“Statute of Limitations” would subvert the Belfast Agreement’s conditions on Troubles related murder

Tom Kelly on why the statute of limitations cannot be applied one-sidedly. In any case, he says, the provisions of the Belfast Agreement for a two-year sentence is an important mark of justice, which delineates the difference between innocent and guilty: The IRA didn’t act in the name of the Irish people and it justified its campaign with the most tenuous of links to an insurrection tradition from a different era. As a people, we were better at writing romantic laments … Read more

Local Environmental & Planning Governance Under Scrutiny (Somewhat)

On the heels of another damning report on failures relating to compliance with environmental and planning rules, Northern Ireland will be subject to international scrutiny December under the aegis of the authoritative United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s (UNECE) Aarhus Convention. The Convention – named after the Danish city where it was adopted in 1998 – grants citizens rights and imposes on Parties (including the UK) and public authorities obligations regarding access to information and public participation and access to environmental … Read more

Interview with David Ford: “don’t bother summoning the men in grey suits, just tell me”

TELL ME when it’s time to go says Alliance leader David Ford. In this interview with Slugger he talks about Alliance’s electoral appeal, new parties in NI, switching to use council areas for Assembly constituencies, taking Executive meetings out on the road, the balance of funding between prison and community/probation services, joined up working across the Executive, Alliance’s approach to the Justice Ministry after May’s election, public and political support for refugees and asylum seekers in NI, and his thoughts on the Irish election and the impact of the EU referendum on the Assembly campaign.

Truth or justice: Highly unlikely that most us will ever have either…

Riffing of Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe, Seamus comes up with an argument you sense has been much talked about under wraps but which no one has the political strength (rather than confidence) to ask for: The only legitimate way to end yet more years of speculation and anguish for the McConville family is for the governments of Ireland and Britain to agree a general amnesty that will allow all participants to the conflict, willing or otherwise, to give … Read more

#ShinnersList: “I have never heard an explanation as to why Operation Rapid as a term, was never made clear to the board.”

So the Policing Board eh? Not exactly a paragon of the protestant (or even Catholic) work ethic, yet it exploded into life last night with even the normally mild mannered Chief Constable telling his interlocutors: “Can I caution the member that under the code of conduct that he does not have the right to question the integrity of the members of the command team or myself.” Erm, now I know these guys have been conspicuously missing in action up to … Read more

Why did no one in Sinn Fein tell the Ballymurphy families the Para’s could borrow Adams’ ‘public interest’ defence?

Gerry Moriarty reports in yesterday’s Irish Times highlights the tragic case of the Ballymurphy families of eleven victims on and over several days after the introduction of internment. One victim’s family has gone to the extreme, and no doubt deeply upsetting, resort of having the body of their loved one exhumed to find evidence that he’d been shot long after having been wounded. John Teggart told UTV on Monday: “I think anybody out there whose parents were murdered in cold … Read more

Not a cosy conversation: Victims and survivors conference

The Commission for Victims and Survivors (CVS) convened a conference “to listen to as many voices as possible” in forming its advice to the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister, the CVS Commissioner Kathryn Stone explained. The event was well attended by a couple hundred delegates, representing the broad spectrum from Northern Ireland’s Troubles; but remarkably absent were politicians. https://soundcloud.com/mrulster/20140225-cvs-01-kathryn-stone?in=mrulster/sets/20140225-cvs-conference Commissioner Stone quoted the Haass-O’Sullivan published draft document, in regards to the leadership role demonstrated to date … Read more

“the value of the truth is as valuable as the way it is reached” – seeking justice & truth in Lebanon

Northern Ireland isn’t alone in seeking truth and justice for historical atrocities. Nor is it alone in facing up to the cost, complexity and uncertainty of processes to deal with the past. So I was interested to read a blog post about the Special Tribunal for Lebanon which has has finally opened. It was set up in a suburb of The Hague in March 2009 with the mandate to “hold trials for the people accused of carrying out the attack … Read more

After Liam Adams: “the very warped sense of loyalty that people had to different causes”

There was plenty of stuff to talk about on last night’s Spotlight Special, and we will be coming back to other parts of the programme. But this piece from Naomi Long was direct and to the point when invited to talk about Gerry Adams post the Liam Adams child rape trial: I think what it does show is just how sordid things were in Northern Ireland, and not just in terms of what one community did to other community but … Read more

Micheál Martin “there is a grave danger that policing in the North will be compromised because of this activity”

I’ve alluded to this in a post earlier in the week, but the Oireachtas record gives Deputy Gerry Adams a voice not captured on the Dail video. The exchange between himself and the leader of Fianna Fail is very instructive, not least as we face into another summer of discontent… The relevant section begins with Mr Martin making a point he’s made before, only because of his interventions more forcefully and directly to one of the political parties he clearly … Read more

Mauritius must get to grips with torture if it wishes to restore confidence

The failure to find and convict the killers of Michaela McAreavey has exposed glaring holes in the Mauritius criminal justice system and a worrying reliance on confessions allegedly extracted under torture. The Mauritian jury’s ‘not guilty’ verdict seems to show that they believed Avinash Treebhoowoon’s allegation that a confession statement produced three days after Michaela McAreavey’s murder was a police concoction, only signed by him after days of torture. Treebhoowoon made his first official complaint of ill-treatment at a court appearance … Read more

Parading issues require real political solutions not just an ad hoc sticking plaster…

So it’s the eleventh of July. And nearly all politician of all political stripes are making hay over who’s to blame for any impending trouble in Ardoyne (in the last few years the rioters have been nationalist, and they’ve not waited for those Orange feet to come anywhere near before venting their hatred for ‘the other tradition’. But the Belfast Telegraph print edition, there’s a timely editorial that notes that that for all the Morcombe and Wise performance of blissful … Read more

Approach to Northern Ireland’s bloody past remains ad hoc and most of all unpredictable…

There is much wringing of hands at the latest turn in the story of the Boston archives. Henry McDonald has a good round up of some of it. As it stands, US law, it seems, affords US institutions of Higher Education little protection against an incoming subpoena. The College is folding on this case, but fighting an attempt at a wider trawl through archives. The two researchers, Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntrye are considering further options in this case. In … Read more

“Police will consider the comments made by Judge Weir…”

They should, because it’s good advice.  From a Belfast Telegraph report Mr Justice Weir criticised the PSNI for relying on advice from unelected community spokesmen. The judge claimed that he had a “considerable sense of unease” concerning the credence that had been given to views from certain groups or individuals. “The police would do very well to distance themselves from them, rather than getting in with them,” said Judge Weir. A report in the Irish News has some more detail Initially … Read more

#BostonCollege and the clash of law with the covert politics of peace…

The Boston College tape court case is reaching an interesting pass, though it’s unlikely to be the final decisive stage. The circuit court hearing is worth listening to (takes about 45 seconds before anything happens) for a number of reasons. One, it’s an, albeit brief court room drama featuring what must be the most comprehensively qualified brief in western jurisprudence (Eamonn Dornan of New York and Belfast)… And two, it demonstrates the utility of having court cases recorded and made … Read more

Privatising the investigation of crime?

In light of recent developments regarding ex RUC officers being re-employed or not, as the case may be, this particular advertisment raises some interesting scenarios. Major Crime Investigators? BangordubBangordub has lived in Bangor for six years The purpose of this particular blog is to give a nationalist, although not party political, perspective on politics and whatever else comes to mind with particular reference to the 6 Northeastern Counties of Ireland (or whatever your preference for calling them is). The twist … Read more

Reducing the number of departments by one and missing the opportunity to meet manifesto commitments

Peter Robinson told me at the end of March that: I have a well worn copy of the manifesto because I keep it in front of me and I keep looking to see what else we have to do and we have to accomplish. Like many other local party leaders, this week’s settlement on the number of departments and method of selection of the Justice minster won’t require any pencil ticks to be made on the pages of Peter Robinson’s … Read more

Hostage taking in NI prisons

Since his election earlier this year Jim Allister has become something of a bête noire for justice minister David Ford. It was Allister who first exposed the possibility of changing the symbols of the prison service and dropping the term “Her Majesty’s Prison” resulting in Peter Robinson’s slap down for Ford. Allister also highlighted the discovery of a large amount of cash being brought to Maghaberry. His latest questions to Ford have produced the revelation that in the past four … Read more

Last supergrass trial was, um, actually just four years ago…

JUST watching the BBC and it’s constantly reporting that today marks the start of the “first ‘supergrass’ trial in Belfast for 25 years”. It’s not. No-one seems to remember that just four years ago, this happened – and it wasn’t exactly a roaring success. Belfast Gonzohttp://sluggerotoole.com

Legal Aid Fees Dispute: “It’s a farce.”

More on the ongoing legal aid fees dispute.  UTV reports that just 18 out of 500 law firms in Northern Ireland have said they are willing to work under the disputed new pay rates. A Department of Justice spokesman said: “Copies of the list of firms willing to undertake criminal legal aid work is available to all defendants seeking legal representation from court offices. “Copies of the list have also been provided to the Prison Service for clients on remand without … Read more