Declan Kearney: “an attempt to destabilise nationalist areas in the North.”

As mentioned by Newton Emerson in Saturday’s Irish News, in an under-reported article in An Phoblacht this week, the Sinn Féin national chairperson, and MLA for South Antrim, Declan Kearney, doubled down on Roy Greenslade’s ‘policy of criminalisation‘ for dissident republicans to explain away the evident discontent the party is experiencing – adding further layers of conspiracy in the process.  Yep.  It’s the Brits the securocrats the ‘Dark Side’, again! In the article Declan Kearney claims that “republicans hostile to … Read more

Troubles with paramilitaries is a strategic legacy of the peace process itself

Took me a while to get around to this, but Stephen Dempster’s Spotlight documentary on paramilitarism in North Down is well worth watching. The scale of the activism there is way below what we associate with Belfast or parts of Mid Ulster. It’s a reprise of a story Chris first picked up on for Slugger back in November. Several things come out of it. One is Jonathan Powell’s frank admission (here and here) that is remnant paramilitary control is something … Read more

“I would like to say vigilantism won’t work…”

Worth noting, I think, the comments by a local “community worker” following the shooting in the legs of a 20-year-old man in Strabane last night.  From the BBC report Mr Gallagher said he also saw the man’s father, who had been searching for his son, before finding him shot. He said he believed that the shooting was carried out by the vigilante group, RAAD (Republican Action Against Drugs). “From a community aspect I would like to say vigilantism won’t work. It’s never worked … Read more

Two police officers injured in suspected linked attacks

UTV reports that – “Two police officers were injured during overnight riots in Carrickfergus and Ballyclare on Tuesday”.  There was a further disturbance in the Carrickfergus area last night and the BBC adds that police are investigating possible loyalist paramilitary involvement in the incidents. The PSNI have said one line of inquiry is an earlier police drugs operation at houses in the Castlemara estate in Carrickfergus sparked the disorder. A small quantity of herbal cannabis and cannabis resin was recovered during the search. A 37-year-old man … Read more

Towards a social peace – Part 1 (An article by fair_deal)

What can Unionism do about loyalist paramilitarism? Unionism has preferred to avoid this issue rather than attempt to resolve it. Nevertheless, it is a problem, which must be addressed as it is barrier to a normal society and harm is being caused to working class communities by its continuing existence. In Part 1, I will examine how Unionism has dealt with this issue during the peace process and argue that the two basic options of engagement on the one hand … Read more

Sinn Fein and the problem of the “two captains”…

Although others have suggested that the DUP was being set up to take pressure over its self declared unwillingness to engage with the largest nationalist political party Sinn Fein, it is the latter that continues to take the political heat this summer. Some of the damage would appear self inflicted. The last two years have seen its previously near faultless PR efforts veer off on several unseemly wobbles (sound file). Not least over the IRA’s (unnecessary?) reaction to the Police … Read more

continued involvement of paramilitaries in organised crime

The NI Affairs Committee’s report on Organised Crime has just been published following a long period of taking evidence, both in public and private, and is available online here – also available as a two part pdf file. It’s a wide-ranging report – summary here – which even touches on the proposed changes to liquor licencing, but it will be the section dealing with paramilitary involvement in organised crime that will, understandably, attract most interest. Update other reports here, and … Read more

Political cryonics anyone?

As the BBC have reported, the Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland, Peter Hain, has made his “the future of Northern Ireland” statement to the House of Commons. Announcing his intention to bring forward an emergency Bill on 20 April, with only a half a dozen clauses, to recall the Assembly on 15 May, as previously announced. He repeatedly references devolution in Scotland and Wales as role-models, but there’s not a great deal of detail so far except … Read more