Kerr: Republicans protesting too much?

Well, Chris at Balrog notes his party’s TD are calling for the IMC to be scraped – offence, perhaps. But Beano at Everything Ulster sees the party’s reaction purely as a defensive move on the part of the Republican movement. Dick Kerr, one of the Commissioners speaking last night on the BBC’s PM programme said that that Sinn Fein’s accusation that the IMC was politically biased was “an easy accusation for someone to make who doesn’t like the message. It may be that “you protest too much if all you are going to to say is that it [the report] was politically motivated. In my limited experience of Northern Ireland very few people are willing to admit their own shortcomings”. He went on to say that he thought there was no alternative to this process.

  • seabhac siulach

    Surely it is not just a question for Sinn Fein’s supporters not liking it for subjective reasons…others might also be wondering (and the two govts. should provide answers) about how two supposed ‘independent’ bodies (one, the IIDC truly independent) can come up with two wildly different assessments on IRA arms. It is hardly just members of Sinn Fein that think the IMC is playing politics. I would say many members of the two govts. and the IIDC might now also share that assessment. Why else the rushed counter-appraisal of IRA arms from the IIDC if not to defuse the (subtle) force of the IMC report (with its talk of retained arms)? The inclusion of this explosive issue in the IMC report was aimed, it would seem, at torpedoing any hopes of talks? There were, strangely, no leaks about IRA arms from the policing board meeting of last week. So was this section on arms sneaked in at the last moment and so requiring a rushed rebuttal by DeChastelain?

    This issue of arms is the crucial point raised yesterday. We are being told two different versions…which is correct? The process would appear to depend now on the resolution of this matter as otherwise we will have no progress while there are the obvious Unionist demands for potentially non-existent weapons to be handed in. And this looks like it will still be an issue come April’s IMC report, as the IRA has already said that it has no arms, backed up by the IIDC. So where does that leave any hopes of progress? One may ask who is playing politics here, quite validly.

    Decommissioning was always a political gesture, designed as a means to humiliate the IRA, to show that it had surrendered. The IRA has performed that gesture and that should be the end of it. Arms, if the desire was there, could always be acquired again (Ireland is awash with shotguns, for example). But, it would appear, as we all knew, that the issue of decommissioning was always really only about frustrating moves to power sharing. The process is still stuck on the hook of this issue. It is for the two govts. now to get it off it.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    It isn’t only Sinn Féin supporters who should protest at the IMC report.

    The problem is with the process and not necessarily the result.

    In an interview with Daily Ireland, Dick Kerr admitted they would not actually be examining the material they get or analysing it to see whether it was true. That’s my read, at least, from this quote.

    “We’re not going to sit and do our own research as such.”

    If that means what I think it means, all the IMC is a depository for the rantings and musings of spooks, reporters and the likes, those who talk to this questionable quango. There’s no checking of the claims against the facts and therefore the IMC report has no credibility. It’s nothing to do with who’s on the Commission although many will view the CIA track record of Dick Kerr and the track records of the others with justifiable scepticism. There’s no guarantee that all we’re getting in this latest report is rehashed lies and misinformation because we can no more trust this ‘raw information’ than we can drink raw sewage.

    One has to ask what they do to earn their £624+ plus expenses daily rate? Are the governments really paying these people to derail the peace process?

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    OC:

    “There’s no checking of the claims against the facts and therefore the IMC report has no credibility”.

    I hear what you are saying, and I sympathise. But if you are going to use this as your primary criteria for not listening to people, then who exactly is left in Northern Ireland that one can actually listen to?

  • Henry94

    who exactly is left in Northern Ireland that one can actually listen to?

    Elected representatives speaking on behalf of their voters.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Correct me if I’m wrong but if a group is appointed to monitor any activity, and if they actually don’t see the activity and rely on others for ‘reports’ of this activity, I or anyone else is entitled to question the basis of these reports. In this case the basis is shifty as hell and unless actual evidence is provided then I’m dubious about it.
    No doubt the IMC are also dubious – or else they would have recommended sanctions – but the very fact that they’ve mentioned an unsubstantiated allegation at all means that a serious sanction has been deployed to further delay progress.

    If in doubt, leave it out. It’s a standard rule in journalism and it should be a higher standard in the business which the IMC are involved in.

    These people are being paid well but what the hell are they doing? It’s time to call time on this quango.

    It’s not good enough either for sluggerotoole to treat the likes of the IMC with kid gloves, as if their words have any more substance than anyone on the street, and not subject their musings to rigorous scrutiny as is done to SF statements.

  • Shore Road Resident

    …cause they never lie or making statements without evidence, right?

    Desperate.

  • Keith M

    Isn’t it amazing how SF/IRA cheerleaders have selective amnesia? They can remember 1916, but forget how the rebels were abused by the populace of Dublin. They can remeber how Unionists ruled Northern Ireland without effective opposition but forget how nationalists boycotted elections. Now they seem to have forgotten why the IMC was introduced in the first place. As a reminder, the IMC was introduced after SF/IRA signed up the the Mitchell Principles (but actually didn’t obey them), after SF/IRA signed the Belfast Agreement but then didn’t do what they signed up to doing there either (decommissioning and disbandment).

    In reality the IMC was introduced to let SF/IRA and the loyalists off the hook, but because both factions are either so stupid or so entrenched in criminality that they can’t break away, it’s come back to bite them.

  • Cahal

    “He went on to say that he thought there was no alternative to this process.”

    Wishful thinking.

    “As a reminder, the IMC was introduced after SF/IRA signed up the the Mitchell Principles (but actually didn’t obey them), after SF/IRA signed the Belfast Agreement but then didn’t do what they signed up to doing there either (decommissioning and disbandment)”

    Disbandment? In the GFA? So the unionists have found yet ANOTHER excuse not to share power with Irish people…..and back to my first point.

  • Belfastwhite

    Keith M

    “They can remember how Unionists ruled Northern Ireland without effective opposition but forget how nationalists boycotted elections”

    Selective Amnesia indeed and the reason why they boycotted elections may have had something to do with the fact that they couldn’t get a vote and even if they could gerrymandering would make voting pointless!

  • Reader

    Belfastwhite: the reason why they boycotted elections may have had something to do with the fact that they couldn’t get a vote and even if they could gerrymandering would make voting pointless!
    Neither of those points applied to Stormont or Westminster elections. Ironically, I don’t think nationalists systematically boycotted council elections where they sometimes did apply!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The people of Iraq are at this moment paying a heavy price for the erroneous briefings of Mr kerr’s ex employers (CIA). How are we to know if his competence has improved since he left these facilitators of mass murder?

  • “Decommissioning was always a political gesture, designed as a means to humiliate the IRA, to show that it had surrendered. “

    That’s not how I or many others saw it, it was supposed to be a (small?) confidence building measure, symbolic of a willingness of the IRA to ‘give peace a chance’.

    One question that hasn’t been answered is what reason the IMC would have to “play politics”?

    (Mick – appreciate the link!)

  • seabhac siulach

    “One question that hasn’t been answered is what reason the IMC would have to “play politics”?”

    They may not have reasons themselves to play politics. However, they may be pawns in a wider ‘game’. They, the IMC, are merely an unthinking and unquestioning conduit of ‘intelligence’ briefings from those in PSNI special branch and elsewhere. They have admitted as much. They do not analyse the data, merely collate it.
    Unfortunately this means that those in PSNI special branch (with links to the DUP, and there has been a precedent here of ex-PSNI special branch members later appearing at DUP functions, etc.) who wish to influence the political process may do so…safe in the knowledge that any unconfirmed tittle-tattle will go straight into the report with no evidence and no analysis or questioning from the IMC. This amounts to interference in the democratic process.