McCartney is Sinn Fein’s policing litmus…

On the second anniversary of the killing of Robert McCartney, his sister Catherine has argued that the acid test for Sinn Fein’s new found support for the PSNI should be their public encouragement for witnesses to take what they know directly to the police:

His sister said Sinn Fein now had no excuse not to assist the police probe. “If it was purely a policing issue for Sinn Fein that has now been removed,” Ms McCartney said. “Sinn Fein members (in the bar) refused to speak to police. They had a nonsense of talking to third parties like priests, but that was fruitless. Police are trained to take statements, not priests. I want Gerry Adams to say he will encourage everybody to come forward and say they will help with the investigation into Robert’s murder. That will prove there was no culture of cover-up going on.”

  • Bet still this doesn’t work

    She is entitled to seek justice over the death of her brother. However, she is not entitled to arrogantly and myopicly demand that her case be held to be so special that it should be used as a “litmus test” or as another precondition that prevents the party with the biggest electoral mandate from the nationalist community exercising that mandate on their behalf.

    She also needs to understand that political parties are neither morally nor legally responsible for the actions of their individual members; no more than the leadership of The Labour Party are responsible when a member of that party commits one of the hundreds of civic murders that are committed in England every year.

  • Sean

    I call bullshit, they want special favours after running down ever republican with in a hundred miles of them.

    And then they blame the IRA when there never has been even a single hint that this is IRA related, sometimes individuals are just individuals.

  • BillyO

    I unreservedly condemn the murder of Robert McCartney. His family are perfectly entitled to seek justice for him and I sincerely hope that they get it.

    However, given that there have been well over 3000 deaths in “the troubles”, what gives them the right to say that their brother’s case is the “acid test”?

    This murder is no less BUT NO MORE reprehensible
    than any other. Any other relative has just as much right to make this claim as they do.

    I am not a Sinn Fein supporter or voter but it is plainly ridiculous to blame the Sinn Fein leadership and the whole party for the actions of a few.

    Does that mean that e.g. the FA and all England supporters are to blame if a couple of England supporters commit a crime?

    Gerry Adams has already called for anyone with information on this crime to pass it on to the PSNI either directly or indirectly (it doesn’t matter which as long as it is passed on).

    I’m sure that there are people who have information about this crime and who will ignore Gerry Adam’s plea – they will have to live with their own consciences.

    However, Adams can do no more than he has.

    Frankly, while I sympathise with the McCartney family, I think they should realise that they are being used by the media as a weapon to discredit Sinn Fein and Nationalists in general.

    I wish them well in their search for justice but they should realise that their loss is no more or no less tragic than any of the others.

  • Crataegus

    She has every right to expect justice and every right to expect constitutional politicians and democratic political parties to do all they can to ensure that those who commit crime are brought to justice. Every day and every deed (or lack thereof) is a litmus test not just for SF but for all of us including those working and living in No 10. Why should SF be different?

    As for political parties not being responsible for the actions of their members, I would take the view that members who bring an organisation into disrepute should be expelled by due process and if the action is criminal then one would expect cooperation with the police rather than attempts to pervert the course of justice. You either support the structures of society or you don’t.

    It is about time politicians generally started to set some sort of consistent ethical example and less of the cronyisms that passes for pragmatism. Murder is murder and not an issue for temporary blindness or selective loss of memory.

  • Mick Fealty

    I got this in the email last night (when we had all the problems with commenting – sorry guys). It seems a reasonable defence of SF’s new position:

    “The Ard Chomhairle met today to discuss how we now implement the position adopted at the Ard Fheis. We are calling on people in the community to co-operate with the police to solve crime and take criminals off the streets. The issue of political policing will take longer to resolve. Further progress will happen either with the return of the power-sharing institutions on March 26th or in the context of new all-Ireland partnership arrangements.”

    http://www.sinnfein.ie/news/detail/17616

    Which given the earlier statements, including this one that refers to the crime of murder over Robert McCartney:

    http://www.sinnfein.ie/gaelic/news/detail/8790

    The bases seem covered.

    It was a crime, give information on crime to the police. What more can be done?

    Other than being unable to provide instant closure for the family’s absolute and legitimate pain and having the crimes and/or convictions of individuals being used as a testing measure for the explicit commitment of SF to endorse and assist the police service?

    If individuals don’t come further more, better or now they certainly aren’t doing it with SF endorsement.

    It’s an anniversary so relevant but it seems the family have already got the call they wanted, unless they want support for policing and justice reduced to a case by case situation or SF to step beyond the criminal justice system and provide something other than the support that others give….

    Except that the McCartney case is no ordinary crime. Not only (according to the IRA) was it carried out by person or persons unknown within the IRA, the proceedings were witnessed by some very prominent people within Sinn Fein.

    Given the extraordinary silence that ensued and its citing by Jim Allister as proof of SF new bona fides, I am not sure this is going to go away any time soon. That is, unless there is some movement from individuals within Sinn Fein.

    This is up close and personal in a political way for Sinn Fein that few others cases are.

  • Henry94

    If someone is charged in this case because of statements made by Sinn Fein members and making such statements was a litmus test for the party entering government then I think any lawyer would have them ruled inadmissible.

    To have a political quid pro quo for witness statements is as bad as having a financial one.

  • Dec

    Given the extraordinary silence that ensued and its citing by Jim Allister as proof of SF new bona fides

    I believe Jim Allister cited convictions as proof of SF bona fides, which is something altogether different indeed.

  • me frank

    the mccartneys again. what makes this family any more special than the nearly 4,000 other families who lost people during the troubles? i tell you what – the fact they are a handy stick to beat sf with. [Play the ball please – moderator]

  • Brian Lamb

    The silence of witnesses in the McCartney case is more an illustration that even if Sinn Fein urge people to come forward with statements the culture of saying nothing to the police will persist, probably for years to come.

  • Damien Okado-Gough

    Adams has called on people with information on the murder to give it to the police.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6317565.stm

  • Crataegus

    me Frank

    What makes the case so special is we know Sinn Fein members (in the bar) refused to speak to police. Under the new relationship doubtless they will now be queuing up.

    Yes I would agree with the comments that this case is but one of many, and that is the tragedy of NI, but that is no excuse for doing nothing. We all want, we all need progress on this and ALL other cases. We need an end to the special relationships with criminals and murderers be it state collusion of SF hypocrisy.

    The actions of a victims father brought about the report on collusion in North Belfast this case is not dissimilar in that there are relations who are willing to stick their necks out and insist on Justice.

    Actions speak louder than words so perhaps we will see some progress?

  • Dec

    Adams has called on people with information on the murder to give it to the police.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6317565.stm

    Just that murder, eh?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Crataegus: “What makes the case so special is we know Sinn Fein members (in the bar) refused to speak to police. Under the new relationship doubtless they will now be queuing up. ”

    Out of curiousity, just what is their legal obligation to speak? Not moral, not ethical, just their purely *legal* obligation.

    Likewise, we know that there are those who know the realities of the Finucane murder. should the process be held up until and unless the British fully disclose on that issue, Crat?

    Crataegus: “We all want, we all need progress on this and ALL other cases. We need an end to the special relationships with criminals and murderers be it state collusion of SF hypocrisy. ”

    It’s good to want. It’s proper to need. This does not mean you will have all your needs and wants fufilled.

    Crataegus: “The actions of a victims father brought about the report on collusion in North Belfast this case is not dissimilar in that there are relations who are willing to stick their necks out and insist on Justice. ”

    And how long did Mr. McCord have to wait, Crataegus? How long have the Finucanes waited, Crataegus?

    Seconldy, the absurdity of holding the whole process hostage over this incident or that incident is ludircrous.

  • Firbolg

    ..members of a sinister organisation refusing to cooperate with an investigation into murder and destoying evidence?, politicians refusing to condemn their actions?…having problems with giving unequivical support to the rule of law?…step forward PSNI Special Branch, fred Cobain , Ian Paisley junior etc What a bunch of hypocrites!!

  • Way Icit

    Firbolg “What a bunch of hypocrites!! ”

    We are ALL hypocrites – let us just help each other to get on with it. We all know how difficult it is to face up to our own failures, therefore are ALL well qualified to do the job.

  • Crataegus

    Dread

    If you lived in Mount Vernon or the Markets your perspective might be very different. We need to see progress towards normality. Politicians generally need to understand that they have to fundamentally change their game or we will never move forward. The Finucanes case is utterly inexcusable and all politicians should unreservedly be seeking a resolution of this and other outstanding issues irrespective of where the incident took place and by whom. They all need to be resolved if possible.

    I am not suggesting delay because of one case, but rather that there is going to be difficult period ahead and how we address these sort of issues will set the framework for relations for the next century. We need positive action fast and less of the blind eyes, denials and obstructions. For example some of the reaction to Mrs O’Loan’s report was totally unacceptable, but this form of sectarian denial, undermining and obstruction has become the norm and is to the disadvantage everyone except the guilty. Attitudes must change and we need to move forward positively and confidently.

  • Aaron McDaid

    Sean: they blame the IRA when there never has been even a single hint that this is IRA related

    You forgot the IRA statement confirming that IRA members did it, including an offer to the family to shoot the perpetrators.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Crataegus: “If you lived in Mount Vernon or the Markets your perspective might be very different.”

    But I don’t and it’s not… And I personally doubt it would be all that different, but that’s another discussion…

    Crataegus: “Politicians generally need to understand that they have to fundamentally change their game or we will never move forward.”

    Poppycock. The politicians will only ever say and do whatever it is that gets them elected and then re-elected. So long as the sheeple beat in unison, bob and nod their heads at whatever dross the politician is spewing that day, that is what they will do.

    The proper analysis is that things will never move forward until and unless there is a fundamental change the politicians, either by the masses ceasing to bob and nod in unison or a plain break from that which has gone before.

    Crataegus: “The Finucanes case is utterly inexcusable and all politicians should unreservedly be seeking a resolution of this and other outstanding issues irrespective of where the incident took place and by whom. They all need to be resolved if possible. ”

    Then why the tsimmis about McCartney? If they are all important and need resolution, then any one given case should not matter. Additionally, your “if possible” smacks of a fudge, since it invites folks to claim this instance or that instance “impossible” to resolve.

  • Crataegus

    Dread

    As far as I remember you live in the USA. So you haven’t had the experience of dealing directly with the NI murder gangs and state sponsored gangsters. You haven’t had the experience of colleagues murdered or having to examine the underside of your car before you get in or not answering the door unless you know who it is. You haven’t had to send your family to live elsewhere have you. Has anyone attempted to murder you, I would imagine not. So if you don’t mind I really don’t think you have the requisite experience.

    All such cases should be pursued and we should all apply what pressure we can to try to see progress. The guilty will resist and some despicable wretches will assist and others make excuses. There can be no excuse for murder, intimidation and criminality. We may or may not resolve these issues but we have to try.

    With regards sheep I prefer a comparison with Lemmings. However the question is should politicians not show some decisive leadership once in a while for who follows who? The politicians follow the flock and the flock follows the politicians and hence we go round in circles where is the Sheppard?

    4am back to bed I think.

  • Sean

    Aaron Mcdaid

    what you posted does not in any way invalisate what i said! it was not then or now an IRA matter it was a matter of individuals some of whom belonged to the IRA

    But iI note that only 50% of the so called murderers were IRA affiliates does that mean the IRA is only 50% responsible? NO the IRA was and is 100% not resposibled for this action.

    and just because some of them were members of the IRA it does not automatically follow that they were members of Sinn Fein and even if they were the only action open to either the IRA or Sinn Fein is to politely ask them to co-operate. they have so Sinn Fein’s responsibility is over

    Litmus Test Passed with Flying colours(pun intended)

  • Anyone seen Lord Lucan riding Shergar?

  • Aaron McDaid

    Sean,
    I agree with you entirely. I was just concerned that you might have forgotten that there is no doubt that some IRA members were involved in some way in this incident.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Crataegus: “So if you don’t mind I really don’t think you have the requisite experience. ”

    Oh, of course, Crat… I mean, bad things *never* happen in the United States, ever — it’s all milk and honey and sunny days, with the streets paved with gold…

    Good, sarcasm out of the way, allow me to repeat my questiong. What, pray tell, is the legal obligation does one have to speak to the police?

    Your sudden snobbery and chest-thumping posturing suggests you have no useful answer to my question.

    Crataegus: ” I prefer a comparison with Lemmings. However the question is should politicians not show some decisive leadership once in a while for who follows who? The politicians follow the flock and the flock follows the politicians and hence we go round in circles where is the Sheppard? ”

    Surely you meant a shepherd, unles of course, you were discussing American astronauts.

    The “leaders” in Northern Ireland are wholly invested in the current status quo, making advances in baby-steps, weighing each to determine whether or not this change or that change benefits their fragmented constituency. So long as the people are willing to vote their fears and their hatreds, you get the government you deserve. Of course, if they had the courage to vote otherwise,they woud still get the government they deserve. The people *always* get the government they deserve is a democracy.

  • Crataegus

    Dread

    There is a very big difference between the usual bad things that happen in life and being stuck in an utterly bad situation, that goes on and on. One where you are isolated, have little control, and do not trust say the Police or live in fear of local vigilantes or both. To live in constant fear or in a position where you fear for the lives of those around you is an appalling burden. For me these are the people whose needs are most urgent.

    I am not a lawyer but when does keeping your head down or turning a blind eye become withholding evidence or subverting Justice? When a group of people do this when does it become a conspiracy? Bear in mind the offer to do in the person responsible, so obviously there is enough evidence for the Kangaroo court.

    Sorry about the Shepherd Sheppard spelling, dyslectics who have spent much of their youth in foreign parts should not type in English at 4am.

    The “leaders” in Northern Ireland are wholly invested in the current status quo, making advances in baby-steps, weighing each to determine whether or not this change or that change benefits their fragmented constituency. So long as the people are willing to vote their fears and their hatreds, you get the government you deserve. Of course, if they had the courage to vote otherwise,they woud still get the government they deserve. The people *always* get the government they deserve is a democracy.

    I don’t disagree with the general position, but the last sentence sounds like the starter for a very long philosophical debate. One has to ask do they? You have only the choice of what is on offer. Often what is on offer is dictated by factors like free time and financial backing. Indeed the structures of democracy can themselves distort the result. First past the post voting can reduce the representation of significant minorities. Television coverage tends to support the status quo etc etc.

    For myself I am weary of politics in NI. I personally will not vote for those who I believe have created or made careers out of division and fear.

    As for the electorate well how do you get to a position where they have the wit to ignore the merchants of fear. I am not optimistic especially given the structures of the agreement. The set up rewards those that divide.

    There comes a time when politicians need to show leadership and we are approaching a pivotal period that will set the tone for decades to come. Time some of them raised their sights a bit.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Crataegus: “There is a very big difference between the usual bad things that happen in life and being stuck in an utterly bad situation, that goes on and on.”

    You’ve obviously never lived in Philadelphia… or New Orleans… or South Boston or the Rampart District or Newark, NJ or one of a dozen other places I could name off the top of my head.

    And there is always a way out. I know, I lived in Philadelphia. Hell, son — when things aren;t blowing up, things are positively bucolic over there — traffic accidents make national news and the BBC.

    Crataegus: “I am not a lawyer but when does keeping your head down or turning a blind eye become withholding evidence or subverting Justice?”

    Gee Crat, that sounds like the question I was building up to — if there is no legal obligation to speak, then this is all hyperbole and a waste of time, now isn’t it. However, if there *is* a legal obligation to speak, then maybe we have something to work with. But running about beating one’s breast is not going to accomplish anything in and of itself.

    Crataegus: “I don’t disagree with the general position, but the last sentence sounds like the starter for a very long philosophical debate. One has to ask do they? You have only the choice of what is on offer. ”

    Ah, but if they had the nerve to want something better enough to seriously work for it, they could find a way. If you numbly lie back and accept only what you are offered, in a democracy, you get what you deserve. If you are tired of the same old same old, but always vote for it, why do you deserve any better?

  • Crataegus

    Dread

    Sounds like I would be quite at home in parts of the States. Like yourself I have escaped, but it is more difficult for those with less resources.

    I have my doubts about democracy. The trouble is no one I have ever voted for has been elected! So am I represented?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Crataegus: “I have my doubts about democracy. The trouble is no one I have ever voted for has been elected! So am I represented?”

    Democracy is the worst possible system, with the exception of all the others.

    You are represented. The weakness of representational democracy is that is looks at things in the aggregate, leading to a tyranny of the majority. Some days, I am enchanted by the notion of the old Athenian democracy — political leaders are chosen at random by lot. If nothing else, it would (or at least should) end the notion of politics as a career.

  • Crataegus

    Dread

    Some days, I am enchanted by the notion of the old Athenian democracy—political leaders are chosen at random by lot. If nothing else, it would (or at least should) end the notion of politics as a career.

    If you are proposing a lottery let me seconded it. It would actually be more representative of the population than what we have. But then it would also enable those in power to do some the unpopular things that may be needed as the electorate no longer matter. Government by Bingo worth a try.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Crataegus: “It would actually be more representative of the population than what we have.”

    Actually, it would be painfully arbitrary, but at least there is a fair to middlin’ chance you’re not going to get a crook in the process.

    Crataegus: “But then it would also enable those in power to do some the unpopular things that may be needed as the electorate no longer matter. Government by Bingo worth a try”

    On the other hand, I would point out that, given an unbiased drawing method, the hood on the street-corner has the same chance as the butcher, the baker and the candlestick-maker.

    If nothing else, it certainly would be more entertaining that what exists now.