Independent Monitoring Commission report to be published tomorrow that the IRA is still involved in criminality.

Sinn Féin has stepped up its condemnation of the IMC ahead of its eighth report into paramilitary activity and criminality.The party claimed the ceasefire watchdog’s membership and reports were “politically loaded, discriminatory” and worked “to subvert the democratic rights of the electorate”.

Other interesting points to note in the article –

“Asked to clarify what level of IRA criminality was acceptable, Mr [Dermot] Ahern said criminality that was not aligned with the political process, and not in any way connected to the ideals of the IRA, was a matter for the security forces to deal with.

and from the Taoiseach –

The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he had not seen the IMC report, but that he hoped it “will show that incrementally we’ve made progress across all areas since the last report in September.” In relation to the issue of criminality, he said it was “more difficult” but in that things were “not as clear cut” because it was more difficult to establish whether those involved were still in the republican movement or acting on orders.

Tt would be “unfair to focus” on any specific finding on this issue at the the expense of an overall finding of significant progess. “From a Governmentt point of view we’re not happy that anything at any level happens,” he said. However, the Government was “sensible to know” that getting all activity to cease was part of a process, and that it would be very hard for the republican leadership to get all activities to cease immediately.They hoped to “move into intensive talks with the parties next week and then try to build on that up to the April period where we want to get substantive movement”

It remains, then, in the government’s eyes, a question of trust..

And, just to remind everyone, the doctrine of plausible deniability has been mentioned here before..

, ,

  • Russell

    “It would be “unfair to focus” on any specific finding on this issue at the expense of an overall finding of significant progress.” Irish Times quoting Bertie Ahern

    Bertie Ahern correctly identifies the duplicitous tactic by unionists politicians and unionist apologists in the media of using the IMC to impede the democratic will of the people in the north, as clearly signalled by selective and illegal leaking of coincidental reports relevant to the IMC by criminal elements within the security services and the incessant pre-empting the outcome of the IMC with the purpose of spinning it in favour of justifying exclusion of 25% of the electorate from the so-called democratic process.

    “And, just to remind everyone, the doctrine of plausible deniability has been mentioned here before.. “

    Did it occur to you to familiarise yourself with the meaning of Plausible Deniability before bandying it around inappropriately to give yourself an unmerited appearance of being either Woodward or Bernstein?

    Only those directly involved in creating a controversial policy can deny that they were responsible for it by the expedient of claiming that a less controversial was actually in place. Ergo, only the independent IMC can deny its own process, not the secretary of state or Irish government ministers.

    “Plausible deniability involves the creation of power structures and chains of command loose and informal enough to be denied if necessary. The idea was that the CIA (and, later, other bodies) could be given controversial instructions by powerful figures — up to and including the president himself — but that the existence and true source of those instructions could be denied if necessary; if, for example, an operation went disastrously wrong and it was necessary for the administration to disclaim responsibility.”

    The shoot-to-kill policy of the British government in the north that was plausibly denied in the cases wherein it applied as being “lawful self-defence” etc despite a conviction being secured against the British government in the European Court of Human Rights in March 1988 for “unlawful killing” is a good and proper example of Plausible Deniability.

  • Russell

    Just to nail Plausible Deniability this garbage. This is the only constraint on the statutory independence of the IMC:

    Northern Ireland (Monitoring Commission etc.) Act 2003

    2. Commission’s duty to avoid prejudicial effects

    (1) The Monitoring Commission shall not do anything in carrying out its functions which might-

    (a) prejudice the national security interests of the United Kingdom or Ireland,
    (b) put at risk the safety or life of any person, or
    (c) have a prejudicial effect on any present or future legal proceedings.
    (2) The duty under subsection (1) is owed to Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom.

    The governments cannot direct the policy of the IMC in determining the flowing:

    (1) In this Act, “the Monitoring Commission” means an independent organisation established, by an agreement made in connection with the affairs of Northern Ireland between Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and the Government of Ireland, to carry out functions which include-

    (a) monitoring activity by paramilitary groups,
    (b) monitoring security normalisation, and
    (c) reporting on claims relating to commitment to the observing of terms of the pledge of office set out in Schedule 4 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (c.47).

    IMC policies or emphasis cannot be directed by the governments, and therefore, nothing can be denied by them about what they had no responsibility for.

  • Pete Baker


    You appear to be under the misapprehension that the plausibile deniability, that I’m suggesting will be part of what Woodward [the NIO Security Minister, that is] referred to as the complex assessments of responsibility, relates to something other that the actual criminality.

  • Russell

    Then you should make up your mind about whom you are alleging is attempting to deploy the tactic of Plausible Deniability. I refer to a previous post where you seem to apply it to the IRA:

    “Just to clarify further, the complex assessments of distinguishing between individuals being responsible for criminality and organisations being responsible relates to whether that organisation is attempting to apply a doctrine of plausible deniability..” — Pete Baker

    Since only the parties responsible for the real policy can apply Plausible Deniability by asserting a false policy, it can’t be Woodward applying that policy to the actions of the IRA or its members since he (the British government) is not responsible for the actions of either entity (despite FRU stooges in the media assuring us otherwise). In short, Woodward cannot be held to be applying Plausible Deniability to the task of “distinguishing between individuals being responsible for criminality and organisations being responsible” because only the IRA leadership can apply it. Woodward can, however, apply it to policies that initiate from his government – such as denying “the actual criminality” of a policy of the British government that resulted in a conviction for multiple murders in the European Court of Human Rights.

    Further, it is pointless to try to distance yourself from the context in which you referred to Plausible Deniability in your article on this thread:

    “And, just to remind everyone, the doctrine of plausible deniability has been mentioned here before.. ”

    Now, none of this waffle that unionist apologists spew in the media disguises the salient and inescapable fact that unionists are fundamentally undemocratic in their collective supremacist mentality and will use any means to disenfranchise the rights of nationalists in the northern state. In fact, it merely serves to have the opposite effect. Unionism slowly kills itself by its duplicity and intransigence – blindingly facilitated by a supine media.

  • Pete Baker

    Ah, I see..

    I was trying to clarify what I was saying, since I had thought you had simply misunderstood my point… but it’s clear you’ve already made your complex assessment of the situation, and added many other assumptions as well.

  • Russell

    Unlike you, of course, who hasn’t made any assessments, comments, or assumptions but has simply reported non-existent ‘facts’ on the assumed direction of an IMC report that hasn’t been published yet and on the motives of ministers who have commented quite properly on the attempts by unionist apologists to control the public’s interpretation of the forthcoming report. Bias, alas, always slips through the impartial facade. But on the matter of the IMC: I haven’t the faintest idea what it will conclude (nor do you), but if it is based on fact, it will be consistent with the proper comments from Woodward and Ahern, quoted by your good self.

  • Pete Baker


    You clearly have your assumptions about my motives for posting on this topic.. not uncommon amongst commenters, but incorrect.

    For the benefit of everyone else, I’d point to the focus of the previous threads which has been the shifting position of the NIO Minister Shaun Woodward – who was, in fact, the first person to pre-empt the IMC report, when he made his comments back on 13 Dec.. comments he, more recently, found himself having to clarify.