éirígí complains of ‘political briefing’ from the PSNI…

Breandán MacCionnaith:

“Journalists have confirmed that a senior member of the PSNI conducted a number of ‘off the record’ briefings relating to éirígí at Ballymena Courthouse yesterday. These briefings also contained erroneous information relating to a named individual who was appearing before the courts. While the use of misinformation by the PSNI are commonplace that does not make them any less reprehensible.

“Overtly political briefings of this nature are designed to both damage éirígí and undermine the rights of the individual before the courts. The fact that the PSNI are willing to conduct such briefings within the court precincts speaks volumes about the true nature of British policing and justice in Ireland.”

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  • Rory Carr

    There is simply not sufficient detail here to make any comment useful. Not that that will deter many I suspect.

  • Mark McGregor

    Rory,

    The press release relates to this:

    Eirigi last night admitted a second man charged with the murder of two British soldiers had been one of its members.

    Brian Shivers (44) appeared before Ballymena Magistrates Court yesterday accused of murdering Mark Quinsey and Cengiz ‘Patrick’ Azimkar outside Massereene army barracks in Antrim in March.

    The Co Derry man is the second person to be charged over the Real IRA attack in which three other soldiers and two pizza delivery men were also wounded.

    In March prominent former eirigi spokesman Colin Duffy appeared in court charged with the murders.

    Eirigi, a republican pressure group which is critical of Sinn Fein, distanced itself from the killings and claimed that Duffy had resigned two weeks earlier.

    Another former eirigi spokes-man, Dominic Og McGlinchey, was also questioned about the attack but later released without charge.

    Eirigi initially denied Shivers had been one of its activists. A spokes-man later admitted Shivers had been a member but said he had resigned last November after just six months with the organisation.

    Security sources last night challenged that claim, saying he had operated as a “recruiting officer” for the group until recent months…..

    http://www.irishnews.com/irishnews/540/5860/2009/7/24/623322_388530314685Barracksm.html

  • cynic

    So why is it a political issue for the Police to point out what now appears to be factual information that two of thsoe charged are or recently were members of eirigi?

    And why does it appear that eirigi initially lied about this?

    And doesnt Brendan support freedom of expression?

  • Mark McGregor

    cynic,

    To me its quite clear why éirígi would raise this. While others are very keen to paint the PSNI as acceptable and apolitical, when they are proven to clearly be monitoring and briefing against political groups (even noted by the IMC as engaged in legitimate political action)it makes the arguments of those supporting them seem hallow. Former membership of a legitimate political group is of no relevance to the case and the only reason the PSNI are raising it is because they want to damage a group with a viewpoint they are hostile too. Political policing and black ops – pointing that out is pointing a big finger at SF and their legitimisng of the cops.

  • disgusted

    why are such off the record briefings allowed? this stinks… men getting framed even before a trial has taken place, sinister undertones suggested without evidence.. we have been here before and many people lost their lives as a result of it IT WAS CALLED COLLUSION. 2009* what has changed?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Mark Macgregor: “To me its quite clear why éirígi would raise this. While others are very keen to paint the PSNI as acceptable and apolitical, when they are proven to clearly be monitoring and briefing against political groups (even noted by the IMC as engaged in legitimate political action)it makes the arguments of those supporting them seem hallow.”

    The fact that “ex” éirígi get caught reintroducing the gun to N.I. politics just after conveniently resigning make the argument that éirígi is a political pressure group seem equally hollow.

    Mark MacGregor: “Former membership of a legitimate political group is of no relevance to the case and the only reason the PSNI are raising it is because they want to damage a group with a viewpoint they are hostile too.”

    One would be of no relevance. Two is the start of a pattern. Likewise, the alibi “oh, him… um, yeah — he quit a little while ago” is awfully convenient and maybe a little too cute to be taken wholly on faith.

  • Someone is missing the point anyway

    The fact that “ex” éirígi get caught reintroducing the gun to N.I. politics just after conveniently resigning make the argument that éirígi is a political pressure group seem equally hollow.

    Did we miss the trial?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    When has anyone on this board, Unionist, Loyalist, Nationalist or Republican, been overly concerned about the proper course of jurisprudence, save when it is one of “their” bastards in the dock?

    The whole notion that when one of these clods get picked up, miraculously they resigned from the group right before they started arousing PSNI suspicion doesn’t strike you as a little convenient?

  • guevara

    former members of a political group ,must be guilty then.How many years were they sentenced to.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    guevara: “former members of a political group ,must be guilty then.How many years were they sentenced to.”

    Snide comments on jurisprudence from a fella who takes his handle from Castro’s hatchet-man, who famously proclaimed trials based on evidence to be too bourgeois for his tastes and was known best his use of “Red Queen’s” justice — holding a show trial with the death sentences for the accused already posted on the schedule.

    Irony, guevara, is something happens to other people in your world, isn’t it?

  • Political briefings are, to be honest, part of the role I expect from senior officers. It’s a political message to say ‘please don’t commit crime’. Extensions to the logic abound. On the other hand, it is not unsurprising to see éirígí getting terribly distraught about a spot of effective policing. Not that I’d like to see a political role extended to all police officers.

  • Sci fi nerd

    Hi Dread

    [i]The fact that “ex” éirígi get caught reintroducing the gun to N.I. politics just after conveniently resigning make the argument that éirígi is a political pressure group seem equally hollow.[/i]

    Do remind us, when did the court cases take place?

  • A TUV member’s Bald Patch

    Dread you seem to be full of irony, among other things, yourself. You have the chutzpah to lecture others on “jurisprudence” yet while seemingly willfully ignoring one of the most fundamental tenets of the rule of law: innocent until proven guilty. Excellent work

  • Dread Cthulhu

    “You have the chutzpah to lecture others on “jurisprudence” yet while seemingly willfully ignoring one of the most fundamental tenets of the rule of law: innocent until proven guilty.”

    I repeat — looking back on contents of postings on Slugger, that rule of jurisprudence only applies when it is *your* bastard is in the dock.

    If it is “innocent until proven guilty,” why does eirigi feel the need to disavow the suspects?

    eirigi member gets picked up for violence, eirigi disavows all knowledge, trial or no.

  • A TUV member’s Bald Patch

    Doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to me whether they are or were éirígí members. You can question the motives of the organisation all you want, that’s fine.

    However, the point remains that you have categorically stated that Duffy and Shivers have been “caught reintroducing the gun to N.I. politics.” You can fantasise about being judge, jury and excecutioner all like, but the fact remains that neither of them have been found guilty before a court of law of any charge relating to recent events whatsover.

    If their cases do go to court and either or both of them are subsequently found not guilty of the charges brought against them then you could find yourself at the wrong end of some libel proceedings. But sure your a legal expert so you’ll be just fine!

  • A TUV member’s Bald Patch

    Apologies, should be *executioner and *you’re (schoolboy error)

  • Stu Finlay

    Not debate lads, pathetic pedantic point scoring and nit picking. Awe inspiring, well done.

  • The debate ought to be about whether it’s reasonable that a police officer can brief journos either off or on the record. My contention is they should, and that it is reasonable. The police position, once they’ve forwarded a file to the DPP is clearly that they think the person is guilty of a crime. The court will decide if that’s true, and no briefing outside the courtroom will change that; the court would clearly find a contempt if it could.

  • A TUV member’s Bald Patch

    [i]Not debate lads, pathetic pedantic point scoring and nit picking.[/i]

    Yes indeed, challenging a public declaration that men are guilty, months or even years before any court case has begun, of charges that could land them in jail for the rest of their lives is, of course, pedantic and “nit picking”. Well done yourself.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    “Doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to me whether they are or were éirígí members. ”

    Which is why you’re advocating patience and prudence, just as I advocated patience and prudence re: the Donaldson murder, the Northern Bank Robbery, etc.

    “However, the point remains that you have categorically stated that Duffy and Shivers have been “caught reintroducing the gun to N.I. politics.” You can fantasise about being judge, jury and excecutioner all like, but the fact remains that neither of them have been found guilty before a court of law of any charge relating to recent events whatsover.”

    You’ve already acknowledged your partisanship, re: eirigi. I’m less sanguine, more cynical and realized long ago, while where there’s smoke there’s fire isn’t always right, it isn’t often wrong, either — even if there is only smoke, it like as not is indicative of a problem.

    Likewise, sudden Republican faith in the courts would be a welcome change in the NI paradigm — a refreshing one, but one I find a trifle convenient in the moment.

    “Apologies, should be *executioner and *you’re (schoolboy error) ”

    Nah — you’ve a fair point, so mea culpa, mea culpa — my cynicism does occasionally get a touch ahead of me… cops, mothers and financial analysts have a bad habit of thinking the worst of any given situation.

    That said, given the track-record of fringe groups in NI, I’m not sure getting my hopes up and expecting better behavior out of eirigi, given all that which has gone before, makes a whit of sense. Similarly, given that SF’s Gerry Kely blaming eirigi, among others, for the “orchastrated riots,” I figure I’m pretty low on the list of things for them to worry about. The discharge of a firearm at said riot likely gives me an additional out. But, as stated above, you’ve a fair point, reasonably rationally presented, at least for local standards.

    As for the other, two typos, particularly ones you caught, isn’t something worth hitting you over. I’m a pedant, but I don’t get *that* cranky about homophones and the occasional obvious typo.

    Besides, I wrong from the start…

    It isn’t as if the gun has been gone nearly long enough to need a introduction / re-introduction. I think all concerned are still fairly familiar with the device.

  • A TUV member’s Bald Patch

    Fair enough, Dread, with the exception of where you allege that I “acknowledged [my] partisanship, re: eirigi” – I did nothing of the sort and have absolutely no connection with or affiliation to them. Yes, I’m an Irish republican but with regard to economics and social policy my political views lie well to the right of éirígí. I just happen to believe in due process and the rule of the law – even if it’s on the British state’s terms.

  • cynic

    PSNI are “briefing against political groups” ….

    I thought they were briefing about persons charged with serious crime who were ‘former’ members of Eirigi? After all, after initially lying about it, Eirigi admitted they had been members but said they had resigned.

    ” Former membership of a legitimate political group is of no relevance to the case”

    perhaps ….but the outcome of these prosecutions is relevant when assessing the true philosophy of that group. And of course its own new spokesman does have a bit of a history himself

    ” neither of them have been found guilty before a court of law of any charge relating to recent events whatsover”

    Absolutely correct in law. They are innocent until proven guilty. All that has happened so far is that the Distict Judge has held that there was a prima facia case to answer and remanded one of them in custody. We cannot draw any final conclusions from that or from the alleged recovery of his DNA in the car. There could be a perfectly innocent explanation

  • A TUV member’s Bald Patch

    Haha, nice one ‘cynic’ – you have indeed earned the right to use said pseudonym. However, do remember the case of Sean Hoey. No one f*cks up the handling of DNA evidence quite like our esteemed PSNI.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    “However, do remember the case of Sean Hoey. No one f*cks up the handling of DNA evidence quite like our esteemed PSNI. ”

    Thanks, man… now we get to be cynical regardless of how this event turns out.

  • DK

    eirigi spend most of their time stirring up trouble at interfaces and ethnically cleansing dunclug and other mixed areas. Surely they have nothing to do with people accused of trying to shoot brits?