“The law says I give it. All my legal advice is that I have no alternative..”

A Guardian report of an interview with Chief Constable Hugh Orde points to a possible clash with judges involved in the public inquiries, but his comments also have implications for any attempt at a full extraction of the poison from the system.. and for the Eames/Bradley group’s consultations.

In an interview with the Guardian, Sir Hugh said he believed the release of the identities of informants during imminent public inquiries could lead to people being killed and have a direct impact on the fight against international terrorism. “If someone is thinking of informing and then they see that in 10 or 15 years’ time their names will be published they are not likely to want to do it.” Last year the Sinn Féin official Denis Donaldson, who worked for special branch, was shot dead at a remote cottage in County Donegal.

The Guardian report also includes these quotes from the Chief Constable

“The legislation gives [these inquiries] huge powers to demand anything and everything and then to decide on relevance,” Sir Hugh said. “There are professional issues around the conflict between the powers of the inquiries and, for example, my obligations under article 2, section 29, of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act about protecting the identity of informants.

“Who is going to be an informer on anything – look at the international terrorism connection in the UK now – if it’s clear that five years down the line, 10 years down the line, 15 years down the line an inquiry can demand all that information from me and I can’t protect him?” Sir Hugh said he could not withhold documents under the inquiries act but he was discussing with lawyers the use of public interest immunity certificates preventing the disclosure of evidence leading to identities being revealed.

“The law says I give it. All my legal advice is that I have no alternative … That has national and international implications.”

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  • Sean

    I think Denis Donaldson is a very poor example because it was special branch that forced his exposure not a government enquiry

  • kensei

    A little disingenuous. Time isn’t a factor. That the conflict is more or less over, and that some serious abuses have been levelled at the use of informers, on the other hand, is. It is right that the investigating bodies have serious and wide ranging powers.

    Judges and public inquiries should only use these powers with ue care and attention to consequences. The Chief Constable would be right to point that out. However, there should be no doubt in who is in charge of the process.

  • heck

    A better analogy might be East Germany where the release of informers’ names was cathartic to the system

    Kensi is right in his 12-20 comment. The recent allegations about [edited by moderator for legal reasons] by the DUP would have come from the police and were, it seems to me, an attempt by the securocrats to fire a warning shot at the shinners to lay of the truth shite.

  • FRU

    You have to hand it to the man ! he has a long brass neck. At least he admits the depth and involvement of agents within the inquiries being conducted. The major problem for him is the forthcoming Smithwick inquiry, the British Govt and its agencies have already contacted many of the potential witnesses asking for a detailed account of the testimony they are going to give!

    Those interviewed include policemen both retired and serving ( Tribune/ Breen piece this weekend)customs officers/ Intelligence officers etc some have given an undertaking and some have told them to shove it right up their ring.

    All that from a state that agreed to the setting up of the inquiries at Weston park. Orde can issue as many PIC as he wants,just like he did for Maguire and Freddy,this time the shit is coming down whether he likes it or not.

    The Wright inquiry have also uncovered a web of touts involved in that murder, at least Orde can limit that problem given the establishment of the post Weston park INQUIRIES ACT.Whether Wright senior plays by the rules is another thing though!

    Interesting days and months ahead!



  • heck

    new handle martin?

  • confused

    “Be sure your sins will find you out “, comes to mind.

  • Watch my back.

    As the cops used to sing to us in Castlereagh holding centre ” There may be trouble ahead ” Bla Bla Bla,

    ” So let’s face the music and dance!”

  • me


    he doesn’t need a new handle for anyone to know who it is.

    come out come out martin who ever ye are LOL

  • Peter Baker is being completely disingenuous in handling this matter – acting as if Orde has no legal defence to the outing of informers during inquiries, as if former RUC officers are not doing the same in the matter DUP MP Simpson threatens to expose in the Commons as happened in the Denis Donaldson case, as if we don’t know who the alleged SF killer is, as if he is preventing the exposure of his name when it is all over the internet, etc.

    For those who don’t know, consult this site which posted three maps of where I live, and my phone number in reaction to my treatment of FRU Samuel Rosenfeld’s dirty tricks, what led to the murder of Margaret Perry:


    As for Marty assuming the role of the FRU, you can rest assured it is he, whatever name he uses, when he says that matters are getting interesting. He has been saying this for years; yet, nothing interesting has happened yet.