Clearing up the social mess created by the #ShinnersList is only a first stage…

So one thing the revelation of the #ShinnersList might do is to reset public discussion over policing and justice to something a little saner than heretofore [travel in hope rather than expectation, eh? – Ed].

One problem Unionist politicians have been bombarded with for years is the idea put to them repeatedly by Loyalists that Republicans had some kind of amnesty in their back pockets whilst they, plainly it now seems, had none. [Wonder who told them that? – Ed]

No, no they were assured there was no such thing.

Well today, Gerry Kelly was at pains to tell everyone that those pieces of paper he has been postmastering for the last while do not amount to an amnesty.

Now the DUP members of the Policing Board along with the single UUP member, are using the opportunity of the current ‘crisis’ to call an Extraordinary meeting. Jonathan Craig MLA, DUP Group Leader on the Policing Board laid out these questions:

It is essential to the restoration of public confidence that the PSNI detail fully just what the nature of their involvement in this scheme has been.

Furthermore, it is essential, in the context of devolution of policing and justice powers that we establish under whose authority the PSNI were party to this administrative scheme?

If not the Justice Minister or the Policing Board, just who were the police reporting to on these matters? Furthermore, why were they taking part in a scheme which has no mandate from Parliament nor legislative underpinning?

Dolores Kelly has some questions of her own too:

I have a number of questions for the Chief Constable regarding the On the Runs scheme, including asking, under what classification is the OTRs information retained? Is it categorized as ‘National Security’? If not, why was the Policing Board not informed of this scheme – with the specific details – not simply a reference in a briefing by the Assistant Chief Constable?

“I will also be taking the opportunity to ask Matt Baggott how many letters were served to OTRs which informed them that they were still being sought for questioning in relation to past atrocities, and is he now satisfied that all the other individuals who were given letters were not wanted for offences at the time?

It’s long past time for some clarity on these and other issues. But the hard truth is that politicians as members of the Policing Board have been remarkably slow to support the police, especially when it comes to choosing between their voters and their police force.

Sorting the mess created by this secret administrative deal can only be the first stage. Northern Ireland has had enough empty grandstanding, whether it be suing the Chief Constable, or defending the egregious behaviour of paramilitaries and rioters.

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  • tacapall

    “To obtain power it is essential to ignore the moral laws of man and god; that promises must be made only with the intention to deceive and to mislead others to sacrifice their own interests; that friends or allies must be betrayed as matter of course as soon as they have served their purpose”

    Perfedious Albion at its best keeping the Ulster pot stirring. I wasn’t surprised when watching the news today there were no unionist politicians who usually suck on the lifeblood of IRA victims families falling over themselves to help or support those Ballymurphy families whose loved ones were shot to death by members of the British army. They had a chance to take the ground from under the Shinners feet but decided to stick with tradition and ignore the rights of nationalist victims, where now for these victims, is there a unionist politician out there with a backbone or integrity who can see above the bigotry and hatred and stand four square behind all victims.

  • aquifer

    “members of the Policing Board have been remarkably slow to support the police”

    Many members of the board have built political careers advocating disruptive or even criminal behaviour, with the police getting in their way, so where is the surprise?

    In local politics, as in jail, there are lots of free lunches.