A quick one: over on his own blog a writer who describes himself on Twitter as a PSNI officer has just published a rarely-seen (WARNING – EXTREMELY GRAPHIC) glimpse into what are presented as some of the hardest days of a currently-serving police officer. For many years, Police Service of Northern Ireland social media policy for work social posts and security concerns for personal posts kept this kind of look at life beyond the PR hashtags and taglines to a … Read more
I would definitely listen back to the first half hour of the Nolan Show this morning. Some of the reaction from some callers was pretty chilling in their comments on four shootings since voting at Assembly elections finished. One suggested that within six or seven days no one but the families would care. In the meantime here’s some thoughts on the wicked problems that communities like those in West Belfast face and which enforcer violence like this perpetuates… Mick FealtyMick … Read more
I meant to get this up yesteday. It’s a clip from UTV’s exclusive report on the Ballynafeigh kurfuffle last week. It’s not comprehensive by any means, but it does suggest the PSNI might have some operational questions to answer. The process has been kicked up the Police Ombudsman, and the Policing Board should probably have an inquiry of its own into it too. The local SDLP MLA Claire Hannah was quick to note how DUP politicians were rather too quick … Read more
Adrian Ismay, who had previously been released from hospital after sustaining serious injuries from a dissident Republican bomb attack, suffered a fatal heart attack earlier today. The First Minister lead condemnation, tweeting from the USA on an investment mission, “I’m devastated. Can’t believe the news. I was texting Adrian before we left for the US. He was doing well. My thoughts are with his family.” The PSNI have yet to confirm they are treating the death as murder. Coincidentally today in … Read more
Ruth Dudley Edwards points out that the DPP in Northern Ireland is often caught at the centre of events in Northern Ireland in which it is all too easy to project him and his office as the favoured fall guys in broader circumstances for which he has little or no responsibility… …although there were criticisms that the collapse of the case against Daly was the fault of the PPS, it’s clear that it could neither have predicted nor prevented a … Read more
This’ll have to you laughing (not)! The poor old PSNI missed more than half their targets says NI’S Comptroller and Auditor General. Then he, rather patiently, explains exactly why… The Policing Board and PSNI have continued to make progress in developing appropriate targets for the Policing Plan, but there is still room for further improvement. In particular, there are too many targets. A reduction in the number of targets would help to ensure that efforts are clearly focused on improving … Read more
In the Times of London Irish edition he’s quoted thusly… “States throughout the world protect and value the basic right to a jury trial,” he said. “Juries must of course be protected in carrying out their work and this can be achieved in a number of ways including having an anonymous jury, screening the jury from public view, protecting the jury during the trial, or locating the jury in a different place from where the trial is being held with … Read more
Interesting outworking of the Slab Murphy controversy. Sinn Fein’s position has been to suggest getting rid of the Republic’s Special Criminal Court (the juryless court which was responsible for convicting Murphy in a civil case). The new techniques which Mary Lou McDonald hinted at over the weekend appear to be putting jurors on what amounts to a witness protection programme… “States throughout the world protect and value the basic right to a jury trial,” he said. “Juries must of course be protected … Read more
COMMUNITY CONTROL: The brutal attack on a voluntary community worker in Bangor can be viewed as a blatant attempt by loyalist paramilitaries to assert their power and authority over a working-class community which reacted adversely to paramilitary attempts to lay claim to the area over the past nine months.
UNCOVERING STAKEKNIFE: A new investigation could cost up to £12.5m over a five year period. Interestingly the Chief Constable in interview on Newsline this evening suggested that whilst the investigation would be looking allegations against Stakeknife, it would be looking all the murders associated with the IRA’s internal security unit.
NO EARLY RELEASE: If a soldier is convicted in the future of what would have been deemed a scheduled offence between 1973 and 1998, they could apply for early release under the Good Friday Agreement. However, that still leaves an anomaly in respect of crimes carried out between the start of the Troubles in 1969 and 1973.
Now, I don’t normally go much on arrests. At best they seem to be as much a political statement as anything more serious. But this one is at least worth marking since the landscape of this case has been well surveyed by Savill even if none of the evidence there can be used… A former British soldier has been arrested by detectives investigating the Bloody Sunday killings in Derry in 1972. Officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Legacy Investigation … Read more
Had to decamp to the back garden for this one, and had a few disruptions, so it takes a wee while to get going… Also this clip from last night’s The View in which Peter Sheridan and Sophie Long discuss how Loyalist paramilitarism can be made to go away… Is there a subtle admission there that heretofore the authorities have been turning a blind eye to Loyalist criminality (no comments on that point unless you watch the whole thing please?)… … Read more
Three accounts out today worth highlighting. All of them treat with the murder of Kevin McGuigan and explore the ramifications. Each seeks to put it in a wider context. All reach different conclusions in varying degrees. The first is a well researched piece from Ed Moloney, who has been re-reading Mary Alice Clancy’s 2013 Peace Without Consensus (the title hints of those poisonous foundations Peter Preston spoke of back in 2007) to good effect. Moloney’s hobby horse for much of the latter part of the Peace … Read more
I blame the pallets. Back the olden days, when I was young, there was no way of building 11th Night bonfires high enough to scare the neighbours out of their homes. Pallets are eminently combustible, readily available and endlessly (it seems) stackable. And now, no one in authority knows what to do other than tell people whose homes might burn down to get out of them. Veteran local councillor Jim Rogers is still trying to use the gently gently approach… … Read more
Yesterday’s landmark compensation awards of £7500 each to the families of six men killed by the security forces means that the logjam of inquests is beginning to cost the state money – money the justice system says it hasn’t got and never will have, to pay for optimum legal accountability for the Troubles. As the Guardian reports: The high court in Belfast ruled on Tuesday that the damages were awarded due to the “frustration, distress and anxiety” suffered by the … Read more
There’s been a lot of talk, as there always is, around how any of this controversy will or will not affect the political fortunes of the main protagonist, ie Sinn Fein. As with the PSNI investigation into the murder of Jean McConville itself, we simply don’t know. If the demeanour of the activists I know is anything to go by it won’t be want of spirit or fight. That’s looking determinedly at the story of what was done to Mrs … Read more
Interesting response to the Hain interview this morning from Mark Durkan… “It is no surprise that Peter Hain has now articulated this view. That was clearly his position. Sinn Fein, who have been quoting him in aid this week, know that this was Peter Hain’s view when they were collaborating together to push forward the NI (Offences) Bill in 2005 (which was misnomered as the On The Runs bill). “In the context of the Hain-Adams Bill, which Peter Hain was … Read more
I’m hearing that Martin McGuinness will in effect pull the plug on powersharing next week by facing the DUP with an ultimatum they can’t accept on justice and policing. The uncompromising tone of Gerry Adams’s announcement of the postponment of their Friday ard comhairle due to bad weather seems only to have delayed the grim message. So Sinn Fein will give the DUP no quarter over the Robinson crisis and will rather seek to exploit it. That is the depth … Read more