The brutal destruction of our moral values…

Muarice Hayes is less than sanguine about the prospects of public agitation in getting justice for the family and friends of Paul Quinn, or the killers of Raymond McCord. Part of the difficulty arises, he argues, from the fact of a thirty year conflict in which, throughout a significant swathe of working class communities, the most normal checks and balances of law and order were routinely shunned for paramilitary forms of retribution. Largely, these remained uncontroversial when targeting the ‘other’, but it has proved highly destructive of moral values, particularly when directly inwardly towards their own communities:

It is not public meetings which will bring convictions, or public profession of help for the Garda, but the willingness of those who know what happened to stand up in court and give evidence on oath. They will not do so unless they are secure in the knowledge that the State can, and will, protect them from retaliation, and that the community will save them from boycott.

A recent Appeal Court judgement affirming the continuing need to protect the anonymity of jurors, even in a tax-related case in the area, shows the extent of the problem.

What the events illustrate is a society (and not only in South Armagh) in the trauma of emerging from years of conflict and lawlessness, in which moral compasses were lost on all sides, and ends were held to justify means, however brutal and destructive of moral values.

Even allowing for the fact that some people involved do have a political motivation of embarrassing Sinn Fein in government, or to prevent or delay the devolution of policing powers, it is clear that the passage from violent conflict to normal democratic processes is not going to be easy.

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  • perci

    This is perhaps the best article written so far on the difficulties facing the community in South Armagh. There’s much light and little heat.

    Reading it reminds me of AA therapy meetings.
    The first thing that’s necessary is to admit there is a problem.
    Currently there is much denial in republican circles; and we can see this clearly on Balrog; which is unfortunately fast becoming Bilerag.

    How to get ex-PIRA into counselling/therapy is possibly a humanistic approach to the problem.

    Feel free to tell me I’m a tree-hugging wooly liberal; and the hang-em and flog-em approach is the only language they understand.

  • New Yorker

    This sounds like excuse-making from Maurice Hayes. Good detectives can get confessions from suspects, especially when there are 20 or more as in the Quinn murder case. If the detectives on the case cannot or will not do it, replace them with more effective interrogators. I’m surprised at such waffle from Hayes. Does the ROI really want to solve this murder case or cover it up?

  • aquifer

    The PIRA campaign was a tragic mistake. It was unwinnable in the idealistic non-sectarian terms it set for itself. Thousands were brutalised by it, schooled to dismiss democratic forms of non-violent protest, dismissive of the culture of others, illegal by habit, abusing the rights of individuals here and elsewhere.

    “an elitist republicanism that values struggle regardless of the wider community” hollowed out the social capital of communities, taking children out of school, destroying jobs, victimising others with different or non-violent politics, consigning thousands to jail or death and injury. The private cult of PIRA was preventing the unity of the peoples of Ireland.

    The provisional leadership could only recover and rehabilitate their communities by enlisting outside support, trading peace for political gains and safeguards, and setting a pace of change where visible social progress could allow their past conduct to escape detailed scrutiny.

    It must be difficult for former footsoldiers, who were ordered to be brutal and schooled in it, and who would have lived in fear at times, to move to the tedious and tame world of work and taxes. Time and age may heal a lot, but what can we do about people too accustomed to giving and following illegal orders?

  • perci

    New Yorker
    Indeed but as the article suggests ex-PIRA or PIRA volunteers who did the murder would in all likelihood treat the gardai/PSNI as the enemy, and so say nothing ; tactics they used against the Brits during the troubles.

    Its changing the mindset that’s the problem.
    Despite SF signing up to policing, old habits die hard and PIRA still acts as if its the legitimate force of law nd order.
    SF have to disown them and condemn them at some point.
    That time is always NOW, but now always seems to be NEVER.

  • sms

    Police forces all over the world have great difficulty in getting the evidence to solve crimes simply because the overwhelming majority of people don’t know who committed them. Does Maurice Hayes think that the clear up rate for crimes in middle class areas is any better than it is for working class areas ? I suspect that the Quinn murder enquiry is not being hindered because people are not willing to come forward but because people know nothing about it.Does he think that the people who committed such a hideous crime are shouting their head off about it the local area?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    “What the events illustrate is a society (and not only in South Armagh) in the trauma of emerging from years of conflict and lawlessness, in which moral compasses were lost on all sides, and ends were held to justify means, however brutal and destructive of moral values. ”

    The events also illustrate a society in which a large minority group had little allegiance to the state they lived in and rejected the right of the British to administer the law.

    With republican acceptance of police and the ( hopefully ) soon to be devolved police and justice powers this situation will continue to improve. SF and the British both understand that this is as much a political issue as it is a behavioural one.

  • perci

    Fresh from nuzhound, Tom Brady believes the police know who is responsible:
    http://www.independent.ie/national-news/truck-driver-beaten-to-death-after-row-with-ira-hard-man-1265553.html

  • George

    New Yorker,
    perhaps you could provide me with the last time an Irish paramilitary involved in a murder was convicted and sent to jail (not given a one-way ticket to Cyprus with the family) as a result of his own confession?

    Where do these more effective interrogators congregate and where have they been for the last 37 years?

  • New Yorker

    George

    Exactly, the Provos have gotten a free pass from the Dublin government. They take some actions and when they think the issue has died down, they drop it. Be certain that the police in other democratic countries would have had confessions by now and a trial date would be set. Why not in the ROI?

    How are they doing in charging the Colombia Provos on passport violations?

    There is a legendary soft-spot in Dublin governments when it comes to the Provos, as you allude to in your post.

  • perci

    New Yorker
    You know I agree with you; Dublin should hit them hard; as SF and DUP are not going to boo to a goose.

    This would also assist the parties getting themselves off the embarrasing hook, of not being see to be doing enough to highlight the problems of ex-paramilitaries ;let Justice take its course.

    Multiple arrests and charges, no quarter given, a high profile case.Plenty of media attention.
    Who is going to complain?

  • New Yorker

    Perci

    I would like to see them hit them very hard. They are a bunch of toy soldiers playing Tony Soprano. They deserve to be tried and jailed for a very long time. They have been terrorizing their community for too long. There are many good people in South Armagh, I know several, and they are tired of having to ‘keep their head down’ with these low life lurking around. There would be a round of applause from this country.

  • George

    New Yorker,
    Exactly, the Provos have gotten a free pass from the Dublin government. They take some actions and when they think the issue has died down, they drop it. Be certain that the police in other democratic countries would have had confessions by now and a trial date would be set. Why not in the ROI?

    What do you mean “Exactly” and what on earth are you talking about with “free passes”? I was not talking about the “Dublin government”, I was talking about Irish paramilitaries and confessions. That includes Northern Ireland.

    As for hitting the suspects hard, if the suspects are from South Armagh then they are in another jurisdiction so the DPP will have to charge them.

    In order to that, they need evidence. What’s the available evidence?

    More importantly, any chance you could actually answer the question posed? I’ll repeat it for you:

    When have individual confessions been obtained when dealing with paramilitaries and where are these interrogators of which you speak?

    The British certainly didn’t have them when dealing with the Provos.

    Also, I don’t know what your obsession with the Irish State and this case is but I am still waiting for you to back up your previous odd claims on another thread on this particular subject.

    Have you found any article from any respected source on the planet yet that states this investigation is being looked on in the US as a test of the Irish State’s credentials.

    You’ve had more than enough time. Care to finally address it and if not admit your argument held no water.

  • BfB

    George.
    Have you found any article from any respected source on the planet yet that states this investigation is being looked on in the US as a test of the Irish State’s credentials.

    The Irish would have to declare itself a homosexual, multicultural, State before gleaning any US interest. After all, the savior, Democratic Congress has this steroid in baseball mess to deal with. Make sure to catch the spellbinding proceedings on CSPAN.
    And the Clinton’s have got your cash already.
    The problem for these victims is that the state has removed any opportunity for them to defend themselves. And in the obvious absence of local, evenhanded, police protection, the bad guys rule the roost. Unless and until these circumstances change, the innocent survivors will suffer, while the blah, blah, blah continues.

  • Lenny

    New Yorker
    “There is a legendary soft-spot in Dublin governments when it comes to the Provos, as you allude to in your post. “

    That’s a load of rubbish and such comments will have the effect of people not taking you seriously.

  • I’ve heard nothing from the police or the quinn family about protecting witnesses, the keep expect the criminals to give themselves up or to someone to say something yet never give them any sense of that they will be protected for this.

    Tom Brady article in summary -former associate, bodyguard of, ex…. IRA.

  • New Yorker

    George

    The murder occurred in the Republic and therefore the police in the Republic are investigating this crime. You seem uncomfortable with that fact. The Republic is responsible for what happens in its territory.

    In reference to your statement “perhaps you could provide me with the last time an Irish paramilitary involved in a murder was convicted and sent to jail (not given a one-way ticket to Cyprus with the family) as a result of his own confession?” I cannot recall any case in the Republic in which a Provo was charged and convicted of murder in the last 35+ years.

    On the subject of confessions, it is not credible that a good police service would not have attained at least one crucial confession when there are over 20+ suspects and three months have elapsed since the murder. Since it is not credible, what then is the reason? There is a history of Dublin governments having a soft-spot for the Provos.

    Regarding the issue of US FDI and the Quinn murder, I’ve cited some of the stories in major publications and I know the US State Dept. is monitoring this situation closely. It is obvious that in the course of investment due dilligence the fact that a murder committed by 20+ goes without prosecution and conviction would be an issue. Or do you think that potential investors would listen to a Tourism Ireland advertisement and say that sounds like a nice place to invest a few million?

    Incidentally, why do you think the murderers crossed the border to do their dirty work? We know the location was planned, why Monaghan? Could they have selected a juristiction in which they believed justice would be more ‘favorable’ to them?

  • New Yorker

    Lenny

    Other than the murderers of Garda McCabe, how many Provos have the Republic prosecuted? And they were forced to go after the McCabe killers. Will those who slaughtered Paul Quinn walk free with the Republic saying – nobody would talk to us, what can we do?

    How are they coming along with the passport violations of the Colombian eco-tourists?

  • BfB

    New Yorker-

    I know the US State Dept. is monitoring this situation closely.

    Condi Rice called, she wants the black helicopter back. She said you can keep the stealth tank. Oh, and the Secret Service says the restraining order is still in place.

  • New Yorker

    BfB

    Obviously your restraining order is not still in place. Put your foot back in your gob. The men in the boiler suits will be with you shortly.

  • BfB

    Sorry, not to good at subtle irony. I just wanted to point out that wildly absurd statements like that, make any other other opinions you may have seem rather dodgy. To me anyway.

  • New Yorker

    BfB

    The US State Dept. is monitoring the Quinn murder situation closely. That is a statement of fact.

  • Lenny

    New Yorker

    The murderers of Paul Quinn do not live in the Republic, of that we can be pretty sure. They do live in the jurisdiction of HMG. The PSNI have huge responsibility in this investigation also. How many confessions have they attained? But perhaps HMG has a soft spot for the Provos too.

    To claim that our government has a soft spot for the Provos is nonsense. The Special Criminal Court is proof of that.

    ‘How are they coming along with the passport violations of the Colombian eco-tourists?”

    And how many fascist dictators have your government propped up today?

  • New Yorker

    Lenny

    The PSNI are assisting on this investigation but the Garda are rightly in charge of it. The spotlight is rightly on the Garda. And so far, they do not look too good.

    On the soft spot the Dublin government has for the Provos, read about Paula McCartney’s opinion in today’s Independent, she takes the soft spot position. It is known that your government believes there were passport violations with the Colombian eco-tourists. At least one of the ‘tourists’ has spoken in public in the ROI, was he questioned? Your government demonstrates again and again that it has a soft spot for Provo terrorists. You should be concerned about that.

  • Lenny

    New Yorker

    As this thread is on its last legs, this will be my last post on the matter. Paula McCartney is entitled to her opinion but her brother was murdered in Belfast which is ruled by HMG and under the jurisdiction of the PSNI. Using your argument, the spotlight is therefore on the PSNI and rightly so. As only one man has been charged with Robert McCartney’s murder, is it not fair to say that the PSNI have failed to attain any confessions or any substantive evidence from over seventy witnesses who were present on the night. Remember the PSNI have had three years to investigate Mr McCartney’s murder whereas the Gardai have had just three months to investigate Mr Quinns murder. Also bear in mind that Mr McCartney’s murderers reside in the jurisdiction where the murder occurred unlike the case of Mr Quinn. Perhaps the failure of the PSNI to solve the murder of Mr McCartney is because they and HMG have a soft spot for the Provos.

    It is obvious you hold the Gardai and the Irish government to higher standards than the PSNI and the British government bearing in mind that in a previous post you said –

    “Be certain that the police in other democratic countries would have had confessions by now and a trial date would be set. Why not in the ROI?”

    Does this standard apply to the PSNI and HMG?

    Also, I am quite happy that my government is not sending anyone back to Columbia on alleged passport violations given that country’s abysmal human rights record.

  • New Yorker

    Lenny

    The UK government and the PSNI have an enormous soft spot for the Provos. I doubt they conducted anything more than superficial interrogations of the many witnesses in the McCartney case and probably did no work on the cover-up. It relates to much more than the McCartney murder in which they transparently did not pursue a full investigation. The UK government is responsible for not dealing with the Provos properly in the first place, instead of crushing them they foolishly tried to ‘negotiate’ with them. That set the stage for the mess NI has been in for almost 40 years. They let dangerous Provos and others out of prison with no supervision program and some of them are probably involved in current murder cases. It was their decision and they are solely and fully responsible.

    But that does not absolve the ROI if they fail to successfully prosecute the Quinn murder case. It is three months since Quinn died in a Drogheda hospital, this is justice denied for far too long.