What does Drew Harris’s appointment as Garda Commissioner tell us about Fine Gael’s attitude to Sinn Fein?

In the Irish Times Ed Moloney has a fascinating backgrounder on the ground breaking appointment of   PSNI Deputy Chief Constable  Drew Harris as Garda Commissioner. Might we now  expect that senior Garda officers will at last become eligible  to head the PSNI?  Or does  history suggest that a single force to serve the entire state creates too introverted a culture to adapt to elsewhere, even to the North?   Drew Harris brings heavy baggage with him and his  appointment will have … Read more

“School’s out for Summer Schools”: The Week In Irish Politics

So that’s it. The political term over and done with. Politicians off on their holidays and the lights all off in Leinster House. They’re all in Marbella, Magaluf or Corfu. At least that’s the impression you get any time you read the papers upon the rising of the houses of the Oireachtas for any recess. In reality, the political world keeps turning and politicians are still at work, be it in the constituency, developing policy, meetings with various groups, or … Read more

“given the particular operational emphasis of this year’s conference…”

According to a Belfast Telegraph report, unlike previous years, neither the Northern Ireland Justice Minister, David Ford, nor the Irish Justice Minister, Alan Shatter, will attend this year’s cross-border police summit on organised crime co-operation.  From the Belfast Telegraph report Mr Shatter said that, given the particular operational emphasis of this year’s conference, it would be more appropriate for the Garda Commissioner and the PSNI Chief Constable to take the lead. Rather than attend the conference, the two ministers, the Commissioner … Read more

G8 Summit: “Gardaí will place a particular emphasis on securing the Border…”

According to the Northern Ireland Finance Minister, the DUP’s Sammy Wilson, the NI Executive will face a bill of £6 million from the £60 million total cost of hosting the G8 Summit in Fermanagh on June 17th and 18th  – the UK Treasury is expected to provide the rest of the funds required.  But, as the Irish Times reports, the neighbouring state on the island is also making preparations. Some 900 gardaí will be in the region for the period covering the … Read more

“UK courts cannot force the handing over of journalistic material to foreign organizations…”

Just a quick note of the BBC reporting that Garda have failed in their attempt to force the BBC and UTV to hand over unbroadcast video footage of rioting in Dublin during Queen Elizabeth II’s visit last year.  From the BBC report The request which was made through the Home Office failed after Senior Belfast Judge Tom Burgess agreed with the case put by the broadcasters. He found UK courts cannot force the handing over of journalistic material to foreign organizations. Just … Read more

Contradictory claims from former British handler?

An Sionnach Fionn has a lengthy article on the ‘Ingram’ document, with some interesting detail, not least because he’s spotted some contradictions between detail between claims made about the penetration levels within the document and those made by Hurst/Ingram six years ago in the Sunday Tribune: “It’s time ordinary republicans stopped being led like sheep and started asking questions. At grassroots level, around one in 20 members are British agents. Higher up, it’s one in three.” The claim in the … Read more

“Shaun Woodward ordered his recall on the basis of what his legal team have described as ‘closed material’.”

The BBC reports that Martin Corey has been “granted leave to seek a judicial review of the decision to revoke his licence over unspecified allegations that he was involved with dissident republicans.” The 61-year-old from Lurgan, County Armagh had been released on licence in 1992, having served 19 years of a life sentence for the murder of two RUC officers. In April last year, then Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, as the BBC report notes, “ordered his recall on the … Read more

Former Assistant Garda Commissioner Kevin Carty fails to turn up at Smithwick Tribunal. Again.

The latest updates on proceedings at the Smithwick Tribunal in the BBC and the RTÉ reports both lead with news that the tribunal is to relocate to the Special Criminal Court for Monday’s appearance by convicted Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt.  But the bulk of both reports concern the [repeated] non-appearance of former Assistant Garda Commissioner Kevin Carty.  As the BBC report notes Kevin Carty assisted in an internal garda probe conducted in the days after the murders, into what garda officers or … Read more

Martin McGuinness: “but I don’t recall saying that.”

During the campaign to become President of Ireland, the Sinn Féin candidate, Martin McGuinness, MP, MLA, has repeatedly claimed that “As a republican leader I have never and would never stand over attacks on the Garda Síochána or the Defence Forces” In a report today, he’s again quoted as saying “I would not support anybody under any circumstances attacking the gardai or the Defence Forces…” So it’s worth noting Martin McGuinness’ response on Thursday’s RTÉ’s Six One News, when confronted … Read more

Judge Smithwick: “I take a very, very strong view if he doesn’t [appear].”

The Irish government’s deadline target date for the Smithwick tribunal’s final report is unlikely to be met if former assistant Garda commissioners ignore the tribunal.  From the RTÉ report Senior Counsel for the tribunal, Mary Laverty, said she was at a loss to explain why Mr Carty had not turned up. She said she was aware that he was working in Vienna, but the letters had been signed for with the same name and signature. Judge Smithwick said he was … Read more

Charges brought in Laois counterfeiting operation

It’s taken a while, but four men have finally been charged in connection with the sophisticated counterfeiting operation and underground bunker uncovered in a joint operation by Europol and gardaí in Ballybrophy, Borris-in-Ossory, County Laois, in May last year.  From the Irish Times report A former leading member of the Provisional IRA and prison escaper was one of four men who appeared at the Special Criminal Court yesterday, charged with possessing equipment to make counterfeit money. Anthony Sloan was arrested last year … Read more

Another case of another police force ‘looking the other way’?

There’s a striking similarity between the strange behaviour of Gardai, in three cases in which were just forgotten, or in which no serious inquiries were commenced and the behaviour of John Yates, who in 2009 dismissed within eight hours the suggestion that there were any further evidence of wrong doing in the case of the News of the World: Yates was asked by the commissioner to “establish the facts”. It is clear that he failed to do so. On Tuesday, … Read more

Smithwick Tribunal: Former Provisional IRA leaders met Tribunal’s legal team “in recent weeks”

The BBC reports that, at today’s public hearing, the Smithwick Tribunal was told that its legal team had held “a face-to face meeting with three former members of the Provisional IRA in recent weeks.”  From the BBC report It was told the three former IRA leaders, one of whom had a command role in the attack, had met the tribunal. Their evidence will be presented to the inquiry shortly. The tribunal was told the IRA members gave detailed accounts and replied to questions from the inquiry … Read more

Fourth member of Tohill kidnap gang appears in Belfast Crown Court

Liam Rainey, 38, from New Barnsley Crescent, Belfast, has been remanded in custody before sentencing later next month after appearing in Belfast Crown Court today. He had been awaiting extradition on a European Arrest Warrant after being re-arrested by gardaí in Bettystown, Co Meath, in May last year.  According to the reports he was formerly arrested by PSNI officers in Newry this morning.  Rainey is the fourth member of the Provisional IRA gang to re-appear in court after jumping bail in May 2006 while … Read more

Scappaticci granted legal representation at Smithwick Tribunal

The Smithwick Tribunal may have opened in 2006, but the public hearings are only to begin in June this year.  The tribunal’s terms of reference are Tribunal of Inquiry  into suggestions that members of An Garda Síochána or other employees of  the State colluded in the fatal shootings of RUC Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and RUC Superintendent Robert Buchanan on the 20th March, 1989. And the Tribunal’s rules of procedure adds a interpretation of those terms 9.         The Tribunal’s Terms … Read more

Garda Commissioner agrees with MI5 assessment

As RTÉ reports  Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy has said that he believes an attack by dissident republicans in Britain is a strong possibility. Commissioner Murphy said he agreed with the assessment of the British Home Secretary and the head of MI5 in the UK that the level of threat from dissident republicans was now moderate to substantial. He also said that while the intent has always been there, the capability within groups such as the Continuity IRA, the Real IRA … Read more