IMC, IRA and the DUP

The IMC report has now been published and already discussed in several other blogs below. The IMC has stated that members of the IRA were involved but that the IRA leadership did not sanction this act and as such it was not an IRA crime.This may (and only may) be correct. It does; however, appear to ignore many of the things which are widely accepted about the IRA. The IRA was known to have a decentralised command structure and always gave its individual units considerable autonomy. One of the things pointed out in the recent programme on Enniskillen was that an extensive operation such as the Enniskillen murders would have required central approval since it involved multiple different IRA units.

The murder of Paul Quinn was very likely a punishment attack. As such I very much doubt that it required sanction by the whole IRA leadership. In that it is of course similar to many of the murders committed during the troubles. Murders such as those of the two corporals, Derek Wood and David Howes during Kevin Brady’s funeral in West Belfast were clearly crimes of opportunity and as such would not have received prior formal sanction. I doubt it required the approval of the whole army council to agree to the murder of Douglas Dearing in Rosslea. That does not, however, make these episodes any less IRA murders.

The actions of the DUP after this report will of course be very interesting. Gregory Campbell has already issued a carefully worded statement claiming “The IMC concludes that the PIRA was not organisationally involved but the only conclusive way for the republican movement to disassociate itself from such activities is to completely stand down the organisation by disbanding the PIRA Army Council.”

As with the IMC’s comments this may be technically correct but it is a million miles away from DUP statements of old as has already been noted by Jim Allister who also slammed the IMC decision. It is fair to note that the IMC comments (careful to minimise the problem as they may have been) do lay the blame for the murder with members of the IRA. That is in contrast to Gerry Adams and Conor Murphy’s previous denials of any republican / IRA involvement (referenced here by Pete Baker). The IRA have of course not been adverse to denying involvement in murders in the past such as that of Jerry McCabe.

I suspect it is going to be difficult at least in the short term for the DUP to keep to its current position Simply calling for the end of the army council and refusing to devolve P+J may be perceived as too little a response whatever the IMC say. I do not know how loud the clamour from the DUP grass roots will be over this but I cannot imagine they will be happy with a few comments from the likes of Mr. Campbell.

Of course amidst all the politicking one fact needs to be remembered: Paul Quinn was brutally and evilly murdered by a gang of criminals. Those people have not yet been brought to justice. I would say that that cannot be allowed to remain the case. However, as we have seen with the murders of Thomas Devlin, Lisa Dorrian and Raymond McCartney (to name but three recent victims) the murders of young people from Northern Ireland frequently seem to go unpunished let alone murders from the more distant past. Let us be honest: murders like that of Douglas Dearing or the Enniskillen bombing etc. cannot now be allowed to upset the whole peace process apple cart. Why would anyone think that more recent murders will necessarily be taken any more seriously? Let us remember that murders in Northern Ireland have a woefully low rate of conviction. Maybe just maybe this murder of Mr. Quinn (being in the RoI as it happens) will be different.

  • Steve


    the IMC report does not categorically state that members of the IRA were involved

    And it was the unionists that demanded the control structures of the IRA be dismantled and now they can hardly complain that the IRA has no control over former members

  • PeaceandJustice

    To Steve – as you are a Sinn Fein PIRA terrorist supporter, you should know that the Sinn Fein PIRA terrorist council is still in operation.

    Turgon – “the murders … frequently seem to go unpunished”

    The only ones that seem to matter are those that Sinn Fein PIRA have used to push their agenda. In contrast, the murder of Protestant businessman Douglas Dearing near the border was part of their campaign of genocide. The same for the young Protestant girl Jillian Johnston also murdered by Sinn Fein PIRA. No one seems to care about justice for their families.

    When Conor Murphy said he spoke to the PIRA about the Quinn murder, all he needed was a mirror.

  • RepublicanStones

    Turgon, is it fair for the british army to assume responsibility for the actions of all its members (past or present) and to be held accountable if their members step out of line?
    When one considers your post, it seems actually more weighted in this line of thought, because as you say, the IRA was structured along cell lines, which inherently produced a certain degree of autonomy for each particular cell. Now consider the fact that the british army and the rest of the crown forces didn’t act in this way, but had a traditional central command hierarchy and structure, well then it surely follows that they indeed can be held even more accountable for each of their members actions, as they are under direct command. Funny though that they haven’t been isn’t it?

  • Dave

    “the IMC report does not categorically state that members of the IRA were involved” – Steve

    Only because they downplay the involvement of the IRA to the level of absurdity. For example, read this self-contradicting and obfuscating waffle from 4.2 in the report:

    [i]”A number of people were involved in the incident although they did not all necessarily play a part in the actual killing. Amongst those involved were people who had in various ways been associated with the PIRA at a local level, including as members of the organisation. Some of these people were accustomed over a substantial period of time to exercising considerable local influence, collectively and individually. This would have led such people to expect what they would consider as appropriate respect from others and to being able to undertake their activities – including criminal ones – without interference; they would find it very difficult to accept any waning in this influence and respect.”[/i]

    It obfuscates between categories of those who were “involved” but did not necessarily “play a part” in the murder, so you can play a part while not playing a part – which would make sense if they distinguished between conspiracy to commit murder, aiding and abetting a murder, and committing a murder, but such clarity would defeat the purpose of the obfuscation.

    You can be “associated” with the IRA without being a “member” of it and even the category of ‘member’ is further obfuscated into other categories of “former” and “current.”

    So, we have people who may or may not be IRA, either current or former, who may or may not have been either ‘associated’ with or ‘played a part’ in the murder but who are nonetheless ‘accustomed’ to “respect” from others for no reason other than, presumably, this very tenuous connection to the IRA.

    If it can’t be stated that they were members of the IRA, then it self-contradicting nonsense to state that they were respected for – and demanded respect – because they were members of the IRA.

    Total whitewash, even allowing for the IMC’s concern that it should not make any comments that may prejudice future judicial proceedings (not that they worry, since they know full well that no charges will be brought against members of the IRA precisely because it would highlight that they were members of the IRA).

    By the way, the statement “I cannot find evidence that X kicked my dog” is not the same statement as “X did not kick my dog.”

  • New Yorker

    One of the major reasons, if not the major reason, people around the world supported the Peace Process was to stop the killings. Ten years on a lad is murdered by paramilitaries, no one is charged but plenty of excuses are made. If you cannot stop murder by paramilitaries with government connections after ten years, your Peace Process was a sham and front to cadge money from well-meaning nations and groups. Lawlessness excused will intensify. It is high time a stand is made, or you will continue to slide and the world will say you made your bed…

  • RepublicanStones

    have you got Rudy Giuliani’s number in that case?

  • The Quinn murder is unique in one respect. It is the first ever murder by Provisional IRA members that the DUP is determined not to lay at the IRA’s door. It’s easy to see why. The interests of both parties are linked to each other. The DUP gave plenty of hostages to fortune when they sold their volte-face on the basis of what Sinn Fein had signed up to in relation to the rule of law. Amazingly they forgot the Biblical injunction that “By their fruits shall thee know them”. We can now see that Sinn Fein are doing one thing for public consumption in Belfast and the IRA is doing something very different on south Armagh and probably, on a lesser scale at the moment, in other areas where it still wields social control. But if the DUP owned up to this fact, the admission would conclusively vindicate Jim Allister’s analysis. Its deluded patsies would be caught on the same conveyor belt into history where the Trimbleites found themselves.

  • get real
  • darth rumsfeld

    “Turgon, is it fair for the british army to assume responsibility for the actions of all its members (past or present) and to be held accountable if their members step out of line? ”

    Well that’s precisely the standard that assorted Shinners and fellow-travellers have been demanding, from the Finucane and hamill enquiries to every complaint to the Police Ombudsman.

    Some consistency please!

  • RepublicanStones

    i suggest you re-read my post darth.

  • Steve

    Darth we would be happy if they just applied it to the Bloody Sunday murderers

  • Peter Brown

    OK Steve so the same is true for DFM for those carried out by PIRA?

  • Steve

    If you can prove it Peter Brown go right ahead

    The proof for the soldiers is straight forward and despite the best attempts of the securocrats largely a matter of public record.

    Just make sure to follow it all the way up to the Cabinet office

  • earnan


    good posts.

  • Peter Brown

    The proof for the soldiers is straight forward

    Have you seen heard something that Saville hasn’t becasue there was nothing reported about the evidence given there that was proof any more than waht taylor reported about Enniskillen? Or are there different standards of proof (again) seeing you and your fellow travellers have never answered the questions posed on other threads about different rules for different combatants (sic).

  • Steve

    Nope same rules for both sides but since only one side controls the evidence it requires that republicans can trust a proven untrustworthy foe.

  • realistic idealist

    RS – i agree good posts, i notice no-one is realy taking you on though in a sensible way, is it because they can’t logically argue against what you’re saying? hmmm…

  • longlake

    Republican stones

    if a British army regiment “steps out of line” then, yes, the British should be held responsible. In the Paul Quinn case we are not talking about one or two I.R.A. members but about their structure in sth Armagh, the structure that organised, planned and carried out this murder.

  • Todd

    The British Army just promotes you for Murdering Irish people. What can the IRA do, except give you a bigger share of there corrupt pie…

  • realistic idealist

    you’re being seriously naive longlake if you think it took the entire IRA structure in sth armagh to carry out something like that. i’m not from the county but i do know from common sense living in the north that a handful of people could have easily carried this act out on their own. it’s naive to the extreme for you to suggest that the command structure of one of the largest and staunchest IRA brigades in ireland were going to go against their own leadership, jeopardising the entire process which has taken years of tears and sweat to get to, so a score could be settled with some young fella, sure you aren’t just believing what you WANT to believe?

    as a republican i can speak only for myself in saying that i was discusted, like i beleive the vast majority of republicans that it occurred and to say that whoever carried it out are criminals with their own agenda which is certainly not a republican one.

    Again RS’s comment has not been fully taken on board

  • Dave

    “…is it because they can’t logically argue against what you’re saying?”

    I think it’s more to do with the old adage about not rolling in the mud with pigs. He can’t tell the difference between a legal organisation that is subject to rigorous command structures and codes of practice and is subject to public scrutiny, and an organised criminal gang that specialises in profiteering from flouting the law and codes of practice (such as business ethics) but is inextricably linked to a political party that is in the Executive while actively engaged in a criminal conspiracy of fuel smuggling that defrauds Northern Ireland’s and the rest of the UK’s taxpayers of hundreds of millions in tax revenue, clearly putting their own financial interests before the interests of those they were elected to serve. Paul Quinn was murdered by an organised criminal gang that has a political wing which provides it with cover to engage in its unlawful activities, with the fuel smuggling being controlled by a leading member of the IRA (and its former chief-of-staff on its Army Council) on behalf of the IRA, which an organisation that is inextricably linked to Sinn Fein. The attempt to claim that an organisation that is dedicated to committing crime can be considered separately from those within that organisation who commit crimes is pure political expediency, particularly when that organisation continues to profit from crime and from the management of its illegal accumulated wealth which are the proceeds of crime, making no attempt to co-operate with the authorities to recover those proceeds or to facilitate investigation of the ongoing rackets by its “good republican” members.

    The Eighteenth Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission states that IRA “some members are still individually involved in crime. These crimes are mainly smuggling, fuel laundering and offences to defraud the public purse.” It also states that “Some members however had not fully moved on from the view that threats and social exclusion were an appropriate way of dealing with anti-social behaviour.” Now the downplaying is obvious, using euphemisms such as “social exclusion” to mean statements like “Leave the country or we will murder you” with the emphasis being placed on those who have (progressively) “moved on from the view” and even those who haven’t “moved on from the view” are only deemed to have not “fully” moved from it but presumably have partially moved from it. Again it downplays IRA criminality by using terms such as “some” and “individually (involved in crime)” when all who continue to support this criminal organisation (including its political wing) should properly be damned by their involvement in it and support for it and its crimes.

    The IMC makes no secret of its political agenda here, stating in the report that “PIRA’s strategy has included the movement of members into political life and we view these changes as important further evidence of the move to a peaceful and democratic role social exclusion were an appropriate way of dealing with anti-social behaviour.” That is one view: another view is that the IMC is promoting the injection of career criminals into Northern Ireland’s political system, seemingly blind to the outcome that Northern Ireland will end up as a society that is governed by moral degenerates who have no respect for law or basic human rights. Are the citizens of Northern Ireland supposed to be grateful that their political system is controlled by criminals? It seems so.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘but is inextricably linked to a political party’

    as an Army is inextricably linked to the govt.

    ‘clearly putting their own financial interests before the interests of those they were elected to serve’

    Trip to Iraq anyone?

    ‘Again it downplays IRA criminality…’

    you mean it doesn’t blacken Sinn Fein enough in your eyes.

    ‘That is one view…’

    but you seem to believe yours is more important and correct. Too modest by half.

  • RepublicanStones

    Left a bit out…

    ‘and is subject to public scrutiny’

    Which is why the finucane inquiry blocked?????

  • longlake

    realistic idealistic

    i AM from the country and far from naive. i know both the victims and the probable perpetrators in this case. no one suggest that every single member of the ira in sth armagh was involved but their structures and chain of command were and in particular the ones described by the imc as being around a long time, being used to having influence and demanding respect were! they have shamed themselves and their movement, the brutal thugs. i know it is very hard for people to accept that parts of a movement that they respect has morphed into a self interested criminal clique to whom a neighbour’s life means little but that is the reality in this valley of the ‘electric gated republican compounds’
    you believe that any ‘handful’ of people could sieze a farm property, kidnap and beat 3 young men, batter one of them to death, clean up the scene and get clean away, dispose of weapons and vehicles in the same fashion, well then, thanks to whatever god you believe that i don’t live among the people you do because believe me it is bad enough among the sth armagh mafia without going to where your ‘anybody could do it’ kind of place. your district must be some kind of hell hole. come to sth armagh some day and drive around. remember when the poet patrick kavanagh asked the question ‘who owns those hill?’ and answered that he must be a poor poet. here you can ask ‘who owns yonder mansions?’ and the answer will be, ‘he must be a poor provo’ poor ireland, you’re rearing them still!

  • New Yorker

    If the DUP were serious about ‘standing down’ PIRA they would demand SF affirm PIRA is illegal and demand SF turn individual names of provos over to the PSNI. That would both greatly assist with the provo problem and certify SF’s democratic government credentials.

  • ‘Slab’ Murphy not a criminal, says Adams

    The Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, has said the man linked to a number of ongoing Garda and PSNI investigations, Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy, is not a criminal.

    Mr Adams described Mr Murphy as a good republican and a long-standing supporter of Sinn Féin’s peace strategy.

    Mr Adams also said that smuggling was wrong and that his party supported the pursuit of criminal assets. He was also critical of what he called the vilification of the people of south Armagh.

    It seems that vilification of Paul Quinn was quite in order.

  • Brian Boru

    Bear this in mind. If the Army Council is disbanded, then what remaining control there is over the actions of IRA members will also end. Is that desirable? You also have to remember that just as the DUP cannot control what all its members do, neither can the IRA do so completely.