DUP reaction to IMC

I have mentioned the DUP reaction to the IMC report previously. I am, however, a little surprised that all that we have had has been Gregory Campbell’s statement last Thursday. Clearly there has been a bank holiday but I did expect additional coverage from them by now. The DUP may feel that after this statement, keeping their collective heads down is the best idea. Again it is not for me to advise the DUP on tactics but I do feel this is a flawed plan.Whatever the IMC say, I suspect the overwhelming majority of unionists (and maybe many nationalists?) will regard the Quinn murder as the work of the IRA. The niceties of “corporate responsibility” etc. will be seen by many as rather poor whitewash. Even if by some chance the murder was not by the IRA; I have absolutely no doubt that the general unionist perception is that it was. Hence, to keep relatively quiet on the issue may well be a mistake. It will produce the perception that the DUP are holding back on going after republicans as they used to do. In this I suspect their inaction will undo some of the positive benefits they have reaped from abandoning the chuckle coalition.

I would have thought at the very least the DUP would have used this murder as a further reason to delay the devolution of policing and justice, possibly for months or even years. I do feel that the initial minimisation of this issue with Donaldson talking about the IRA possibly not being corporately responsible and Robinson saying the murder was “not centrally ordered” was a political error and the latest statement, logical conclusion as it may be from the previous comments is again an error.

The DUP appear to be in danger of being locked into doing very little about a crime that very many regard as an IRA crime. Even if the DUP come up with a more significant response later it will look, several days after the IMC report, as if they are scrambling to make up for misreading the unionist community’s perception of this event. Either way I feel this is a further example of the DUP misreading grass roots unionist opinion. I also suspect that many in the nationalist / republican community are utterly fed up with all IRA violence. Unionists would do well to remember that the majority of nationalists were opposed to terrorism throughout the troubles and as such many may be no happier about brushing this murder’s consequences under the carpet than many unionists.

Most people on all sides of the community may not want to collapse the executive over this killing but I do not think that the DUP are helping themselves with their current reaction. Pressure from any quarter which could result in reducing and eventually ending the reign of fear which paramilitaries of both sides have over certain parts of Northern Ireland might well be welcomed in quarters.

Then again of course I am opposed to the whole agreement on multiple different levels so maybe it is me misreading what unionists think and I have never claimed to be able to say what nationalists think.

  • joeCanuck

    Turgon,

    I cannot understand why you and many others think that this horrendous crime should be a reason to delay devolution of Policing and Justice. I would have thought the opposite is true.
    So many months have passed without anyone even being invited in for a “chat” on both sides of the border (two crimes – murder in the South and conspiracy in the North) that I can only conclude that both police forces are incredibly inept (to put it mildly) or else that there has been political interference. I don’t believe for a minute that the police forces are stupid.
    So, with political interference seemingly being the reason for apparently zero progress, that influence is being exerted from Whitehall.
    Wouldn’t local responsibility remove that?

  • ulsterfan

    Joe
    The danger with your suggestion is that local interference might be a lot worse if power rested with this executive.

  • joeCanuck

    Agree there could be a danger, UF, but we have no power over the Whitehall crowd whereas here we have the ultimate power of turfing them out, eventually. Might not even have to wait for an election; the democratic threat might be enough.

  • New Yorker

    Turgon

    By not taking a strong stand the DUP are letting down all sides, unionist and nationalist, as most people want all crimes, especially murder, prosecuted and not given a government seal of approval as the IMS did recently on the Quinn murder. Also most people, unionist and nationalist, want the provos out of existence, it is long overdue and would have prevented the Quinn murder. The IMC report confirmed that not only are the provos active but they have their own haven where neither the governments nor the vaunted ‘army council’ have control. That is a totally unacceptable situation. The DUP needs to prove its law and order credentials both in reaction to the IMC report and putting the provos out of existence. David Trimble would have done better than they have thus far.

    Joe

    Devolution of P & J would, among other matters, involve influence on judicial selection and possibly procedures. In the Quinn case, if somehow people were charged, how would justice be served if a provo-friendly judge were handling the case? It is not that London is any better but why risk making it worse until the provos, not just the ‘army council’, are put out of operation?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Also most people, unionist and nationalist, want the provos out of existence, it is long overdue and would have prevented the Quinn murder.

    Rubbish. The IRA is a group of men; that group of men is the IRA. Disbanding the army council, or disbanding the IRA, or doing anything else similar to that will not change the fact that that group of men exists. One or more of those men can continue engaging in criminal activity just as he did before.

    This whole focussing on the ongoing existence of the army council is a red herring. Yes it would be nice, yes it would be symbolic, but on the ground it makes zero difference. The men of violence will still be men of violence. You can’t decommission or disband an idea.

    Devolution of P & J would, among other matters, involve influence on judicial selection and possibly procedures. In the Quinn case, if somehow people were charged, how would justice be served if a provo-friendly judge were handling the case?

    What on earth makes you think that there aren’t any provo-friendly judges at present ?

    You can’t just appoint a guy on the street to be a judge because you like him. Judges are drawn from within the legal profession (a profession littered with republican sympathisers as well as unionists – Mr Gaskin being an obvious example) and are usually people with a large body of legal experience.

  • New Yorker

    Stalin

    You say “One or more of those men can continue engaging in criminal activity just as he did before.” It would be much more difficult to continue in criminal activity if their names and details were known and those that needed watching were watched by law enforcement. SF know the names and details. There should no longer be any provos and cutting them off from lucrative criminal activity would go a long way in encouraging them into a purely cultural entity.

    Do you think there are any provo-friendly judges or barristers at present? The few I know are anti-provo.

  • IRIA

    “Also most people, unionist and nationalist, want the provos out of existence, it is long overdue and would have prevented the Quinn murder.

    Rubbish. The IRA is a group of men; that group of men is the IRA. Disbanding the army council, or disbanding the IRA, or doing anything else similar to that will not change the fact that that group of men exists. One or more of those men can continue engaging in criminal activity just as he did before.

    This whole focussing on the ongoing existence of the army council is a red herring. Yes it would be nice, yes it would be symbolic, but on the ground it makes zero difference. The men of violence will still be men of violence. You can’t decommission or disband an idea.”

    Hear Hear. No truer words can be spoken.

  • Steve

    The IMC clearly states that the IRA did not do the crime period end of!

    If they disband the army council(you will have to take their wird they did) then 10 years from now when these criminals are still doing crimes will it still be the IRA? There are no active service units. These are just criminals who know each other and each others capabilities. Nothing to do with the IRA except maybe they provided the introductions.

    As for providing the police with the names and addresses of former members, even you can’t be thick enough to expect that will ever happen. Thats like pointing out dissidents to the KGB

  • New Yorker

    Steve

    The DUP could demand that SF turn over the names and details of members and former members of an illegal organization. If SF refused, they are not fulfilling their obligations as members of government. This simple solution would also take care of the army council issue.

    Has the snow melted up there?

  • BonarLaw

    New Yorker

    “Do you think there are any provo-friendly judges or barristers at present?”

    Yes.

    The alure of gangster chic and the whif of cordite extends even to the rarified world of the robing room.

  • Steve

    New Yorker

    The SF could also demand that the DUP turn over the names of the members of papa docs various illegal organizations.

    As for the snow of course it has, we don’t live in igloos you know

  • Hmm, seems that my fellow New Yorker is very concerned about the PIRA, but cares little about the continued activity of the unionist terror gangs who have not completely disarmed, much less disbanded, even though the police have assumed the responsibility for defending all the citizens of NI.

    As I have pointed out before and again and again and again, it was the British Army and the unionist/loyalist guerillas who clearly engaged in a campaign of terrorism in NI amd those same unionist thugs are still armed and the unionist political parties continue to ignore their violence as they have for over 30 years.

    So, neighbor, I suggest that you inform yourself as to who waged war on civilians in NI. If you haven’t already done so, I suggest you Google “CAIN Sutton” for an index of the victims of the Troubles and summaries of who killed whom. You just might be surprised.

  • New Yorker

    Bonar Law

    If it is true what you say, it should be made known to the appropriate judicial review bodies and, if possible, to the public. There should be no tolerance for silly judges who flirt with terrorism.

    Bob McGowan

    I did not comment on loyalist terror gangs. Of course they should be exterminated, just like the provos. This thread concerns the recent IMC report and the provos. The loyalist gangs, like the provos, are like the Bloods or other gangs here in the US. They are scum and should be cleared.

    The people of Ireland, North and South, voted in 1998 for, among other things, an end to paramilitary groups and their activities. I want to see all of them put out of business. I believe progress is being held up by these organized criminals and every effort should be made to get rid of them. In the case of the provos, SF can help in assisting them to go out of business.

    I know CAIN. It is important for the historical record and should supplemented by experimental knowledge.

  • Briso

    I get nervous when people start accusing barristers of being provos. Barristers and solicitors must be pro their clients and argue their case in law to the best of their ability. That’s their job. Naming names in this way is pretty low. Rosemary Nelson or Pat Finucane anyone?

    As for the Army Council, my concern would be the order they gave to stand down and dump arms. Would it still be valid if they disbanded and does that matter in practice?

  • x

    It is amazing that the DUP appear to have bought into the “no claim no blame” defence.

    Clearly current IRA members were involved as they were in the McCartney murder, clearly no evidence will be forthcoming to affect prosecutions, as in the Mccartney case. But the main difference is that the DUP – for purely selfish political reasons now seem happy enough with the situation.

    So there we have it, the IRA can release statements, its current members can kill people,the Army Council can exist in the shadows and mist, but the DUP are happy to be in power with Sinn Fein.

    No amount of hand wringing or moralising willl change anything – we are where we are this is the new Northern Ireland – enjoy!

  • harry

    perhaps the PIRA AC serves a more useful role, as SF TD O’Caolian suggested in a debate to Enda kenny… that the AC operate as a “bulwark” against “Continuity” and “Real” Republicans. a latter day Broy Harriers.

  • When I read Campbell’s long-winded waffle, possibly drafted for him by others, on the DUP website, I couldn’t help thinking of Gregory the SuperProd from “Real Lives” all those years ago. No waffle there, just plenty of hardline punchy soundbites. I think BBC4 is soon going a follow-up documentary.

    There are 2 reasons for the DUP’s inaction. The first is that it is proof that the DUP sold their participation in the Executive on a bogus basis. Some of us remember Jeffrey and the Doc saying that IRA/Sinn Fein had signed up to policing et al and that there was no need to wait for them to be tested by their deeds. The DUP knows that the more it makes of the murder, the more mince meat Jim Allister will make of them. Secondly, to be brutally honest, Mr Quinn was a Catholic and south Armagh is a long way from Castlereagh.

    joeCanuck,

    “we have no power over the Whitehall crowd whereas here we have the ultimate power of turfing them out, eventually”

    How can any unionist turf Sinn Fein out of office?

  • longlake

    harry.

    You’ve got it! The two governments are happy to keep the provos in existence in exchange for infiltration of the ‘dissedents’ as well as a flow of info about such people. Part of the exchage is permission to cary on ‘gangstering’ providing they are not too open about it Te provos problem is that this will not last for ever and that more and more people are starting to see what is going on. The D.U.P., are happy to turn a blind eye s long as S. F. buys into Stormont. Democracy my eye!

  • Brian Boru

    It isn’t realistic to expect the IRA army council to be able to control all of its members, any more than the DUP could do so. Culpability can only exist where orders were given for it to happen. If there were no orders then there is no responsibility. If the PIRA tried to stop members engaging in this kind of behaviour through intimidation, the DUP would cry “breach of ceasefire”.

  • Jo

    “How can any unionist turf Sinn Fein out of office?”

    …by persuading people to vote for their policies rather than those of Sinn Fein?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    New Yorker

    Your analogy demonstrates how little you understand of the dynamics of life in south Armagh. You’re not talking about a criminal underclass here. It’s a place in which the IRA – let’s be honest here – won. They defeated the forces of the state on the ground in south Armagh, which is why the British army retreated up the mountains to their watchtowers and travelled only by helicopter, and you had a chastened British secretary of state grumbling bitterly about “bandit country”.

    So we’re talking about a place that was kind of like a state within a state, but now the war is over. The former combatants regard themselves as having at least partially won, and they reckon this entitles them to be the big men in the area. They aren’t IRA any more, but their background in the IRA is the basis for their authority. However their actions today and in the future have nothing to do with the IRA.

    (Take the notorious Slab Murphy. There’s a guy who had no qualifications. As a farmer he was scraping a living. However, as one of the IRA’s senior quartermasters, he was vastly experienced in raising huge sums of money – enough for a few hundred farmers to defeat the British army. The war ends. He has the skills and experience to run a Fortune 500 company. What’s he going to do? Go back to farming? Or keep the tap running and get rich?)

    Meanwhile, most people in south Armagh just want to live normal lives. They respect what was achieved back in the 70s and 80s but events like the murder of Paul Quinn graphically demonstrate the corrupting nature of the power the former IRA men have in that area.

    It’s a complex thing – as complex as human beings are. People in that area might want to see the killers behind bars, but if they start seeing heavy-handed policing, dawn raids, doors kicked in etc, well…. Let’s just say people have long memories.

    Someone has already mentioned Broy’s Harriers. That was spot on. I can’t see a Sinn Féin minister for justice having the inclination to do anything about the IRA in south Armagh, so I reckon it’ll be a few years from now, in the early part of the next decade, before we see Broy’s Harriers Mk II. It’ll be two Fianna Fáil ministers for justice, one in Belfast and one in Dublin, jointly at the helm.

  • Don’t be so facetious in that liberal wonderland of yours, Jo (go on, try it sometime). You know as well as me that the system is constructed in such a way as to make removal of any party from government well nigh impossible.

    By the way, and now you’re here, since you previously announced on Slugger that you had total confidence in the Provos’ good faith when they said they were turning away from violence, can you tell us how Mr Quinn ended up dead and why leading Shinners tried to cover up IRA involvement?

  • Jo

    (a)
    Is there something intrinsically wrong with my suggestion?

    (b)
    Being facetious is, IMHO, a better attitude to make political or debating points than shamelessly using a brutal death for political ends and in pursuit of discrediting arrangements democratically supported by the overwhelming majority of people (who, funnily enough, would join with me in wanting the Quinn killers brought to justice.)

  • In response to Jo:

    (a) No but there is something intrinsically facetious about your suggestion.

    (b) Why is it that liberals can’t help drowning in their own sanctimony? There is a very important political dimension to the Quinn murder because the thugs who beat the poor man to death are linked inextricably to those who hold political power, and who have covered up the reality of IRA involvement. The killing is not political because of me, sunshine, it’s political because of the policies which you have advocated from on top of your moral high horse.

    I think the IRA/SF should be held responsible for all its actions and it should not be allowed to wield government power in one hand and a crowbar in the other. You obviously think differently.

    Oh, and answer the question you ducked: do you still trust the Provos’ good faith when they say violence is over for good?

  • Jo

    I can only refer you to Billy’s 1-38 post above.

    Its an eloquent outlining of how the relationship betweeen SF and the PIRA changed, in much the same way as that between certain other gentlemen and certain other DUP politicians changed.

    Now, I and most others are cntent that SF be held accountable – as Ministers for education, roads, water, etc etc.

  • New Yorker

    Billy Pilgrim

    The provos pledged to drive out the Brits and ‘free’ Ireland. That did not happen because they lost their unwinnable war. The Brits beat the provos to a pulp, gave them generous terms of surrender and some of them jobs in the British government. And the provos are such brave men it takes eight or more of them to beat a lad to death, 8 to 1, nice odds.

    There is a criminal class in South Armagh and most of them are linked to the provos, criminals=provos. It does not matter if it is PIRA, RIRA, CIRA they are all provo scum.

    They lost their war. They are lucky they are not rotting in POW camps. They are on top of all the tricks and tricksters in South Amragh and elsewhere. They murdered Paul Quinn. They prey on the Catholic communities. They are cocky buggers.

    Your provo apology piece above is laughable and extreme self-delusion, if you actually believe
    it. The provos deserve every bashing that comes their way, they have done nothing good for their community and continue to kill their neighbors. That’s why they need to be gone.

  • Billy Pilgrim on the Quinn killers:

    “They aren’t IRA any more, but their background in the IRA is the basis for their authority. However their actions today and in the future have nothing to do with the IRA.”

    You aren’t Colin Wallace?

  • Jo

    I do not regard Billys piece as “provo apologism”.

    Sorry if I am responding to a troll, but this smacks of the *either you’re with us, or your’re a terrorist or terrorist supporter argument”.

    I appreciate that people hold this belief, but it’s still asinine.

  • New Yorker

    Jo

    The piece is “provo apologism”. It is full of excuses as to why they are criminals. Some people have been pleading for a long time that they just need more time to adjust to the new order. The murder of Paul Quinn showed that they have not changed after ten years. They have had enough time to change, there should be no more excuses for them.

  • Jo

    “they have not changed ”

    No one has produced conclusive evidence that the PIRA organisation was involved in this, desoute the anicked reactions of certain politicians and the hyper active SF PR machine.

    But I am interested. Who are “they”?

    “Themmuns”, perhaps?

  • Jo

    Sure, c’mon, “themmuns” never change.

    Sure, the Provies hoisted babies up on bayonets.

    Or was that the Elizabethan Army.

    Or the Huns in WW1.

    Never could work it out.

  • percy

    Billy,
    Do you not think that as a result of the IMC giving SF the fig-leaf required, that the police CAN now go into the area of SA and arrest the killers.
    SF can’t cry “political policing” because they’ve condemned the murder and said those responsible are criminals.

  • I can see that Jo will only be convinced when someone produces the Army Council’s minute book and points to “Item 7 – Paul Quinn murder”. Although even then, she’d probably complain it was a forgery by Jim Allister and David Vance. Funnily enough, the Quinn family and their supporters are happy to point the finger at local republicans and I’d trust them before a naive/evasive hear-no-evil-see-no-evil liberal like Jo.

  • Steve

    Watchman

    Most of the local Quinn supporters fit the IMC description as perpetrators and are only too happy to point at possible suspects because they are formemr members and associates of former members and aren’t to happy with the label “former”

  • Billy Pilgrim

    New Yorker

    “The Brits beat the provos to a pulp,”

    Not in south Armagh they didn’t.

    Have you ever been to south Armagh? Have you ever been to Ireland? If you think that I’m a “Provo apologist” then I’m going to respond by simply calling you a thick-skulled moron. One insult deserves another.

    “It is full of excuses as to why they are criminals.”

    Excuses? Didn’t I state that these are people who have been corrupted by the power they enjoy? I don’t think that ex-Provos engaged in crime should be given political cover, or that they should be given any special indulgence by the population of south Armagh, but I recognise that they do get political cover and special indulgence, and I understand the reasons why this is the case. It’s not right, it’s not okay and it is something that will have to change, but it hasn’t happened by accident. It’s a problem with deep roots, and your ham-fisted grasp of the issue will always be totally useless in trying to solve it.

    Watchman

    Who is Colin Wallace?

    Percy

    “Do you not think that as a result of the IMC giving SF the fig-leaf required, that the police CAN now go into the area of SA and arrest the killers. SF can’t cry “political policing” because they’ve condemned the murder and said those responsible are criminals.”

    People in south Armagh are actually capable of having opinions of their own, they don’t need SF to tell them to be angry when they see cops kicking in doors, or what ever.

    Of course the cops have carried out an investigation in south Armagh that they could not logistically have managed a few years ago (interestingly, with Gardai also carrying out interviews in Crossmaglen and Cullyhanna) but the trouble is, people in south Armagh are still loath to give information to the police. As I said, they have long memories.

    If SF disbanded and every IRA man jumped into the sea tomorrow, people in south Armagh would still be loath to give information to the police. Trouble is, this makes life easier for criminals. In fairness to the cops, it’s not easy to get convictions when people don’t want to make statements. So people in south Armagh are torn – they quite reasonably distrust and dislike the police and forces of the state, but in doing so, make themselves vulnerable to criminals.

    The only solution I can see is to repair the relationship between the law-abiding people of south Armagh and the police. Then the cops can go after the criminals. But I can only see that being possible with a republican Minister for Justice at the helm. Since I can’t see SF feeling inclined to do anything about it, I think it’ll fall to a FF justice minister to do it.

  • New Yorker

    Billy Pilgrim

    I have spent a fair amount of time in South Armagh. You are living in a fictional South Armagh believing the provo mythology. For instance, you seem to believe that the Brits did not beat the provos but South Armagh is still part of the UK – check the plates on your car or the pounds in your pocket. Through intelligence and especially shot-to-kill the Brits reduced the provos to quivering cowards desperate to talk. Why did they need 8 men to take on a 21 year old? They lost their war showing cowardice and continue to be cowards huddling together.

    You also believe the provo mythology about people never speaking to the cops. That came in after 1971. Before that the constable, usually a Catholic, used to ride around the square and area on a bicycle. Not everyone spoke to him as many were doing some smuggling and up to other tricks, but most people would speak to him. The truth is that the provos don’t want people to have a good relationship with the cops because of their criminal activities. And SF may say support the cops but everybody knows they mean the opposite.

    You need to rid yourself of the provo mythology and see them for what they are and always have been. Then things can improve in South Armagh. Otherwise South Armagh will remain a backwater where the provos keep the people hostage and kill someone when it takes their fancy and the rest of the world leaves South Armagh behind. Just look South and ask why things are not as good once you cross the border.