“If and when charges are laid, then her position really would be untenable.”

The BBC reports a further wrinkle following SOCA’s seizure of assets belonging to Sean Hughes – Northern Ireland Regional Development Minister, Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy’s “good friend”. Sean Hughes wife, Annette, who was named in the court order as co-owner of the properties seized, is an independent member of the local District Policing Partnership. From the BBC report

Mrs Hughes, who is a member of Sinn Fein, is one of a number of people who serve as independent members while also retaining membership of a political party. SOCA has claimed the assets frozen on Tuesday came from laundering the proceeds of mortgage fraud, tax evasion and benefit fraud.

Adds From the updated BBC report

However, Sinn Fein Councillor and DPP member Packie McDonald said Mrs Hughes “had bravely stepped forward from within the republican community to engage in the new policing structures.” He added: “We have a mandate and we have an obligation to hold the PSNI to account. We will not be deterred in this by faceless securocrats, political raids by SOCA or demands from within unionism.”

[I told you the securocrats were back! – Ed] Indeed. But what’s this “We have a mandate”? Isn’t she an “independent” member of the DPP?

, , ,

  • skullion

    Yes Pete and i believe the Prime Minister himself had to pay back thousands of pounds for fiddling expenses and he sits on a few more important boards than our DPP.So whats your point?

  • repeat after me

    Already two blogs about this, is there not Pete? One might suggest you’re becoming obsessed with this man.

    Surely this could all be discussed in one of your previous two blogs? Severe repetition will soon lose Slugger the final bit of credibility it still clings on to.

  • heck

    “mortgage fraud, tax evasion and benefit fraud”

    sounds like she qualifies as a new labour MP on expenses.

    Skullion-get with the program -she is a FENIAN!! If pete did this for all the british mortgage cheats in the house of commones then were would he be.

  • Harry

    If Hughes is suspected of helping to fund dissident republicans then I think it is right to freeze his assets and Sinn Fein could condone the decision. I think we need to understand why the assets were frozen instead of just criticising the judge.

  • Trev

    Seems that ‘independent’ means something pretty strange in DPP land.

    It would appear that DPPs might be loaded with these types. Perhaps it is from the same mindset that has Sinn Fein and the IRA described as being independent of each other.

  • Pete Baker

    From the updated BBC report

    However, Sinn Fein Councillor and DPP member Packie McDonald said Mrs Hughes “had bravely stepped forward from within the republican community to engage in the new policing structures.” He added: “We have a mandate and we have an obligation to hold the PSNI to account. We will not be deterred in this by faceless securocrats, political raids by SOCA or demands from within unionism.”

    [I told you the securocrats were back! – Ed] Indeed, but what’s this “We have a mandate”? Isn’t she an “independent” member of the DPP?

  • IRIA

    This “Ed” guy sure does has his opinions…

  • skullion

    Yeah Archie the word you used was ‘suspected’ not convicted.I thought a true unionist democrat like yourself would let justice take its course.By the way you still haven’t answered the question as to what is the difference between the charges levelled at the Hughes and those levelled at politicians in London and Dublin.I have yet to hear you calling for jail sentences for politicians.Why not?

  • skullion

    And presumably you have evidence for all these allegations?

  • barnshee

    Surely this can all be cleared up by the production of thr appropriate tax returns and audit accounts–these wil undoubtedly demonstrate that these persons are honest traders who, by hard work etc have acquired modest wealth

  • heck

    yes indeed barnshee

    british law in ireland.. he has to prove in inocence “by production of thr appropriate tax returns and audit accounts”

    so much for innocent until proven guilty

  • barnshee

    “british law in ireland”

    I think you will find that tax laws are not unique to N Ireland. The ROI appears to have similar laws. As as law abiding citizen– vouched for by a UK government minister no less, he will have already furished all these items to the tax authorities. Clearly its all a terrible mistake and will be cleared up–with the appropriate damages to Mr Hughes- when the Revenue find his returns

  • Marty McG

    FROM THE IRISH INDEPENDENT….We wonder who the following article from 2002 refers to? Would it be the ‘Surgeon’, the ‘Benefits Cheat’, the ‘On dole landlord’, the ‘Smuggler’, the ‘Mortgage fraudster’, the ‘Money Launderer’……God knows it could be any of them….after all they’re the one person!!!!

    Key IRA position for bomb master

    By JIM CUSACK
    Irish Independent, Sunday September 29 2002
    Provo Army Council move a victory for hardliners
    SENIOR Government figures have been informed that a south Armagh man suspected of organising the London Docklands bombing which brought the first IRA ceasefire to an end has just been appointed to a key position in the IRA leadership.
    It is the first significant change in the Provisional IRA ‘Army Council’ for four years and would appear to be a victory for hardline elements within the IRA leadership. As well as organising the February 1996 Docklands bombing, the Armagh man is also suspected of being behind some of the biggest and bloodiest attacks in the Troubles.

    Unionists will view the appointment of a figure directly responsible for so many deaths during the IRA campaign as a sign that the militant elements within the organisation are again in the ascendant.

    Garda sources say the move could be to placate hardline elements within the IRA who are still unhappy about decommissioning and the increasing politicisation of the movement. They believe the south Armagh man supports the IRA ceasefire.

    Details of the man’s appointment to the Army Council are included in a regular briefing to the Department of Justice about the make-up of the IRA leadership.

    The Armagh IRA man, aged in his mid forties, has replaced veteran Belfast IRA man Brian Keenan, who is reported to be terminally ill from stomach cancer, on the IRA Army Council. Keenan has been receiving treatment in the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin.

    Sources say that before resigning on health grounds, Keenan put in place new measures for appointing a successor to the Army Council. This involved changing the voting representation on the IRA ‘Executive’, a larger group made up of delegates from all the IRA ‘brigades’. This move gave greater representation to the south Armagh IRA.

    Brian Keenan has supported the IRA ceasefire and acted as the point of contact between the IRA and General de Chastelain’s decommissioning body. However, he has personally maintained a strong anti-British stance. He was jailed in the 1970s for his part of the IRA bombing campaign in England.

    His successor has no convictions for terrorist offences although he was repeatedly arrested by security forces in Armagh. His appointment means that there is now a four-three majority on the Army Council in favour of non-Sinn Fein figures.

    Gardai believe the man has led the south Armagh brigade for about 20 years, rising to prominence in his early twenties. He has long been regarded within IRA circles as a likely successor to the current Chief of Staff, also from south Armagh. In the 1990s he was put in charge of the massive IRA bomb attacks in London and Manchester.

    His south Armagh unit also carried out the February 1985 attack on Newry RUC Station which killed nine officers; the land mine attack that killed another four RUC officers at Killeen in May 1985; the assassination of Lord Justice Maurice Gibson and his wife Cecily at Killeen in April 1987; and several other bomb attacks that killed soldiers and police in land mine explosions.

    Among the victims of the Newry RUC Station attack was Chief Inspector Alex Donaldson, a first cousin of the anti-Agreement Ulster Unionist MP, Jeffrey Donaldson.

    One of his land mines designed to kill another Northern Ireland High Court Judge, Iain Higgins, instead killed a County Down family. Robin Hanna, his wife Maureen and six-year-old son, David were on their way home from Dublin when they were caught in the blast in May 1985.

    Prior to becoming head of the south Armagh IRA, the new Army Council member was also involved in the Warrenpoint double land mine attack in which 18 British soldiers were killed in August 1979 the same day that the IRA killed Lord Mountbatten and three other people on board his yacht off the Co Donegal coast. He was also involved in the kidnapping of Ben Dunne in October 1983.

    – JIM CUSACK