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
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
Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt has mounted “a stinging attack” on Martin McGuinness for saying he would have “ no difficulty “ in disclosing his own role as an IRA leader in dealing with the past. An outsider would be taken aback at the vehemence of Nesbitt’s reaction. On the face of it, McGuinness’s offer sound interesting if not original, particularly with regard to timing. Is something stirring over dealing with the past as outlined in the abortive Stormont House … Read more
In a recent post Brian mentioned briefly the launch of the investigation into the activities of ‘Steaknife’ – the alleged British Army’s highest ranking informant within the Provisional IRA. Named in the media as Freddie Scappaticci, originally from west Belfast, Scappaticci has denied the allegations. Operation Kenova, as it’s been named, will be headed by Chief Constable Jon Boutcher, from Bedfordshire Police and, according to reports, is expected to last around five years and cost £35million. The BBC report notes [The] investigation into the alleged … Read more
Hints are constantly being dropped that the Executive are close to agreement about setting up the new institutions to deal with the past, basically as laid out in the Haass report two years ago. After last week, it can’t come quick enough. A draft Bill to set up new legacy bodies is ready and waiting. A flood of consequences emerged from some of the worst incidents of the Troubles, lining up to be tackled. 70 murders connected to Loughinisland. … Read more
The Detail investigative website continues to create impact by laying it out facts you might suspect the main parties have an interest in playing down with an election in prospect. Paradoxically that comparative reticence may be a form of implied cohesion between the DUP and Sinn Fein. But is it good enough? How should they respond? In their latest report following an inevitably rough audit of the last Assembly mandate the Detail gives a stark account of the level of … Read more
Gang activity labelled “dissident republican” is spreading and is proving very difficult to check. What is the connection between the killings in Dublin and the fatal shooting taxi driver of Michael McGibbon? Perhaps the most chilling aspect of McGibbon “ punishment shooting “ was that, rather than go the the police – or even Gerry Kelly – he went to take his punishment, just as in the worst of the bad old days. The 33-year-old had gone to meet … Read more
In the Irish News Newton Emerson highlights the unintended consequences of Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams’ intemperate outburst following his recent misunderstanding with security at the White House. From the Irish News GERRY Adams could have been pragmatic and diplomatic about being locked out of President Obama’s St Patrick’s Day reception and simply laughed it off. It is all too believable that the White House has the same hapless jobsworths in its security hut as everywhere else – and that has … Read more
BONFIRES OR VANITIES: Claire Hanna of the SDLP contextualises the party’s Environment Minister’s proposals to licence bonfires (any and all of them). Her key point is that compliance with the law as it is currently practised cannot rely on negotiated outcomes in which ‘the community’ decides what’s fair.
You don’t have to be a transitional justice zealot or a Provie fellow traveller to recognise that the heat is on the British government, the police and security authorities over dealing with the past. You can be a judge like Lord Justice Weir blasting the police and indirectly the government for the inordinate delays in producing inquest evidence, now that high court judges have taken over the coroner’s service. You only need to be a supporter the DUP or TUV, … Read more
So, this is intriguing. Brian Rowan has some interesting background detail on the big Irish News front page spread earlier in the week… On Monday, there was another development when The Irish News correspondent Allison Morris reported that the IRA commander behind the 1993 Shankill bombing was a police informant – ‘Agent AA’ – who had told his handlers of the plan. It is reported that he was identified when the IRA decoded the stolen Castlereagh documents. Almost a year ago, there … Read more
The BBC’s freedom of information specialist, Martin Rosenbaum, has been reading through transcripts of calls and meetings between US President Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, between 1997 and 2000, which were released following a BBC freedom of information request to the Clinton Presidential Library. As he notes, [The transcripts] contain substantial redactions, especially of Mr Blair’s remarks… From the BBC report Much of their discussion was about the Northern Ireland peace process, in which President Clinton played a significant part. … Read more
After the guilty verdict in the trial of, “key supporter of the Sinn Féin peace strategy”, Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy on 9 charges of tax evasion, Gerry Adams, TD, declared that he had “no comment to make until the legal process has been concluded”. Following criticism of that position the Sinn Féin president has, apparently, decided that some comment would be appropriate after all. The journal.ie has his initial further comment, and the Sinn Féin website has a further, further version. From the … Read more
As the BBC reports, 66-year-old Thomas Murphy has been found guilty of nine charges of tax evasion at Ireland’s non-jury Special Criminal Court. When, in March 2006, there was a series of co-ordinated raids on properties in the UK and Ireland connected to Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy – who had been named previously as both the UK’s richest smuggler and a former Provisional IRA Chief of Staff – the Sinn Féin president, now Louth TD, Gerry Adams declared, “Tom Murphy is not a … Read more
PARIS ATTACKS: At least 40 people are reported to have been killed. There have been shootings at, at least, two bars or restaurants, including a Cambodian restaurant, and there have been explosions reported near the Stade de France where the French national football side were playing Germany.
The Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, has published the assessment of “the structure, role and purpose of paramilitary groups focusing on those which declared ceasefires in order to support and facilitate the political process”. Theresa Villiers’ statement to Parliament is here. The letter to the Secretary of State [pdf file] from the independent reviewers confirming the completion of their assessment is also available. We are satisfied that: i) MI5 and PSNI have engaged fully with us, consistent with their duties and constraints: … Read more
Drogheda based Fine Gael Councillor and former Garda Special Branch officer has raised important questions about the number of officers deployed in border areas where levels of crime are still high relative to other largely rural parts of the Republic following the killing of Garda Tony Golden. During the troubles a call to the house of suspected paramilitary would have immediately raised red flags and no guard would have been sent out on their own he said. Garda Golden is … Read more
About that bad smell… Here’s one to keep on eye on. The BBC report notes A [46-year-old] man wanted by German authorities over an attack on a British army base in Germany in 1996 has appeared in court in the Republic of Ireland on an extradition warrant. And from the Irish Times report James Anthony Oliver Albert Corry (46) was arrested in Killorglin, Co Kerry, on Friday on foot of a European Arrest Warrant issued by German authorities. Mr Corry is … Read more
LAW AND DISORDER: Gerry Adams wants no preconditions going into these talks next week. But as Warren Little points out we do need to talk about a more general problem of tolerance for organised crime.
PROVISIONALS APPEAR THEN DISAPPEAR: It’s not the Provisional IRA structures that are the immediate cause for concern. It’s the involvement of those ‘structures’ in the events leading up to, and including, the murder of Kevin McGuigan, and the continued denials which have followed.