“So in a sense, these resignations were expected.”

In the absence of agreement between the political parties on what happens next, the continuing uncertainty about what new arrangements will be put in place to deal with the past is having, what should have been, an anticipated effect.  As the BBC report, “HET: Four officers leave specialist police team“. BBC Northern Ireland Home Affairs Correspondent Vincent Kearney said a question mark hangs over the future of the HET following the inspection report. He said the four officers who left had been … Read more

“The Board has no confidence in the leadership of the Historical Enquiries Team…”

The Northern Ireland Policing Board has agreed a response to the critical HMIC Report on the Inspection of the PSNI Historical Enquiries Team.  The BBC’s headline may be somewhat misleading, it’s the leadership of the HET that the Board have no confidence in.  From the NI Policing Board statement The following has been agreed: The Board has no confidence in the leadership of the Historical Enquiries Team and the Chief Constable has been asked to review and action the management … Read more

“The department of justice said discussions about the precise source of funding for the HET are continuing…”

The issue of funding the ongoing work of the Historical Enquiries Team, as well as its perceived independence, may be about to become a matter of political disagreement…  As the BBC NI home affairs correspondent, Vincent Kearney, reports Hundreds of families have co-operated with the team on the basis that it was acting independently. Many families of people killed during the Troubles, including relatives of some RUC officers, did not want former police officers from Northern Ireland involved in the review … Read more

Boston College: “No pledge of privacy nor oath of secrecy can avail against demand for the truth in a court of justice.”

The Boston Globe reports on the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruling in the PSNI/HET’s attempt to access some of the material in the Boston College Belfast Project archive.  The project director, Ed Moloney, and researcher Anthony McIntyre had been trying to head the US Government off at the pass.  And they’ve already opened another legal front…  From the Boston Globe report A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court’s ruling ordering Boston College to turn over confidential materials … Read more

Matt Baggot on the accusation of uneven treatment of witnesses by the HET…

Interesting little nugget from UTV last night on the accusation that the HET has been treating security forces differently from citizens witnesses, in which Matt Baggot reports that he has ordered an inspection of HET’s procedures, he also wryly notes: I’m very mindful that the Historical Inquiries Team did meet with the researcher back in February again with explanations, but they don’t feature in her report at this stage… The report by Dr Patricia Lundy is just the latest in … Read more

Boston College: “an example of just how unhinged the dialogue has become in some quarters.”

I had mentioned in the comments on a recent post that there was little threat of the pre-emptive destruction of the Boston College archive material which is being sought by the Historical Enquiries Team.  As Thomas E Hachey and Dr Robert K O’Neill of Boston College point out in the Irish Times There have been people who have faulted Boston College for not adopting this or that particular stratagem, and we appreciate how expressions of concern have sometimes been prompted by … Read more

“be careful what you wish for…”

In the Belfast Telegraph, Henry McDonald picks up on the recent reports of the Historical Enquiries Team’s findings, and how they undermine the “changing narrative [that] has become mainstream republican orthodoxy”.  From the Belfast Telegraph article The HET’s conclusions over the Enniskillen massacre paints those responsible as, at the very least, guilty of callous disregard for civilian life and, at the worst, as viscerally sectarian. In relation to Loughgall, the HET line is quite stunning, because it actually aids the … Read more

“accept the tragedy of what happened in those wasted years without indulging in double think…”

Via Newshound.  As Liam Clarke notes on the political reaction to his report on the Historical Enquiries Team’s findings on Loughgall The past is often treated like a political football. Politicians take sides and blame the referee if he does not agree with them. The Historical Enquiries Team is a case in point. Up to now it has been mainly loyalists who have cursed this ref, accusing him of picking on them and turning a blind eye to republican foul … Read more

“The ombudsman now plans to ask Justice Minister David Ford to introduce new legislation…”

John wanted a “public explanation”…  BBC NI home affairs correspondent, Vincent Kearney, reports that 49 historical cases where RUC officers were responsible for deaths, which were passed by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) to the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland because European legislation prevents the HET from investigating, cannot be investigated by the ombudsman because domestic legislation prevents the office from acting.  From Vincent Kearney’s report The Historical Enquiries Team cannot investigate them because European law states investigations into state killings must be … Read more

Sinn Féin rejects HET findings on Kingsmill massacre

The BBC headline may focus on a different aspect of the statement from Sinn Fein’s Mitchel McLaughlin, but it’s clear from the quotes that Sinn Féin rejects the findings of the Historical Enquiries Team’s (HET) report on the Kingsmill massacre.  Specifically, the party rejects the HET finding that the Provisional IRA carried out the “purely sectarian” and “calculated slaughter” of 10 Protestants in south Armagh in 1976. From the BBC report The Historical Enquiries Team (HET) found the IRA was responsible … Read more

HET to interview McGuinness over Joanne Mathers murder

The News Letter is reporting that Martin McGuinness may be about to be interviewed by the Historical Enquiries Team regarding the 1981 murder of census worker Joanne Mathers. From the News letter: On Monday, MP Gregory Campbell referred to the fact obliquely when he raised a point of order in the assembly. Addressing assembly speaker Willie Hay, Mr Campbell (DUP) said: “If it transpires — my understanding is that it will — that the deputy first minister’s name will be … Read more

Call for Inquiry into Enniskillen Poppy Day Murders

The twenty third anniversary of Northern Ireland’s second Bloody Sunday is fast approaching, when, on 8th November 1987, the IRA murdered 13 people (Ronnie Hill died after 13 years in a coma following the bomb) by detonating a bomb in Enniskillen’s Catholic Church reading rooms. The News Letter is reporting that the Historical Enquiries Team is poised to present its report on the murders. Stephen Gault, the son of one of those murdered, who is also leading the campaign to … Read more

“Most people don’t realise how comprehensive this is.”

In the Belfast Telegraph Liam Clarke has a suggestion for dealing with the past.  It involves the extensive archive the Historical Enquiries Team has gathered together.  From the Belfast Telegraph article All available evidence on the 3,268 Troubles’ deaths has been assembled in a repository the size of the largest B&Q store near Lisburn. Besides police, Army and MI5 files, the HET has collated Press cuttings, the claims of paramilitary groups, the files of official investigations and more than 3,000 books … Read more