UPDATED #ShinnersList not a secret and not an amnesty…

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 00.46.38So, the #ShinnersList is real, legal but not an enforceable amnesty…

The police had realised they had made a mistake, but the assurance to the County Donegal man was never withdrawn.

“Nothing in law or logic” explained their failure to rectify the error, Lady Justice Hallett said.

“The administrative scheme was kept ‘below the radar’ due to its political sensitivity, but it would be wrong to characterise the scheme as ‘secret’,” she said.

She added: “If there was a lack of clarity and openness, responsibility lies with the UK government.”

Adds: UTV report, with some telling detail…

The Hallett report noted: “The fact that Mr Justice Sweeney stayed the case against Mr Downey as an abuse of process does not mean that any future prosecution of another individual who was sent a similar letter would necessarily amount to an abuse of process.

“Each case will turn on its own facts.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 10.41.36However, Mr Robinson said that the letters could act as “get-out-of-jail-free cards” in the future.

“It has the potential of being a get-out-of-jail card for the two that Lady Justice Hallett refers to as being ‘in error’. It has the potential of being a get-out-of-jail-free card for the others who were not given the caveat that was entered in some of the personal letters that were sent out,” he said.

“And indeed it has the potential of being a get-out-of-jail-free card for anyone who has received a letter, because no one knows whether it would amount to an abuse of process application being accepted by a future judge.”

Staying a case, of course, is not quite the same as saying there are no grounds for prosecution…


  • Morpheus

    Well I never…

    I look forward to Brian Rowan’s take in the coming days because he has been talking about this – who knew what and when – for years…literally:


    So we had this song and dance for what exactly?

    Let’s remind ourselves what our illustrious leader had to say when he threatened to ‘resign’


    Roll on Jonathan Powell’s testimony


    Peter Robinson and The DUP making a laughing stock of themselves again…

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I haven’t read the full report yet, just heard news headlines – sounds like a very convenient judgment for Westminster politicians and a let-down for victims again. Struggling to get my head around the idea that she accepts the government gave misleading information in response to parliamentary questions, did not inform the relevant political leaders or the Northern Ireland public about what it was doing, yet somehow this was not illegal. Are governments really allowed to do that? Maybe they are … I look forward to delving into this further. Lots of unanswered questions.

  • Morpheus

    The whole thing was pretty straightforward from the start but it was made into something it never was. The thing that needs to remembered in all this OTR ‘saga’ is that under Article 3 of the ECHR and Human Rights Act all persons have a legal right upon request to be informed if police require them for questioning – the unionist politicians knowing about the scheme, asking the right questions etc is irrelevant. When the dust settles 200-ish people exercised their right and got a response which included a warning that if new evidence came to light they would be prosecuted…just like anyone else.

    What is playing out now is nothing more than a DUP pantomime, allowed to take the stage for a while as a bone thrown to them by Cameron in exchange for their support in the next Westminster Election.

    When it comes to Downey then you are right, the victims were let down again. If he was wanted then extradition proceedings should have been in place then Downey would have been in no doubt that he was wanted. Plus the mistakes should have been rectified when they became clear. Everything should have been by the book but sadly wasn’t.

    The letters were never amnesty, they were never GOOJF cards, they were never immunity and it is blindingly clear that it was in the public domain for years…read the Brian Rowan reports dating back well over a decade.

    What she said today was said months ago.

    What will be convenient however is if Jonathan Powell isn’t called to the inquest to prove that the DUP knew all along

  • Cal Murray

    “If he was wanted then extradition proceedings should have been in place
    then Downey would have been in no doubt that he was wanted”

    Extradition was considered 2/3 times in the late 80’s/early 90’s and rejected each time by the Home Office due to a lack of evidence.

    In 1987, Gilbert “Danny” McNamee was convicted on the strenght of secret intelligent evidence of making the Hyde Park bomb and jailed for 25 years . He served 12 years before being released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement; his conviction was later quashed. In 2013,

    It’s fair to presume that the same corrupt grubby and shabby legal practices were also intended to be used on Downey, fortunately he was out of reach unlike poor McNamee

  • gendjinn

    Oh look Mick. It’s exactly what Morpheus said it was all along. And the complete opposite of what you tried to make it into.

    Just another instance your overwhelming obsession with SF & Adams leading you to self-deception. You have heard the one about the boy who cried wolf, right?

  • Morpheus

    How funny would it be if UTV footage was found showing Mike Nesbitt talking to Barney Rowan about this when he was writing about it over a decade ago


  • Sergiogiorgio

    MLU – maybe it’s volte face for Unionists and they start fighting the British government and leave the Nationalist “scourge” in peace. Or maybe you were sold another pup by the ever faithful DUP. I feel for you mate – crap on all sides.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I have to say personally I don’t care that much about the Downey case individually, it’s the wider corrupting of the democratic process that’s the problem. The fact that the Minister for Justice and First Minister didn’t know about this scheme says it all – and yet leading SF people did. The judge, possibly because of her terms of reference, has not resolved the central issues in this.

    For example, the BBC report on this says she had “detected no sinister motive in the failure to notify the minister for justice, the first minister and the Policing Board of the scheme”. Ahem. She goes on: “The hope seems to have been that the scheme could be brought quietly to a close without generating the kind of controversy we have seen in recent months. Whether that was a wise policy is for others to decide.” Well, I would have said it was for her to comment on surely?

    And how about this for an unresolved contradiction, from the BBC report: “Lady Justice Hallett’s report found the administrative scheme was kept ‘below the radar’ due to its political sensitivity, but said it would be wrong to characterise the scheme as “secret”.” Why? She says people following events closely should have known. And yet none of us knew and more to the point, the Alliance Minister for Justice didn’t know – a fact she admits. Again, I haven’t seen her full wording, but what I’m hearing from press reports sounds sloppy in the extreme.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Yes that would be funny. Except that Nesbitt clearly didn’t know about the scheme either. Can you point to the bit that you think shows Nesbitt knew?

    I’ve read a lot of Brian Rowan and I’ve read him on this – and his conclusions that people knew or should have known do not follow from the facts he adduces. Those facts are consistent though with the emerging picture – emerging now, finally, but not quite there yet – of occasional vague references emanating from officials or senior police people about the government taking a few piecemeal actions in relation to OTRs. Ergo says Rowan, everyone knew about the scheme. Well, not so fast. Unionist representatives had concerns there was something going on – but they clearly did not know what it was. I’m yet to see any evidence a unionist politician knew of this SF-government arrangement, though it may well be they feared it was happening. To blame unionists for that is absurd. They did not know because, as the Hallett report has confirmed, the government deliberately kept it under the radar. And when questioned directly in parliament about it, ministers obfuscated (utterly disgracefully).

    We were all told when this first came out, by Dennis Bradley and others, that representatives had been told via a Policing Board meeting – that was, until we saw the minutes, which showed no such thing.

    The truth is, as the report now shows, neither the public nor our representatives nor our ministers at Stormont were ever informed about this scheme in any kind of a clear way. And we know the reason why – the government wanted to hide it because if unionists got to know about it, it might bring the peace process down. Now that is at odds with what Rowan is saying – and he has no explanation for why the government was keeping this below the radar or avoiding answering direct questions about it. If he’s right and unionists all knew about it, the government should have been quite relaxed about it. Is he saying the government was worried in case unionists find out something we already knew? Think again Brian.

    Of course one group of local politicians did know: SF. They didn’t tell their partners in government either though. Not that you expect any kind of normal standards of behaviour from them anyway, but still.

    This remains a scandal of the most serious proportions. It seems there was serious misconduct in public office and we now need full accountability, including prosecutions of the politicians and/or officials involved.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    A bit of a misunderstanding of unionists if you think we feel obliged to agree with the government of the day. Why would we?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Why are you not outraged by this? I really don’t get why you think it’s OK.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    The government of the day and every other that has followed. Time to move on. It’s history.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Really? Have you read what it says? I think not .. 🙂

    The report vindicates Mick’s position entirely.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Exactly … I think. Not quite sure what point you’re trying to make there

  • gendjinn

    Perhaps a better memory for you?

    Mick insisted it was an amnesty & secret. He was wrong & Morpheus was right all along.

  • Morpheus


    You insist on trying to make this issue into something it never was.

    As has been explained over and over again, we all have the legal right to ask if we are wanted by the police for questioning and the police must respond in order to comply – it’s right there in the Article 3 of the ECHR and Human Rights Act. In total 228 people made such a request and a breakdown can be found here:


    The police had no choice, they had to tell these people if they were wanted or not so they investigated, the responses were given and in 85% of the cases those who asked were not wanted – probably as ACC Drew Harris pointed “it was very good of all these people to put their hands up to crimes that we have never heard of and people we had never been aware of as well.”

    The issue in the Downey case was that (at that time) one letter was issued in mistake. A man who was wanted was told that he wasn’t and entered the jurisdiction on the belief that he wasn’t wanted and subsequently arrested and put on trial. Again, because of a litany of mistakes the Judge had no choice but to call an abuse of process and he walked. NOT because he had amnesty, NOT because he had immunity, NOT because he had a GOOJF card or any other myth that has been peddled in the past 6 months or so.

    This is where the victims comes into play – they were let down by the people we pay large amounts of money to get these things right and ensure the process is ‘by the book’ to ensure those found guilty don’t walk on a technicality. I have no idea if Downey is guilty or not – frankly I had never even heard of the man until this came out – but the problem is if the Judge allowed the case to continue and he was found guilty he would have walked on a technicality which would have been much, much worse on the victims.

    Why the mistakes were never fixed when they had the chance we don’t know and why extradition proceedings were not in place when he was clearly wanted for such a heinous crime we don’t know.

    Also as has been pointed out again and again, it was not just a Shinner list – Republicans, Loyalists, The British Government, The Irish Government and The NI Prison Service were offered the scheme


    As for Brian Rowan’s analysis then I think it clearly stands for itself. You can choose to ignore all the media reports dating back more than a decade, you can choose to ignore the PB minutes and you can chose to ignore the unionist politicians and PB members who said they were briefed about the scheme and you can draw your own conclusions about why other Unionist politicians – one of whom a barrister – upon hearing the ‘revelations’ about the scheme at the PB meeting didn’t ask for any questions whatsoever. I’ll do the same

    I for one can’t wait to see Jonathan Powell take the stand on September 8th so he make make his ‘revelation’ that the DUP knew all along then the subsequent court case when they sue him to clear their names – they will sue him right?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I didn’t say anything about amnesties or GOOJF cards – that’s not the big issue; nor is the Downey case itself, though it’s obviously a cock-up. This is such a big deal because:

    (1) there was never any agreement between parties on the content of what the policy towards OTRs should have been. It doesn’t matter whether the Operation Rapid scheme was good or bad, the point is it wasn’t an agreed way forward

    (2) how the scheme was hidden from the view of elected politicians. You say Rowan’s analysis stands for itself but I’ve already pointed out its flaws and non-sequiturs. In short, nowhere does he show that anyone from the government disclosed to unionist – or Alliance or SDLP – politicians what was going on. Indeed, we now know from Hallett LJ, Peter Hain specifically asked that it be kept “below the radar” – and it was. You refer to media reports – so the public all knew too, did we? You refer to the Policing Board – well I read those minutes and they discussed the issue only elliptically, not not reveal the scheme and sent out a summary message of ‘nothing has changed’. There was no revelation in there. You refer to politicians and board members saying they were briefed about the scheme – I recall Dennis Bradley who has skin in the game saying he was briefed but again the minutes show that if he was, it wasn’t at the policing board meeting. I haven’t heard any unionist politician saying he/she was briefed. On asking questions, well, how about this one: Lady Sylvia Hermon MP asked Peter Hain in early 2007 “what measures the Government are considering to deal with on the runs other than further legislation or an amnesty”. To quote the News Letter report on this, “in a response on May 1, 2007 — months after the setting up of Operation Rapid — Mr Hain said: “None. As I explained in my previous answer to the hon. Member for North Down, the Government continue to accept that the position of on the runs is an anomaly, and we believe that the anomaly will need to be addressed at some stage. However, the Government do not have any current proposals for doing so.” Full article: http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/regional/hain-told-mps-he-had-no-on-the-runs-proposals-three-months-after-scheme-began-1-5908607

    Quite sure you still want to blame unionists for not knowing?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Can I add, in many countries Hain would be facing jail for lying in answer to an MP’s question. He acted disgracefully and seems to have lost sight of his ethics, duty to the public and duty to the truth, not to mention the Ministerial Code. But other SoS’s have also known about the scheme, realised they were sitting on a cover-up against elected representatives, but let it continue. They are also guilty.

    This is about as bad a political scandal as it gets. Villiers should resign and Hain, Woodward and Patterson should apologise fully and play no further part in public life. They have been involved in a huge lie to cover up a private deal behind the backs of the public and our representatives, failing utterly in their duty to victims and to the wider public.

    But of course the real GOOJF card is theirs. As Kate Hoey MP noted in the NI Select Committee, the attitude was and is, when it comes to Northern Ireland, “the ends justify the means.” They all cry “peace process” and we are supposed to let them away with whatever is done in its name. These kind of deals make what is negotiated between the parties meaningless and makes you wonder, why bother? The government seems to think deals with the terrorists are more important than its duties to the public. But this time we need to draw the line and stand up for some kind of political integrity. Northern Ireland people, after all we went through in the Troubles, deserve to be treated better than this.

  • Morpheus

    Again, making a mountain out of a molehill.

    The policy towards OTRs is covered by legislation – namely Article 3 of the ECHR and Human Rights Act. Even if we were to believe for a second all this faux-outrage about the scheme, which I don’t – do you think the unionist politicians would have said:

    “No, bollocks to the legislation, these people should not be told what their status is. Make it so.”


    It was an administrative scheme – nothing more and nothing less and it only reached the headlines because a mistake was made, a very costly mistake. The hands of the police were tied, they had no choice when it came to the OTRs, people requested their status and they had to get it, that’s it, case closed.

    Ample evidence has already been supplied in the numerous #”Shinner”List threads on here regarding the Unionist politicians who openly admit they knew about the scheme – Basil McCrea and Trevor Ringland spring to mind – so I suggest a gander at those. But start with this:


    I also recommend a re-read of the policing board minutes, who was present and what questions were (and were not) asked and looking in more detail at:
    1. Brian Rowan’s analysis dating back more than a decade or
    2. the 30 pages of evidence mentioned in the report yesterday.

    Regardless, the message seems to be that despite the reams and reams of evidence to show that this scheme was not secret and in the public domain – as I said, 30 pages of evidence in Lady Justice Hallett’s report – the DUP/UUP politicians say they didn’t know. If they want to cover their incompetence by pleading ignorance then that’s their call, all it is doing is highlighting it….30 pages man, c’mon.

    Out of curiosity, when Jonathan Powell, the Government’s Chief of Staff at the time does confirm what he has already said – ie. that the DUP knew from day one – are we simply to dismiss it because he isn’t saying what you want to hear? If he is lying then we will see steps by the DUP to clear their name, surely?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I’ll let Mick reply on the amnesty point – especially as I find navigating around old comments tricky with this Disqus thing. But on “secret”, we may be splitting hairs here. The judge would not use the word “secret” for technical reasons, because it has a very narrow legal meaning in this context, but what she described happening fits the dictionary definition of “secret” (i.e. “something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others”). This is why the BBC’s Chris Buckler and others were so vexed by it. When is keeping something “under the radar” not keeping it secret? The good LJ stretches language a little there I think.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Looked once again at the Policing Board minutes – and I’m afraid they don’t reveal what is claimed. They talk about the police carrying out an ongoing process for resolving cases of OTRs, but when it is described, it consists of the police doing evidence checks on what they have on people then making decisions whether they have enough to pass something onto the DPP yet for prosecution. They say nothing at all about Operation Rapid (which might have promoted questions as to what it was), nor about letters going to people to tell them they won’t be pursued. From what the Board was told, it sounded like business as usual – the police checking up on suspects they are made aware of in the usual way and seeing whom they could prosecute. So it was the truth, but not the whole truth – not by a long chalk.

    On Rowan’s analysis, see my earlier posts, He’s being wise after the event here, because there’s nothing there about the letters. Clearly the OTR is being kicked around but as we thought, his stuff shows no clear resolution to it. Certainly there’s nothing about unionists knowing about the OTR letters or Operation Rapid.

    When it comes to Powell, let’s see. We’ve already had people like Dennis Bradley and Basil McCrea claiming they knew (it seems, to score points against the DUP) when I can’t find any record of them being told. Bradley may have known through SF connections, but that doesn’t mean everyone should have known. We don’t all have an inside track on that stuff and nor do our representatives. And when Bradley pointed to the supposed smoking gun of the Policing Board minutes, it turns out it’s a red herring.

    Further, if people like McCrea really knew the full deal, why didn’t he tell anyone? He seems to be getting off very lightly here.

    And I come back to the parliamentary question of Sylvia Hermon to Peter Hain in 2007 in which he denied anything was happening in regard to OTRs though it was an issue that needed to be resolved – a month after he had ordered the letter scheme.

    I don’t doubt some politicians involved were guessing there might be something like this going on – or may even have had the likes of Powell muttering something off the record to them about it – but that doesn’t mean they actually knew, or that this scheme was properly publicised. Nothing was put in writing, nothing was published, broadcast.

    I will try and find this stuff you refer to that is supposed to be on the public record – I’ve tried looking for it and can’t find it – and that’s now with me consciously looking for it. No one on Slugger was talking about it either.

    The judge has confirmed the scheme was deliberately kept “below the radar”. It’s really not a mystery why people didn’t know. Why all the focus on the DUP’s supposed knowledge levels here anyway?! Is that really the main issue when the government has been caught doing a cover-up? Meanwhile the government gets off the hook. Stand up for yourselves, don’t let them.

  • Morpheus

    Let me get this straight…we have politicians, including unionist politicians, confirming they knew about the scheme, The British Government confirming they knew about the scheme, the Irish Government confirming they knew about the scheme, the NI Prison Service confirming they knew about the scheme, Republicans confirming they knew about the scheme, Loyalists confirming they knew about the scheme, the scheme being talked about in Eames Bradley, the scheme being talked about at the Policing Board, The Government’s Chief of Staff confirming that the DUP knew about the scheme, 30 pages of evidence from Lady Justice Hallett showing that the scheme was in the public domain plus the media talking about it for over a decade in so much detail that they were able to give exact numbers and it’s STILL not enough? That takes head-in-sand syndrome to a whole new level don’t you think? If they are genuine in that they didn’t know – and to me that holds no water whatsoever – then we are talking incompetence on a mahoosive scale but since Jonathan Powell will confirm that the DUP knew all along that point is moot.

    I feel for The Justice Minister, I really do. He, nor his party, were not at the Policing Board meeting and his underlings in the Prison Service not only knew about the scheme but used it over a dozen times. He should have had a dedicated meeting about this and the SoS has since apologized. PR got in on that apology but Powell’s revelations show that it was unwarranted, he knew from the off.

    Did you or I know about Operation Rapid? No. But how many police operations do you know the inner machinations of? We pay people large sums of money to know this stuff and take care of it for us so we can get on with raising our families and paying our mortgages. What we can do however is look at it now and see that it was an administrative scheme that the police simply had to undertake – nothing more, nothing less. It was not the resigning issue Peter Robinson made it out to be (and FYI, neither is a contentious parade) It was not the amnesty that it made it out to be. It was not the immunity that the it was made out to be and it was not the GOOJF cards it was made it out to be. It was an administrative scheme blown out of all proportion in time for the Local and European elections to gain political capital.

  • ranger1640

    So we have sinn fein/ira who negotiating as it turned out not such a secret deal, but what exactly did they get in this not so secret deal??? As far as I can see what they got in reality was a second chance to make victims, of their victims again. This is sinn fein/ira’s, Ireland of equals, were the there is a promise to cherish “all the children of the nation equally”. All those apart from those who were the off spring of Ulster Protestants or Unionists. Or those of the Roman Catholic community who’s parents or the sole parent, got in the way of sinn fein/ira while they where carrying out their terror, or who were seen to be offering comfort to an injured human being.

    As far as I can see it they got a deal that stated the status quo, of the on the runs, so to speak at that time. In so much that they were not wanted as the case maybe, but if new evidence comes up they are liable for arrest. This is it in a nut shell as I see it.

    Apart from the 3 letters which contained mistakes of which John Downey got 1, and got a get out of goal card regarding the Hyde park murders, but he could yet face charges on other murders. The other 2 are being re-investigated, with the likely hood as they have not been tested in court will be rescinded. So a hollow victory.

    Just what did the shinners/provos achieve for the bhoys and girls???? Yes they did get a wee bit of a propaganda coup for their sycophant electorate and supporters, but for the provo bhoys and girls what they got was. No changes until the psni get further evidence then we are coming after you. So it amounts to a whole lot of nothing really.

    Those with blood on their hands so to speak, apart from the murderers in the sinn fein/ira. And those in sinn fein/ira who squeaked out of the High court in London. Are the psni, and their institutionalized ineptness. But knowing the psni as we do, no heads will roll, they are far to spineless for that.

    The sight of republicans on here gloating and the leadership of sinn fein/ira taking delight in the knowledge that they got a home run with John Downey, is distasteful to say the lest, and another insight into the republican mindset.

    They even quote Article 3 of the ECHR and Human Rights Act, as if that will bring comfort to the victims, this is yet again more evidence if more was ever needed that republicans don’t see sinn fein/ira victims as real victims, even child victims they are just so much collateral damage to be discarded and their relatives ignored. The sinn fien/ira victim makers are there to be praise and revered, with Roman Catholic masses and with shrines on Roman Catholic property the length and breadth of the island of Ireland. Chuckie are da.

  • Comrade Stalin

    This is about as bad a political scandal as it gets

    Are you sure you’re not overcooking this ? I mean, Iraq ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mr Hain said: “None. As I explained in my previous answer to the hon. Member for North Down, the Government continue to accept that the position of on the runs is an anomaly, and we believe that the anomaly will need to be addressed at some stage. However, the Government do not have any current proposals for doing so.

    Yes, and this is not, technically, a lie (although it could be construed as being misleading).

    The “administrative scheme” did nothing to actually effect the position of OTRs (except unintentionally in the Downey case). People who were not wanted for questioning are, from the government’s point of view, not “on the run”. The people who are wanted for questioning remain liable to arrest if they enter the jurisdiction. That doesn’t change.

    It’s wrong that the scheme was set up and agreed behind closed doors. One of the many corners that were cut as part of delivering on the promise of the peace process.

    Quite sure you still want to blame unionists for not knowing?

    One of the SDLP MPs claimed, and I suspect he was telling the truth, that the DUP made it clear to the government that they could implement whatever scheme they felt necessary concerning OTRs as long as the DUP could hang the blame on the UUP, and this included the government’s 2006 Bill to implement a full amnesty. If this is the case then the DUP could stand accused of averting their case and credibly claiming to have been kept in the dark.

  • Morpheus

    I’ll ignore all the boring claptrap – and I do mean claptrap…”The sinn fien/ira victim makers are there to be praise and revered, with Roman Catholic masses and with shrines on Roman Catholic property the length and breadth of the island of Ireland”…I mean, c’mon man, seriously catch a grip, it’s 2014 ffs – and agree with you.

    What exactly did the Shinners get out out of this? Because it was just an administrative scheme the answer would have been feck all if it had not been for the all too predictable, inept response from political unionism.

    “Incandescent with rage” – of course you were sweetpea.

    “As far as I can see it they got a deal that stated the status quo, of the on the runs, so to speak at that time. In so much that they were not wanted as the case maybe, but if new evidence comes up they are liable for arrest. This is it in a nut shell as I see it.”

    That is it in a nutshell, well done you. So how idiotic does that make the whole ‘rescind them or else’ rubbish look? Rescind a statement of fact from a certain period of time – how do they do that exactly??? 🙂

    85% of those who got a letter weren’t even wanted for questioning – on the run, away from their homes and families and for what? All they did was ensure that they are on a watchlist for the rest of their days. 🙂

    I’ll assume you are talking about me when you are talking about ECHR etc. because it was me who introduced it to the thread. It may shock you but I would not describe myself as a Republican, I detest the IRA and what they did and proudly voted Alliance at the last elections so I don’t know what that does to your rhetoric. My guess is make it totally pointless 🙂

  • ranger1640

    I can’t send the link to the Clonard mass on the sinn fein/ira youtube page, they removed the Clonard mass from their youtube page after a few days. It was good to see Belfast’s first citizen there, in his official capacity, of Unionist outreach. There was another former sinn fein/ira Lord mayor there. You know the one who refused to give a young (fourteen year old) female cadet her Duke of Edinburgh award certificate. No doubt he was very comfortable at the mass, and made sure he did not offend anyone there.

    Here is a tweet from sinn fein/ira, 18th April, Clonard monastery “A Mass was held in Belfast to remember those who died to achieve Irish freedom”
    Here is a tweet from a sinn fein/ira politician
    And one here from the sinn fein/ira AnPhoblachtAbu.

    The IRA shrine in Milltown cemetery which is part of a paramilitary display every year, is named “the county Antrim memorial”.

    The shrine contains the names of dead IRA personnel. Just to give you a flavor of who is revered on this IRA shrine. Thomas “Boootsy” Begley, who according to the IRA shrine died on active service!!! What is not written and doesn’t say is, he is a child killer and a mass murderer. But that would spoil the look of the IRA shrine in Milltown cemetery.

    You can try and deny whatever you want, but there was a mass to celibate IRA terrorists, and the shrine in the clip is just one example of many in Roman Catholic graveyards up and down the length and breath of the island of Ireland. To all shades of Irish republican terror, the IRA, INLA and the other republican terror organizations.
    At which republicans parade to and hold paramilitary displays every year, and not a word of descension from the leaders of the Roman Catholic church. Is this evidence of Protestant outreach.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Very similar to Iraq in terms of the political misdemeanour – though obviously not comparable in terms of the effects.

    If anything this is worse than the dodgy dossier in terms of the misconduct of the ministers involved. With the dodgy dossier, they seem to have honestly, if overly optimistically, believed the intelligence on 45 minutes. They shared the key information they had and made a case as to what they thought it meant, for others to follow or not follow. They did wrongly emphasise facts and I think were misleading about the reliability of sources. But with Hain here, there seems to have been a deliberate attempt to mislead through giving partial information and not revealing important information he had and which MPs were seeking. I accept the little he said was true as far as it went; but it was the omission that renders the overall response dishonest, taken as a whole. The omission has the same effect as a wrong fact – he did not give a proper, accurate answer to the question but sought to appear to answer it, presumably to prevent further questions being asked. “Misleading” is a kind way of putting it. “Deceitful” would be an equally accurate description.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I think it’s on another thread but I quoted the relevant paragraphs. The judge found politicians were not told about the scheme. She was heavily critical of Peter Hain’s answers about it in parliament. And she says while some journalists seemed moderately informed about it and there was material out there about it, no one reported the letters and the overall story was only pieced together with the benefit of hindsight.

    I presume you have some motivation of your own for choosing this occasion to defend an Establishment cover-up. Anything to do with not liking unionist politicians? Because you take quite a different line from the judge, who exonerates the politicians who it was claimed should have known. She distinguishes between the issue of OTRs in its generality, which was known about and people don’t deny that, and the separate issue of this particular scheme involving sending out letters – which the report makes clear the government did not make known.