“Leading Sinn Féin members had been arguing that its justice programme was a “viable alternative” to conventional policing and justice systems.”

I’ll be reviewing political scientist Mary-Alice Clancy‘s new book, Peace Without Consensus – Power Sharing Politics in Northern Ireland, in due course.  But, for now, The Guardian‘s Henry McDonald has highlighted some of the content

White House staff and Irish officials were exasperated that Blair and his Downing Street chief-of-staff, Jonathan Powell, were prepared to allow Sinn Féin to run community restorative justice programmes and effectively establish a parallel justice system, according to a new book on Bush and the Irish peace process.

Blair and Powell’s willingness to hand over policing powers almost scuppered the historic deal at St Andrews in 2006 that led to the establishment of the current power-sharing government, senior White House staff told the author.

The cornerstone of that deal was that Sinn Féin had to sign up to fully support the police and judicial system in Northern Ireland before Democratic Unionists would join it in government.

The Bush administration regarded the Blair government’s attitude to ongoing IRA crimes and violence as “absolutely insane”, historian Mary-Alice Clancy’s book claims.

One senior, unnamed member of the Bush administration describes the alternative justice system originally proposed by Sinn Féin in the run up to St Andrews as “autonomous thugocracies” and a “scandal”. Leading Sinn Féin members had been arguing that its justice programme was a “viable alternative” to conventional policing and justice systems.

To the Americans, the programmes run in republican areas, in which people could report crime to paramilitaries rather than police, were “antithetical to the larger strategy of removing excuses from the DUP to share power by getting republicans to recognise the rule of law in both word and deed”.

The Americans “never understood” how Powell in particular believed he could get a deal without Sinn Féin’s formal endorsement of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Bush administration officials told the author.

All of which casts an illuminating light on the activities of Community Restorative Justice, funded by Chuck Feeney’s Atlantic Philanthropies until 2005, as detailed in a Radio 4 Law in Action programme in March 2008

And the subsequent [April 2008] declaration by Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams that the Provisional IRA would not be “[dealing] with anti-social behaviour and criminality” in nationalist areas following the May 2008 return of the NI Assembly.

More recently others have attempted to do just that…

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  • Well it sounds just like Bliar to me.

  • Damian O’Loan

    I want to draw attention again to my suspicion that allowing RJ to go ahead without proper oversight, which was a suspiciously generous and probably unnecessary gift to SF and loyalist paramilitaries, was intended to facilitate the same process being employed in areas affected by Racist/Muslim tensions, but which has left areas in England susceptible to extreme forms of Sharia law being imposed. It’s significant to note that the fundamentals of Sharia law and RJ share a great deal in common. Neither is necessarily bad or incompatible with democratic law, but without oversight anything is possible. You can examine for yourselves where it is being employed in England, bearing in mind the injustice of dual justice systems.

  • DC

    Have to say on both community restorative justice and on more direct local policing I tend to lean towards SF, Blair and Powell on this one.

    Heavily qualify my statement by saying that this should not be mistaken for paramilitary policing as suggested in the article; but, instead something more akin to having a *local* police service that employs the community to police it, rather than the arms-length and centralised oversight of the PSNI using the concept of policing ‘with the community’. A situation which involves the community doing the hard work regarding informing on criminals and then being anxious over it and sitting in a sweat – while the arms-length and centrally recruited PSNI officers take 30k+ p.a. salary. Merely for directing operations from afar.

  • Cynic


    Yeah much better to sort it out with a 9mm or baseball bat and no messy trial

  • Cynic

    So there was collusion between SF and the British Government on this? And how many citizens were denied the benefit of a trial but were

    1 beaten
    2 shot
    3 murdered
    4 exiled?

    Will there be an independent international judicial inquiry?

  • DC

    Mind you, I suppose it would circumvent lawyers and their ever increasing fees which should help to reduce those inflationary pressures on the economy.

  • Dewi

    £52.50…..why on earth are is the book so dear?

  • Pete Baker

    “It’s significant to note that the fundamentals of Sharia law and RJ share a great deal in common.”

    *Shakes head*

  • Pete Baker

    It’s a book published for use within academia.

    That’s a reduced market for which the publisher adjusts the price accordingly.

  • wee buns

    My thoughts exactly.

  • TheHorse

    Makes you wonder why we have imaginary groups like the IBA in St James.

  • Damian O’Loan

    Try some research before you shake your head, but keep up the monolectic.

  • Pete Baker

    Thank you for that insightful contribution.

  • Damian O’Loan
  • Pete Baker

    Missing the point, Damian.

  • Pete Baker

    “Have to say on both community restorative justice and on more direct local policing I tend to lean towards SF, Blair and Powell on this one.”

    *shakes head*

  • Damian O’Loan

    Perhaps due to your wildly excessive verbosity and virtual body language.

  • Christy Walsh

    I wish I had the luxary of justice with a baseball bat in place of my ‘messy’ trial. That way it would be over and done with.

  • Alias

    I wonder how the head honcho on PIRA’s ‘Army Council’ would apply restorative justice to issues of fuel smuggling, illegal dumping of toxic chemicals, et al, in Armagh? I guess he’d have to order his own kneecapping or have himself beaten to death with baseball bats by folks dressed in boiler suits…

  • HeinzGuderian

    Indeed !! Just goes to show though,how that weasel Blair operated !! From ‘faith schools,to Iraq,to ‘restorative justice’,to ‘praying with George’,…………a thoroughly detestable little man !!! 🙁

  • Munsterview

    Because wholesalers and distributers, often both the same with different sections. Being the greedy swine they are ,they can demand up to 60% of the cover price leaving 40%…. £21 per unit copy. Add in launch, publicity, transport, production , edit, authors fee etc and the £ begin to drop away pretty fast.

    I do not know what the production run was but unless it was quite a large volume look elsewhere other than the publisher for the unreasonable cover price!

  • Munsterview

    “autonomous thugocracies” ……….. ironic as it just about sums up the legacy of George Bushe’s Presidency to the world!

  • Cynic

    Well you do have to take in:

    1 NHS costs
    2 Disability Living Allowance costs for the rest of their lives
    3 increased drug costs when they ‘competed’ with some unauthorised operators

    but on the upside they did help support the undertaking trade at one point

  • Pete Baker

    When Bush became President US politics changed, after 9/11 US opinion changed. All the above shows is it took the pathological liars here a while to recognise that.

    Blair and Adams have more than their speech writer in common, they are both pathological liars who will say anything to get what they want.

    ‘Community policing’, explains why there are unsolved murders, outstanding child abuse and rape charges. oh and of course the pending and belated incest trial.

    Was Blair at the Clinton wedding? The only one I heard was there from this side of the water was John Major, there’s a reason for that. One of em being Tony would have charged for the pics…

  • DC

    Well can’t say I didn’t give my reasons.

    It’s halfway between the summary and the judiciary and probably more effective!

  • circles

    Interesting to see that an administration that was responsible for the deaths of around 1 million people in Iraq all on the basis of lies could actually find anything insane.
    The fact they found it so wrong makes look at the whole RJ in a much more positive light.

  • Frank Ryan

    I agree. The Brits have no right to get involved in felon setting and less so the yanks. Bush and Blair are War Criminals. I Wonder will they ever appear in the Hague? Likewise will the CEO of Blackwater face accountability for the crimes committed by their mercenries, who muderered in Iraq and were merely sacked and sent home rather than facing any semblence of justice. Dont Think so.

  • Christy Walsh

    PB will you be drawing comparisons with cases like mine in NI were, after more than twenty years, I am still trying to clear my name?

    Most alarming, and with serious ramifications for human rights in Northern Ireland, after the collapse of the prosecution case against me in March, a civil servant at the NIO has since intervened and determined my guilt where the Court could not. The NIO action is akin to secretive, or executive, courts of Stalinist Russia or Pinochet’s Argintina where an accused has no rights. You can read the NIO decision of guilt here; http://www.christywalsh.com/files/NIO%20Crim%20Law%20Branch.pdf

  • Oracle

    Christy are you from Derry?

  • Frank Ryan

    This IMO is one reason why there are “dissidents” they refuse to believe this chameleon system has changed. The British government portray that this new dispensation is human rights based and no more of miscarriages of justice will or are occurring, However, one such contradiction involves Colin Duffy, he is being interned without trial. A date has not been set for his trial, neither has the PPS decided whether the case is strong enough to proceed, all the while he languishes in jail. Just like Christy Walsh, when they knew all along he was innocent but they let him languish in jail. It reminds me of the quote:

    “Law and Justice are not always the same. When they aren’t, destroying the law may be the first step toward changing it.” – Gloria Steinem

  • Oracle

    Christy what you want to do is go and climb one of those big yellow cranes in H+W old yard with a banner threatening to jump if you don’t get your compensation claim.
    Look at the TV coverage you would get, you could wine and moan like a bitch on national Television instead of Slugger every other day, and if they didn’t cover you then you could jump off and the newspapers certainly would the following day…

    Just a thought on how I could help your campaign

  • Christy Walsh

    How about you doing that for me, as it will come to you having to jump, that way I would be able to corner any Nat. Tv crews that would be interested.

  • Christy Walsh

    Alternatively maybe you should get a life that a few posts on slugger seems to disturb you into being bitchy.

  • Frank Ryan

    Oracle you are a disturbed idiot, with not one iota of the strength, courage or integrety of the man you are replying to. He fought against a benign and corrupt system to clear his name. Fair play Christy.

  • Christy Walsh

    Frank Ryan I appreciate your support. If Diplcok Courts and attempts on my life have not shut me up somebody hidding behind a username on slugger is hardly going to wilt me. A civil servant and NIO have officially determined that I am guilty as soon as the Prosecution case against me collapsed.

    I intend clearing my name regardless of any rant or discomfort I cause to little insignifcant runts like Oracle.

  • Christy Walsh

    Not wishing to labour your point regarding the farce around the protection of human rights in NI but for an insight into how the NIHRC operates then take a look: http://www.christywalsh.com/html/nihrc.html

  • “White House staff and Irish officials were exasperated”

    Perhaps some Irish officials were – those in the Department of Justice? – but President McAleese’s endorsement of the trans-paramilitary Finaghy Crossroads Group would indicate that others were playing a very different tune.

    The British government at one point was about to make an announcement about the deployment of ‘former’ republican and loyalist paramilitaries in the PSNI but got cold feet when the phrase ‘baseball bats with blue flashing lights’ got an airing. As one Ministerial aide put it at the time, “The political cartoonists would have a field day” and the announcement never came.

  • Cynic

    Who knew he was innocent?

  • Christy Walsh

    The Prosecution the Courts and a few others.

  • It would have been a classic example of ‘lunatics running the asylum’ which would of course have been just perfect. No doubt the hand of destiny would have been around Tony Blair’s throat.

  • Cynic

    Did they tell you that?

  • Cynic

    Sure when Jackie’s playing 18 holes with Martin how could she not support it?

  • aquifer

    This harks back to Sinn Fein running a parallel system of courts, or thugocracy if you like, when they usurped the irish parliament and british state in ireland. The brits were mad to fall for it again but if it is gone now what odds.

  • jim

    do u never stop complaining.

  • jim

    Do you never stop complaining?

    Silly man! Complaints are the stepping stones of progress. Mr Walsh appears to have a good case, when that case is proven, the result will expose and eradicate an error in the law.

    I hope Mr Walsh perseveres with his case, and I wish you would wake up.

  • Christy Walsh

    have you seen the evidence they concealed?

  • old school

    One of Gerry’s relatives shot a Republican ten times in the head, and Mo Mowlam called in “housekeeping” (Joe O Connor 2000)
    When the PIRA delivered death threats to 80 members of the 32 CSM in 1998, again Mo Mowlam welcomed the statement and called it helpful. “4 hour surveillance teams even pulled back to allow the Provos deliver their threats.
    Is it any wonder Blair was favourable of the new P Specials?
    This was his own “Fatah” movement who would take action against the “fundamentalists”

  • Rory Carr

    Which “irish (sic) parliament” would that be, Aquifer? You surely don’t intend to mean Dáil Éireann since the “parallel system of courts” set up by SinnFéin were established under the authority of the Dáil precisely in order to usurp the authority of the British controlled courts. It was felt with some justification that it was the British in fact who had usurped the authority of the Irish people and Dáil Éireann was established to remedy that wrong.

  • Brian

    What do you expect from a secret taig

  • Surely the revelations above, Pete Baker, positively identify whenever the reporting is true, that Messrs Blair and Powell are complicit and even instrumental, in the facilitation of a subversion of an existing justice and law system?

    Which is a lead in terrorism?

  • Richard

    Henry McDonald writes an article without talking up the threat from dissidents? Did I just see a pig fly past my window?