PSNI officers in Libya did not engage in information gathering

At the time of the embarrassing debacle of the revelations regarding sending police officers to Libya, Nigel Dodds made the now infamous statement: “Whoever made that decision, whoever thought that was the right way to proceed, must be living in a different world and different planet.” Unfortunately it then transpired that Ian Paisley junior was the chair of the Policing Board’s Human Resources sub-committee when it approved the decision.

Paisley then produced the most bizarre defence of his actions by seeming to imply that the police officers would be gathering intelligence: “In an adult world you don’t have to be a genius to work out why it would be useful to have a senior officer, who has got intelligence skills, to look at Libya and to examine that country and to look at the facts that surround that country and to bring that information back to us. It would have been very churlish from our point of view, being aware of all of the facts that I can’t go into in total detail… whenever we know that other material came in the opposite direction as a result of Libya trying to help.” This suggestion seemed pretty incredible and unfortunately for Mr. Paisley, Jim Allister wrote to the Chair of the policing board Barry Gilligan to clarify the situation. Gilligan has now responded as Allister details on his website:“they do not engage in any sort of information gathering on overseas deployments”.

Allister has called on Paisley junior to apologise and resign or for the DUP to remove him: “I call on him not just to publicly apologise for his misleading assertion but to resign from the Policing Board as his judgement stands exposed as so deficient as to render him unfit to serve there. If he doesn’t go voluntarily, then his party should remove him. Granted standards of probity on the Policing Board are low, with its membership including a convicted bank robber and convicted bomber, but we are entitled to expect unionist representatives to conduct themselves properly.”

  • Thereyouarenow

    I would say that the Paisleys are doing more harm (and long may it continue from my point of view)than good for Unionism.

    Cherie Blair revelation that Ian senoir was unwilling to shake hands with her because she is a catholic is yet more evidence that a lunatic was at the helm of the DUP for many years.

  • joeCanuck

    unfit to serve there

    And fit to serve where?

  • Tattle

    Not sure if the Policing Board are 100% accurate although it may be down to interpretation of what is meant by “information gathering”. I’d be surprised if the PB did not expand on this point.

    If, for example, a police officer was asked to develop an overseas police organisation’s response to a particular type of crime they would need to explore the current situation to establish the start point for the developmental training.

    A police officer involved in working overseas would be expected to produce reports on local conditions to address the terms of reference of the project they were working on.

    This ‘information’ would be filed somewhere that’s just how the civil service works, if for no other reason than to jusitfy the costs of the travel.

  • Carson’s Cat

    Because officers on intelligence gathering missions go around with large badges saying “intelligence gatherers” written on them…

    Why exactly would Gilligan know the information anyway? Surely the point Paisley was making was that he was given info not known to others.

    Not that small points like that will bother Allister…. unless he gets some file with a big “top secret” stamp on it he won’t believe anything anyway…. and he probably wouldn’t even believe that either because there wouldn’t be any votes in it for him.

    Opportunist.

  • au contaire

    CC, if IPJ really was given a private briefing / nod and a wink that some form of ‘gathering’ of the sort you describe was part of these officers’ unspoken remit, then he should resign for alluding to it in order to try to snivel out of an embarrassing line of questioning. If, as anyone sane or not in the DUP believes, he is talking absolute sh*te, he should also go. He’s a ludicrous blow-hard protected for too long by his family connections and this seals it, surely.

  • Henry Joy

    Ah, Ian Og, smart aleck but not smart and cockey and arrogant. Who wd he be without the awful Oul Da ? Nobody. Wee P just hasn’t the judgment or wit to stop digging when he’s in a hole; he just doesn’t get it. His sense of entitlement and greed is staggering. Remember St. Andrews when he was trying to secure picayune concessions from the Brits and Irish for his own purposes right in the middle of serious negotiations and Robbo didn’t even know ? So is Robbo’s “plan” to get Ian Og to run for the Da’s seat, win, they hope (doubt that Alister could win there; do tell us, guys if I am wrong), resign from the Assembly over the dual mandate “rule” (which doesn’t seem to include Robbo, interestingly), get him off the Policing Board (which the Da stuck him on at the 11th hour just as he was resigning officially) and have him isolated in Halitosis Hall in Westminster ? Hopefully even those who had to deal with him more closely than they liked will be able to say before long, “I knew OF him.” Couldn’t happen soon enough given his obnoxious views on gay people and other issues. Wonder what the dynamics are between him and Robbo right now, Doddsie, and Sammy Wilson > Anybody privy to that kind of info ?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Carson’s Cat

    If Paisley Minor was given information not available to others, putting it into the public domain seems positively idiotic.

  • Rory Carr

    Though no more idiotic than the brat’s very own presence in the public domain. The one adjective that springs to mind when attempting to describe him is “querulous”. If NI politics were a Western movie (and perhaps it is) he would be played by Earl Holliman, ever on the brink of tears looking sideways in folorn hope for daddy’s (Burl Ives) approval of his every utterance which sadly never comes but only a contemptuous, withering glance of scorn that says, “Look at what my seed has produced”.