Horror at the school gate…

A man was gunned down and killed in the community where I live yesterday. He was in a parked car outside his son’s school on the Glen Road at hometime, waiting to give his son a lift. While he did so a man walked up to his car and shot him 5 or 6 times. He died immediately. To put this horror in context you’d need to know the area where this murder took place. That part of the Glen … Read more

Did PSNI just change the script?

One standout take-away from the Belfast Telegraph’s ‘BelTelBomber’ piece was an unexpected response from police which cut to the very core of how large organisations deal with the media in two interesting ways. Firstly, a recap: the Belfast Telegraph’s story followed up on the Manchester bombing by sending a reporter to visit local tourist attractions, complete with a backpack, to check if he could do so without any checks. The newspaper’s front page was given over to the piece along … Read more

90% of the individuals admitted to PSNI custody suites have mental health problems

An eye-popping statistic emerged during the PSNI 15 Years On conference this week. While reflecting on the complex web of causal factors surrounding crime we learnt that ninety percent of the individuals admitted to PSNI custody suites had mental health problems.  Ninety percent.  Many had self harmed, some were at risk of suicide.  This raises the question -is the custody suite the correct place in which to detain these people?  Would an acute mental health assessment unit not be a … Read more

‘Crime Boy I Dunno’ Comparing stats between St Patrick’s Day and 12th July

Brendan Hughes from the Irish News has an interesting story in today’s Irish News about the level of crime reported during St Patrick’s Day and the 12th July from the 2009-2015 period where he finds little difference between the two events. In his examination he reports; We also studied figures for the 36-hour period surrounding each date – from 6pm on March 16 and July 11, to 6am on March 18 and July 13. The Twelfth comes out on top … Read more

Passing sentence on capital punishment

Next Sunday is International Anti-Death Penalty Day. OK, I’d better qualify that one: it won’t actually be International Anti-Death Penalty Day, but to my mind it ought to be. On that date it will be exactly eighty years since an immigrant German carpenter was sent to the electric chair in Trenton, New Jersey. The previous year, 36-year-old Bruno Richard Hauptmann had been convicted of the kidnapping and murder in March 1932 of Charles Lindbergh jr, the 20-month-old son of popular … Read more

Dr. Eireann Kerr: the law worse than an ass

The conviction of Dr. Eireann Kerr raises more questions than it answers and brings the law into disrepute. Dr. Kerr was in 2013 a 30 year old anaesthetist working in Altnagelivn. On a work night out she became grossly intoxicated and attacked a police officer biting his finger and calling the police officers peasants before waking up claiming no memory of the event in the police station the next morning. So far, so unremarkable. Maybe Dr. Kerr was a little … Read more

Theft of Binevenagh Sea god

The removal of the statue of a celtic sea god Manannán Mac Lir has been covered by a number of the news outlets. The large heavy statue was placed at a view point on Binevenagh Mountain about a year ago. According to John Sutton its sculptor it would have been difficult to remove and required angle grinders and and several hours. It has now been taken and replaced with a cross bearing the words: “You shall have no other gods … Read more

Killing me softly

At the start it is only fair to state that I am opposed to the death penalty. I respect those with a different opinion but I am clear that I do not support capital punishment. No one directly connected to me has ever been murdered so maybe I am naive and could change my mind but currently I think that would be unlikely. The USA has had another problem with an execution. In this case an inmate in Oklahoma started … Read more

Forget ethnic thematics: a straightforward response to Billy Hutchinson

Billy Hutchinson’s explanation for his sectarian murders has been covered below by David McCann. Unfortunately they degenerate into concepts like “Truth recovery”, “ethnic thematics” and such like. The News Letter have provided somewhat more direct responses. From the News Letter: Kenny Donaldson of Innocent Victims United said that Mr Hutchinson’s attempted justification of his murders “bore all the hallmarks of the same sick delusional thinking that is prevalent within the republican movement”. Referring to the UVF slogan ‘For God and … Read more

Slight rise in road deaths in 2013

One of the grimmer statistics which is complied at the end of a year is the number of road deaths each year. In 2013 it was 56, which is an increase of 8 as compared to 2012. In 2011 it was 59 and 2010 55. These results still represent an approximately 7 fold decrease in road deaths over the last 40 years. The BBC are reporting Mark Durkin stating: “It only takes one bad choice to ruin a life. We … Read more

“This gang thought they could exploit rules for genuine British filmmakers and thieve from the public purse for their own gain”

When the BBC report notes that the actress/producer sentenced to 5 years 5 months, reduced to 4 years 8 months, for her part in a £2.8million VAT and film tax credits scam, was “from London”, what they mean is that she was from Newry, with an address in London – as UTV correctly reported.  [I blame the PA copy – Ed]  Perhaps… What neither mentioned, but both the Irish Times and the Irish News do report today, is that the actress involved, Aoife … Read more

Paisley Junior: SF ‘content’ for paedophiles and gangsters to run writ across NI…

Oh dear. Speaking in Westminster’s Public Bill committee Ian Paisley Junior has suggested that: Most of the illegal fuel that arrives in the United Kingdom is laundered in Northern Ireland, in south Armagh. It just so happens that it is laundered by a friend of the leader of Sinn Fein, a Mr Murphy. “It just so happens that it was his party that blocked this legislation. I do not know if you are getting the coincidence here, but I am … Read more

Unionists highlight Troubles border murders

The Belfast Telegraph is reporting that at the meeting of government ministers from Northern Ireland and the RoI in Armagh, Arlene Kelly and Danny Kennedy presented Enda Kenny with details of more than 150 republican murders in border areas during the Troubles. They have called on the RoI government to apologise for the fact that the IRA killers were able to escape across the border following these murders. Mrs. Kelly said: …that they should remind the Irish Government of today … Read more

HET Report on Kingsmills

The News Letter today has details of the HET report into the Kingsmills massacre, the full report of which will be released to the families today. From the News Letter: On January 5, 1976, a Ford Transit minibus was carrying a mixed workforce of 16 home from work in Glenanne to Bessbrook. Five were Catholics and 11 were Protestants. Four of the Catholics got out at Whitecross, while the remainder continued on the road to Bessbrook. As the bus cleared … Read more

Thoughts on Victims, the past and the future of the past

The furore over Mary McArdle’s appointment as special advisor to the new Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin is showing no sign of going away. As Pete mentioned below McArdle has made a comment in the Andersonstown News expressing regret that Mary Travers was killed: regret but no apology and certainly no repentance which would as Jim Allister and others have pointed out, have to mean naming the other members of her murder gang: something her oath to the overall murder … Read more

A calculated insult to victims

Anne Travers the sister of Mary Travers who was murdered by the IRA outside St. Bridget’s Church on Derryvolgie made a telling intervention in April this year. On that occasion she demolished Pat Cusick of Sinn Fein on RTE’s Liveline (covered by Mick here). Then she was polite, controlled and brilliant as an advocate for victims. Today she has again made her point in the same quiet, powerful and eloquent fashion. This time it was following the news that one … Read more

Loyalist paramilitaries and “civilianisation”

Last month UTV covered the issue of ex-prisoners having difficulties obtaining secure employment. A number of months ago, shortly before Christmas, a conference was held on the issue of “civilianising” the UVF. If this sounds familiar it is because every few months there is another announcement of the “civilianisation” of the UVF. This process of “civilianisation” is what others might call “stopping breaking the law.” Not the UVF but the UDA’s leader (how exactly McDonald can be named by all … Read more

The response to Con. Kerr’s murder must be measured yet decisive

So we have another murder of a police officer here in Northern Ireland: Ronan Kerr’s name is added to the list of people killed, not taking part in military activities, for police officers are assuredly civilians, not soldiers; but in his case it seems getting into his own private car. In a time of supposed peace, a young man involved in a peaceful occupation, who was not even working was treated as that most appalling and indeed perverse of euphemisms … Read more

Government apologises over Majella O’Hare killing

Another of the wrongs of the past forty years here in Northern Ireland has been acknowledged. The BBC are reporting that the government has apologised in writing to the family of Majella O’Hare who was killed by a soldier in Whitecross Co. Armagh on 18th August 1976. Miss O’Hare (aged 12) was on her way home from church when she was shot in the back by Private Michael Williams. At the time Williams claimed that he was returning fire on … Read more

Basil McCrea and Brian Ervine on the HET

The News Letter is reporting Basil McCrea expressing concern about potential bias in the work of the Historical Enquires Team. An FoI request has apparently revealed that all but one of the 71 arrests they have made has been of loyalists. McCrea appears to support the attempts to arrest loyalist criminals but points out that since the majority of the murders here were committed by the IRA, significant resources should also be devoted to the arrest of those criminals. He … Read more