McManus: PSNI’s ‘fine decent men’…

Given the title of Father Sean McManus’s last blog entry, he seems to have moderated in his latest stance on the PSNI, in the wake of his visit to Garnerville Police Training Centre. This passage particularly represents a remarkable shift in McManus’s attitude:

I was impressed by their openness, professionalism and their evident concern to convey their commitment to a “new beginning” to policing in Northern Ireland. They struck me as fine, decent men. I found myself, I must confess, wanting to believe that they accurately and authentically reflect the new approach to policing — both institutionally and individually.

Serious question: is this an indication of similiar shifts within the wider Republican movement?

  • Occasional Commentator

    I take it he’s not impressed with the female officers?

    *ducks*

  • Yer Woman

    Sure they’re only there to make the tea and make up the numbers!

  • John East Belfast

    Why do the supporters of militant Irish Republicanism always go on about collusion?

    My understanding is they considered themselves at war and so were the loyalists.

    Some security force elements (even if was official) decided that the loyalist’s war should be better focused and instead of murdering any catholic they should be directed to the IRA, their advisors and active supporters.

    Is it the hypocrisy they dont like ?

    I just dont get it ?

    Perhaps some Militant Republican would like to tell me why collusion, in his mind, was a bad thing.

    If they cant is there any chance of them shutting up about it?

    (needless to say all illegal murders in my mind were wrong and unacceptable)

  • heres hoping

    JEB republicans have no problem with the enemies they fought but want it recognised that the british were not the honest broker between two tribes. The brits were an active combatant force in the field.

    Secondly the collusion between the brits and the loyalist wasn’t just aimed at republicans it was targetted at the entire catholic or believed nationalist/republican community. Many innocent people lost their lives at the hands of loyalist directed by the british.

  • Mick Fealty

    John,

    Without trying overwrite your comments, I thought the most remarkable aspect of Fr McManus’ remarks was the apparent distance travelled from February until now.

  • Cahal

    I think we should ALL be concerned about the police being a pack of useless muppets.

  • Occasional Commentator

    JEB,
    I note you’ve said you are against all “illegal murders”. Can you clarify this? I assume you don’t think an immoral killing is OK if some bunch of parliamentarians sign some pieces of paper?

    I want the full truth about everything. I don’t care which “side” it embarrasses, nor will I draw arbitrary distinctions between “legal” and “illegal” killings. Can you wholeheartedly say the same? If so, then we can all make progress sorting this out. I’m a (conditional) supporter of militant republicanism and can tell you straight that I want the full truth. Some republicans and loyalists and unionists might not, but that’s their problem Those of us who want the truth, no matter what our background, can join forces and get it if we insist on it.

  • Little Eva

    I thought common courtesy should dictate that the Irish News and this site would at least give mention to The Blanket, seeing as that is where they got their information. But, obviously not.

  • spirit-level

    Mick,
    good observation.
    Distance travelled divided by time gives you the speed {of change}. As speed= distance/time.
    So Feb till Sept, ( 6 months) and quite a distance travelled.
    Acceleration is a different formula altogether, which I know many people wish to happen here in norn iron on the policing issue.
    For now though we need to just focus on the standard formula S=D/T and its variants:
    T=D/S and D=SxT.
    Sometimes it can help to focus minds looking at a peace process in this way.

  • The OP links to the Blanket article, ffs. I would have thought the publicity/hits would have been kudos enough.

    I was pleasantly surprised on reading the post here on Slugger, surprised that an outspoken critic of the police (an American one at that!) would actually put his money where his mouth is and break with the tradition of Irish America by actually doing some research into the subject of his complaint. And fair play to him for going in with an open mind.

    On reading the article in the blanket though, it seems like McManus is simply now looking to find something else to complain about and/or bash the Brits with… and so it continues.

  • Crataegus

    John of East Belfast

    Why do the supporters of militant Irish Republicanism always go on about collusion

    It is not just Republicans that have been on the wrong end of this. I can think of many people threatened by loyalist thugs, due to protection rackets, who came to the conclusion that it was better not to go to the Police. Also related is how those who suffer financial loss are treated by the NI office. The system is far from fair and is more about limiting payment than effective compensation.

    Heres hoping

    It impinged on anyone who got on the wrong side of these thugs, some of the worse problems are in the areas they control ie against the Unionist small business community. I know of some horrendous problems, children being sent to live with relations in England for fear that threats against their children could be used to extort payment! That particular family sold up and left and I am glad to say are now all living happily in south Wales.

    I agree about Britain not being honest broker in the middle; it is utter hogs wash. It emphasises a point that Britain should never have been, or be, in charge of the negotiations.

    I hope that this is part of a shift towards a proper recognition of the PSNI by everyone for although I have my own doubts about skeletons in the cupboards in the end there is no other way to go. The PSNI have to be effective and supported by all. Let us do that and address the shortcomings no matter how uncomfortable that may be. Some of these shortcomings relate back to past political policy so do not expect any out-flowings of honesty in the next 50years.

    There are times when being diplomatic and economic with the truth suits, but also times when you have to own up and wipe the slate clean and I think this is one such time. We have had dodgy dossiers what about balancing that with some candid unadulterated truth? Well Tony want a legacy! Do you have the Balls?

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    Little Eva:

    The acknowledgement lies in the link to the article on the Blanket site surely?

  • Little Eva

    Yes, I appreciate that. I just thought a mention, as seems to happen in most other cases, would not have been amiss.
    It was actually the Irish News piece, when I read it on Newshound this morning, that struck me far more than Slugger. It seemed to want to give the impression of having talked to McManus without actually claiming that.
    It is no big deal, I just like to see the accepted etiquette in these things being upheld and continued.

  • Dec

    No doubt, the recruits he spoke to were selected randomly, and at the last moment since his visit was surely a surprise. Shame, not all recent recruits have been as impressive.

  • [i]”Some security force elements (even if was official) decided that the loyalist’s war should be better focused and instead of murdering any catholic they should be directed to the IRA, their advisors and active supporters.”[/i]

    Unfortunateoly, the loyalist war was not directed at combatants but at civilians. From the Sutton database, Loyalist paramilitaries — the death squads — were responsible for some 1,020 killings during the Troubles. Of those, 873 (over 85%) were of civilians. That’s not war, John, that’s a terror campaign.

    To take it a step further, of those 873, 686 were Catholic civilians (more than 2/3 of all those killed by the death squads).

    So, those in the security forces who colluded with the loyalist paramilitaries were working with terrorists.

    One more observation from Sutton: loyalist paramilitaries killed 715 civilians for sectarian reasons according to the Sutton definition — a killing for which the sole or primary reason was the religious belief of the victim. Of those 715, 650 were Catholic civilians and 65 were Protestant civilians who were killed because the death squad thought they were Catholic.

    THAT’s why the constant and pervasive collusion of the security forces with these killers is wrong and rightfully highlighted.

    Seems to me, John, that you are telling us that you want to be governed by a terrorist government..

  • Billy

    John East Belfast

    “Directed at the IRA, their advisors and active supporters”. Yeah, right.

    Funny, I seem to remember “loyalist” terrorists killing hundreds of innocent Catholics – Bob McGowan’s excellent post above provides the figures. They then adopted the pathetic tactic of claiming that their victims were in the IRA – I despise the IRA but, as far as I recall, they always admitted when someone who was killed was one of their members.

    Attitudes like yours are a brilliant example of why the RUC was hated and distrusted by the vast majority of Catholics (even extremely moderate ones).

    50/50 recruitment must remain and Patten must be implemented. The only way the PSNI will command community support is when it is representative of the community it polices.

  • John East Belfast

    here’s hoping

    “JEB republicans have no problem with the enemies they fought but want it recognised that the british were not the honest broker between two tribes. The brits were an active combatant force in the field.”

    No one ever said they were an honest broker between two sides.
    The vast majority of what they did was uphold the law and allow due process – the fact that > 20,000 people served prison sentences here illustrates that and totally discredits any republicam propaganda and/or blindness that the forces of law and order were no better than them.
    Contrast that with the utter ruthlessness that PIRA carried out its crimes.

    “Secondly the collusion between the brits and the loyalist wasn’t just aimed at republicans it was targetted at the entire catholic or believed nationalist/republican community. Many innocent people lost their lives at the hands of loyalist directed by the british.”

    That is just bluster – and although the loyalist campaign was, largely, directed at all catholics that this was totally directed by the British is just shite.

    OC

    “I note you’ve said you are against all “illegal murders”. Can you clarify this? I assume you don’t think an immoral killing is OK if some bunch of parliamentarians sign some pieces of paper?”

    I suppose I was just trying to distinguish the fact that I am not a pacifist and I had no problem with the security forces going on the offensive within the law as permitted by Parliament.

    “I want the full truth about everything. Can you wholeheartedly say the same?”

    Not really – I am tired of the whole thing to be honest – bad people did bad things to mostly good people – the good people were the innocents and those supporting the law and the bad people were the terrorists.

    There are probably a few blurred edges but by and large that is how I see it and always will.
    I will never legitimise terrorism and indeed I feel that is one of the most important challenges facing my generation before it vacates this planet – ie the inheritance it leaves behind.

    I know republicanism craves it – it must be hard facing the reality that a whole generation wasted their lives in prison or even died for no real achievement whatsoever – the fact that you wont be remembered like Michael Collins et co must be hard to swallow.
    I think somebody pointed out – 200,000 @ Bobby Sands funeral and 20,000 at his memory – in another 20 years terrorism will only be remembered for the plague it was.

    “Without trying overwrite your comments, I thought the most remarkable aspect of Fr McManus’ remarks was the apparent distance travelled from February until now.”

    I suppose we should all be thankful for small mercies.
    However this man has had a life time of prejudice which has blinded him to the fact that the vast majority of the RUC were always “fine decent men” – I know because they included friends and relatives of mine.

    Bob McGowan

    “Unfortunateoly, the loyalist war was not directed at combatants but at civilians
    So, those in the security forces who colluded with the loyalist paramilitaries were working with terrorists.”

    If there was collusion – formal or otherwise – common sense would tell you that the security forces would not be in the game of murdering innocent catholics.
    Therefore there is no point making the point that loyalists killed catholics + security forces work with loyalists = security forces kill cathoilics

    I made the point to “heres hoping” above that the loyalists were working alone for the overwhelming majority of the time and the overwhelming majority of the murders – therefore stop trying to build such a weak argument – it really doesnt hold water.

    Billy

    “Funny, I seem to remember “loyalist” terrorists killing hundreds of innocent Catholics – Bob McGowan’s excellent post above provides the figures.”

    Refer to what I said to Bob and Here’s hoping abovr re Republicanism’s daft attempt to ascribe every loyalist murder to HM Government.

    Is there no end to your delusions ?

  • Billy

    John East Belfast

    My only “delusion” is a Police Service that represents the community from which it comes. A non partisan Police Service that applies the law fairly to all sides of the community and DOESN’T have members passing on information to “loyalist” terrorists and aiding in the murder of innocent Catholics.

    Unfortunately under Unionist rule at Stormont, we had the B-Specials, UDR, RUC, RIR home batallions.

    I generally oppose discrimination. However, history shows that reform/ disbandment of these sectarian organisations would never happen if it were left to Unionists.

    Therefore, the UK govt had no option but to take action culminating in the excellent Patten report, and get rid of the RUC, UDR + RIR home batallions – long overdue.

    NI is not normal in any sense and Unionism (particularly the DUP) can hardly be relied upon to give equality of opportunity to Catholics.

    Anyway, why would any reasonable person have any objection to their Police Service being representative of their community? The only people I can see having a problem are people who want to have a partisan police service serving one side of the community.

    Fortunately, those days are over. The PSNI still has work to do but with 50/50 recruitment and the oversight commissioner, it will get there.

  • [i]”If there was collusion – formal or otherwise – common sense would tell you that the security forces would not be in the game of murdering innocent catholics.
    Therefore there is no point making the point that loyalists killed catholics + security forces work with loyalists = security forces kill cathoilics”[/i]

    Sorry, John, but the numbers tell a different story. Working with the death squads at all makes the security forces complicit in their crimes. And, the evidence is coming out that the security forces worked closely with the death squads for many years and that HMG was aware of it — and did nothing,

    Sorry, John, the guy who provides the gun, shows the thug how to shoot it, gives him the names and addresses of potential victims, looks the other way when the thug does murder and then loses the files for a criminal p[rosecution is just as guilty of the killing as the thug who pulled the trigger.

    If this happened a few times and HMG came down on the criminal cops or troopers, your common sense just might make sense but it happened tima and again over a many years.

    So, John, yes, HMG is guilty of terrorist murder.