Judge Smithwick: “I therefore anticipate that I will be able to submit my final report by the end of May 2012.”

Having expressed his concern at the 30 November ‘deadline’ initially imposed by the Irish Government, Judge Peter Smithwick has now formally requested a 6 month extension for the tribunal he chairs.  From the Irish Times report

The tribunal, now six years in existence, began its public hearings only in June this year. Judge Smithwick stated in his letter that since the public hearings had begun, a number of people previously unknown to the tribunal had come forward with potentially important information, which needed to be investigated.

One important line of inquiry had emerged and public evidence had also raised new matters that required further investigation.

The chairman said he now forecast public hearings would conclude at the end of December at the latest. He would also need to allow a period of 28 days after that for parties to file written submissions.

His writing of the report would be greatly speeded up with the support of a junior counsel familiar with the case. “I estimate that it will take approximately three months to write my report,” he said, adding that printing, editing and proof-reading would take a further month.

“I therefore anticipate that I will be able to submit my final report by the end of May 2012.”

Whether that “further investigation” includes questioning Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, MP, MLA – about the Provisional IRA ambushing and killing of Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan in 1989 that he says he has “no direct knowledge of the circumstances surrounding” – is unclear.

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Alias

    It’ll be interesting to see what Smithwick makes of Martin Ingram’s written submission that one in two PIRA members at ‘officer’ level and one in four PIRA members at volunteer level were working for the security agencies of the British state. For some reason, Smithwick wants Ingram to give this testimony in private whereas Ingram is insiting that it be given in public. Why would an Irish judge want to spare the blushes of the British state and possibly lose the testimony of a very important witness by doing so?

    Of course, McGuinness would also be spared any blushes if Ingram doesn’t give his testimony since Ingram identifies him as man who directed the activities of a key British agent who played an intelligence-gathering role in the double murder:

    “The security unit came under the operational command of Northern Command PIRA … and the person in charge of that unit throughout the entire Troubles was PIRA member Mr James Martin McGuinness MP.

    “Mr McGuinness was the operational commander of Mr Scappaticci and directly involved in matters of life and death for persons rightly or indeed wrongly suspected of informing upon PIRA members.

    “Mr McGuinness was also a key player in the long-term strategic strategies used by PIRA and thus was involved in almost all major strategic decisions, political kidnaps, human bombs etc.”

  • ranger1640

    Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!

    Aye Marty.

  • Limerick

    Alias,

    Why would a member of the ‘nutting squad’ be involved in these murders?

  • Nunoftheabove

    “Martin Ingram’s written submission that one in two PIRA members at ‘officer’ level and one in four PIRA members at volunteer level were working for the security agencies of the British state”.

    – Has he put on the record:

    – How he knows this (and produced evidence supporting how we knws it) ? (if not why not ?) ; and

    – Has he named them ? (if not why not ?).

    Perhaps just to simplify – have we any substantial reason for believing any, still less all, of what this guy says ?

  • galloglaigh

    RUC witnesses to the inquiry have questioned Ingram’s credibility. It would seem, he lives in a fantasy world. The security forces were very careful not to expose touts. Unless of course they wanted them dead, but that’s another matter. How would one tout know so much?

  • galloglaigh

    Alias

    Are you suggesting the security forces killed the two RUC men? You seem to believe that the security forces controlled the IRA. I must remember that for the next debate, where you claim the PIRA had no right to start, and follow through, with a ‘sectarian murder campaign’. According to you the security forces were using the PIRA, thus partly responsible for their share of killings over the last forty years.

  • Alias

    Actually, The Guardian article gave the wrong information:

    “The Guardian has learned that the Smithwick tribunal has asked Hurst to give his evidence in private. But Hurst is understood to insist that he will only speak in public about the Breen-Buchanan double murder and the role of state agents in the IRA.

    It is understood Hurst may be considering legal action to challenge the tribunal’s decision. He has an Irish passport, holds Irish citizenship due to marriage and could argue that the ruling to force him to give evidence in camera is a breach of the Republic’s constitution and his right to give evidence openly to a legally constituted inquiry.”

    Instead of Martin Ingram refusing to give his testimony in private and Smithwick refusing to hear it in public as The Guardian claimed, it is actually vice versa:

    “I make this statement of fact June 2011 with the full knowledge this statement can only be used today for the Tribunals private investigative process but not as part of any oral hearing or proceedings in public. I am disappointed that the Tribunal have not thus far been able to persuade HMG to make a full variation to my injunction since well before Christmas 2010. The Tribunal has indicated they want me to be treated in exactly the same way as any other witness is treated, that clearly is not happening and that is disappointing.

    I remain available to assist this Tribunal in its investigations and to provide public evidence in Dublin and make the following statement with as much detail as possible given I might not be able to provide testimony in person. Thank you.”

    Nunoftheabove, Lord Stevens undertook three enquiries into murky underworld of the conflict in Northern Ireland so he knows more than you or do I about how deeply the murder gangs were penetrated. Here is a quote from Lord Stevens about the scale of the British state’s infiltration and control of the murder gangs:

    “We were over there during a period of time in what were very difficult circumstances, physically and mentally, when RUC superintendents would be blown to bits by cars, and we actually had some threats against us. Yes, the rule of law must appertain wherever you are and whatever you are doing, and that rule of law must be absolutely locked into and deal with the processes as they stand at that time. What I am saying is that certainly what we discovered—and some of it may never see the light of day, I don’t know — as we have 100 tonnes of documentation now over there — and that is not a matter for me, it is a matter for other people—is that there has to be a proper, transparent process and there has to be a meeting. There was the RUC, MI5 and the army doing different things. When you talk about intelligence, of the 210 people we arrested, only three were not agents. Some of them were agents for all four of those particular organisations, fighting against each other, doing things and making a large sum of money, which was all against the public interest and creating mayhem in Northern Ireland.”

    He arrested 204 people and only 3 of them were not agents. Now unless you think he arrested every murder gang member in NI, your guess is as good as mine about the percentage of murder gangs members who are agents but surffice to say that it is way higher than is commonly imagined.

    Remember, there were never more than 300 or so PIRA murder gang members at any one time. Lord Stevens wouldn’t know how many were controlled by the intelligence agencies of other states as these states would not reveal the identities of their agents so add in the agents run by Ireland’s G2 and C3 agencies (and pick a number for other states who have covert involvement) and you begin to see the scale of it. The FRU had circa 100 active agents on its books but only 1 of them was a loyalist so the rest were PIRA. Then you have MI5, MI6, SB, et al, all running agents, so you’re looking at at extremely high percentage.

    If anything. Ingram’s estimate that “As a rough guide you should expect 1 in 4 PIRA volunteers to be Agents of one agency or another.” and “As a rough guide you should expect 1 in 2 PIRA officer class to be Agents of one agency or another.” looks like an underestimate…

    “Why would a member of the ‘nutting squad’ be involved in these murders?” – Limerick

    The ISU is more than a ‘nutting squad.’ For example, it has a remit to enquire into all operations carried out by PIRA and it carries out vetting for all new members of PIRA. It’s not exactly a 9 to 5 job with a contract so a British agent would make himself useful in other areas as a means of gaining deeper penetration. Hence Scappaticci was the contact for the Garda mole in Dundalk is alleged to have passed on info about their movements.

  • Alias

    Incidentally, that highly revealing (and curiously ignored) statistic from Lord Stevens that only 3 of the 210 people arrested by the Stevens team “were not agents” can be found here.

    I won’t link to Ingram’s statement to the Tribunal because I’m not sure of its legal status but you can find it on cryptome.org (the only place you’ll find it online).

  • separatesix

    The Smithwick inquiry is a total farce, the Irish government will never admit it’s wrong doing. It was appalling that Ireland were allowed to have the presidency of the E.U. several years ago, before preaching to third world countries about human rights. Eire should put it’s own collusion-filled house in order first.

  • galloglaigh

    separatesix

    The lack of an inquiry into the British state’s involvement in Pat Finucane’s murder is a total farce. The British government will never admit it’s wrong doing. It was appalling that Britain were allowed to have the presidency of the E.U. several years ago, before preaching to third world countries about human rights. British Unionism should put it’s own collusion-filled house in order first.

    That kinda works both ways. The only difference being, that the Irish government stood firm against republicans from either side of the border. The British government, and its security forces, armed, bankrolled, and protected loyalists, ensuring that the Catholic population were in fear of their lives. Keep em down, en keep em insecure!

  • galloglaigh

    The FRU had circa 100 active agents on its books but only 1 of them was a loyalist

    And of course you can substantiate that claim? I’ve read many books, both academic, and non academic, relating to the last forty years in Ireland. I’ve never read that before. I think you talk some shite, but that shite will remain to be shite, until you back it with evidence. You can’t make chicken soup with chicken shite sir!