Cross-community opposition to CRJ…

THE debate over restorative justice continued yesterday with two attacks on CRJ Ireland. Alternatives, the loyalist equivalent of CRJ, blames the Government for allowing CRJ to hold up funding for other schemes until Sinn Fein accepts policing. In the Irish News, Dominic Bradley reflects SDLP concerns over CRJ’s willingness to work within the structures of the law. Bradley’s letter is copied below the fold.If CRJ isn’t good enough for Tony Blair’s constituents it’s not good enough for you and me

By DOMINIC BRADLEY MLA

JIM Auld of Community Restorative Justice (July 28) accuses the SDLP of having a ‘political agenda’ against Community Restorative Justice (CRJ).

In fact, the political agenda is Sinn Fein’s since they are behind setting up many CRJ groups as their own alternative police.

But don’t take our word for it.

Take the word of Sinn Fein human rights spokesperson Caitriona Ruane.

She let the cat out of the bag when she told The Mourne Observer that “Community Restorative Justice was recently launched in Downpatrick and is proving a minor success. In the coming months Sinn Fein plans to set up similar initiatives throughout south Down in order to offer a viable alternative to the PSNI.” (January 28 2004)

And she is not the only one.

Other Sinn Fein elected representatives have also said as much.

Now Sinn Fein gives out about ‘political policing’.

But here is Caitriona admitting that a political party, Sinn Fein, is behind setting up an alternative to the police service.

It’s Community Restorative Justice – Sinn Fein’s policing wing.

Now it’s true that CRJ invited an SDLP representative onto the board.

But when he wrote back asking for basic information about CRJ’s procedures, they never bothered responding.

And, contrary to what Jim says, there are many who have profound concerns about Sinn Fein’s CRJ.

The director of the Rape Crisis Centre has spoken out about CRJ.

She has stated publicly that “they’ve hampered cases by interfering with evidence which meant the perpetrators weren’t brought to court”.

The area coordinator for Foyle Women’s Aid has also been critical: “An ex-prisoner arriving at the door and threatening a man who is beating his wife can make things even worse. The CRJ person departs and the woman is left with a partner perhaps even angrier than before. In one case where CRJ was involved, the woman went on to commit suicide.”

Catherine McCartney has also stated that “there were 15 people involved in the murder of Robert and the cover-up. Some of those were active in CRJ.”

Further, she has made clear that some of the people involved in trying to set up CRJ in the Short Strand picketed the house of Robert’s fiancee Bridgeen in an attempt to intimidate her and her two small children out of her home.

Just last September a very senior member of CRJ was present when Jeff Commander was beaten savagely by an IRA mob – simply because he was a friend of Robert McCartney.

That CRJ man, who himself did time for a savage double murder, subsequently visited the Commander family on three occasions and asked if they would “accept mediation with the republican movement”.

The Commanders refused and insisted on their right to go to the police.

The IRA were so incensed with this that the Commanders were threatened and had to move from their home.

The Commanders subsequently wrote to CRJ head Jim Auld, drawing his attention to the fact that one of his senior CRJ colleagues had not given a statement to the police about what he witnessed.

Jim wrote back to say it was his right not to give a statement to the police.

In fact, it is a crime to withhold this information.

And the senior CRJ figure to this day refuses to give a statement implicating the IRA men involved.

There is another disturbing case from August 2000 when a number of republicans contacted The Sunday World alleging that a senior IRA man who was also a leading CRJ worker had abused two children.

The SDLP does not know if the allegations are true.

What we do know is that the police never got the allegations – despite Jim Auld telling The Sunday World at the time:

“We have a clear understanding of what is required in cases like this. We contact Social Services about these matters and we know that Social Services contact the RUC. And we have no problem or difficulty with that.”

Reminded of the case late last year, Mr Auld stated of his colleague: “I haven’t heard that man’s name for years” and added that he had no idea where he was now.

Nor, presumably, do the police.

Jane Dorrian has also gone public about what happened to her at CRJ’s hands.

She was visited by two CRJ workers and told that if her paranoid schizophrenic son, who had been involved in anti-social behaviour, was seen again in the neighbourhood she would be put out of her home.

Other families have also gone public about being threatened with exile by CRJ.

The SDLP has received many other complaints.

But the people involved are simply too scared to speak out.

They range from CRJ intervening in planning disputes to CRJ workers telling people that there were paramilitary death threats against them to scare them into attending CRJ meetings.

A feature common to many is CRJ again and again backing the Provos in local disputes.

Which leads us to ask: does CRJ take the IRA’s definition of a crime?

Does CRJ – like Mitchel McLaughlin and Gerry Adams – believe that shooting a mother of 10 in the head is not a crime if the IRA authorises it?

Jim accuses us of raising these matters to ingratiate ourselves with the British Government.

But when was the last time anybody heard a British minister talking about any of these cases publicly?

They don’t – because they don’t really care.

They are too busy doing side deals with both the DUP and Sinn Fein, regardless of the cost to the rights of people on the ground.

Meanwhile, the dangers inherent in a political party having a policing wing are ignored.

That is precisely why the SDLP has been so loud about CRJ.

We are determined to embarrass the British government into providing decent human rights protections.

Tony Blair would never state fund groups that behaved like this in his constituency.

It would not be good enough for his children.

So why should nationalists have to accept less?

Aren’t we all entitled to the same human rights protections?

DOMINIC BRADLEY MLA

  • Garibaldy

    I don’t think there is an immense problem with the philosophy behind CRJ, but in the way it is being implemented in NI. It doesn’t have to be a way to legitimise paramilitary control of local areas. That’s not how it works in say New Zealand where I think the idea originated. However, paramilitary policing cannot be accepted. Then again, as early as 1975 the British Secretary of State responded to Provo attacks on their political opponents with the comment that he was happy for the Provos to police their own areas. More recently we had Mo Mowlam refer to other murders as internal housekeeping.

    Despite Weber’s commonly accepted dictum that the state must have a monopoly on legitimate violence, the British have proven flexible on this issue in the past, and there’s no reason to think they won’t again. The Provos have also demonstrated their authoritarian streak and desire to rule areas where they are strong on numerous occasions. A match made in heaven. Except of course for the people who will be subjected to the CRJ schemes.

    The SDLP are to be commended on this, but I think the Irish government and others must speak up too to ensure CRJ is properly regulated. There is no chance that the Irish government would accept this is its jurisdiction. If it wants to represents the interests of the people of Ireland, it must act on this issue.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    More recently we had Mo Mowlam refer to other murders as internal housekeeping.

    Whether she was referring to the IRA or security services was never really made clear though…

  • I’d missed that article from the Belfast Telegraph (July 31). Thanks.

  • kensei

    “The SDLP are to be commended on this, but I think the Irish government and others must speak up too to ensure CRJ is properly regulated.”

    Nope. The SDLP are attacking CRJ on principle. The attack on SF based on Ruane’s rather innoculous quote at the start is staggering. If it wa sjust about oversight and running, it would be ok and a lot less vitrolic than the SDLP is going for.

    What the SDLP is trying to do is split the Catholic middle class form the working class in an attempt to shore up it’s vote. Personally, I find that despicable.

  • Kensei-

    Did you read what Dominic wrote, or does anything that remotely criticises Provional Sinn Féin or anything connected thereto elicit this form of rabid pavlovian response?

    I wouldn’t describe the Carpetbagger-in-Chief’s comments that Sinn Féin want to set up an alternative police force (political policing at its zenith, is it not?) as ‘innoculous’ (nor would I describe them as ‘innocuous’, the word I believe you meant to use).

    A number of highly important issues are raised here, not least surrounding the McCartneys et al, and over the handling of alleged rape. Yet rather than address them, you simply offer a large portion of anti-SDLP bile with a side order of provisional rhetoric.

    This has nothing to do with class- in fact, far from attempting to cause a class rift, the SDLP’s moves are to ensure that everyone gets proper policing, regardless of personal circumstances.

  • kensei

    “Did you read what Dominic wrote, or does anything that remotely criticises Provional Sinn Féin or anything connected thereto elicit this form of rabid pavlovian response?”

    Yeah, being condescending is a good start. Oddly, I did read it. It isn’t constructive criticism. It is emotive bollocks with the purpose of linking SF with criminality, because that keeps the SDLP’s vote from completely imploding.

    “I wouldn’t describe the Carpetbagger-in-Chief’s comments that Sinn Féin want to set up an alternative police force (political policing at its zenith, is it not?)”

    Of course, when you take it in the context of communities that are deeply suspicious of the police force it is sinister only if you wish it to be.

    Quick story. My uncle went on holiday last week. He was telling us about it when he came back. He had met a few guys, one Catholic, one Proteastant, but he didn’t care about religion. However, when they told him when they were leaving that they were policemen, he refused to talk to them and “I felt sick”. Place comments about “alternatives” in that context. It’s not alternatives for SF, it’s alternatives for people who want help but feel thye can’t get it.

    “as ‘innoculous’ (nor would I describe them as ‘innocuous’, the word I believe you meant to use).”

    Like no one has ever had a spelling mistake on the internet.

    “A number of highly important issues are raised here, not least surrounding the McCartneys et al, and over the handling of alleged rape. Yet rather than address them, you simply offer a large portion of anti-SDLP bile with a side order of provisional rhetoric.”

    And they all have the same theme: tarring SF with criminality, and CRJ with the IRA. They could talk about lots of things but they go for the hot button emotive “The SDLP does not know if the allegations are true but….” bollocks. If the SDLP did oversight right, then then would get my support. But they aren’t. they do what they always do, and attack SF.

    “This has nothing to do with class- in fact, far from attempting to cause a class rift, the SDLP’s moves are to ensure that everyone gets proper policing, regardless of personal circumstances. ”

    Wrong. It has everything to do with class. The SDLP’s best chance is with people who are happy to display Unionist levels of hypocrisy. Going hammer and tongs are SF on “criminality” is the best way to keep those people. From a purely self interest angle, it’s the smart move, just despicable otherwise. The might as well go for “Decent people vote for SDLP2 as a slogan.

  • “My uncle went on holiday last week. He was telling us about it when he came back. He had met a few guys, one Catholic, one Proteastant, but he didn’t care about religion. However, when they told him when they were leaving that they were policemen, he refused to talk to them and “I felt sick”.”

    Your “quck story” says more about your uncle than the police.

    And of course CRJ will split the Catholic middle class from the working class – if Sinn Fein get their way. SF will do what they have always done – dominate the working class because they can. How many CRJs do you think will get set up in middle class areas where most people hold the paramilitaries in as much contempt as middle-class unionists.

  • Rubicon

    Kensei – where in Bradley’s letter does he make the class point you claim that he has? Bradley raises some well-argued points and refers to very worrying cases about the behaviour of those involved. The Commander case appears to demonstrate that CRJ is not an alternative option – but a required route for all residents in areas where these schemes operate.

    If Ruane’s statement is to be considered “innocuous” (as you believe) then answering the points Bradley actually raised could go a long way to assuaging concerns of those in south Down who are about to have this ‘alternative’ to policing arrive in their areas.

    Many may believe the cure being offered by SF is far worse than the disease.

  • John Maynard

    Defenders of CRJ would be well advised to hold their water. Sinn Fein is losing this one, they know it, and being a skilled political party they will drop it like a hot brick as soon as the see they’re on a beaten docket.
    Catriona Ruane herself provides the perfect example of ruthless Shinner efficiency in this regard. A couple of mistakes (they were howlers, admittedly) and Gerry’s bright new human rights hope for the future was sent straight back to the kitchen. Do you think they owe Jim Auld’s little project any bigger favours?

  • kensei

    “Ah yes, provisonal repartee at its finest. I’m definitely won over to the joys of CRJ by your Shakespearean use of language to convey your point.”

    As you are so gleefully playing the man, you’re still a dick.

    “Can we please get back to the point of the thread now?”

    I never left it. I think you’ll find my replies covered all points raised.

    To sum your post: attacks on me, nothing on point. I win, expect in a sense we all lose. Wait – you’re not in the SDLP, are you?

  • kensei

    “Kensei – where in Bradley’s letter does he make the class point you claim that he has?”

    Please. It isn’t going to appear in quotable text. The whole piece is part of the SDLP strategy of linking criminality to SF as much as possible. That appeals to middle class voters much more than working class ones.

    “Bradley raises some well-argued points and refers to very worrying cases about the behaviour of those involved. The Commander case appears to demonstrate that CRJ is not an alternative option – but a required route for all residents in areas where these schemes operate.”

    It offers allegations of varying degrees with little proof, and offers no worthwhile solutions. The SDLP is attacking CRJ on principle, and using it as a vehicle to attack SF. Nevermind if it might actually be useful to the people in those communities.

    “If Ruane’s statement is to be considered “innocuous” (as you believe) then answering the points Bradley actually raised could go a long way to assuaging concerns of those in south Down who are about to have this ‘alternative’ to policing arrive in their areas.”

    The problem is if you throw enough mud it will stick. It doesn’t matter if it is true or not. It is also foolish to believe that these could operate without at least some ex-paramilitaries being involved, so the water gets muddied. Haing ex-Provos as part of the process is not necessarily bad if the structures are right. They are, after all, part of those communties.

    I think the comment that this will be killed sadly correct, and I think it is a bad thing.

  • Newryman

    What lind of checks are carried out on the people who operate within these CRJ groups? What kind of training do they recieve so that they can carry out their activities??

    I think Kensei should of kept his story about his uncle quiet, as all it didnt say much for his uncle! What did he feel sick about? The fact that those men are put their lives on the line everyday to uphold the law??

    When SF do their deal in regards to policing with the British Government in the near future, It will be hilarious to watch their propaganda machine go into reverse!! I wonder what the ever entertaining Ms Ruane will be saying??

  • kensei

    “What lind of checks are carried out on the people who operate within these CRJ groups? What kind of training do they recieve so that they can carry out their activities??”

    Decent questions. Not the ones the SDLP are pushing.

    “I think Kensei should of kept his story about his uncle quiet, as all it didnt say much for his uncle! What did he feel sick about? The fact that those men are put their lives on the line everyday to uphold the law??”

    How many people are going to continue to miss the point on that one?

    Another few stories. A nephew of another uncle was beaten up about 10, 15 years ago while RUC men nearby did nothing. Another uncle with a wheelchairbound child (since deceased) got continually harassed by the RUC. Of course, if we go way back, I have other relatives burnt out in the late 60’s. No police help there. Or perhaps we could talk about the B Specials.

    I’m sorry, is real life getting in the road of the big picture here?

    “When SF do their deal in regards to policing with the British Government in the near future, It will be hilarious to watch their propaganda machine go into reverse!! I wonder what the ever entertaining Ms Ruane will be saying??”

    If the deal is right, then there is no reason for support not to be forthcoming. tha is how a “deal” works.

  • Newryman

    “What lind of checks are carried out on the people who operate within these CRJ groups? What kind of training do they recieve so that they can carry out their activities??”

    Decent questions. Not the ones the SDLP are pushing.”

    The reason for my question was that I don’t want the community Policing in my area to be run by ex-terrorists, plain and simple! SF don’t seem to have any objections to people who have terrorised our communities to suddenly acting as community Police men?? SF are using CRJ as a political football which will be dropped by them when they get their deal..

    “Another few stories. A nephew of another uncle was beaten up about 10, 15 years ago while RUC men nearby did nothing. Another uncle with a wheelchairbound child (since deceased) got continually harassed by the RUC. Of course, if we go way back, I have other relatives burnt out in the late 60’s. No police help there. Or perhaps we could talk about the B Specials.

    I’m sorry, is real life getting in the road of the big picture here? ”

    What is the big picture?? You can go back as far as you want with your stories but the current Police service should not be judged on the activites of others in the past. There is far more accountability now than ever.

    “If the deal is right, then there is no reason for support not to be forthcoming. tha is how a “deal” works. ”

    All of a sudden the men and women of the PSNI will cease to be sickening because SF say so? What massive changes for the PSNI do SF have in mind that will have the good people of South stop Armagh pelting them with stones when they try to investigate crimes in their community??

  • John Maynard

    “The whole piece is part of the SDLP strategy of linking criminality to SF as much as possible. That appeals to middle class voters much more than working class ones.” – Kensei

    This is the sort of patronising guff you expect from a middle-class student Shinner.
    For your information, almost all VICTIMS of crime are working class. So why do you think working class people won’t be attracted to an anti-crime platform?
    Or are you too caught up in your obvious assumption that all working class people are a bit dodgy?

    I’ll bet your dad’s an admiral.

  • I was pleased to hear that over 20% of the PSNI is now Catholic. Surely this suggests that the new Policing arrangements are working? It nails the lie spread by militant Provo Irish republicans that nationalists and Catholics are opposed to the new beginning to policing. IMO, the 50:50 policy has been pivotal to achieving this success. We would do well to remember that Patten said the 50:50 rule should remain in place for ’10 years at least’ and I think, considering this fact, it makes the 20% figure all the more positive to hear. Now I may be a little cynical, but I doubt very much this will be widely reported and certainly not welcomed unequivocally by our DUP/SF representatives!

  • Mick Fealty

    John,

    Yellow Card. Going straight to a Red if you keep this up!!

  • kensei

    “The reason for my question was that I don’t want the community Policing in my area to be run by ex-terrorists, plain and simple! SF don’t seem to have any objections to people who have terrorised our communities to suddenly acting as community Police men?? SF are using CRJ as a political football which will be dropped by them when they get their deal..”

    Unfortunately, ex paramilitaries are part of those communities and wishing hard wont change it. And even if you disbarred all the ones that got caught, you’ve missed all the ones that didn’t. The best solution is to have procedures and standards in place so it isn’t an issue.

    Personally, I’d leave precisely who’s involved up to the communities. Then it’s be “community policing”.

    “What is the big picture?? You can go back as far as you want with your stories but the current Police service should not be judged on the activites of others in the past. There is far more accountability now than ever.”

    Why not? The personnel is largely the same. It is still over three quarters Unionist. People have long memories and mistrust is understandable.

    “All of a sudden the men and women of the PSNI will cease to be sickening because SF say so?”

    It isn’t the people that are sickening, it is what they represent. You know, for such a little story, it covers so many points remarkably well.

    “What massive changes for the PSNI do SF have in mind that will have the good people of South stop Armagh pelting them with stones when they try to investigate crimes in their community??”

    Devolved policing justice powers, and some other relatively changes AFAIK. SF aren’t going to jump until this is 100%, because if they get it wrong it is direct, in your face wrong to their constituents.

  • Nickleback

    She let the cat out of the bag when she told The Mourne Observer that “Community Restorative Justice was recently launched in Downpatrick and is proving a minor success. In the coming months Sinn Fein plans to set up similar initiatives throughout south Down in order to offer a viable alternative to the PSNI.” (January 28 2004)

    It seems that Domin Bradley had his eye well and truly on the ball with this one. The Shinners must be squirming when they realised they had let this one slip past them. Ruane is never anywhere to be seen in Newry. She makes a very occasional appearance at the odd SF Party organised event but that is about it. You can’t even get an appointment to see your MLA! believe me I tried! And if you don’t believe me, then try yourself! She is hopeless as a public representative and people say it’s between her or Murphy or Mary Lou to replace Gerry – God help us!

  • kensei

    “For your information, almost all VICTIMS of crime are working class. So why do you think working class people won’t be attracted to an anti-crime platform?
    Or are you too caught up in your obvious assumption that all working class people are a bit dodgy?”

    No, I’m caught up on the obvious assumption they have a bit of deeper understanding of the issues.

    And while your point may be sound on paper, I’d guess the voting patterns SDLP / SF here would prove you wrong.

  • kensei

    “It seems that Domin Bradley had his eye well and truly on the ball with this one. The Shinners must be squirming when they realised they had let this one slip past them. ”

    Yeah, they must be quaking in their boots in case all their own minor successes could help other people.

  • Eddie

    It looks lke the SDLP is starting to get back on track and I’m glad. SF look bad taking the britsih money from Westminister and holding out on this issue. All the families i know just want as normal a life as possible and that includes policing. To be truthful, it’s not that big of an issue for most people but it seems it is because SF are telling us it is. It looks like Dominic Bradley is definately right on this one.

    I was pleased to hear that over 20% of the PSNI is now Catholic. Surely this suggests that the new Policing arrangements are working? It nails the lie spread by militant Irish republicans that nationalists and Catholics are opposed to the new beginning to policing. IMO, the 50:50 policy has been pivotal to achieving this success. We would do well to remember that Patten said the 50:50 rule should remain in place for ’10 years at least’ and I think, considering this fact, it makes the 20% figure all the more positive to hear. Now I may be a little cynical, but I doubt very much this will be widely reported and certainly not welcomed unequivocally by our DUP/SF representatives!

    Roll on normaility!

  • maura

    ‘Carpetbagger-in-Chief’s’

    Brid Rodgers? Sorry couldn’t resist.

  • Newryman

    “Unfortunately, ex paramilitaries are part of those communities and wishing hard wont change it. And even if you disbarred all the ones that got caught, you’ve missed all the ones that didn’t. The best solution is to have procedures and standards in place so it isn’t an issue.”

    Ex rapists are part of the community too, but I still don’t want them part of community Policing either. Being part of an organisation that used violence to achieve their objectives should rule out anyone from being in a position of Authority or control (That goes for Politicans too!)

    “Why not? The personnel is largely the same. It is still over three quarters Unionist. People have long memories and mistrust is understandable.”

    I understand Kensei reservations, but the only way this is going to change is by SF encouraging Nationalists to join. SF current stance doesn’t help eliviate that situation and if it hadn’t been for the SDLP supporting the new policing arrangments, it would still be overwhelmingly Protestant (Don’t pigeonhole them as all Unionist!).

    I’m not sure what kind of Police force is going to appear by magic when devolution arrives but the Police are never going to please everyone all of the time. The reality of day to day policing may come as a shock to SF when they get their minister of Police in place 😉

  • kensei

    “Ex rapists are part of the community too, but I still don’t want them part of community Policing either. Being part of an organisation that used violence to achieve their objectives should rule out anyone from being in a position of Authority or control (That goes for Politicans too!)”

    Yeah, because lumping in ex-paramilitaries with criminals has really been a hot seller in Nationalist communities. Everyone recognised the different situation? Excellent, then let’s start from there. As I said, if you ban the convicted ones, you miss the unconvicted one, making the whole exercise completely futile.

    Oh, and the keep SF out of government thing is tiresome. The got the votes, they are entitled under the system. Deal with it.

    “I understand Kensei reservations, but the only way this is going to change is by SF encouraging Nationalists to join. SF current stance doesn’t help eliviate that situation and if it hadn’t been for the SDLP supporting the new policing arrangments, it would still be overwhelmingly Protestant (Don’t pigeonhole them as all Unionist!)”

    Polls say otherwise. SF won’t give the go ahead until they have got as much as possible out of it, because a fuck up is too damaging to them.

    “I’m not sure what kind of Police force is going to appear by magic when devolution arrives but the Police are never going to please everyone all of the time. The reality of day to day policing may come as a shock to SF when they get their minister of Police in place ;)”

    It’s not about anything appearing by magic. It is about having a force that is representative, and having the processes and powers in place to develop into something that has widespread support and can withstand problems and allegations. Pleasing everyone has nothing to do with it.

  • Newryman

    “Yeah, because lumping in ex-paramilitaries with criminals has really been a hot seller in Nationalist communities. Everyone recognised the different situation? Excellent, then let’s start from there. As I said, if you ban the convicted ones, you miss the unconvicted one, making the whole exercise completely futile.

    Oh, and the keep SF out of government thing is tiresome. The got the votes, they are entitled under the system. Deal with it.”

    There are plenty of decent people within the Nationalist community who have not resorted to murder and violence that we could put in these sort of positions, and it wouldn’t be that hard to run checks. These ex-paras have distroyed lives, and and it would tough luck to them if they are barred from a CRJ group. Imagine if you knew someone who murdered or maimed a member of your family, were not in prison and giving you some form of Justice but instead roaming free and acting as a sort of community Policeman.

    I don’t see your logic in the “don’t ban the convicted ones, because you might miss the unconvicted ones” policy. Sure we could apply that rationale elswhere, for example in not banning ex-bank robber’s working in a bank?? Sure if we banned one we would only miss the unconvicted ones…

    Who said anything about keeping SF out of Government??, There are plenty SF party members who would be better suited to running office than people who have been up to their neck in horrific acts during the troubles. One of the reason I vote SDLP is that I’m almost certain their candidate hasn’t tried to kill or maim anyone’s loved one. If someone wants to vote for a party which is tied to an organisation that have distroyed lives for “The different situation” that’s their choice and I hope that they can sleep at night.. And of course I accept their democratic rights and never said otherwise. But hopefully one day my friends and neighbours will not be sucked in by the propaganda.

  • harpo

    ‘Just last September a very senior member of CRJ was present when Jeff Commander was beaten savagely by an IRA mob – simply because he was a friend of Robert McCartney.’

    I’m sure that the CRJ guy was there to ensure that the human rights of the members of the PIRA mob were respected, just in case anyone tried to interfere with their beating.

    Imagine if someone had tried to stop it and a PIRA man had been hurt as a result. The CRJ guy would have been right there to ensure that the victim – the PIRA man – would have had his rights respected.

  • harpo

    ‘Ruane’s rather innoculous quote’

    kensei:

    LOl. Come on man. No one is buying this. How is a statement that Sinn Fein is setting up these schemes innocuous (and note the correct spelling)?

    This is private political policing. A Provo ‘justice’ system.

    And you have the cheek to condemn the SDLP for pointing out the fcuking obvious.

    A roots level justice system that complements the official system is one thing – and that’s what normal CRJ schemes are – but this is a pro-Provo scheme.

    Good for the SDLP for exposing the hypocricy of people like you.

  • harpo

    ‘Quick story. My uncle went on holiday last week. He was telling us about it when he came back. He had met a few guys, one Catholic, one Proteastant, but he didn’t care about religion. However, when they told him when they were leaving that they were policemen, he refused to talk to them and “I felt sick”.’

    kensei:

    Is your uncle nuts? Why did he refuse to talk to these guys just because he found out that they were policemen?

    And why did you feel sick when he refused to talk to them? Were you with him, and you found your uncle’s attitude sickening? Or does your family have some sort of superpowers, so that you picked up the vibe from your uncle and it made you sick, mmiles away?

    As for his not caring about religion, if he truly doesn’t care about religion how did he find out that one of them was Catholic and one of them was Protestant?

    Does he always go around working out what religion people are so that he can’t care about it?

    Your uncle sounds like a bigot, based on his actual caring about what religion people are, and the fact that he refused to talk to people because of his bias about their chosen profession.

    I really have no idea what this story has to do with the subject at hand, other than being a desperate attempt by you to throw up any old piece of nonsense as to why there has to be an alternate justice system.

    Address the issue at hand. ‘Nationalist’ CRJ is taking the form of a pro-Provo system. Can’t you see that this is a bad thing?

    Address the specifics mentioned instead of telling suilly stories and lashing out at the valid points being made by the SDLP.

  • harpo

    ‘How many people are going to continue to miss the point on that one?’

    kensei:

    What are you saying the point is?

    I took the point to be that your uncle is a bigot. And this makes you sick. Was I wrong?

    I didn’t see what that had to do with the matter at hand, but then many of your posts don’t have much to do with the matter at hand.

  • kensei

    “LOl. Come on man. No one is buying this. How is a statement that Sinn Fein is setting up these schemes innocuous”

    No more or less innocuous than other parties setting them up.

    “(and note the correct spelling)?”

    Go fuck yourself.

    “This is private political policing. A Provo ‘justice’ system.”

    People see what they want to see. And ultimately, ex paramilitaries will be involved in these, because they often play prominent roles in their communities. You might notice some of them in political parties. It shouldn’t necesarily be a bar, if they can provide valuable experience and clout, and can stick to the rules.

    Oversight? Ensuring this is wider than just “Provos”? Sure, all for that kind of discussion. But this isn’t it, and your not having it.

    “And you have the cheek to condemn the SDLP for pointing out the fcuking obvious.”

    No, I have the cheek to condem the SDLP for pursuing a strategey that is good for the SDLP, but bad for Nationalism.

    “A roots level justice system that complements the official system is one thing – and that’s what normal CRJ schemes are – but this is a pro-Provo scheme.”

    People see what they want to see.

    “Good for the SDLP for exposing the hypocricy of people like you. ”

    Hypocrisy? I love you to explain how I’;ve been inconsistent.

  • kensei

    “There are plenty of decent people within the Nationalist community who have not resorted to murder and violence that we could put in these sort of positions, and it wouldn’t be that hard to run checks.”

    Yeah, Nationalism is choping at the bit to embrace that successful “Decent People” strategy.

    “These ex-paras have distroyed lives, and and it would tough luck to them if they are barred from a CRJ group. Imagine if you knew someone who murdered or maimed a member of your family, were not in prison and giving you some form of Justice but instead roaming free and acting as a sort of community Policeman.”

    The war is over. They are out. They have valuable experience and could help direct other people away frpom some of the mistakes they’ve made. So set the thing up with proper processes and rules, and harness that experience. If they break them, they are out. Not all ex paras are unremorseful or monsters or both.

    “I don’t see your logic in the “don’t ban the convicted ones, because you might miss the unconvicted ones” policy. Sure we could apply that rationale elswhere, for example in not banning ex-bank robber’s working in a bank?? Sure if we banned one we would only miss the unconvicted ones…”

    No, because once again you are confusing criminaluity with the conflict. The conflict is over, the threat is gone. They were only involved because there was a conflict.

    Your desire is to stop ex para from being involved. It’s futile. You are better off accepting that setting up the system form that prenise.

    “Who said anything about keeping SF out of Government??, There are plenty SF party members who would be better suited to running office than people who have been up to their neck in horrific acts during the troubles.”

    Not your choice alone. Does anyone here grasp democracy?

    “One of the reason I vote SDLP is that I’m almost certain their candidate hasn’t tried to kill or maim anyone’s loved one. If someone wants to vote for a party which is tied to an organisation that have distroyed lives for “The different situation” that’s their choice and I hope that they can sleep at night..”

    Like a babe. Keep running with attacking SF voityers and see how quickly they come back to the SDLP.

    “And of course I accept their democratic rights and never said otherwise.”

    Oh but you implied otherwise.

    £But hopefully one day my friends and neighbours will not be sucked in by the propaganda.”

    Or, you could aspend your energy in presenting a better vision and actuually doing something for Nationalists rather than attacking SF and capitulating to everyone else. I know it’s wacky… but it just might work.

  • harpo

    ‘A nephew of another uncle was beaten up about 10, 15 years ago while RUC men nearby did nothing.’

    kensei:

    Maybe they thought it was a nationalist CRJ scheme going about its appointed business. You know what law enforcement folks are like when it comes to jurisdiction matters.

    ‘Another uncle with a wheelchairbound child (since deceased) got continually harassed by the RUC.’

    What has the wheelchairbound child (since deceased) got to do with anything? I think you are trying to be melodramatic.

    Did the evil RUC harrass the child too? Or just the uncle?

    Was the uncle in any way involved in ‘nationalist freedom fighting’ (your narrative)? If he was a player then the security forces often harrassed them, just so that they knew they were being watched.

    In a time when there is a ‘war on’ (your narrative) mild harrassment of the enemy is to be expected.

    ‘Of course, if we go way back, I have other relatives burnt out in the late 60’s. No police help there.’

    Given the attitude of that uncle, did your relatives actually ask for help from the police? Or did they get develop the family sickness at the very thought of speaking to a policeman?

    ‘Or perhaps we could talk about the B Specials.’

    I’m sure you could talk ABOUT them, but did any of your family ever talk TO them?

    Enough of the endless sob stories. They are meaningless diversions. Get back to the point.

    Why is it such a good idea to have a corrupt system of CRJ in nationalist areas? What the police did or didn’t do in the past has nothing to do with these proposed schemes. If you get away with it, the police won’t be involved.

    If that happens the police are irrelevant. So please answer the specific complaints about these proposed schemes and stop blaming the police and SDLP for something that they have no involvement in.

  • kensei

    “What are you saying the point is?

    I took the point to be that your uncle is a #####. And this makes you sick. Was I wrong?”

    Yeah, try reading it again. I said nothing about my personal feelings.

    “I didn’t see what that had to do with the matter at hand, but then many of your posts don’t have much to do with the matter at hand.”

    I know, an example of the type of attitudes present in the communities affected with regards to the police has absolutely nothing to do with a discussion regarding policing in those areas.

    You really are a fucking moron. Fuck, if people are going to get personal, let’s go the whole hog.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Why do republicans think that former IRA ‘soldiers’ would make good CRJ representatives? IRA volunteers considered themselves as soldiers, but who calls the army in if the kid next door breaks your windows?

    A military mindset might be something that mainstream republicans are trying to leave behind, but the kind of person who volunteers to join an army – whether a legal one or not – is hardly likely to be the best person to resolve a neighbourhood dispute.

    That person may have more ‘influence’, but is it not derived from what he is capable of in terms of past actions, rather than any moral authority? Making life and death decisions ‘in the field’ is not the same as making a good decision on the doorstep or community centre.

    I couldn’t care less if they were ‘from the community’ or not. It all smacks of power without responsibility, and – to me – there does not appear to be acceptable levels of accountability in place.

    I don’t think anyone strongly objects to restorative justice in principle, but what controls are in place is a different matter.

  • Pete Baker

    “You really are a fucking moron. Fuck, if people are going to get personal, let’s go the whole hog.”

    No kensei.. let’s not.

    Play the damn ball!

  • harpo

    ‘No more or less innocuous than other parties setting them up.’

    kensei:

    Don’t you understand the point that political parties shouldn’t be setting up their own justice systems?

    You Shinners whine on and on about political policing, and here you are defending your political party setting up its own justice system. Why does your general rule not apply to Sinn Fein?

    Where’s all the calls for equality now?

    ‘Go fuck yourself.’

    LOL? Is that the best you have in the way of debate? Where’s the famous Provo ‘we’ll talk to anyone?’ now?

    ‘And ultimately, ex paramilitaries will be involved in these, because they often play prominent roles in their communities.’

    I take it you’ll have no problems with ex-paramilitaries of the loyalist variety being in the PSNI then? Given the roles that they play in their communities. They too have lots of valuable experiences. And those members of the RUC who were involved in collusion. They’ll be allowed to stay too, since their motives were political. They too are involved in their communities, and have lots of experiences.

    Maybe when they get together with the ex-loyalist paramilitaries there will be all sorts of synergies. All that sharing of their vast experiences.

    ‘No, I have the cheek to condem the SDLP for pursuing a strategey that is good for the SDLP, but bad for Nationalism.’

    As a unionist I have to say that the SDLP is acting here on behalf of the whole community, and not just for nationalism, never mind your narrow part of nationalism (and that IS what you mean, isn’t it?).

    When you say nationalism you mean Provisionals, don’t you? The SDLP actions would be bad for Provo supporters, in that the Provo supporters wouldn’t get their way – to have a Provo run ‘justice’ system.

    I’m fully with the SDLP here. It isn’t a unionist/nationalist thing. It’s a common sense thing. There should be no paramilitary run alternate justice systems.

    ‘People see what they want to see.’

    Yes, and decent people like unionists and the SDLP can see what this is. Nonsense. Isn’t it odd that it’s only supporters of the political wings of paramilitary organizations that think this is a good idea?

  • kensei

    “Why do republicans think that former IRA ‘soldiers’ would make good CRJ representatives? IRA volunteers considered themselves as soldiers, but who calls the army in if the kid next door breaks your windows?”

    Perhaps because they share similar background and problems to the people involved in the dispute? Because they carry clout among at least some member of those communities? It’s that experience that could prove useful.

    “A military mindset might be something that mainstream republicans are trying to leave behind, but the kind of person who volunteers to join an army – whether a legal one or not – is hardly likely to be the best person to resolve a neighbourhood dispute.”

    I’m not so sure that’s true. Too many disputes and you either get caught or get dead.

    “That person may have more ‘influence’, but is it not derived from what he is capable of in terms of past actions, rather than any moral authority?”

    yes and no. It is undoubtedly ture that some people are afraid of them. but it is equally true that have a large section of support from those communities by being seen as “defenders” or fighting for the cause or such like. they soimply could not have operated in those communities for so long without it. If you want a case in point – look at the current problems with the UDA. That’s what happens when there is a split in support or that support is withdrawn.

    “Making life and death decisions ‘in the field’ is not the same as making a good decision on the doorstep or community centre.”

    No. Amazing how many US military veterans end up in politics though. Good judgemen is good judgement.

    “I couldn’t care less if they were ‘from the community’ or not. It all smacks of power without responsibility, and – to me – there does not appear to be acceptable levels of accountability in place.”

    I agree on the importancce of accountability. But I haven’t seen any alternative proposals on this, any ideas how it could be run better, or how to deal with potential problems. I’m interested in all those things.

    What we have got instead is allegations and aspertions, and that’s what has got my ire. The SDLP is clearly trying to play the croiminality card, rather than deal with the problems.

  • harpo

    ‘Yeah, Nationalism is choping at the bit to embrace that successful “Decent People” strategy.’

    kensei:

    They should be. It defeated the Provos after all.

    To the point that the Provos are taking the decent people path. Or at least pretending to.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    kensei

    I’m not convinced, although I’ll try not to troll you as bad as harpo…

    Perhaps because they share similar background and problems to the people involved in the dispute? Because they carry clout among at least some member of those communities? It’s that experience that could prove useful.

    I’m not sure an ex-IRA prisoner does have much in common with a joyrider, for example. And clout does not equal respect; bullies carry clout, because people know they are capable of violence or intimidation. That’s not the kind of experience that might prove useful, IMHO.

    Your argument that ex-paramilitaries enjoy the support of the community is spurious, for much the same reason. People can fear ex-paramilitaries, and this could breed resentment. Look at the ‘Fuck the police and the RA’ anti-authority attitude of some criminals.

    Amazing how many US military veterans end up in politics though. Good judgemen is good judgement.

    Many end up in business too. Can’t think of many who join the NYPD or CRJ equivalent though.

    I don’t think the ‘lack of viable alternatives’ argument washes either. We’re not talking about alternatives, we’re talking about making restorative justice more accountable, as we’re not opposed to it in principle.

  • kensei

    “I’m not sure an ex-IRA prisoner does have much in common with a joyrider, for example. And clout does not equal respect; bullies carry clout, because people know they are capable of violence or intimidation. That’s not the kind of experience that might prove useful, IMHO.”

    But he might have more in common with somoene who has got involved in organised crime. The idea isn’t that he has the experience or clout to deal with every single situation ever, but rather than he has certain experiences and skills that could prove useful within the context of a wider organisation. That’s ultimately what I would like to see.

    “Your argument that ex-paramilitaries enjoy the support of the community is spurious, for much the same reason. People can fear ex-paramilitaries, and this could breed resentment. Look at the ‘Fuck the police and the RA’ anti-authority attitude of some criminals.”

    Again, there are undoubtedly people who fear them. But it is equally spurious to suggest that everyone in that community only supports paramilitaries because of fear or intimidation. Consider the size of the communtiies involved.

    You can have those people either inside or outside the system. I believe in making sure they are a part of it, and the system is robust enough to deal with it.

    “Many end up in business too. Can’t think of many who join the NYPD or CRJ equivalent though.”

    Fair point.

    “I don’t think the ‘lack of viable alternatives’ argument washes either. We’re not talking about alternatives, we’re talking about making restorative justice more accountable, as we’re not opposed to it in principle.”

    I honestly don’t see that. No where have I seen the SDLP say “We are not opposed to it on principle, but we are concerned about x,y,z. We think these changes should be made.”, and the article above certainly isn’t an example. It seems to me an attempt to tie SF with criminality as much as possible. It struck me as that long before I saw the thread on the SDLP policy document.

  • Newryman

    Yeah, because lumping in ex-paramilitaries with criminals has really been a hot seller in Nationalist communities. Everyone recognised the different situation? Excellent, then let’s start from there. As I said, if you ban the convicted ones, you miss the unconvicted one, making the whole exercise completely futile.
    Oh, and the keep SF out of government thing is tiresome. The got the votes, they are entitled under the system. Deal with it.”

    There are plenty of decent people within the Nationalist community who have not resorted to murder and violence that we could put in these sort of positions.

    These ex-paras have distroyed lives, and and it would tough luck to them if they are barred from a CRJ group. Imagine if you knew someone who murdered or maimed a member of your family, were not in prison, but instead roaming free and acting as a sort of community Policeman.

    I don’t see your logic in the “don’t ban the convicted ones, because you might miss the unconvicted ones” policy. Sure we could apply that rationale elswhere, for example in not banning ex-bank robber’s working in a bank?? Sure if we banned one we would only miss the unconvicted ones…

    Who said anything about keeping SF out of Government??, There are plenty SF party members who would be better suited to running office than some leading figures, who have inflicted grieve on many a family. One of the reason I vote SDLP is that I’m almost certain their candidate hasn’t tried to kill or maim anyone’s loved one. If someone wants to vote for a party which is tied to an organisation that have distroyed lives for “The different situation” that’s their choice and I hope that they can sleep at night..

    And of course I accept their democratic rights and never said otherwise. But Unlike some of my friends and colleagues, I choose not to wear rose tinted glasses when it comes to SF/IRA activities

  • kensei

    Have you just repeated yourself, or posted that from another thread?

  • nice one

    But he might have more in common with somoene who has got involved in organised crime.

    That was unintentional, right? LOL!!!

    ———————————————
    This comes down to money, more money from the Brits for the Shinner’s “community” projects, i.e., jobs for the boys at the expense of the community. At some point, we are going to cop on and realise we don’t deserve second best, whether it is from the Brits or the Shinners. Aren’t we? Sometime? Eventually? Ever?