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.”

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