This week in Northern ireland illustrated the conflicts over what sparked the troubles, who will be prosecuted and who will be given a free pass for atrocities committed during them .The issues are a particular “narrative” that exonerates the state and loyalists and who will shape the future.
The DUP has decided Sinn Fein won’t.
The DUP has pledged to prevent Sinn Fein from having any role in writing a “joint narrative” of the Troubles. In a policy paper on victims’ issues, the DUP said that it was “very clear about the truth of the Troubles and will never compromise this by asking those who have engaged in terrorism to agree a joint narrative”.
“Sinn Fein will not be given a role in agreeing the narrative of the past. This would be morally repugnant. The facts are the facts; Sinn Fein’s agreement or lack thereof to those facts will not change the truth of the past.”
Two main themes this week 29/4/- 4/5 2014
1) Politics delivered a year of failure for the victims of the Troubles
UK Government rejects probe into army shooting of 11 civilians in Ballymurphy
In a letter sent to the families who were bereaved in the west Belfast shootings, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers refused the calls on the grounds that it would not be in the public interest.John Teggart, whose father Danny died after being shot 14 times by British troops in Ballymurphy, said families were devastated by the decision.
Ballymurphy families consider a legal challenge against a Government decision to reject an independent re-examination of the 1971 shootings.
McGurk’s Bar bombing: Families to sue government
The Ulster Volunteer Force carried out the attack at McGurk’s Bar in December 1971 that killed 15 people .A solicitor for the families said they had been “treated disgracefully by the state for over 40 years”.
A man arrested by police investigating the 1971 bombing of McGurk’s Bar in north Belfast was released unconditionally and Loyalist Mo Courtney avoided jail over threats to kill high-profile victims campaigner Raymond McCord. He was given a three-month suspended sentence.
Martin McGuinness told Mr Cameron there was ‘no consistency on state killings’.
“The PSNI is duty bound to fully and energetically pursue all and every investigation and I support and encourage them to do so,”.
“But I know that some investigations are pursued more vigorously than others. British forces are protected and immune. That’s why the British government has not signed up to the Haass proposals.”
Comment: Facing “dozens of inquests” into Troubles-related killings and with a string of High Court cases “by victims alleging state collusion in murder,” London is looking for a way to shut down the search for truth, not to expand it. It is the convergence of interests between the British state and the most backward elements in Unionism–exposed for their scuppering of the recent Haass talks–that explains why HM Government says NO.
The British state’s selective approach to the past is not just about maintaining its control over a peace process on permanent life support. The kind of stability that they seek to preside over for Northern Ireland requires a “narrative” of the past that casts them as a neutral party presiding over warring tribes
2) Adams questioned by PSNI over the Jean McConville killing
Jean McConville,a Protestant who married a Catholic, moved to Divis in the Lower Falls area after she and her husband were burnt out of East Belfast by loyalists. After her abduction and murder by the IRA, McConville’s surviving family was broken up and her children scattered, some of them taken into care.Her son Michael
said that he knew the names of some of the people that he believes are his mother’s killers, but that he would never reveal them to police.
He said: “I do know the names of the people, I’ve never told anyone.I wouldn’t tell the police. If I told the police now a thing, me or one of my family members or one of my children would get shot by those people.”
Helen McKendry, Jean McConville’s daughter: “I’ll name names over IRA killing. I am no longer afraid
Unfortunately she wasn’t in the room when the abduction occurred and didn’t actually see anything
Michael McConville insists that the RUC had information on his mother’s disappearance within two days but never attempted to find her.
Neither the RUC nor the PSNI even opened a file on McConville until forced to do so by her family in 1995, almost a quarter century after her death.
Comment: Unionists/Loyalists who relish republican shame over her murder should remember that the McConvilles had been forcibly evicted from a Protestant area because Jean was Protestant, her husband Catholic.
Over the past couple of years the British government have gone to enormous lengths to solve the case, pouring huge resources into bringing a high-profile court case in the US to win access to interview transcripts (the Boston tapes)
In the last few weeks, the PSNI arrested high profile veteran republicans, Ivor Bell and Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams.
Gerry Adams agreed to speak to the PSNI about the circumstances of the abduction and execution of Jean McConville. He was held for 4 days’ questioning, allegedly interrogated for up to 17 hours a day.
Martin McGuinness indicated Sinn Fein ‘may review PSNI support’ if Adams is charged
“Yesterday I said that the timing of the arrest of Gerry Adams was politically-motivated.Today’s decision by the PSNI to seek an extension confirms me in my view.”
Arrest of Gerry Adams raised fears for Northern Ireland peace process
Whitehall and Labour politicians worried over consequences if Sinn Féin abandoned its support for power-sharing executive
Query: What would happen?
New elections and the return of direct rule from London over Northern Ireland if Martin McGuinness resigned as deputy first minister and the SDLP declined to support a new executive.
Adams arrest was ‘not political policing“ said Prime Minister David Cameron
Northern Ireland justice minister David Ford said: “I reject the suggestion that there is political policing in Northern Ireland.“
RNU link the two major themes together
“Political Policing is an issue which anti-GFA republicans have been campaigning against for the best part of 16 years. We have consistently challenged the political nature of an unreformed and irreformable police force”.
“Today – as in the past – the British State through this police force regularly circumvents its own laws, regulations and self-proclaimed standards to put Republican Activists who oppose the Status Quo behind bars.
The RUC/PSNI stop, search, raid homes, arrest, assault and intern activists, yet there is a deafening silence from Sinn Fein.
While republicans are being hounded, arrested, charged and remanded for historical cases, the British puppet Thersea Villiers this week confirmed the Parachute Regiment had impunity prior to embarking on bloody massacres like those in Ballymurphy and Derry on Bloody Sunday. This proves that there’s a two tier justice system at play when dealing with historical cases“.
Veteran republicans Evelyn Gilroy and Peter Rodgers refused to give statements in the past 24 hours to the PSNI implicating Gerry Adams in IRA activity.
Evelyn Gilroy was an active republican in Divis flats where Jean McConville was abducted in December 1972.She had said on April 24: “I’m speaking out for the first time because I’m very angry that grassroots republicans are being arrested.Police have lifted people who were 15 and 16 at the time of the killing, yet Gerry Adams remains untouched. I’m disgusted that ordinary republicans are being put through the mill for his actions”.
In an interview with the BBC 10 days ago former IRA prisoner Peter Rogers, 69, said that Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness met him in Dublin in 1980 and ordered him to transport explosives to England for a bombing campaign. Sinn Fein has strongly denied the claims.
At a SF rally in west Belfast Martin McGuinness said
“Depending on what happens this scenario will either be resolved in a satisfactory way, in which case we will continue to press on. If it doesn’t, we will have to review that situation in the context of continuing with our very positive and constructive role within what is a vitally important peace process.”
Peter Robinson: “The PSNI must not be subject to republican bullyboy tactics- The publicly conveyed threat to the PSNI delivered by the highest levels of Sinn Féin that they will reassess their attitude to policing if Gerry Adams is charged is a despicable, thuggish attempt to blackmail the PSNI. I warn Sinn Fein that they have crossed the line and should immediately cease this destructive behaviour”.
Peter Robinson leads Ulster Resistance militants in a rally, 1987, with Noel Little, UDA terrorist and arms smuggler
He went on “The inconsistency of the Deputy First Minister is clear for all to see. He seems incapable of supporting the PSNI when it comes to the investigation of Mr Adams. What we need in these circumstances is leadership – it is patently absent in the republican movement. Their actions allow only one conclusion to be reached – republicans believe they are not subject to the rule of law in the same way as they demand others to be made amenable to the rule of law“.
Comment: Need I remind Peter Robinson of the decades of a Northern Ireland Unionist cold house for catholics were bullyboy tactics lead to a one vote per catholic household and no jobs for Catholics in the shipyard.
SF sources say no ‘substantially new’ material on Jean McConville murder put to Gerry Adams He was asked questions about what is called “open source material.”
During questioning, officers had referred to the Boston tapes
as well as images,
Mr Adam’s autobiography
and old newspaper articles.
Finally Sunday 4th May – the news we had all been waiting for
Gerry Adams was released without charge in connection with the murder and abduction of Jean McConville and with being a member of the IRA, both of which he has denied. Police will now send a dossier to the Public Prosecution Service in Belfast, who will then decide if any further action against Mr Adams should be taken. The file will decide whether there is a case to answer.
Query: Does it mean there is a strong possibility that charges will follow at a later stage?
The answer is probably no.
Query: But didn’t the PSNI say Police earlier this week that “the decision to arrest and question the Sinn Féin leader on Wednesday night was taken because detectives believed they had sufficient evidence to put to him.”
Yes, the fact that he has now been released without charge is likely to prove hugely embarrassing for them.