Daphne Park RIP

An MI6 agent herself, a trainer of SOE operatives tasked in Churchill’s words “to set Europe ablaze,” Baroness Daphne Park who has died aged 88 was one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever met. She knew terrorism from both sides. She seemed utterly fearless, with nerves of steel but she was also gentle and had beautful manners. I wonder how she would have dealt with paramilitaries as a minister. Would she have called their bluff? Attacked criminality much earlier? As she too had been to the other side of the moon, she was probably one of only two of three parliamentarians who would have straight away got the measure of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness. Whether for good or ill, she certainly woulds have been different.In her last years Lady Park found it difficult to move about easily but you still knew to back off as she manoeuvred herself into a chair. She was dead against Nuala O’Loan as Police ombudsman getting anywhere near MI5. She was the most remorseless and scathing of critics of Tony Blair’s concessions to the IRA and Sinn Fein. Her special interests were in the disappeared and the exiles. She was a peace process sceptic but not I think an opponent. This speech of 2005 was typical.

It seems almost laughable that Sinn Fein/IRA alone was expressly exempted from the legislation requiring political parties to declare donations from aboard on the grounds of protecting the security of those donors. It is probably the richest party in the UK, certainly in the Republic of Ireland. Vote-rigging, at which it excels, is hardly necessary. Where, apart from the generous US support in the past, does the money come from? The criminal activity of paramilitaries of all parties costs the country in one year £4 million from the sale of counterfeit CDs and software. Some £600 million has been lost to the Exchequer in illegal fuel deals. Drug dealing has cost us £5 million, hydro-carbon oils £6 million, and loss of duty on alcohol and tobacco runs into tens of millions yearly. It has cost Her Majesty’s Government £209 million to set up the organisations that are now successfully fighting this, apart from police costs. Perhaps the worst price that Northern Ireland pays for paramilitary criminality is the effect on legitimate business, especially on small firms, which must pay protection money or be destroyed. Multinationals will be paying up to £200,000 a week; small men £20. The effect is devastating.

All the while, a new generation is growing up thinking that this is normal.

  • “Her special interests were in the disappeared and the exiles.”

    Just how many are listed in each category? Are there stories yet to be told?

  • Michaelhenry

    is brian walker showing respect towards daphne park,she who opposed the peace process.

  • Paddy

    Good riddance.

  • joeCanuck

    Your respect for the dead knows no bounds, Paddy.

  • Alias

    It’s interesting that she thinks that RIRA and CIRA are nom de plumes of PIRA. She was obviously out of the intel loop. But she sure could rant with the best of them.

  • seamus friel

    Yeah she sounds like a right olf gem!!! If right wing bureaucrats like her had had their way people would still be getting killed on a daily basis here!!! She is just what any country needs to develop a peace procss. If she was so interested in sleaze and criminality she could have looked no further than her own parliament and banking structures, never mind the backhanders to get massive defence contracts to supply the military in the wars abroad of which I am sure he approved!!! Give me a break mentioning her in the same page as someone with integrity and humanity such as Nuala O Loan is disgusting The old goat was of the they don’t like it up them dad’s army mentality. No loss to anyone

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    Hmmm nobody arguing with the charges of paramilitary criminality listed above then…

  • Michaelhenry

    mi6 paramilitarys.

  • Alias

    What is there to argue with? Part of the enlightened appeasement process was to turn a blind eye to ongoing Shinner/PIRA criminality and to turn two blind eyes to the accumulation of assets held in trust by the ‘Army Council’ on behalf of its membership (read: the godfathers because the ‘volunteers’ got nothing). None of the proceeds of decades of Shinner/PIRA organised crime have been decommissioned. But then again, how else would the Security Services have controlled the hardliners in Bandit County if not by allowing them to engage in criminality with the deal being that they could do what they liked as long as they supported the process. Once in a blue moon they’d raid Slab’s farm and pick up a bag of cash that he’d leave for them under a hedge, so that the State could make it look like it didn’t have a collusion policy with the criminal underworld.

  • Rory Carr

    I’m glad to see that she didn’t like Putin. I always suspected that he must be doing something right and the disapproval of nasty old imperialist bats like this rather reinforce that feeling.

  • old school

    Banished to Ulan Bator in Outer Mongolia in 1972, at the height of the IRA campaign.
    It’s a man’s world really.
    Mind you, I agree that the Provos are the biggest hoods in Ireland at present.
    The Stickies also got a clear run at criminality, after they went pinstriped in the mid 70s.

  • sdelaneys

    “Her special interests were in the disappeared and the exiles. ”

    What, was she regretting her, and MI6’s, role in such activities down the years and so afraid of O’Loan getting a look at MI5’s role in such activities?

  • RepublicanStones

    And pray tell what is it to ‘get the measure’ of someone? Would her ability have stretched as far as the likes of Frank Kitson, Fred Holroyd and Colin Wallace? Or would establishment boyos have been safely ensconsed in her favour?

  • The Raven

    .

  • lamhdearg

    never heard of her.