Door now bolted, all inquiries into our past lead to a dead end…

It’s not surprising given the huge shockwaves it sent through Northern Irish society at the time that the Rosemary Nelson murder inquiry‘s (cost £46m) findings and is relatively threadbare in it’s conclusions after all such inquiries have had their teeth unceremoniously plucked out by the Inquiries Act 2005.

At any rate it did not say what many wanted to it say: ie that the RUC somehow colluded in her killing. Eamonn has a lengthy post on it in which he turns over a lot of the hearsay evidence, and concludes that:

How one defines ‘collusion’ is open to interpretation. If the state systemically sits back and leaves an individual exposed to death threats and ultimately to death what does it matter how ‘collusion’ is defined?

Mark Devenport suggests it is the difference between the state actively targeting its own citizens (which should worry us all regardless of politics or background) and failure to act maximally in the protection of those citizens (which should worry us, only if the same conditions persist within the PSNI)…

Eamonn uses the term ‘systematically’ which refers to the fact that at that Nelson was murdered the State did not routinely offer protection to defence lawyers, as it now does. Amnesty International hardens the charge (their full response hereH/T Patrick below) and suggests that the failure to offer/provide protection for Nelson at the time was due to institutional sectarianism.

£46m later, and it is not clear what exactly the inquiry has been able to find out, except that it appears not to have found evidence that the state colluded in Nelson’s murder.

That was yesterday. On the same day, the Taoiseach revealed the British government will not be handing over any files concerning the bombing of Dublin and Monaghan in May 1974. He told the Dail:

In respect of the Dublin-Monaghan bombings, as I undertook to the House, I raised this matter with the British Prime Minister, having raised it in London at the previous meeting. We are both of the view that the truth is absolutely essential in all of these cases. The Prime Minister himself raised the question of the inquiry into the Pat Finucane case. There is a recognition that what we do not want is to end up with a whole series of public inquiries. We need to examine how we might deal with this. There were some comments from Deputy Adams last week in respect of other incidents where information might be made available. [emphasis added]

Indeed, that’s in part what the Inquiries Act was intended to do. Only the Northern Irish Police Ombudsman seems to have an appetite for taking claims forward.

Gerry Adams pressed home the reason for pushing for those files:

It is to assess these documents with the aim of assisting in the resolution of these crimes. The British Government admits that it has files which it has not handed over. What possible reason can it have for not handing over files, especially now, as the Taoiseach has asserted, there has been a complete transformation of relationships between Ireland and Britain? What possible reason is there?

And the third piece of related news is the appointment of Mary McArdle – a member of an IRA squad which “ambushed magistrate Tom Travers and his family as they left Mass in south Belfast in April 1984, killing his 22-year-old daughter Mary” – as special advisor to Sinn Fein’s new Culture Minister.

Ms McArdle was the only member of that squad to face any form of legal proceedings…

After which I’m tempted to paraphrase the opening line of the Go Between: “The past is a foreign country: they did things differently there.”

, , ,

  • For the record, the full Amnesty International response to the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry report is here.

  • Neil

    which should worry us, only if the same conditions persist within the PSNI

    According to British Irish Rights Watch on UTV news (10.30 Monday) the same conditions do persist within the PSNI.

  • Skinner

    Gerry, were they crimes or were they not crimes? Make up your mind. You can’t call them crimes just when its non-Brits getting killed. Is Mary McArdle a war hero? She doesn’t sound like one.

  • lamhdearg

    and failure to act maximally in the protection of those citizens (which should worry us, only if the same conditions persist within the PSNI)….
    of couse to act maximally, is the key to this , the psni on a weekly basis tell people that there is a threat to there life, and thats all they do. Given the the police cant protect all these people, can someone tell me why joe blogs should be left to cower in the corner of his house, while suzy big shot should get 24 hour protection.

  • ” And the third piece of related news is the appointment of Mary McArdle – a member of an IRA squad which “ambushed magistrate Tom Travers and his family as they left Mass in south Belfast in April 1984, killing his 22-year-old daughter Mary” – as special advisor to Sinn Fein’s new Culture Minister.”

    The above is the best reason I can think of to have nothing whatsoever to do with any inquiries that are nothing more than a stick to beat the other side with, and while murderers are somehow thought to have become culture experts? SF are a laugh a minute.

    Its no good saying one thing has nothing to do with the other they are all connected, perhaps not yet connected in the way the TD for Louth would like, but if inquiries are meant to expose the truth he could try changing the habit of a life time and tell the truth.

  • slappymcgroundout

    One of the rare times that I find myself in complete agreement with Mr. Mallie (that’s this week’s sign of the coming apocalypse, by the way). And if sincere, good to see Baggott saying what he is quoted as saying.

    Lastly, Mick, the part there that you have in quotes re commission and omission should read the same, i.e., both should worry us equally if they are occurring and without regard to ethnicity, race, gender, what have you. Consider again Mallie’s quoting Baggott re just what the obligation to serve, protect and defend means. And I’m being “generous” since while commission would be worse in the single instance than omission, more likely that omission occurs over time (i.e., more instances), so omission is probably the more to be feared.

  • Neil

    psni on a weekly basis tell people that there is a threat to there life, and thats all they do

    They should probably have extended that courtesy to Rosemary Nelson then, no? Because they didn’t tell her of any of the threats to her life, nor offer any advice. I wonder why? I suppose when even Loyalist prisoners are suggesting RUC men were encouraging Loyalists to murder Rosemary, there would be little point in mentioning her life was under threat eh?

    From report:

    ‘Both officers were known to me. During either the first or second interview which these officers had with me, Rosemary Nelson was introduced into the conversation. I had never had any dealings with Mrs Nelson but I knew of her from the TV and newspapers. I knew she represented the Garvaghy Road Residents and some leading republicans. It would be true to say that she was regarded as a “hate figure” within Loyalist circles. During the interview in which Mrs Nelson was referred to, [the note-taker] did not join in the conversation, he appeared to be taking notes. For the whole of the interview, roughly one hour fifteen minutes to one hour thirty minutes, [the other officer] kept talking about Rosemary Nelson and suggesting she should have been targeted instead of Bernadette Martin. I can’t remember after all this time the exact words that [the other officer] used but to the best of my recollection it was something like; “Why the fuck Trevor did you not shoot Rosemary Nelson instead of an eighteen year old girl. Sure you know where she parks her car, down William Street.” Intermittently he, [the other officer], also said, “would you shoot her Trevor, would you?” This was again a reference to Mrs Nelson. These phrases and similar ones were used throughout the interview. There was constant repetition of these suggestions by [the other officer]. At no stage did [the note-taker] intervene or protest. I am absolutely certain these suggestions by [the other officer] were said in all seriousness. Having been shown
    a copy of the News of the World article by [the journalist], I can also say that [the other officer] said words to the effect “It would be easy for me or other Loyalists to
    shoot her”. Again this was a serious suggestion by [the other officer]. It was not said in a jokey or casual manner. I declined to comment throughout the interview. I believe
    I signed the Interview Notes when they were presented to me but I knew there would be nothing in the notes about Rosemary Nelson. Immediately following that interview
    I was allowed a legal visit. I told my Solicitor, [redacted], exactly what [the other officer] had suggested to me.’

  • slappymcgroundout

    “he could try changing the habit of a life time and tell the truth”

    Given what happened to McGeough, unless there’s an amnesty on the table, well, he can’t and won’t and who can blame him.

  • Ann Travers was interviewed on Talkback today and some of her comments are on the BBC website:

    “Her sister Ann Travers said she was shocked and felt physically sick that McArdle had been appointed as a special adviser to the Sinn Fein Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin.

    “She’s now in the position in which she is paid by the taxpayer – of which my mum is one.

    “I am absolutely horrified that she has been given such a position,” Ms Travers said.

    “I think it’s really wrong and I think she should stand down.””

  • Skinner

    Neil

    She already knew full well that her life was under threat, as she had received a hand written note telling her such. So actually there was no point in the RUC telling her, though clearly they should have done so anyway.

    If it’s true what the witness says about the RUC officer’s statements in interview it is despicable and the officers concerned should be thrown out (if not already).

  • The Raven

    “Ann Travers was interviewed on Talkback today…” and wasn’t it absolutely heartbreaking, even to the most hardened cynic.

    I think it underlines – and I make no differentiation here between them-uns and us-uns – how absolutely unfair, inhumane, and – let’s face it – laughable that certain elements of the so-called Peace Process have been.

    Normally, I really enjoy hearing “the boy done well” type stories; but a mooted £80k per annum, industrial wage or not, as reward for the past…well…it’s just a tad stomach-churning, when you hear the survivors stories.

    Note if you will, the response of one of the callers, “John from 1978” or some such: ‘someone should remind Ann Travers that her father was part of the problem.’

    It’s only ever a thin veneer of respectability, which lies over the dirt, filth, venom and hatred that embodies the past 40 years. Unfortunately, there are many Ann Travers left behind from both sides to mourn for those who were just collateral damage.

  • Mick Fealty

    RED Card etc..

    A red card is not for life, but if you get one, just do the time. I’ve added another 2 weeks onto your original account too.

    Which is a shame because you clearly have something of value to add to the conversation…

  • Intelligence Insider

    In relation to Nelson not being informed of threats the Cory report of 2004 contains evidence that a police officer called at Mrs Nelson’s office on several occasions to discuss her personal security but she was never available and failed to respond to requests for contact.

    Judge Cory concludes: “I must note this early refusal by Rosemary Nelson to cooperate. It is difficult to both demand complete protection from the police force and yet deny it any cooperation.”

  • Eglise en bois

    Mary McArdle is not the first Sinn Fein Special Advisor to have a conviction for murder!

    Why all the surprise and distaste?

    Is the murder of a catholic female any more reprehensible than the murder of a father of 3 who happened to be a police officer?

  • nightrider

    Reader
    Anyone who voted SF at the last election should be hanging their heads in shame at todays appointment. At least those who aren’t sniggering at the decision. I hope it makes national news so mainland taxpayers can see where their money is going to.

  • Lionel Hutz

    It seems to me that the basic underlying sentiment here is that the public interest in any further public inquiries has diminished to the extent that they do not merit the time and expense.

    I disagree. Public inquiries are the only way to get close to truth in these matters, whilst having sufficient transparency to build public confidence. We cannot allow myths and “dogs on the street know” truths to continue to shape the minds of our people without an official and authorative report.

    Consider the Rosemary Nelson report. We can clearly see the truth behind the hovering helicopter myths. They seem to have been explanable, even if unusual and there is nothing to connect them to the crime. That was an important statement to make. On the flip side, we have a damning insight into the mindset of the RUC at every level to deal with the threat to someone that should have been protected as a priority. They had intelligience and together with the basic general knowledge of Mrs Nelson, they should have tried to protect her. Instead they allowed their servants and agents to increase the risk to Mrs Nelson’s life without any action from the senior level. There was a passive collusion when they turned a blind eye. These are important things to know – and lessons must be learned from them.

    To my mind one of the greatest dangers to lasting peace here is that myths and accepted truths are allowed to go unchecked and into the consciousness of those who really didn’t experience the troubles at their height. That could be the notion that the PIRA were some sort of heroes, which we can see clearly being allowed to pass on to next generation. That could also be the notion that the RUC were a diligient and impartial police force, and that the Police in generally should be considering beyond reproach. That kind of attitude allows some ridiculous abuses to continue.

    Public Inquiries have helped in the healing process for Northern Ireland. Whilst costly, I really dont see how they can be a bad thing. The Saville Report was a very significant event in the relationship between the British Government and NI Nationalism and worth every penny to have such a conclusive report.

    It is with that in mind, that I think that Owen Paterson did a great disservice in his speech to the HoC on monday:

    “In conclusion Mr Speaker, it is clear that just as Lord Saville found no evidence of a conspiracy by the British state; just as Lord Maclean found no evidence of state collusion in the murder of Billy Wright; so this panel finds no evidence of any act by the state which directly facilitated Rosemary Nelson’s murder.”

    That kind of spin does no-one any favours.

  • Mick Fealty

    Eeb,

    How do you infer that? Three announcements took place on the one day. In my view it adds a useful perspective. If you are arguing that is intentionally incomplete, then ok.

    But where is it reasonable to make a cut? And what would be yourlogic?

  • Skinner

    Lionel – I agree in part with your post but the difficulty is where do you stop? Put simply we have more questions than we have the money to answer. So you get into the problem of prioritising inquiries into some incidents over others and how on earth can you do that with any consistent measure?

  • The Raven

    EEB – my own post doesn’t maks no such distinction.

  • “According to British Irish Rights Watch”

    Has BIRW ever carried out any investigations into murders committed by paramilitaries, apart from the Billy Wright one? For example, did it investigate the Mary Travers murder?

  • Eglise en bois

    Mick,

    Look back, has any previous Sinn Fein special advisor had a conviction for murder?

    I think you will find that at least one other had, a conviction for the murder of a policeman.

    So this story is neither new or terribly newsworthy. Sinn fein have appointed special advisor who were convicted of serious crimes as advisors before, this is not new.

  • tacapall

    Whats all the hullabaloo about Mary McArdle being appointed as special advisor, were there not British soldiers who were convicted of murder who then served a small amount of time in prison only to be returned to the British Army where they were then promoted – Whats the difference.

  • “Only the Northern Irish Police Ombudsman seems to have an appetite for taking claims forward.”

    The late Tom Travers was also a victim of the actions of the Ombudsman’s office:

    Mr Travers told the Belfast Telegraph: “I am furious this former officer has been arrested. He has become a friend of both myself and my family since coming forward with vital information a couple of years ago.

    “He has given us enormous comfort and help in finding out the truth about our daughter’s murder and I have complained to Nuala O’Loan about this arrest.

    “I think it is a disgrace that a former officer trying to help the family of a victim should be treated in this way.”

    Mr Travers and the arrested officer, a family friend, both withdrew their cooperation from O’Loan’s team.

  • Mick Fealty

    EeB,

    ‘Newness’ is not the point, ‘context’ is.

  • granni trixie

    I do not think that SF appreciates the generosity and big ask in some cases for people to accept people who have blood on their hands, in public roles. Their choice of a person with a criminal past to succeed GA to many was a backward move.But the appointment of Ms McArdle is totally insensitive. Or more likely they represent a strategy via a subliminal message, to insist that they did no wrong so why be concerned?. This stance is consistent with the justification for physical force such as that perpetrated on Mary Travers.

    I return to the point – if SF are genuine they must show more sensitivity. Thats if they have the capacity to see beyond the Republican narrative.

  • Lionel Hutz

    They are not genuine. It’s appalling also because yesterday O’Dowd (I think it was him) from SF was joining in Alban’s call to David Ford to remove those from the DoJ that were involved in the negligience following the Nelson report. Imagine, calling for heads to roll of those who failed to stop sectarian terrorist murder one day and the next day giving a job to someone who committed sectarian terrorist murder.

  • qwerty12345

    If having blood on your hands was a bar to political life there would be few high ranking politicians in the world. Be thankful that we are playing catch up (as painful for some as it is)

  • tacapall

    And two wrongs make a right is that it? If the British do something wrong that makes it alright for the Irish to do it?
    Give me a break!

  • iluvni

    If the UUP, sdlp or Alliance had any moral fibre at all, they’d walk from the Executive over this vile appointment of the murderer, its an affront to common decency.

  • Mick Fealty

    Given the nature of the settlement, there is nothing wrong with Ms McArdle being appointed as a SpAd at Culture. No doubt she’ll be judged on her and her Minister’s performance over time…

    But her appointment just stands a little odd with Gerry’s apparent aim (on the same day) “of assisting in the resolution of these crimes [in Dublin and Monaghan].”

    GT,

    Sensitivity is not the issue here (politics is of necessity a rough trade). It just reeks of cognitive dissonance…

  • The only culture Ms McAdle is familiar, some might say, expert in, is the culture of violence in the north and since when has that been a recommendation in the real world which I understood SF aspired to?

    If its some sort of strategy “Look at us we’re as loathsome as ever” it might impress the juvenile few but its guaranteed to lose moderate votes. Its arrogant, offensive and wrong to think actions such as this are accepted and then forgotten

  • tacapall

    Pippakin you have no problem wining and dining the biggest apologist of murder this side of Europe ie Mrs Windsor, she is the public face of an army that has assisted in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent people and is determined to increase that amout by invading another Arab country so please spare me the crocidile tears.

  • tacapall

    The queen has no more power in the UK than the President has here. The two cases are not the same and you forgot to mention the other apologist for murder President Obama came but here but didn’t trust the sheets enough to spend the night…

    It was an insensitive mood as though SF were giving in to their own extreme and not the vast majority of people in the north.

  • tacapall

    Pippakin your right the two cases are not the same, at least Mary McArdle served a prison sentence and by the way are allegations about to come to light that RUC special branch knew about the attempt to murder Tom Travers and allowed it to happen ! Also re the queen having no power, I said she was the public face and how insensitive was it for the families of the dublin, monaghan victims when the this woman’s same servants refused to hand over evidence they had concerning those bombings. Its a vicious circle Pippakin and theres not too many around in public office today that dont have skeletons in the cupboard.

  • tacapall

    I agree there are too many extremely well paid people in public office today who have skeletons in their cupboards but that does not mean there must always be room for one more.

  • Cynic2

    Can we get everyone out of Government who has been involved in alleged murder and mayhem. That would cut the bill for the Assembly at a stroke.

    And if Gerry wants to see the files on alleged collusion made public can we have a process like that in East Germany where we have it all out there – including that on PIRA collusion with the Security Forces? Perhaps that’s where the real fun will lie

  • Cynic2

    “invading another Arab country”

    Really? Which one?

    Another fantasy?

  • tacapall

    Cynic maybe you cant see further than the end of your own nose, what about Libya, now dont be lecturing about fighting for democracy or protecting civilians as they’ve murdered more civilians since the British, American led uprising using former detainees of guantanamo bay. As for the files which the British government hold regarding the Dublin Monaghan bombings, fk Gerry Adams and what comes out of his mouth, this is about the Irish people, “in this so called new era of relations” being told the truth about the involvement of the British security forces involvement in acts of terrorism on Irish soil which resulted in the murder of Irish citizens.

  • Cynic2

    “Its about the Irsh people”

    ….sorry, I missed your election as spokesperson. What was in the old Manifesto then?

    “what about Libya”

    …. perhaps you missed the News today…well it was on the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation so to be avoided but the phrase used was ‘no boots on the ground’.

    I find it strange too that on another threat you are so exercised about the death of one solicitor (and that was a terrible thing) but then attack the UK (yet not the French or USA) for trying to prevent Ghadaffi murdering thousands of his own people.

    Speaking personally, the only common fact I can see that might reconcile those positions is that you could be rabidly anti-British or as we tend to call it up here ‘sectarian’. I hope you will reassure me that this is not the case.

  • Cynic2

    Mick

    Is the fundamental problem not that our politicians and the whole political edifice could not withstand a comprehensive truth process. Exposure of the true facts about everything would so damage so many politicians that the Parties will move heaven and earth to stop it happening lest they be discovered.

  • tacapall

    Cynic I dont have to be anyones spokesperson to give my opinion – just like yourself and by the way I live in Belfast and I have experienced sectarianism but people like you call it reactionary violence or tradition and I cant seem to remember French or American soldiers murdering Irish people but as we’re on the topic the French and Americans are no different than the British who are murdering innocents in the guise of democracy but in reality to get access to libya’s oil supplies.

    “perhaps you missed the News today…well it was on the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation so to be avoided but the phrase used was ‘no boots on the ground”.

    Im sure the libyan people will be glad that they will just be murdered by being indiscriminately bombed rather than being shot to death. As for no boots on the ground –

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1363985/Libya-No-10-hangs-William-Hague-dry-SAS-humiliation-desert.html

    “The SAS’s humiliation in Libya triggered civil war in government yesterday as a blame game erupted between Downing Street, the Foreign Office and the military.

    Embattled Foreign Secretary William Hague was accused of ‘serial bungling’ after the Special Forces and an MI6 spy were captured and detained by a bunch of Libyan farmhands”.

  • “But the appointment of Ms McArdle is totally insensitive.”

    I strongly agree, granni trixie. There’s a cold callousness about it when you consider Ann Traver’s recent comments on RTE, some of which I put up here as a transcript. Not only has the SF leadership been unable to say sorry for what had been done to Mary and the Traver’s family by the PRM, they’ve compounded the cruelty by adding salt to the wound.

    I’m not an impartial observer in this matter. Ann became a member of our group following the family tragedy and I’ve still got photos of her – a young lady in red – and other teenagers bringing a little sparkle into the lives of residents of a fold for senior citizens. Two other girls present that evening were daughters of former elected representatives from different parties in the Nationalist family. One of the boys subsequently became Ireland Young Citizen for his contribution to the group.

  • Mick Fealty

    Cynic2,

    It;s not that they cannot face the truth, there is an implicit agreement that, by tacit or explicit agreement, none of them will have to.

    Thus Gerry gets a respectable request in for the British files whilst appointing a spad who will certainly have information regarding her fellow members of that squad.

    This is the foundation of the Peace Process lads and lasses. But we don’t all have to pretend it is not a two way arrangement, do we tacapall?

  • tacapall

    No we dont mick thats for those who agreed it, but at what cost, to save their own positions. Everything should come out into the open – EVERYTHING – by everybody, there is no hierarchy of wrong doings, those that pulled the strings are just as guilty as those that pulled the trigger.

  • Mick, there have been and continue to be side-deals in the political process that some parties, never mind the public, have not been privy to.

    I believe the McArdle appointment flies in the face of what the electorate signed up to in the 1998 referendum:

    “1. We, the participants in the multi-party negotiations, believe that the agreement we have negotiated offers a truly historic opportunity for a new beginning.

    2. The tragedies of the past have left a deep and profoundly regrettable legacy of suffering. We must never forget those who have died or been injured, and their families. But we can best honour them through a fresh start, in which we firmly dedicate ourselves to the achievement of reconciliation, tolerance, and mutual trust, and to the protection and vindication of the human rights of all.

    3. We are committed to partnership, equality and mutual respect as the basis of relationships within Northern Ireland, between North and South, and between these islands.”

    This callous calculated decision adds to the suffering of victims and is a negation of the promise to protect and vindicate the human rights of all.

  • Mark

    Mick ,

    What do you mean when you say ” whilst appointing a spad ( Mary McArdle ) who will certainly have information regarding her fellow members of that squad ”

    Are you implying Mary McArdle is now going to share that information or it’s a reward for not sharing the information ?

    Genuinely interested in your reply ……

  • Cynic2

    tacapall

    Ah yes ‘people like me’ again. Oh well, that beats any sort of argument I suppose.

    As for your link to the Mail – it was a guard for a bunch of diplomats trying to establish links with the rebels, not an invasion as you suggest. And the Libyans being killed by air strikes are very few and far between but even so, would you prefer no air strikes at all and let the rebels and their tribes (for its a tribal conflict too) be destroyed?

    Should you or should you not act to stop genocide in these circumstances?

  • Mick Fealty

    Mark, I’m not suggesting either of those things. I’m suggesting Ms McArdle would be privy to those matters mentioned above but will not be asked any questions regarding them.

    That is the default position. Why do you imagine it would require some kind of special deal?

  • tacapall

    “As for your link to the Mail – it was a guard for a bunch of diplomats trying to establish links with the rebels”

    Maybe you didn’t read the article I give the links to –

    “Embattled Foreign Secretary William Hague was accused of ‘serial bungling’ after the Special Forces and an MI6 spy were captured and detained by a bunch of Libyan farmhands”.

    “And the Libyans being killed by air strikes are very few and far between but even so would you prefer no air strikes at all and let the rebels and their tribes (for its a tribal conflict too) be destroyed?

    Oh are these the same bombs and strategic targetting that they also used in Iraq where so far over a million Iraqi civilians have been murdered and I remember shocking scenes a few years back when one tribe with machetes and cudgels beat and hacked to death, men woman and children, done while nato soldiers stood by and filmed by newsreporters who were also present and shown around the world is that not genocide is that not worthy of invasion, blanket bombing, or is it just that they have no oil or worthwhile resources that can be exploited.

  • Mark

    So because she is now a spad , she won’t be asked any questions about her squad …. is that it ? Why would she be asked in the first place ….

  • granni trixie

    Nevin: would the group you refer to be The Cross Group, a self support group which was ahead of victims and survivors org. of the 90s?
    (but ofcourse dont say if you think it best not to).

  • Mick Fealty

    Mark. Read my last paragraph.

    We have as much chance of getting the truth frm the British as we do from the IRA. It’s just no one asks the IRA as we know the answer will be the same as the British gave Enda Kenny.

  • granni trixie, our inter-schools group had the quaint title, “Junior Council of Social Service“. The founder of the Cross Group would know who I am and would most likely have met members of our group down through the years; we met in Corrymeela. There’s a very sad parallel with the Travers tragedy.

  • “This is the foundation of the Peace Process lads and lasses.”

    Mick, I think you’re taking too pessimistic a view. We know side-deals were done but reflect on these words of Edmund Burke:

    [Burke] wrote in Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents that “when bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”

    We must not despair, we must do what little we can to improve governance; it’s the least we can do for the victims and their families. Some years back I referred to a planning service that was rotten to the core. It seems I was only touching the tip of the midden.

  • Mick Fealty

    Im a fan of Burke’s, but pity was no part of the agreements heretofore.

  • I disagree, Mick, there’s a strong element of compassion in this Agreement reference:

    “The achievement of a peaceful and just society would be the true memorial to the victims of violence.”

    and the signatories signed up to this:

    “2 The tragedies of the past have left a deep and profoundly regrettable legacy of suffering. We must never forget those who have died or been injured, and their families. But we can best honour them through a fresh start, in which we firmly dedicate ourselves to the achievement of reconciliation, tolerance, and mutual trust, and to the protection and vindication of the human rights of all.

    3. We are committed to partnership, equality and mutual respect as the basis of relationships within Northern Ireland, between North and South, and between these islands.”

    I don’t think it’s too big an ask to invite the signatories to step up to the mark.

  • Mark

    Mick ,

    You could include the Irish Govt as well . Does anyone think Judge Smithwick will name names ? . The clamour for that inquiry started when David Trimble read Toby Harden’s book . You could say the same for the King Rat’s inquiry . We’ll never know !!

  • Mick Fealty

    Nevin,

    With the greatest respect to yourself and to all those so grievously hurt in this tragic incident, none of that places any binding obligations on any of the parties.

    As others have noted the appointing of old soldiers is a long established theme. There is simply no grounds or precedent for asking SF to rescind such an appointment.

  • perseus

    Mick,
    dya think you could update sluggers with:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-13564778
    or maybe a new thread , seems to be snowballing this story

  • “none of that places any binding obligations on any of the parties.”

    Mick, I don’t think anyone imagines that the Alliance Party ‘old soldiers’ have such a callous disregard for the lives of their fellow human beings – or continue in their bad old ways.

    All of this makes a complete mockery of the letter and spirit of the Agreement that I voted in favour of back in 1998. I’m not particularly surprised at the outcome; just more than a little disappointed that more folks aren’t encouraged by those fine words of Edmund Burke. I was very fortunate to have Ray Davey, founder of the Corrymeela Community, as a role model; I have no obligations to the thugs, bullies and others who treat decent people and democracy with contempt.