Well done SDLP for coming out of Sinn Fein’s shadow over the National Crime Agency

With less than a hundred days to go before the general election, the SDLP are to be congratulated  for breaking free of Sinn Fein me-too-ism  to vote in favour of terms which permit the National Crime Agency to operate fully in Northern Ireland. A clap on the back too for David Ford for bringing long negotiations to a successful outcome . To the outsider admittedly not in full command of the details, the  final local accountability arrangements seem little different from what was suggested  in the first place. No matter.  The 60 plus per cent of MLAs voting in favour  shows what even an issue requiring a simple majority can achieve. It left Sinn Fein isolated and looking down  at their feet muttering. The NCA now joins MI5 with a  national security remit which has overcome narrowly political objections  to function here.It also gives an answer to those who like to claim  that the SDLP has no role. With several points less than the 40% needed to reach the quota to make up a weighted majority in the nationalist bloc, they should hang on in there and start differentiating from Sinn Fein as constructively  and as often as possible. The  reflex from the Bel Tel is to assume the SDLP has given ammunition to Sinn Fein.  We’ll how Sinn Fein pitch it as they  continue piously to insist they’re a law and order party. Except where the Brits are involved?

Following months of detailed negotiations led by Justice Minister David Ford, the NCA will be subject to the same code of ethics that applies to the PSNI.

In addition, the NCA’s director general, Keith Bristow, will be accountable to the Policing Board in relation to NI issues, but not non-devolved matters such as customs.

SDLP deputy leader Dolores Kelly told MLAs: “We are pleased with the level of accountability that we have achieved. It is a day when the SDLP is again giving leadership on policing on the basis of what is right.

A legislative order will now go through Westminster in the next few weeks allowing the NCA to begin operations here around the time of the election in May.

However in a statement, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly said the SDLP has “jumped too early in a negotiation to create robust accountability mechanisms”.

He accused the SDLP over undermining the Good Friday Agreement.

But Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said she was “delighted” that MLAs had voted to allow the NCA to operate in Northern Ireland.

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  • sean treacy

    A “journalist” who parroted RUC and British army / NIO press releases for decades comes out in favour of the NCA. Quelle surprise!

  • Glenn Clare

    Shinner/provo Pat Sheehan, said that they were near the point when they would have agreed to the NCA? The issue seems to have been the NCA being used to investigate terrorist crimes. Imagine that a party that have allegedly signed up to policing and justice not wanting the NCA investigating terrorist criminality.

    Gerry Kelly, then give a TV interview when he made reference to letters from the Home Secretary, which he said did not give assurances and that he feels may not be all that they seem. A bit of Deja vu Gerry.

  • Zeno

    “He accused the SDLP over undermining the Good Friday Agreement.”

    Good one………. lol

  • Dan

    Time they brought in a law to confiscate all lands on which the illegal fuel plants are found

  • Kevin Breslin

    It is ironic since the job of any journalist is to remain in the shadows, not try to make themselves and their opinion the headline.

  • Surveyor

    Illegal fuel plants? I’d sooner they investigate the shenanigans surrounding Kincora instead of concentrating on boosting the British Exchequer.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Yeah Zeno – Gerry’s statement also baffled me ! Maybe there lies the problem for Republicans, rather than making the GFA a Benchmark to be adherred to at all costs, they need to move with the needs of it’s constituency and the rest of the people regarding Law and Order.

  • chrisjones2

    SO are you just against NCA or in favour of smuggling, money laundering, organised crime and paedophilia?

  • chrisjones2

    Yes…much better to boost the pockets of senior republicans while poisoning land and rivers.

    Cancer too high? Blame the Brits – they made us do it.

    ANd what makes you think they aren’t screwing the Republic as well? Are you in favor of that too?

  • chrisjones2

    Well its difficult to support NCA when you are so busy lobbying for Garda KIllers to be released from Prison and for drug smugglers to be repatriated to Ireland to serve their sentences, acting as apologists for fuel smugglers poisioning rivers and smuggling alleged paedophile rapists out of the reach of law enforcement (North and South of the border).

    Perhaps they just didn’t have the time to think about all that while they were so busy?

    Or maybe because they arent at Westminster the Home Secretary did not drop them a line like she did to Big Al?

    Did Gerry Kelly mention any of this in his whinge?

  • chrisjones2

    The issue seems to have been the NCA being used to investigate terrorist crimes.

    But didn’t SF sign up to support law and order. So is part saying they only want the wring the of crimes investigated?

  • Neil

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Bureau_of_Investigation#Controversies

    The FBI has maintained files on numerous people, including celebrities such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, John Denver, John Lennon, Jane Fonda, Groucho Marx, Charlie Chaplin, MC5, Lou Costello, Sonny Bono, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, and Mickey Mantle The files were collected for various reasons. Some of the subjects were investigated for alleged ties to the communist party (Charlie Chaplin and Groucho Marx), or in connection with antiwar activities during the Vietnam War (John Denver, John Lennon, and Jane Fonda).

    The FBI has used covert operations against domestic political groups since its inception; however, covert operations under the official COINTELPRO label took place between 1956 and 1971.[82] COINTELPRO tactics are still used to this day, and have been alleged to include discrediting targets through psychological warfare; smearing individuals and groups using forged documents and by planting false reports in the media; harassment; wrongful imprisonment; and illegal violence, including assassination.

    Yep, cannot wait for this British FBI to arrive and start deciding who to smear, lie about and potentially murder. No doubt a few “enemies of the peace process” can be brought into line. But at least in the modern age we know they wouldn’t get away with murder.

    During the period from 1993 to 2011, FBI agents shot 150 people. Seventy of these people died, the others were wounded. The FBI conducted internal investigations of all the shootings. All have been found to be justified.

    Ah. All justified. Excellent news, so maybe this British FBI will be as accountable as their American cousins, i.e. not at all.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/daniel-nesbitt/civil-liberties-uk-internet_b_6602886.html?utm_hp_ref=uk

    The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act was passed with the bare minimum of debate and in a matter of days under emergency legislation. It was followed by the fast tracked Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill. The ‘snoopers charter’, despite being shelved for now, continues to loom large over any civil liberties debate. These examples show that the Government can and will trade individual liberties for a perceived sense of collective security.

    Looking forward the development of the ‘Internet of Things’ means that vast amounts of our personal data will be shared with an ever increasing number of individuals and companies. The Conservatives’ renewed plans for sweeping new powers for the intelligence agencies to access communications data in the event of an election victory mean that the debate around civil liberties and security will continue indefinitely.

    So basically we have a government that demands unfettered access to our private information, and their own private police force, the “British FBI” to ensure those who do question the establishment can be bullied or murdered into silence. And useful idiots will gladly welcome Big Brother’s watchful eye and applaud the arrival of the government’s private police force onto the streets, because themmuns don’t want it. Once the “British FBI” starts behaving like the American version, which is as inevitable as night following day, let’s hope they can admit their mistake. Civil liberties, RIP. You better support the status quo or Big Brother is coming for you.

  • Superfluous
  • Kevin Breslin

    Not the first time he’s tried to lecture the SDLP on what it should be doing.

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2014/11/15/a-strategy-for-the-sdlp-in-the-assembly/

  • Zeno

    Well they did sign up, but obviously with the idea that it didn’t apply to themselves. I mean, How dare the police question Gerry.

  • chrisjones2

    As much the Governments private police force as An Garda Siochana or PSNI

    Why so paranoid? Their remit in the UK is Child Abuse, Pedophilia and Organised crime. Which worries you most?

    You go back over 80 years in the history of the FBI in the USA. There may be good reason why they had files on a number of suspected communists and on Hanoi Jane or Michael Jackson. As for the rest it all depends what was in the files and why they kept them and was it done legally. If it was that is democracy for you – if you dont like it go live somewhere where there isnt any and see how you survive

  • Cue Bono

    Eighteen upvotes for a slur. There really are a lot of Sinners here.

  • Neil

    As much the Governments private police force as An Garda Siochana or PSNI

    Incorrect. The NCA is accountable to the home secretary alone. The police are (as you have I believe mentioned) highly accountable for their actions here. Probably something to do with their involvement in murder, suppression of civil rights etc. during and prior to the troubles.

    The Director General has independent operational direction and control over the NCA’s activities. He is accountable for the agency’s performance to the Home Secretary and through her to Parliament.

    http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/about-us/how-we-are-run

    Why so paranoid? Their remit in the UK is Child Abuse, Pedophilia and Organised crime. Which worries you most?

    This is a false conditional. None of those activities worry me, the illegal suppression of civil rights, the right to protest, their ability to harass innocent (and inconvenient) people, smear them, or indeed murder them are my concerns.

    You go back over 80 years in the history of the FBI in the USA. There may be good reason why they had files on a number of suspected communists and on Hanoi Jane or Michael Jackson. As for the rest it all depends what was in the files and why they kept them and was it done legally.

    Not really I just read the wiki page on the FBI. In your rush to excuse every action you seem to have overlooked the smearing, planting of false stories and murder. How strange. They may have had reason to keep files on a wide range of celebrities however that kind of misses the point, in that they clearly also set out to subvert perfectly legal activities such as anti war demonstrations or the holding of legal political views. This is the problem for me.

    If it was that is democracy for you – if you dont like it go live somewhere where there isnt any and see how you survive

    Don’t you have a single transferrable post along the lines of “Shut Stormont down and send the lot back to Westminster”? To which I could respond that is democracy for you – if you dont like it go live somewhere where there isnt any.

    It’s not a kick on the arse away from the usual Loyalist response of “if you don’t like it move down south”, which I find offensive, and the kneejerk response is usually to reply **** off. However since it’s you I’ll explain, I live here, my family lives here, I have a good job, kids, friends and numerous links that would discourage me from moving. If people don’t like something the government does they have the ability to comment on it, complain about it and try to change it. Much like you do.

  • Tacapall

    Put it this way Brian I will follow no orders directed to me by the
    Threasa May controlled NCA, they will have to shoot me dead in the
    street if they want me to get on my knees.

  • chrisjones2

    I am sorry if you took offence.I wasn’t saying move…I was saying perhaps clumsily that every democracy involves trade offs. They way to choose those collectively is democracy. NCA is part of that process in the UK. If you dont like it campaign, get elected, rant on slugger…whatever you want

    But in the end, if you dont like it its tough. And states that don’t have democracy tend to be much worse places to live for all the reasons you attribute to NCA

  • chrisjones2

    “every citizen in Northern Ireland would share in your reservations”

    bit sweeping

    “If they are on the ball” – are you extracting the Urine? The examples of SF on Ex RUC Hiring and the DUPs on OTRs really inspire confidence.

    ” fear a return to yesteryear” …what do you mean? State surveillance now seems far higher for the average joe public

  • chrisjones2

    Perhaps Gerrys were delayed in the post as there was no name or address on them?