For the sake of the casual reader or those of you reading Slugger on feeds, my brief report on Newsnight’s treatment of CRJ can be found below.The report can be found towards the end of the programme. Some interesting highlights:
– Jim Auld said that CRJ could not recognise the police because it would effectively put them out of business since they are not recognised in the communities in which it works.
– Reporter Liz McKean: “Fear and loathing of the police is a fact of life in these areas”.
– Even though the police have greater access to restorative justices schemes in Loyalist areas they effectively say they don’t know what’s going on at the heart of them. And they also say that must change.
– Eileen Caulder suggests there is confusion as to who individuals actually represent, saying some are believed to have triple membership of Sinn Fein, IRA and CRJ. Jim Auld defended their policy of employing ex-prisoners, and argued that they were clearly badged.
– According to Chris Notorantonio, the CRJ told him that his son had to leave Northern Ireland and that they could not guarantee his safety.
– One unidentified client of CRJ in Derry talked about a case where an apparently unwarranted accusation of child abuse caused a serious fall out between two families. Proceedings were begun on the say so of a boy standing outside the window. It wasn’t until a second independent witness intervened that the case was settled amicably. Yet she was still fearful of speaking out.
– Caulder also mentioned a case where they brought a rapist and victim into the same room together. She claims they are getting involved in controversial cases, which they are unqualified to handle. CRJ denies getting involved in sex abuse cases.
As it stands there is currently no publicly accountable investigative body that can look into any of the complaints above and either attach blame or exonerate the parties concerned.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty