A process on the past is pointless if there is “no corporate way of verifying”.

There was a lot of whinging about the politicisation of this difficulty (or ‘diff’s in Twitterised ‘unspeak’) over Mairia Cahill’s story, Barney Rowan makes a very important and very real political point over at Eamonn’s place:

What jumped out at me was the line that the IRA had long left the scene and that there is “no corporate way of verifying” if an investigation had been conducted. Am I reading that line correctly? Is that what Adams meant?

That the IRA and its corporate knowledge disappeared in some wave of a magic wand and an order given in 2005?

Is that meant to be a credible explanation? Why not just speak to those who were about at the time, those who were in positions of leadership, those who would still know, those who can still easily be contacted?

And what does “no corporate way of verifying” mean in relation to the wider questions of the past – not just on alleged abuse cases dealt with by the IRA but the bombs and the bullets?

Does it mean that the IRA no longer has to answer in a way that is still expected of others?

Those words “no corporate way of verifying” need to be clarified in relation not just to the Mairia Cahill case but  the many other cases that were part of a bloody and violent past. A process on the past is pointless if there is “no corporate way of verifying”.

And a process on the past will go nowhere if people can’t remember that they were in the IRA and what investigations were or weren’t conducted by that organisation. On the past, the IRA still has to speak and answer for itself if those are the rules expected of others.

There can be no hiding behind a sentence or a position that the IRA has now gone away.

Today (Tuesday) Mairia Cahill tweeted that she welcomed the announcement by the Public Prosecution Service that the handling of her court cases is to be independently reviewed. And that announcement was also welcomed by Sinn Fein.

But with the Executive parties due to discuss the past in all-party talks on Thursday, that line in the Adams Blog should also be considered.

What is meant by “no corporate way of verifying”?

The standard operating procedures used by the party to tamp this story down,  also burns their own ‘professed’ hand at the current political table.  It also leaves the families of those murdered in Ballymurphy, McGurks and other places where state forces are thought to have had some culpability for the deaths of innocent civilians completely adrift.


  • Tacapall

    “Those words “no corporate way of verifying” need to be clarified in
    relation not just to the Mairia Cahill case but the many other cases
    that were part of a bloody and violent past. A process on the past is
    pointless if there is “no corporate way of verifying”.

    Well its really no different than bringing an end to all investigations into historical cases by the state supposedly because there’s simply no money to do so. I have to be honest and say I was 100% behind Mairia when she first went public but now its got to the point where she is in the process of changing Irish history but not for the better, she is being nudged along by others with an agenda thats anti Irish. Everything but the kitchen sink is being thrown at Sinn Fein in order to discredit and demonize them yet as usual the fact that all shades of political unionism, who are conjoined with the PUP who’s military wing the UVF is actively targeting nationalist politicians and republicans for future assassination, this fact is ignored and brushed under the carpet It speaks volumes about what agenda and who’s agenda is being played out here.

  • Michael-Henry Mcivor

    I can’t remember when the last / final IRA ( Provo )- statement was made- I am sure it was a while back- they have as a movement / group went into the night and let Politics be the daylight way forward- they are no more it seems-that’s what I thought anyhow-

    Of course the Police will Question a odd x member or suspected x member from time to time and release them or charge them- see them found guilty or found innocent and released -that’s the way the law works the last I heard-

  • Robin Keogh

    Mick your post has touched on a serious issue here that i fear may be a major stumbling block going forward as far as victims are concerned. Unlike normal civic society where incidents are recorded and issues dealt with by official personnell that are registered and traceable such as the police or public servants for example, it is highly unlikely that the IRA employed the same traceable administrative system during its lifetime. Moreover, if the literature on the operations of the IRA is accurate -especially in the latter part of the conflict – then we know that the small cell structure they operated consisting of only three or four members would suggest that it would be night on impossible to pinpoint specific individuals and connect them to specific events; especially considering that these cell structures apparently operated independent of each other. However, assuming they got their orders from the army council and assuming that some of those people are still alive we would depend on them coming forward and encouraging their known inferiors to come forward too. But with no corporate documents it will be hard to trust the accuracy of their accounts. My main fear however relates to the passage of time. I guess many IRA military personnel may well be dead now, or may have built a new life for themselves post conflict with no intention of opening up about their actions. This being the case and with no overarching authority to compel them the more time moves on, the less likely we are to get the kind of closure everybody is aching for.

  • New Yorker

    Individuals have knowledge of the words and actions of others. Individuals can be subpoenaed to give evidence, if they refuse they can be charged as uncooperative witnesses.

    Adams is effectively daring the governments to conduct investigations when stating there is “no corporate way of verifying”. He should be put under oath and examined as he admits he has knowledge of at least some of these events.

  • Granni Trixie

    You have brought up a really key point Mick which goes beyond the way SF is dealing with this horrible aspect of its past as it does not bode well for the prospect of all sides agreeing to come clean. Furthermore, I don’t see how they can recapture moral authority to urge others to do so even with the (inevitable now) change at the top to Mary Lou. The shadow of Mairiagate will haunt them long term.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    While I entirely agree with you, Tacapall, about the cynical use of Maíria’s suffering, it has always been open to SF to pull the mat from under their tormentors by tearing down the house, and dropping a damaging cult of the personality. Ireland, at least what it means for me, is a lot bigger than GA & SF, and the central issue for those of us who see Maíria’s abuse as a symbol of the abuse of the entire community by unaccountable forces is that she, as an individual should be supported unconditionally, no matter what the consequences politically.

    “Fiat justitia ruat caelum”.

    And as you say in your first paragraph, this must apply to each and every situation, not simply be a stick to beat SF while their opponents can have any enquiry into Kincorra (for one thing) stifled as the names of important people may come out. It sickens me to watch the cynical and corrupt use first Áine’s and now Maíria’s experiences to score crass political points, but SF is playing their game entirely by their enemies rules by its morally ambivalent response.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “And justice, there is none…….”

  • SeaanUiNeill

    They, SF, could have avoided this when Áine’s situation was made public, by showing that no single personality was more important than the parties committment to the community it claims to serve, and standing its distance from GA.