Politicians hermetically sealed from any blame…

Brian Feeney, caustic as ever, nevertheless has a wider frame for the issues arising from Nuala O’Loan’s report into the killing of Raymond McCord junior than most of the reporting. Not least the official stop put in place under the aegis of the Inquiries Act 2005:

Will anything ever be done as a result? Nuala O’Loan concluded that in dealing with the Mount Vernon UVF, “the most serious failings are at chief officer level particularly those chief officers who were responsible for Special Branch”.

Now do you imagine for one minute that if prosecutions were taken against senior police officers that they would not immediately point the finger upwards and show that even more senior figures at Stormont were well aware of the dirty war going on?

Lord Stevens felt he could trust the taxpaying public with only a tiny fragment of his 3,000-page report which showed military intelligence, Special Branch, 14th Intelligence Company, MI5 and the even more infamous Force Research Unit, all competing for agents. We know some agents were operating for two agencies.

Mrs O’Loan tells us that Haddock was paid “in excess of £79,000” of taxpayers’ money between 1990 and 2001. Who knew? Who was in charge? A policeman or a senior securocrat at Stormont?

Here Feeney is bang on. There is a huge amount of disgruntlement within former RUC Special Branch circles that the secrecy of this report is being deliberately exploited to enable serial attacks on them as a whole.

This lock on further inquiry would seem to keep that blame focused on the police and safely away from any political player.

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