“traumatised by something that didn’t happen..”

In the Observer, Malachi O’Doherty reports the strange case of the criminal injuries compensation, “believed to be £35,000”, apparently paid to Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey earlier this year for an attempted assassination “which failed and which Maskey knew nothing about until years later”.According to the report

Maskey has said privately that the compensation payment came to him ‘out of the blue’. He had forgotten that his solicitor was seeking compensation for the failed attack and he even seemed a little embarrassed by it, conscious that others deserved more help than he did.


Last night the Alliance party leader, David Ford, described the award to Alex Maskey as ‘bizarre’.

He said: ‘It is a bit difficult to believe that somebody in his position was traumatised by something that didn’t happen. He must have been aware that he was under threat.

‘And it is difficult to understand why he was paid so much, when you see the poor levels of compensation paid to the relatives of those killed in the early years of the Troubles.’

, , , ,


    Is Slugger still operating on British Summer Time, an hour ahead of everyone?

  • Pete Baker

    Yes, lurig.

    Now, do you have anything to say on the actual topic?

  • RepublicanStones

    Perhaps you could hit Alex up for a few quid towards a new clock?

  • USA

    I don’t understand what point O’Doherty is trying to make in his Guardian piece. He refers to Dennis Donaldson, a known British agent within Sinn Fein and how his actions led to hundreds of Prison Officers and Police Officers being re-housed due to a “security” breach, even though none of them ever came under attack. A move which I submit cost at least $35,000 per person. (remember he was their own agent, the crown forces raided his house, got back the documents and yet Trimble walked because of a “spy ring” at Stormont – strange in the extreme).
    He then goes on to bring in Brian Nelson, a guy who was tasked by his officers to organize death squads in Ireland on behalf of the British government. By O’Dohertys own admission Nelson organized the assasination of lawyers such as Pat Finucane and attempted murder of Maskey himself. Nelson was also involved in computerizing the files of the death squads based on British military intelligence, possibly UDR files and maybe RUC special branch files, thus making them much more efficient in thier killing sprees.
    He even goes on to mention Barrett who pulled the trigger on the unfortunate lawyer and others.
    Alex Maskey was a target of these government backed death squads, indeed was shot twice by them and another innocent builder killed in the same attack. But Maskey didn’t get free re-housing at the British tax payers expence. Indeed if Maskey had asked for a weapon to protect himself or for funding to make his house and family safe it would have been denied.
    A petty piece of agenda driven psuedo journalism by O’Doherty, more suited the the British Sun newspaper group than the Guardian.
    Not impressed at all, I wonder how much O’Doherty is paid – and by whom?

  • Pete Baker


    Unless you want to attempt to disprove the estimated £35,000 criminal compensation payment – for an attempted assassination “which failed and which Maskey knew nothing about until years later” – it’s a straight piece of reportage with associated background.

    “Not impressed at all”, indeed.


    You see, it did have an effect. Alex was so traumatised that he forget about it altogether. It should NOT be forgotten that Alex Maskey WAS shot by Loyalists, nearly killed and still carries the scars to this day. He lived his life under constant threat from Britain and it’s satellite Unionist death squads SO fair play to him for getting a few quid. By the way Malachi having ANOTHER go at the Shinners, YYYYAAAAAWWWWNNNNNN!!! If only he put a tenth of the time and energy into investigating Britain’s Dirty War and official State assassination policy which resulted in the murder of 100’s of innocent Catholics & Protestants I might give his opinions some credibility. Malachi obviously has an agenda against Sinn Fein and it has become a total bore.

  • fin

    post 7. any bets on how long before before the IRA are mentioned?

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    Seems to me that the issue at hand is not that it was Alex that got the compensation, but the reasoning of the court was. That could have important implications going forward.

    No need RS. GMT is now restored.

  • Pete Baker

    So, lurig, you don’t dispute the criminal compensation payment – “SO fair play to him for getting a few quid” – for an attempted assassination “which failed and which Maskey knew nothing about until years later”, but the reporting of that payment is now itself a transgressive act? The reader can judge who you think has been transgressed against.

    As for “Alex was so traumatised that he forget about it altogether.”

    You must have missed the quote from the report, included in the original post,

    Maskey has said privately that the compensation payment came to him ‘out of the blue’. He had forgotten that his solicitor was seeking compensation for the failed attack and he even seemed a little embarrassed by it, conscious that others deserved more help than he did.

    He didn’t “forget about it altogether”, he never knew about the attempt he has now apparently been compensated for.

  • Ann

    he even seemed a little embarrassed by it, conscious that others deserved more help than he did.

    If thats how he feels, he could donate it all. I bet he won’t though.

  • I don’t think it matters who got this compensation, I think the point is that it was got at all. It seems way over the top, first in the award itself, and in the amount.

  • USA

    Peter Faker,
    Why would I want to “disprove the estimated $35,000 criminal compensation payment”? I have no desire to disprove it.
    You always want folks to debate on your terms and address your points of order. I think O’Dohertys’ judgement is clouded sometimes by an anti Sinn Fein bias and I think you suffer from the disorder.



    ‘Alex was so traumatised that he forgot about it altogether’……I think you will find that was a touch of sarcasm and irony on my part. I wonder how much money was paid BY the British State to operate it’s OFFICIAL assassination policy in Ireland and the protection of killers who were allowed to go about murdering people in the safe knowledge that Britain was protecting them. Before anybody shouts bias YES I include Republican informers too. There can be NO real closure OR political deal worth it’s salt until the British State admits to what it did and allows international investigations into it’s conduct in the North of Ireland. If my memory serves me right the Spanish government of Phillipe Gonzalez fell in the late 80’s, early 90’s because his administration was found guilty of operating State death squads that targeted Basque Separatists. A bit of that openness wouldn’t go amiss here.

  • picador

    Malachi O’Doherty’s article states that the attack on Maskey was to take place at the Chester (Park Hotel) on the Antrim Road. I believe that this is mistaken and that the attack was to take place at the (now defunct) Gregory half a mile down the road – I recall this detail from a Panorama documentary on the Nelson affair. Unless of course Maskey was the target of two remarkably similar conpiracies.

  • picador

    Transcript from Nelson Trial

    I am right and Malachi is wrong.

  • George

    What was the reasoning of the court? Does anyone know? It’s not in either of the links posted.

  • USA

    The facts don’t fit the agenda of Peter Faker or Malaichi O’Doctorit, what Al Gore might refer to as “An Inconvenient Truth”.
    Faker your posts are repetative, boring and predictable. I have tried to give you the benefit of the doubt in the past but you are simply fixated on your anti SF rants.
    Has it never occured to you that the big issue here is the existance of state funded death squads who murdered hundreds of civilians, and not a paltry $35,000 dished out to one of their surviving victims?
    Alex Maskey should take the money. If Britain wants to claim jursidiction then let them pay for it. Many Irish (Catholic and Protestant) people paid with their lives.

  • cynic

    So presumably, as the rules seem to have changed, all those members of the Police Army and Prison Service who had attempts on their life and who were never compensated can now claim as well.

    Then there are all the innocent members of the public who may have been subject to attack just for being where they were at the time.

    Or is this a special scheme for SF members?

    Presumably our elected representatives will be immediately on the ball and sort this out. In any case, get the claims in boys and girls.

  • RepublicanStones

    Does this mean that all victims of attempted or conspiracy to murder cases can now retrospectively apply for a few bob, or is it because of the manner in which the security services handled the threat/investigation which has made Alex takeyourMaskeyoff responsible for gettin the drinks in?

  • Why can’t we try to explain the unexpected compensation to Alex Maskey rather than resort to our all too common slanging match?

    Why would the British government hand out an estimated £35,000 to him?

    I suggest that it was because Brian Nelson was trying to kill Maskey in order to take the heat off himself for saving ‘Steak knife’ on October 9, 1987 – what Maskey was having his solicitor look into compensation for, what could result in some kind of suit which could be quite troublesome for the Crown.

    I have already mentioned the blowback from the Francisco Notarantonio murder. Then when ‘Steakknife’ went on the rampage after he was unsuccesfully set up to take the fall for the cull on The Rock, the UFF went wild to find out what was wrong, and who was responsible.

    To deflect suspicion from himself, Nelson mounted Maskey’s assassination. If he had potted him, he would not have been subjected to the torture that Peter Taylor speaks about in Brits: The War Against the IRA in August 1988 (pp. 294-5) – what he withstood well enough for the UFF to settle for shooting James Pratt Craig instead in October.

    Let’s just call the payment to Maskey ‘hush money’ to avoid a possible investigation of these murders and others.

  • Jimmy

    Re: LURIG, post 6.

    I all in favour off compensation for ‘Innocent’ people who inadverently got caught up in the IRAs and the British States pathetic little game of war. I believe that if a person has a criminal record he-she cant be awarded compensation (I refer to knee cap Victims) although this may be an urban myth ‘verification needed on this one’.

    There are a hell off a lot of people who recieved nothing due to genuine trauma that the Compensation agency and Courts deemed unworthy. This award is indeed bizarre, But 31k? I have known off people who have recieved less than that for worse physical and emotional injuries, If the 31k reflects Alex Maskeys Emotional traumas,can he fulfil his duties at Stormont? (irony intended)

    Perhaps alex as way of redemption will donate the money to a worthy charity that counsels and deals with survivors of the troubles that Alex Maskey and his ilk imposed on us all.

  • Alex Maskey was the victim of a criminal offense, I doubt very much that this was decided by a court, end of of story. In his rush to tar all Shinners as baddies Malachi is doing no favors to other claimants who have been victims of a criminal offense, not least because tabloids will undoubtedly jump on this one and start prattling on about the claimant culture etc and the Gov. should put a stop to it.

    Trow may well be correct in that the size of the sum could be an attempt to put this matter of state collusion firmly to bed, or it could even be the Brits, in a heavy handed manner, reminding Alex who butters his bread these days. Who knows and more to the point, who cares?

  • Posters interested in more evidence about how Brian Nelson shifted his dealings, it seems, with ‘Steakknife’ unto Jim Craig should read what Jack Holland and Susan Phoenix have to say about the PIRA’s Number 9 and Craig in Phoenix: Policing The Shadows, especially p. 154ff, during Operation Furlong.

    It seems that Craig’s dealings with Number 9 and the INLA over the years in order to get rid of UDA nutcases like Lenny Murphy were converted by Nelson’s actíons, particularly against Maskey, into making Craig look like a Provo informer. though the book is unaware of ‘Steakknife’s Maskey’s and Nelson’s role in the process.

    It seems that everyone should care about it as it shows the UDA, the PIRA, INLA, the RUC, and British military intelligence cooperating in all kinds of ways to promote various agendas while killing anyone who stands in their way.

    It’s how to make mayhem.

  • I am not trying to tarnish all Shinners as baddies. I was asked by the Observer to cover for Henry for this weekend and had to scratch my head and ask around and come up with a story. This one landed in my lap. Do the high minded moralists on Slugger know of any journalist who would have waived this story or not seen a news angle in it?

    As for the coontemptible USA who asks: I wonder how much O’Doherty is paid – and by whom?

    Where’s the mystery? NUJ rates and the Observer.

  • USA

    Well said. Not being “on the groud” I have found it very difficult to unravel the plotting of the various “security” spies / handlers and their paramilitary agents.
    What I can say is that the journalists and media over there are pathetic. Something this large right on their doorstep and they don’t seem to be doing any investigative journalism at all. Are they afraid of being assasinated like the journalist and lawyer in Lurgan? Did the terrorists and their paymasters win? Was the fourth estate also assasinated in the North?

  • Malachi

    I’m not judging you as all men/women have to put bread on the table, nor am I a high minded moralist, I have been down in the dung heap as much as the next man.

    I can see that this story makes a good read, although I do wonder about its source, for as it stands we do not get the whole picture. For example who made the decision to award the compensation, was it a criminal injuries type body, a judge, or a government bureaucrat; and why/how did they make this decision.

    I do not expect you to answer these questions and full marks to you for defending your corner on slugger, it is more than most journos would do.

  • That’s a tall order, USA, but I will do the best I can within a small space.

    The news business is always a contest between the reporter who provides the story, and the editor, almost always former reporters, who may or may not see to its publication – the basic, inherent problem of the news business whatever outsiders, who usually have never been in it, may say about other alleged contributing factors – e. g., the owners, readership, etc.

    The reporter has the most difficult task getting the story, given his/her acquaintance with the real world, their limited education, their lack of understanding about how the news business works, their training essentially limited to the most elementary aspects of the business, and most important, getting a story, particularly a most controversially one, passed by an editor.

    Most starting reporters lose interest in the job after a few years, and seek employment elsewhere.
    For those who persist, there is almost always a job as an editor where one can be a gatekeeper, corrector, and whistleblower of those who challenge accepted standards of conducting inquiries, dealing with complaints, and providing almost impossible standards of documentation.

    Ultimately, the reporter should be at the top of the news medium instead of at the lowest, but accepted practice has made him either an editor or some kind of pundit who increasingly goes about bloggling about whatever comes to mind.

    Still, a person who wants to get to the bottom of any story can do so if he wants, given the investigative potential of the internet, and claims about its risks either legally or physically are vastly overstated as I have learned all too well through now over a half century, in one way or another, in the business.

    It still can be one of the most exciting, challenging businesses on offer if its recruits try to make it so, and their editors let it be.

  • Malachi, why didn’t you go to Maskey for a comment? After all he is the subject of your article.
    It’s the first thing that journalists are taught – get a comment from the person at the centre of the story, even if it’s a “no comment”.
    The article is all over the place and contains at least one factual mistake – Maskey was dining at the Gregory and not the Chester on the day Nelson organised a murder bid.
    There’s definitely a story there, I just think you approached it arse about face.

    PS – Still interested to know if you asked Maskey for his take on things


    Malachi states that he was “scratching his head” for something to write about and “this one fell in his lap”. Coincidentally it also sticks the boot into Alex Maskey……who is a senior member of Sinn Fein. No one would deny that you are entitled to cover the story but it’s a one tune record Malachi. We all know you don’t like the Shinners but they weren’t the only party in the conflict. If you covered Britain’s Dirty War and it’s use of Loyalist death squads to murder innocent people with the same zeal as you cover Sinn Fein I would have far more respect for your opinions which to be fair can be well written and broadcast at times. Is it NOT the duty and moral responsibility of honest journalists to also expose and the investigate wrongdoings by the State? I think, bar a few individuals like John Ware and Peter Taylor, the role of the British & Irish media over the last 40 years has been shameful. They have largely acted as the cheerleaders and apologists for the British State and it’s sinister activities in Ireland. When a so called Western democracy needs to introduce parliamentary bills to hide and cover up what it did you know something is rotten. What makes it harder to stomach is that the media mostly bury their heads or look the other way. That is quite shameful. Maybe Malachi your next article or piece on Talkback could reflect the deep hurt that many people like the McCords, Finucanes, Rosemary Nelson’s family and the two young Protestant lads who were butchered on a lonely Portadown road by agents of the State STILL FEEL because Britain ran the killers. How can some of these relatives put the past behind them when THEIR so called government legislates for MURDER.

  • It’s so cold in Alaska

    “Where’s the mystery? NUJ rates and the Observer.”

    I thought it was a fan tazy dozy story.

    But, don’t you get like bus fare, and expenses and stuff? Henry just goes on holiday or summat, I hope he is off for a good reason,

    And…they’re clearly got a spot there, and you don’t pad it out?

    I could have given you a polar bear story with Kevlar


    When Sarah Palin is in town, it has to be Kevlar, I could also have given you a Movilla story, whatever, bears are cute.

  • It’s so cold in Alaska

    “Malachi states that he was “scratching his head” for something to write about and “this one fell in his lap”. Coincidentally it also sticks the boot into Alex Maskey……who is a senior member of Sinn Fein. No one would deny that you are entitled to cover the story but it’s a one tune record Malachi.”

    SF is Tammany Hall without the picnics. The NASUWT has more members than SF had real voters in 1918 ( I exaggerate only slightly).

    Chris Keates, is a serious actor, the Prime Minister cares a darn sight more about what she says than all of SF put together.

    ( even if it is very silly)

    Movilla gets kicked to 10 Downing Street. Because if the NASUWT go total looney tunes, the entire country has to hire a babysitter.

    That’s real politics, we are just a parish pump with a history of mentally unhinged violence, only a small part of which registered on the Clapham Omnibus.

    Malachi is good at it, he’s entertaining, and

    I know people who got wrecked, I mean so messed up they will never be right again, who got nothing, zilch, de nada, and many more who didn’t have their lawyers on serial.

    Did I hear a coin drop, nope, somebody caught it in mid-air!


  • I had hoped that this story had made some headway while I was asleep, but I see it hasn’t.

    While it was nice of Mick Hall to defend Malachi for coming on line, and explain why he wrote the story he did, it blows my mind that he would have to scratch round for one regarding Brian Nelson trying to assassinate Alex Maskey.

    Where isn the world has Malachi been for the last generation. Brian Nelson has made big news about his being an FRU agent ever since he was conveniently outed in 1989. Peter Taylor concluded his analysis of Nelson’s efforts in Brits: The War Against the IRA on this note: “The can of worms labelled ‘Brian Nelson’ that he (the Commissioner of Metropolitan Police Sir John Stevens) opened all those years ago still has to be closed. At the time of writing, the dénouement has yet to come.” (p. 296)

    One would have thought that Malachi would have jumped at the chance but he chose to play dumb about it all – i. e., a British agent trying to kill the least vilified of the SF leadership!

    And McDonald, who perhaps advised Malachi on how to handle the matter when he prudently went apparently on holiday, made sure that it stayed that way by staying away – i. e., a can of worms.

    This is a great tale of N. I. investigative journalism in action!

  • If the story had been about any other public figure or even a stranger, from any community, it would still have been a story and I would have written it. I was not seeking to put the boot into Alex Maskey. His being at the centre of it did not make it more attractive as a story, though the historic details about Brian Nelson would have made it more interesting.

  • Now it turns out that Alex got his “hush money” three years ago when he was sickly and almost died from a heart attack – what Malachi could have easily learned by just asking him the details about the compensation.

    Maskey now prefers to call the money punitive damages – special compensation by a defendant to a plaintiff in order to restrain him from doing such behavior again.

    Thanks to the punitive damages, there is apparently nothing more telling in his will when he dies, but we shall only know for sure when he does.

  • Intelligence Insider

    A very good personal friend of mine, then a senior police officer, was abroad on holiday early in 1993. When he arrived back at Belfast International he was met by colleagues from the Royal Ulster Constabulary to be informed that he, his wife and his young family would not be returning to their home in County Down. Intelligence sources had led to the interruption of a bid to murder my friend, and possibly his family too. The criminal scum who were to carry out this attack were apprehended in a house in West Belfast before they had picked up the weapons they would have used to murder him in cold blood. Although the attack had been thwarted, and lives undoubtedly saved, as the police had swooped early they could not bring charges against those intent on murder. (Quite possibly to save an informant higher up in the provo ranks). My friend and his family however, because their safety was in danger, were forced to move to rented accomodation while they searched for a new house and never to return to the home they had left some weeks before. I’m sure I have no need to name the senior member of PIRA in Belfast who ordered my friends murder, his name has been mentioned often enough throughout the pages linked to this story.

  • Oh, we know we are getting somewhere when Intelligence Insider comes on line with some diversion, red-herring, etc.

    Wasn’t he the guy who even made fun of my claims that the Portuguese secret intelligence service tried several times to kill me through poisoning in order to save Social Security benefits for Portuguese citizens returning home from the States after retirement because of my attacks on Nixon, Richard Helms, and Alexander ‘Deep Throat’ Haig because of their involvement in the JFK assassination – what the weekly Já even had an article about in the June 27, 1996 issue? (pp. 30-1)

    This thread is about the Brits’ Brian Nelson trying to save his own skin by seeing to the assassination of Alex Maskey – what the British government gave an ex gratia payment to him – what Maskey called punitive damages – so that it would not recur.

    No sooner do I mention Maskey’s heart attack than Intelligence Insider comes up with more alleged reasons for British secrocrats wanting to kill him for behavior anyone who had been the target of its attacks would naturally do.

    Did someone in the security forces poison Maskey after the generous compensation, causing his heart attack on Christmas Day, 2005, knowing full well that no one would expect it of doing so?

    And if you believe killing troublesome people in such ways is too outlandish, read what Anthony Summers had to say about the strange, unexplained death by means of a heart attack of the former FBI Director in The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover, starting at p. 416.

    And it ain’t no codshit!