“IRA members involved”

As chairman of the NI Executive sub-committee Assembly Committee inquiring into the devolution of policing and justice matters the DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson’s restatement of the party’s call for the removal of the Provisional IRA’s Army Council, and linking it to the devolving of policing and justice, is worth noting. But equally, if not more, significant is what he has said the Chief Constable Hugh Orde had to say about the killing of Paul Quinn.

Mr Donaldson said Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde told them that while there was “no indication” it was authorised by the IRA leadership there were “IRA members involved”.

And the NI Regional Development Minister has been given “very solid assurances” that the IRA were not involved.. if you believe it, that is.. But, if there are suspects, and there would need to be for the Chief Constable to have such an opinion, where are the arrests?

Adds Apparently Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey is still ‘thoroughly baffled’.. despite the recent statements by the Secretary of State. Déjà vu, indeed.The official DUP statement also reiterates a variation of the ‘corporate responsibility’ line

“The brutal murder of Paul Quinn was also discussed. We made it clear that we require the full disclosure of all information regarding this evil act to be made available to us. There can be no attempt to pretend this issue doesn’t matter. It does. The DUP will not accept a situation whereby those responsible for or linked to murder hold places in the government of Northern Ireland. We await the outcome of the police investigation but people should be under no illusions as to the seriousness of the situation. If it is shown that the Provisional IRA authorised and executed the murder of Paul Quinn there will be serious repercussions.”

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  • My personal revulsion at the Murder of Paul Quinn is only marginally greater that my revulsion at the hypocrisy of the DUP.

    Clearly they have now been told – again – the IRA was involved in the murder of Paul Quinn and what’s there response? More finger wagging and a few chuckles.

    A few simple questions for any DUP supporters, define corporate involvement or authorised involvement. Tell us at what level this involvement has must be to be considered coporate/authorised.

    Finally tell us what serious repercussions are?

    The DUP must be the most ….. nah I’ll not waste my time, you all know what they are – and still you voted for them.

  • Irish Republican in America

    How do you prove whether an “Army Council” has broken up or not? If it “breaks up” and the gang gets together for a cup of Christmas egg nog and discuss the current political climate in the North, does that count as a “Army Council Meeting”?

  • Rubicon

    Pete – I don’t want to appear pedantic – but the “Ni Executive sub committee” you refer to is the “Assembly and Executive Review Committee”; i.e., it is not a sub-committee to the Executive but a full committee serving the Assembly – with wider responsibilities than those concerning review of the Executive alone.

    The difference is important in measuring just how significant this SF/DUP division is. If the committee was an instrument of the Executive (as you indicate) then it would be reasonable to suggest a looming crisis. The actuality is that the committee serves the Assembly and its function is to enable scrutiny of legislation.

    Put in its proper context this is debate with much work yet to do – no more.

  • Pete Baker

    You’re quite right, Rubicon. And I’ve amended the post accordingly.

    Not sure why that phrase was stuck in my mind.. I’m sure I saw the committee referred to in those terms somewhere.

    ANYhoo.. I wouldn’t get too bogged down with the devolution issue. Even though Alex Maskey’s bafflement continues..

    Seems to me that Jeffrey flagged it as a diversion from the comments by Hugh Orde.. and the ongoing investigation of Paul Quinn’s murder.

  • Rubicon

    It might be worth placing Jeffery’s comments in the context of the last published minutes of the Assembly and Executive Review Committee (27th November) – see http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/assem_exec/2007mandate/minutes/071127.htm

    At that meeting the committee agreed, “That it would be inappropriate for the Chair to discuss the Committee’s position before the recommendations of the ‘Inquiry into the devolution of policing and justice’ have been considered by the Assembly.” This agreement related to an invitation given the Chair from the Criminal Justice Inspectorate to “provide a perspective on the challenges that the devolution of policing and justice will pose”.

    I’ll await the publication of Hansard from today’s debates but it would seem to me that Jeffery may have been speaking as a member and not on behalf of the committee. If he spoke as Chair to the Committee then it’ll be worth attending its next meeting – if skin and hair flies it’ll still be Assembly business – the Executive ship (Titanic?) will sail on.

  • Pete Baker

    He was outside the Chamber, Rubi, when he made the comments – as an MLA speaking to the press.

  • Rubicon

    Reply and revision noted Pete. I’m still smiling at your kite flying here! 😉 You’ve laid a minefield in to which I’ll step with considerable care – or perhaps not at all and cross that bridge elsewhere ;).

  • Once upon a time the DUP would have been shouting from the rooftops about IRA involvement and denouncing David Trimble for allowing it all to happen. Now of course there is a different show in town in which the DUP stands to lose out if the Executive and Assembly end up suspended.

    Red branch is right. The DUP’s hypocrisy is totally disgraceful.

  • Pete Baker

    Minefield, Rubi?

    Me?!?

    Surely not.. ;op

  • The Dubliner

    “A few simple questions for any DUP supporters, define corporate involvement or authorised involvement. Tell us at what level this involvement has must be to be considered coporate/authorised.” – red branch

    A signed confession from the Army Council or Thomas Murphy. Alternatively, signed confessions from the murderers of Paul Quinn implicating the Army Council or Thomas Murphy. Of course, the DUP could use the same rationale to deny that PIRA/PSF were “corporately” involved in any atrocities where there is no admission of involvement. In short, they require a standard of ‘proof’ that they are fully aware will not be forthcoming from either PSF/PIRA or the two governments.

    Paul Quinn brings the number of people murdered by PSF/PIRA since they called their ceasefire to 40. Now, you might think that 40 people equates to mass-murder, but the trick to getting away with that many murders is to spread them out over time and, of course, to have a political wing who can provide you with political cover, due to the willingness of government to overlook the murder of said government’s citizens by said murder gang as being mere indiscretions of no consequence. On the plus side for the DUP is that only 2 of those 40 murder victims were Protestants, so as long as PSF/PIRA continues to murder Catholics, then that’s no problem for the DUP.

    According to PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde, PIRA carried out 613 so-called “punishment beatings” in a six year period between 1998 and May 2004, many resulting to amputations of limbs, serious mutilation, disability, etc. He also made the point that “that the rising number of IRA shootings and beatings are also tightly controlled and halted during crucial election periods.” In short, PSF turn off the attacks and murders against Catholics during elections, lest they harm their vote count, and then turn the attacks and murders against Catholics back on after the elections.

    There is another purpose behind the attacks such as those on Paul Quinn which neither the DUP nor the governments want to acknowledge because to do so would be to admit that organised crime is in ‘government’ in Northern Ireland and is prospering under the protection of the state to the direct detriment of the state (not to mention £370 millions in revenue lost to taxpayers in one year alone due to the activities of PSF/PIRA’s very corporate fuel distribution network):

    [i]The IRA is also actively involved in punishment beatings, protection rackets, training and spying, according to security sources.

    The IRA Army Council is using the notorious hardline South Armagh “brigade” to punish members in the republic who are failing to pass on millions of euro from various rackets, dummy security companies and involvement in the drugs trade.

    One IRA member from Co Louth was shot in both ankles after being interviewed in south Armagh, while IRA members in Dublin, Limerick and Cork have been interviewed by leading Provos about their fund-raising activities. A Clondalkin IRA gang involved in the drug business admitted there was a sum of money owed to the IRA and undertook to pay it over.

    The moves come after a huge slowdown in overseas revenue for the IRA since the arrest of the Colombia Three.[/i]

  • Turgon

    I suspect we are seeing more of how the DUP are going to spin this one here.

    Their statement does contain this gem “The DUP will not accept a situation whereby those responsible for or linked to murder hold places in the government of Northern Ireland.” Quite obviously previous murders do not matter, hence, the use of the present tense as if the past continuous or present continuous tenses were used it would, of course, be more problematic.

    They are still sticking to the a corporate responsibility / centrally ordered line. Looking back this is even more hypocritical. The IRA had a cell structure and as such many of their crimess proably were not centrally ordered and by that logic there may not be such a thing as “corporate responsibility” on the part of the IRA. Oh yes but of course the past is different because then the DUP were not in power with SF. Now they are; and that has made all the difference.

    The issue of devolution of police and justice powers allows Donaldson to sound tough and even to possibly have a mechanism of being seen to “punish” SF though of course that would depend on the DUP keeping their word, not something they are renowned for at the moment. There are still other “punishments” for SF such as insisting on the sacrifice of Conor Murphy, which has already been suggested on another thread, if the DUP feel they need to be seen to be tough on SF without actualy damaging the most important “principle” namely keeping the DUP in government.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Dubliner, are you a fantasist or a fount of knowledge, a keen-eyed observer or a slabber? Do tell!

  • steve

    he can add 2+2 and come out with 22

  • Ahem

    Yeah, him and his opposition to the Provos murdering people – he’s one shameless bastard is the Dubliner.

    Meanwhile, the DUP aren’t just wrong over all this, for the first time since they displaced the UUP, they’re being stupid. Patently Reg’s UUP are still more dense (and compromised, and witless) and can’t take the political advantage. Allister, however, isn’t. Slowly but surely that is going to become the Punt’s number 1 problem.

  • steve

    Yeah ahem
    when you help bury the bodies… you quite often know where they lay

  • Comrade Stalin

    Watchman:

    Once upon a time the DUP would have been shouting from the rooftops about IRA involvement and denouncing David Trimble for allowing it all to happen. … Red branch is right. The DUP’s hypocrisy is totally disgraceful.

    Once upon a time the DUP leader would have marched a load of people around the town waving pieces of paper purporting to be gun licenses, or would have joined up with Andy Tyrie to try to set up a paramilitary strike. I’m sure some people are all misty-eyed about the DUP’s more loyal days, but the rest of us aren’t forgetting their alliances with loyalist paramilitarism, and there is nothing faintly new about the DUP’s hypocrisy in this respect.

    Turgon :

    They are still sticking to the a corporate responsibility / centrally ordered line. Looking back this is even more hypocritical. The IRA had a cell structure and as such many of their crimess proably were not centrally ordered and by that logic there may not be such a thing as “corporate responsibility” on the part of the IRA.

    Yes, but the IRA issued a statement saying that all volunteers had been ordered not to engage in any activities outside of “assisting purely peaceful and democratic programmes”. Assuming we can take that statement at face value, the people who murdered Paul Quinn did not obey that order.

    In any case, the cell structure meant that the IRA units planned their operations autonomously, but I don’t think that means that the decisions for large “operations” (eg Canary Wharf) were not taken at a high level.

    It is true that the cell structure means that one part of the IRA can’t know what the other is doing. But in that case, how can you tie blame to Sinn Fein ?

    The easiest way out of this for the IRA is for them to issue a statement saying “we are now disbanded”. Where would that put Jim Allister ?

    Pancho’s Horse, please sod off with your Belfast tough-guy talk, and come back when you’ve learned to be civilized.

  • Turgon

    Comrade Stalin,

    As ever I think you arguments have a unifying fundamental flaw. That is that the IRA are a pack of murderers. As such telling lies is not very difficult for them.

    “the IRA issued a statement saying that all volunteers had been ordered not to engage in any activities outside of “assisting purely peaceful and democratic programmes”. Assuming we can take that statement at face value”

    The point is that the IRA declared a ceasefire years ago and yet have continued to: murder people, steal things, beat, intimdate and exile people etc. As such taking their statements at “face value” is actually a rather bad idea. The IRA have also incidentally previously denied being involved in Kingsmills, told us that the Enniskillen bomb was set off by the security forces etc. etc. Therefore surprisingly some of us have difficulties believing what they say. Do you take what they say “at face value”? If you do you are a lot less intelligent than I have always given you credit for being.

    In the case of tying their behaviour to SF, I refer you to the immediate unbelievable denials of Republican involvement from Conor Murphy which have subsequently been backed up by supposed discussion with the IRA in the South Armagh area. This added to the SF campaign of vilification of Mr. Quinn and the support group are all highly odd if this murder had nothing at all to do with the IRA. Of course the reality is that SF is completely unwilling to divorce itself from the IRA as it still has long term political utility in helping hold together the republican movement, intimidate people, provide a source of funding and continue to be the ever present threat that if SF are tharwted too much in what they want; then “they have not gone away you know” and so violence could reemerge.

    You are correct that the IRA saying they have disbanded would be a significant short term benefit especially for the DUP over TUV but the reality is that the IRA are much, much too useful to SF for SF to really want them to go away. Short term gain is way outweighed by long term gain from the continued existence of the IRA to SF and as I have pointed out before the republican movement has always played a very long term game.

    I would not, however, discount some further sop to the DUP but I would be most surprised if the “only legitimate government in Ireland” announced unequivocally that it was going away.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Turgon,

    Porkie telling is not confined to former Irish insurgents. Her Majesty’s government helped the yankies to tell the biggest porker in living memory presumably to get their hands not on diesel but some crude. Let’s not get too precious about the truth. Clealry SF are in difficulty on this one and Conor is squirming like a British Foreign secretary who is trying to tell us the Iraqis just love to be invaded. This should be an opportunity for the SDLP to make hay until the Provos clean up their appaling act in South Armasgh.

  • Rory (South Derry)

    Given that the names of the Former PIRA activist responsible for the Killing of young Quinn has been passed over to the Gardai & currently living in Monaghan (ScotsTown) why have the relevant authorities not rounded up this scumbag and his crew!

    The Army council have a need to get cash and for the Mafia Empire that they have turned into and the individual is an enforcer who get the PROVO line toed in every instance.

    Eastern Europe remains a massive source of generating cash and the nanny states stand by and let these thugs generate there loot!

    The Army Council as previously known is out of control and a bigger evil empire with morals than the UDA!

  • Rubicon

    Comrade – aren’t you making the same point that Turgon raises? You both believe that nationalism or unionism has a way through this quagmire while using shadenfeude to describe partisan positioning.

    Lying, duplicity, hypocrisy – none – none of these started with devolution. All of these are “the package”. Make party or partisan points about it but you aren’t getting to the core.

    Let me describe now.

    The people of NI don’t inform and wear this as a badge – both sides. Now – both are happy to take the Queen’s shilling. There’s a prospect of change but meanwhile the people of NI are sad reflections of their parents. They’ll keep quiet when someone is stabbed and they’ll make sure Mr Murphy isn’t contradicted. There’ll be no “republican” involved in the beating to death of Paul Quinn.

    But, where once a people saw injustice and took to the streets when a young protestant woman jumped the housing list – they now sit dumb when their neighbour is stabbed to death and when a young man is beaten to death.

    Meanwhile loyalism is up to the same.

    Forget the party politics and look to yourselves. In this area thousands died but few in NI give a damn. They’re interested in pragmatic ‘solutions’. Yet, remember, you are not what you say you are and you are a sad reflection of your parents. Now – you don’t care about right or wrong – the NI populace only understands these things in “them” and “us”.

    Could you think of a rally happening now? Nope! Not even for a young man beaten to death. When NI is deaf to this it doesn’t much matter whether one political party is less dishonest than another.

    What is clear is that this generation of NI is deaf to screams.

  • Turgon

    Sammy,
    I am not arguing that other people do not lie, do not worry.

    On your substantive point about the SDLP. I am in a very poor position to assess this. Are the SDLP making / going to make progress? My impression is that with the exception of Ritchie they are keeping an extremely low profile and not achieving much.

    The UUP seem to me to be too weak to achieve anything constructive. Are the SDLP in as bad a state?

    I am not asking for a definitive answer just your impression.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Turgon,

    I’m only surmising that if SF do not get their act together on this one the mood amongnst nationalists will turn against them and the SDLP ( perhpas with FF help) is the only place to go. You probably dont understand how someone could turn a blind moral eye to Provo misbehaviour during the ‘war’ – but with the cover of conflict now gone Nationalist/Republican sentiment (revulsion ) towards continuuing violence will not be dissimilar to your own.

  • I notice the title of this thread uses inverted commas. No need.

  • Turgon

    Rubicon,

    A pretty damning inditement of the Northern Irish population. I will not demur completely but I do think that people are very afraid that upsetting the current apple cart of the process will lead back to violence. In that people are held in tharldom to the criminals.

    A further problem is that if a unionist proclaims that the process is amoral, utterly and completely flawed and that it needs changed beyond all recognition there is a tendancy to denounce them as a flat earth bigot nutter, who is presumed not to want “a fenian about the place”.

    Also in fairness to the population of South Armagh; too openly rejecting the rule of the men of violence or testifying in court would presumably end with one being in exactly the same state as poor Mr. Quinn.

    Sammy,
    I do not pretend to understand and do not accept the rationale about turning a blind eye to the IRA but I can accept that some people voted SF yet did not personally support the IRA campaign. I find this distressing but I accept its truth. Some of these people are probably now extremely angry with what has happened.

    Whatever the past if people are willing to turn against the men of violence and their fellow travellers then I am delighted and think that unionism needs to help facilitate this; as well as looking to utterly defeat and marginalise loyalist criminals. Sadly I am left feeling that the DUP in particular really do not care at all about what I fear they see as “random fenians in South Armagh”. They are much too interested in power and the love in to actually make the case for trying to isolate and defeat the men of violence and really look at co-operation in this society rather than a sectarian carve up of power.

  • joeCanuck

    Rubicon,

    You are much much too harsh. I believe that most, if not all, of the “nationalists” that I know would hand over any information they knew about this most brutal and callous of murders.
    I do concede that none of them live in S.Armagh, but given what happened to young Quinn, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if fear makes people down there keep their heads down. That is a failing in moral courage.
    But please don’t condemn everyone.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Turgon,

    The IRA’s work is now finished – any further violent activity will now work against Republican interests. The fracturing of the Nationalist vote away from SF will suit the DUP. SF will probably loose seats in the next elction in the south if they dont get slab & co into line. On balance the DUP have probably called it right – the British government effectively blackmailed them into government and the unionist people know that the Englezes are not to be trusted. The DUP need to keep their noses clean and their heads down. Of course they are guilty of crass hypocrisy but a turn in any other direction will lead to what would be deemed further ‘betrayal’ by the Englezes. Best to just hold your nose – the IRA cannot survive without support from the Nationalist people – that has now been withdrawn. Intimidation will not stretch into the polling booth.

  • Rory

    “That is a failing in moral courage”

    Sez who, Joe? And a failing by whom exactly? Do you imagine that everyone in South Armagh witnessed the killing of Quinn in the Crossmaglen Coliseum or live on SATV, perhaps?

    One doesn’t need to be, or to have read, Wittgenstein to know that it is well to speak nothing of those matters of which one knows nothing.

    I remember “I don’t know” as being a simple statement of honesty, and while the same honest denial is often hijacked by lying rogues to deny their own guilt – its misuse by rogues cannot be turned against honest men.

  • DC

    “I’m sure some people are all misty-eyed about the DUP’s more loyal days, but the rest of us aren’t forgetting their alliances with loyalist paramilitarism, and there is nothing faintly new about the DUP’s hypocrisy in this respect.”

    Except they were never-never days now they are actually saying ‘yes’ in a similar situation which they fought tooth and nail to prevent.

    Clearly, because of those not to distant images still ingrained in the electorates’ mind, the DUP are therefore unable to suspend disbelief over claims that as a party it is functioning hypocritically.

  • joeCanuck

    Sorry, Rory.

    I was too imprecise. I did not mean in any way to tar everyone and I apologise if that’s how my remarks turned out.
    I meant the people who have knowledge, who in their hearts know it was wrong, yet still are afraid for their lives.
    I can’t in any honesty say that I would not fail in courage myself. At my age I might stand up but probably not if I had a young family to support.

  • Ian

    This remark by Donaldson:

    “There will be no devolution of policing and justice powers to the NI Executive without complete dismantling of the IRA’s structure”

    can be easily turned on it’s head. i.e.:

    The IRA Army Council will continue to exist until the DUP amend their illogical policy of refusing to agree a date for the devolution of policing and justice.

    It seems to me that there’s a relatively simple trade-off to be agreed. Now, it could come down to a waiting game of who leaps first, or SF and DUP could stop the faffing and hammer out a timetable for both, to their mutual benefit.

    Sure, the DUP might like to bust through the May 2008 deadline by a few weeks or months just to display their macho credentials, but the sooner they agree to a timetable for devolution of justice matters, the better for everyone from both sides of the community.

    A case in point:

    http://www.sundaylife.co.uk/news/article3194151.ece

    “Evil child sex pervert Ian Magill will escape having his two year jail term extended because the Attorney General is powerless to send his case to the Appeal judges.

    “The sentence handed down to Magill after he was caught with 15,000 child abuse images on his computer was last week dismissed as “paltry” by Upper Bann MP David Simpson.

    “The DUP MP is due to meet with Security Minister Paul Goggins tomorrow to discuss the case and had hoped that the minister would be able to convince the government’s lawyer to refer the case back to the courts on the grounds of leniency.

    “However, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office last night confirmed it could not act on the sentence handed to the depraved former museum curate at Downpatrick Crown Court.

    “Although Attorney General Baroness Scotland has powers to refer a wide-range of criminal cases to the Appeal judges, possession of child pornography is not among them.”

    If the Assembly had legislative competence on Justice matters, they could introduce a bill to widen the categories of crime for which sentences can be referred for Appeal. No point the DUP whinging about it whilst they obstinately rule out devolution of justice powers.

    Furthermore, part of the reason for the apparent leniency in that case is the 50% remission rule for serious offenders in NI. Direct rule ministers have announced plans to abolish the 50% remission rule [wouldn’t apply retrospectively to the above case but would for future cases], but suppose Woodward and Goggins decided to instead replace it with 25% remission? – they wouldn’t lose a single vote back in their constituencies as a result. Where’s the accountable government the DUP promised?

    Given the safeguards that would be involved, I haven’t heard a single reason why justice shouldn’t be devolved ASAP, except the nebulous “community confidence” excuse which is impossible to quantify, and the childish notion that If SF Want It Then It Must Be Bad.

    Turning to SF, recent events demonstrate that long-term the continued existence of the Army Council is starting to act as a millstone round the party’s neck (regardless of whether or not there was active involvement in the death of Paul Quinn). If they can negotiate a standing down of the Army Council, in return for a fixed date for justice devolution, they would reap the benefit electorally (or at least no longer reap the disbenefit).

    So, it’s over to the Chuckle Brothers.

  • Ian

    (regardless of whether or not there was active involvement in the death of Paul Quinn)

    should read:

    (regardless of whether or not there was active IRA involvement in the death of Paul Quinn)

    Obviously (and tragically), there was active imvolvement by someone..