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January 25, 2007

Special Branch Facing 2nd Collusion Probe

News About Ireland & The Irish

BT 01/25/07 Special Branch Facing Second Collusion Probe
BT 01/25/07 Haddock Allowed To 'Poison Children'
BN 01/25/07 DUP Defends Police Who Hampered Collusion Inq
BT 01/25/07 Ombudsman Thanked Us Says Special Branch Chief
BT 01/25/07 SF: Unionist Stop Collusion Debate
BT 01/25/07 Tele To Publish SF Policing Pamphlet
BT 01/25/07 Duddy Confident Motion On PSNI Will Be Passed
BT 01/25/07 Support For Move On Policing Will Be Secured
BT 01/25/07 Justice Schemes 'Halted 500 Attacks'
BT 01/25/07 McDougall Call For £8m Fund & Forum For Victims
BT 01/25/07 Opin: O'Loan, What She Didn't Say
BT 01/25/07 Opin: Don’t Speak Of Media & Provos Collusion
RT 01/25/07 Court Rejects Change Of City Name To Derry
IT 01/25/07 Thousands In Dublin For Trad Festival


Special Branch Facing Second Collusion Probe

[Published: Thursday 25, January 2007 - 10:48]
By David Gordon

Special Branch is facing a second Police Ombudsman
investigation into officers' collusion with UVF killer Mark

The follow-up probe is centring on suspected links between
Haddock and two UVF murder bids on a north Belfast man in
the 1990s.

The targeted man - John Flynn, from the Bawnmore estate -
is referred to as Victim Six in the report published by
Nuala O'Loan this week.

It stated that the victim grappled with an attacker who
tried to shoot him in 1992. He gave police a description of
the gunman and the photomontage resembled "Informant One" -

It is "clear" that Haddock was a "potential suspect" in the
case but he was not arrested, the report said.

Five years later, close UVF associates of Haddock were
arrested for placing a bomb under Victim Six's car.

"Informant One was not arrested for this second murder
attempt, although briefing notes viewed at Forensic Science
Northern Ireland state he was in the area at the time," the
Ombudsman stated.

Mr Flynn has alleged that police investigations into
attempts to kill him were stymied to protect informers.

A probe into his complaint by Mrs O'Loan's office is still

Mr Flynn had no comment to make when contacted by the
Belfast Telegraph.

Meanwhile, an ex-Special Branch chief has hit back at
allegations that officers refused to co-operate with Mrs

After the identities of three former top officers - Chris
Albiston, Raymond White and Freddy Hall - at the centre of
the row were revealed, they claimed Mrs O'Loan kept them in
the dark about her dossier.

Mr Albiston, a retired Assistant Chief Constable, writing
in today's Belfast Telegraph, insisted that the Ombudsman's
report failed to take into account the number of lives
saved by the intelligence gathering operation.

And Larne's Mayor, Councillor Danny O'Connor, has hit out
at the allegation that Haddock extended his drugs empire
into the town with the knowledge of some Special Branch

Further reports: pages 4 and 7; Albiston hits back: page 17

© Belfast Telegraph


Haddock Allowed To 'Poison Children'

[Published: Thursday 25, January 2007 - 09:06]
By David Gordon

A CO Antrim Mayor today denounced Special Branch for
letting informer Mark Haddock deal drugs and "poison kids"
in his borough.

Larne Alderman Danny O'Connor hit out after the Police
Ombudsman criticised RUC inaction over Haddock's
involvement in the drugs trade in the town.

Nuala O'Loan discovered that officers received 70
intelligence reports linking Haddock to 17 separate
instances of drug dealing in an area spanning north Belfast
and east Antrim.

Haddock actually admitted his involvement to police on two
occasions and also informed on other dealers.

The Ombudsman concluded that his motivation was to
"maintain control" of the illicit trade himself.

Mr O'Connor said: "A line has to be drawn in the sand and
when someone crosses that line they should feel the full
weight of the law.

"It is not for Special Branch officers to take that
decision, it should be made by the prosecuting

The SDLP mayor added: "They can't turn round and say it is
okay to poison kids in Larne if he is supplying information
on other dealers.

"The reality is that the same amount of drugs were still
being supplied.

"To allow him to act with immunity and indeed impunity was
grossly wrong."

Mrs O'Loan discovered that Haddock told his RUC handlers in
1994 that the north Belfast UVF had taken control of drug-
dealing at a Larne hotel.

The hotel was not named in the report, but is thought to be
the Kilwaughter House Hotel.

Haddock informed Special Branch in August 1994 that the UVF
was allowing local dealers to sell drugs on their behalf at
the hotel.

Mrs O'Loan found no evidence that this information was ever
passed to the police's Drugs Squad by Special Branch.

Despite the intelligence reports linking him to dealing, he
was only ever prosecuted for drug possession.

Mrs O'Loan said the "vast majority" of Special Branch
officers interviewed by her investigators denied knowledge
of the reports on Haddock's dealing.

"The Police Ombudsman does not accept this explanation, nor
does she accept that the officers were ignorant of
Informant 1's drug dealing," she concluded.

The report also accused Special Branch of "collusion" on
the grounds that it had "deliberately disregarded most of
Informant 1's involvement in drug-dealing from 1994

And it stated: "Police documentation records that monies
from drug operations formed a major part of the revenues of
loyalist paramilitaries during this period.

"The failure by police to deal with this aspect of their
criminality meant that this source of funding continued."

© Belfast Telegraph


DUP Defends Policemen Who Hampered Collusion Inquiry

25/01/2007 - 08:48:23

The DUP is defending the senior police officers who refused
to co-operate with the Police Ombudsman's inquiry into
collusion between the RUC and loyalist paramilitaries.

Nuala O'Loan revealed earlier this week that several senior
officers had failed to co-operate with her investigation,
which found that RUC Special Branch officers protected
loyalist murderers from prosecution.

The DUP's Ian Paisley Jnr claims they were within their
rights to withhold co-operation because Ms O'Loan was
engaged in a "fishing exercise" without any hard evidence
of collusion.

He has also rejected suggestions that they had moral
obligation to co-operate, saying: "At the end of the day,
it boils down to what is your legal right."

Meanwhile, the two main unionist parties in the North have
blocked an attempt to have the Ombudsman's report debated
in the Stormont Assembly on Monday.

Sinn Féin and the SDLP, who proposed the debate, have
condemned the failure of the DUP and UUP to support the

Sinn Féin says they have shown "breath-taking hypocrisy and
cowardice", while the SDLP says they have "failed the first
test of operating a democratic parliament".

A UUP spokesman claimed the debate would have been bad-
termpered and would have only served to give nationalists a
chance to grand-stand.


Ombudsman Thanked Us Says Former Special Branch Chief

[Published: Thursday 25, January 2007 - 09:08]

By Chris Thornton and Mark Hookham

A former Special Branch chief named and attacked in
Parliament has said he has a letter of thanks that shows
retired officers did cooperate with Nuala O'Loan's
collusion probe.

SDLP boss Mark Durkan used parliamentary immunity to say
that Chris Albiston, Ray White and Freddy Hall "failed to
cooperate with the Police Ombudsman's investigation".

The probe revealed UVF killers committed at least 10
murders while being paid as agents.

Mr Durkan said that situation was "a disgrace" and said two
of the officers "now attack her report and her office".

Mrs O'Loan's report said the "main difficulty" in her
investigation was the lack of cooperation from former

She said retired senior Special Branch officers "could have
assisted this enquiry" but "refused to do so".

"Among those who refused were two retired assistant chief
constables, seven detective chief superintendents and two
detective superintendents," it said.

Mr Albiston, a retired assistant chief constable, said he
and other retired officers had written to Mrs O'Loan "with
information that would assist her investigation and looked
to address specific points".

The officers have previously indicated that they turned
down the Ombudsman's request to discuss the investigation
in person.

Mr Albiston said that 18 months after police wrote back to
Mrs O'Loan, it " became apparent that a critical report was
being prepared".

He said the officers "asked to see the content and the
nature of the allegations being made".

"There was no cooperation from her office on this point and
officers were unable to see her report until Monday," he

"We earnestly hope that the reopening of the murder
investigations will lead to the conviction of the guilty
and are more than happy to help the police investigations
in any way we can. However, it is important that we put the
record straight and that responsible people understand that
cooperation was offered and indeed we even have a letter
from her office thanking us for our assistance."

During prime minister's questions, Mr Durkan also attacked
former RUC chief Sir Ronnie Flanagan, accusing him of
presiding over a culture of " anything goes but nobody

He asked whether Sir Ronnie was now credible in his high
profile job as the Home Secretary's principle advisor on

Mr Durkan told Mr Blair that anywhere else the revelations
exposed by Ms O'Loan would be a "national scandal".

He asked Mr Blair to "rethink plans to install MI5 as
Continuity Special Branch", saying the agency will be
"beyond the reach of key powers of the police ombudsman."

The prime minister said that he disagreed with the SDLP
leader's analysis of MI5.

He then added: "Of course we deeply and bitterly regret any
collusion that has taken place and impropriety on behalf of
anyone who was working for Special Branch throughout those

"I am sure that he would want to acknowledge that as a
result of those changes that were made some years ago that
cannot happen anymore. It is precisely as a result of the
additional scrutiny that we now have that this has been
uncovered and laid bare."

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said more than 300 police officers
lost their lives. "Thousands of those officers, including
Special Branch, saved countless lives," he said.

© Belfast Telegraph


Unionists Standing In Way Of Assembly Debate On Collusion:
Sinn Fein

[Published: Thursday 25, January 2007 - 11:00]

By Noel McAdam

Sinn Fein has accused unionists of preventing an Assembly
debate on the Police Ombudsman's report into collusion
between police and loyalist paramilitaries.

After meeting for a second day on the issue, Stormont's
all-party business committee proved unable to agree to end
the current 'transitional' Assembly with a debate on Nuala
O'Loan's report.

Instead the final day of the Assembly, next Monday, is set
to debate liquor licensing laws in the province.

Sinn Fein MLA John O'Dowd said: "We are obviously
disappointed and somewhat angry that this matter will not
now be debated.

"The DUP and Ulster Unionists should realise that it is not
nationalists and republicans they have let down, because
they would not expect anything else, but they have let down
their own communities, who are calling out for leadership
on this issue."

The Upper Bann Assembly member said it had "added insult to
injury" that the chamber would debate drinking hours rather
than the collusion controversy.

DUP chairman Lord Morrow, who represented the party at the
meeting, said he had not been particularly "hot or
bothered" about a debate on the O'Loan report.

"It was because of the fact that this was coming from Sinn
Fein, whose hands have not exactly been clean over this
past 35 years," he said.

"I just thought it was a bit rich that the request for this
debate was coming from Sinn Fein, remembering their
activities in the past."

The Sinn Fein motion urged the British Government to
acknowledge the role it had played during the "dirty war in

It is understood other business committee members argued
the Assembly should not hold what would be likely to become
a bitter and divisive debate on its last day, which will
trigger a new election due on March 7.

© Belfast Telegraph


Tele To Publish SF Policing Pamphlet

[Published: Thursday 25, January 2007 - 08:40]
By Noel McAdam

Sinn Fein is set to break new ground by publishing a
special pamphlet on policing through the Belfast Telegraph

Just two days ahead of its ard fheis verdict on the issue,
the party is financing a glossy four-page leaflet which
will be inserted in all Friday editions of the Telegraph.

Sinn Fein said the aim was to encourage a debate in the
wider community and help to tackle the issue of building

The party's policing and justice spokesman, Gerry Kelly,
said the pamphlet was viewed as part of Sinn Fein's
'unionist outreach' project.

"The fact is this is an issue which does not only affect
those who have suffered at the hands of the forces of the
State. It is an issue which affects everyone," Mr Kelly

"It is quite deliberate to put this in the Belfast
Telegraph and fair play to the Telegraph for agreeing to
become involved.

"The fact is the Telegraph has been trying to put different
voices out over across the divide and once that opens, we
feel you should use that," the North Belfast MLA said.

The party hopes the leaflet will bring a response from the
community, even if much of it is negative.

"For years unionists in particular have been calling for us
to deal with the issue of policing. Now we want to show
that we are doing just that," Mr Kelly added.

"There comes a point where you have to begin to try to
address the trust deficit which exists."

The party's ard chomhairle only decided on the initiative
last Wednesday.

But Mr Kelly said it had presented "no difficulties" with
executive members.

Sinn Fein's 'outreach' work goes back several years now and
was headed up by the former Belfast Lord Mayor, Alex
Maskey. Much of it involves hush-hush meetings with church
and cross-community groups.

The pamphlet uses the language of "a new beginning to
policing" and contains a personal address, some of it in
Irish, from Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams.

© Belfast Telegraph


Duddy Confident Motion On PSNI Will Be Passed

[Published: Thursday 25, January 2007 - 09:03]

Brendan Duddy, the prominent Derry nationalist who played a
major role liaising between the Government and the IRA, and
now a member of the Policing Board, says the PSNI is not
perfect, but is light years away from what existed in the

On Sunday approximately 2,000 Sinn Féin delegates will
crowd into the RDS in Dublin. The question they have to
answer is, Police Service of Northern Ireland: to be or not
to be.

In pockets of resistance all over the island, but
particularly in the North, feelings within the republican
family are running very high. The temptation to dismiss the
intimate emotions of those people, who fervently disagree
with the policies of the Adams/McGuinness/Kelly leadership
on policing, is almost overwhelming.

One side is entirely right and the other side is entirely
wrong, depending on where you stand.

This phenomenon in psychological terms is called splitting.

There is a belief system that the republican Movement is
more prone to splitting than most other organisations. This
is not true. The reality is that splitting is a most common
phenomenon throughout the entire world.

Ireland is no different from Iraq in this respect. The most
common split in modern life is divorce.

At the back of the minds of all those republicans who walk
into that hall on Sunday afternoon will be the nagging
questions: "Are we on the right road? Must we back the call
from the president of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, on policing?
Or just maybe, might we find another way forward?" And so
it goes on.

This is what happens when the spectre of a split is
hovering over any organisation.

It is the intensity of feeling and the certainty that one's
position is the true and only correct one, which fuels the
phenomenon of splitting. It would appear that the
leadership of any organisation is selected and elected as
guardians of the unobtainable ideal, the perfect solution,
and when this cannot be fully and completely achieved, an
immediate sense of betrayal occurs and the splitting
process has begun.

The deeply felt divisions preclude a compromise settlement
and the ideal fantasy position is held to be fully
obtainable if only the chosen leadership had been good
enough and strong enough to negotiate a better deal: The
Perfect Result.

The Adams motion to the ard fheis on January 28, 2007, will
create intense debate and splits and this should be
recognised for what it is - a fear of change and a loss of
the security offered by holding on to the idealism of the
perfect solution, that is a perfect police service. It
doesn't and can't exist.

The phenomenon of splitting crosses all divides.

The DUP, led for a lifetime by the Rev Ian Paisley,
maintains its drive, cohesion and strength by offering the
majority unionist population in the North of Ireland the
certainty of its ideal position, a return to a unionist
majority government in Stormont. This ideal position is not
obtainable, but the belief that it one day would be, gelled
the followers and prevented any split from happening.

This DUP position is becoming less tenable within the rank
and file and, as a result, a split here too may well be

The Hutu-Tutsi struggle in Rwanda, the Serb-Croat-Muslim
struggle in Yugoslavia and the ongoing conflict in Iraq are
examples of "acting out" , with dreadful consequences, the
phenomenon of splitting.

The people caught up in these splits saw genocide as a
viable option. Millions of human beings were slaughtered
for the perfect result. This is how intensely the
phenomenon of splitting can take hold in any community.

Already the language of those people opposing the Adams/
McGuinness move to full support for the PSNI at the ard
fheis has become more belligerent, but they do not have the
cohesion or the strength to defeat the Adams proposal on
policing. The days of the Republican Movement entering a
split so severe that it results in a brother versus brother
blood feud is not on. It is simply not going to happen.
Republicans are highly politicised and they know that all
the reservations about the past actions of some of the RUC
officers and the present revelations about collusion will
have to be faced up to. There can be no further cover ups.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is not the perfect
police service but it is light years away from what existed
in the past. The choice facing the republican delegates at
their ard fheis in Dublin this Sunday is straight forward -
they vote for or they vote against supporting the Police
Service of Northern Ireland.

The current leadership of the Republican Movement has been
in power for over 30 years, give or take, and there is a
lot of political experience behind the Adams motion next

There are no secret deals they know of that the British
Government, the government of the Republic of Ireland and
the American government would simply walk away from if, at
this point in the peace process, republicans turned their
back on policing. The motion to support Police Service of
Northern Ireland will be passed.

© Belfast Telegraph


Leadership Will Secure Convincing Support To Make Move On

[Published: Thursday 25, January 2007 - 09:00]

Sinn Fein's rank-and-file will back the party leadership on
policing, says Brian Rowan

"BECAUSE it's unknown territory there's an anxiety about
the other side of doing it. How does it roll out?"

This is a republican talking about the policing decision
facing the Sinn Fein ard fheis on Sunday - perhaps not so
much the decision, but what next.

What does it mean for republicans and their communities?
What does it mean for the political process? Will it move
Ian Paisley? What about those in his party who have been
loudest in recent months? What will the police do? What
will be different?

This is a place where republicans haven't been before.

And as they have moved in the direction of policing, there
has been a focus on dissent - most of which is coming from
the usual voices.

"We are going to Sunday's ard fheis to win, and we are
putting a lot of effort into it," said the party's policing
and justice spokesman, Gerry Kelly.

On Sunday, the Adams- McGuinness-Kelly leadership will win
comfortably. That is my opinion.

Gerry Kelly is more cautious, "We are not taking anything
for granted," he told me. "The stuff over the last couple
of days has had an impact" € meaning all that has emerged
in the Police Ombudsman's reporting on the agent Mark
Haddock and the failings of the Special Branch.

"We are saying that's why there has to be a republican
position on this, " Kelly added.

"It's about bringing the PSNI to account, and we would
argue that republicans are the best people to do that. We
now have the tools to do that - the accountability
mechanisms to do that."

The republican leadership has been taking the pulse across
its movement and its community - not just in those recent
public meetings, but in the private talking that is going
on in the background.

The argument for the Adams motion on Sunday is being made
by some of the most senior figures in the IRA - including
past jail leaders such as Padraic Wilson and Jim McVeigh.

And republicanism talking to itself is happening almost on
an hour-to-hour basis.

"People trusted in Sinn Fein and trusted in the Army (the
IRA) are leading this debate and pushing for support for
the motion," a source told this newspaper.

"The movement is speaking to itself again. Nothing is being
left to chance," added the source.

After the ceasefires, the ending of the armed campaign and
the decommissioning, this decision and vote on policing is
the last piece in the jigsaw, and it will coincide with the
next report of the Independent Monitoring Commission. That
body will clearly view a republican endorsement of policing
as a highly significant development.

"There's a growing confidence that it's republicans who can
take a bold step and make a difference," Mr Kelly said, but
he's not for one minute suggesting that it is an easy thing
to do.

For all the years of the "war" the police were the enemy -
and just how dirty that war became is seen in the latest
report of the Ombudsman.

That stuff of agents and murder and the role of the Special
Branch has been set in a past context.

The Chief Constable and the Police Ombudsman have
highlighted the changes. Hugh Orde has been saying it can't
happen again.

But Haddock is the tip of the iceberg. The past holds many
more secrets - not just in terms of the Special Branch's
involvement with loyalists, but republicans also.

And the shadow of MI5 is still there.

There are many new questions about what the war really was.
And when you are in Adams' shoes and you are trying to
bring Sinn Fein, the IRA and the broad republican community
down the policing road, all of this stuff emerging in the
background, makes the task all the more difficult.

"I don't detect any mainstream figures being involved in
any significant opposition to this," a source told this

What he means is no senior IRA or Sinn Fein figure has
moved against the leadership.

So, Adams is going to win - and win convincingly on Sunday.

Then the political focus shifts to Ian Paisley and the DUP.

As far as the Government will be concerned it will be their
turn to deliver.

© Belfast Telegraph


Justice Schemes 'Halted 500 Attacks'

[Published: Thursday 25, January 2007 - 09:10]
By Chris Thornton

Almost 500 paramilitary attacks or exclusions were
prevented by privately funded restorative justice schemes
in loyalist and republican areas, a study reported today.

The Queen's University report said the two schemes have had
"a measurable and significant impact" in reducing attacks -
halting them completely in some areas.

Professor Harry Mika, the report's author, said the groups
have become increasingly accepted by paramilitary groups,
although "perceptions of their paramilitary links" are a
potential limiting factor on their work.

Over a six-year period, he found the groups succeeded in
498 cases where there otherwise may have been paramilitary
beatings, shootings or exiling. Around 1,800 paramiltary
attacks took place over the same period.

Restorative justice schemes have been a controversial
addition to the policing debate.

The schemes - which bring offenders and victims together to
resolve criminal behaviour - are supposed to be developed
as part of justice and policing reforms in Northern

However, there has been a debate about whether they should
be publicly funded if they do not liaise with police.

According to today's report, the work of Community
Restorative Justice Ireland, which operates in republican
areas, and Northern Ireland Alternatives, a loyalist
version, has been "impressive".

The two groups have been funded by the Atlantic
Philanthropies, an international foundation, but the money
was time-limited.

The Northern Ireland Office received funding applications
from CRJI in 2005, but is believed to have held back on any
grants while the groups refused to work with police.

Professor Mika said: "Over the six year period in two
specific phases, I verified and assessed a total of 498
cases where young people were in real danger of being
attacked or excluded by the paramilitaries for their
alleged behaviour.

"The results showed that in Phase II of the project CRJI
activity stopped some 82% of potential paramilitary
punishments from happening in its impact area while
Northern Ireland Alternatives comparable figure was 71%.

"Beatings and shootings also fell to zero in all but one
project site by 2005.

"Most significantly the acceptance of community restorative
justice solutions by armed groups increased significantly
throughout Phase II," the professor added.

"In the case of Northern Ireland Alternatives in 2003 its
caseload represented only 40% of the potential paramilitary
punishments in their area but this rose to 90% in 2005. In
CRJI areas this rose from 78% to 94%."

© Belfast Telegraph


McDougall Calls For £8m Fund And Forum For Victims

[Published: Thursday 25, January 2007 - 08:43]

By Noel McAdam

A new fund for victims and survivors of the Troubles should
be established by the end of 2007 - and given £8m in start-
up cash in its first year, a major report says.

After a year of investigation and consultation,
"overwhelming support" has also emerged for the formation
of a victims and survivors forum - even if some will not
take part.

Those are among the conclusions of the interim commissioner
for victims and survivors who believes a flexible forum
could deal with the truth recovery process in Northern

Bertha McDougall said there are many victims who feel they
got a "raw deal" and have been forgotten, "beating their
heads off a brick wall, and treated with disdain and like
second class citizens."

She has proposed scrapping the Northern Ireland Memorial
Fund which has had seventeen different schemes that failed
to reflect the changing needs of victims and survivors.

"Many victims and survivors have indicated a difficulty and
a reluctance to access a fund that they perceive is lacking
in sensitivity towards them," her report said.

Mrs McDougall also said a review of the existing core
funding scheme for victims groups, which does not enable
sustainability or long term planning, is essential.

"There are many audit checks in the system but no audit of
the quality of the projects, their outcomes or evaluation,"
her investigation found.

Mrs McDougall found on taking up her office in December
2005 that it was unclear whether the conclusions of
numerous other, earlier reports had been accepted, acted
upon or ignored.

But she also found a high level of mistrust between various
groups and a " very high level" of mistrust of statutory
services as well as government. "While some victim support
groups have undertaken work to build trust within and
between communities the level of mistrust should not be

For the most part government was "reactive rather than
proactive" on the needs of victims and survivors while they
established their own formal and informal networks of

Victims in rural areas felt a sense of isolation with less
access to services than urban counterparts, and there were
gaps in services for young people.

Access to counselling has not been equitable with services
based in locations like Belfast, while for vulnerable
people suffering emotional difficulties, "travelling only
serves to exacerbate their condition" .

The reports key points

Fresh fund given £8m in first year for individual victims.

Hardship worst among victims from early Troubles.

Improved training for GPs in diagnosis of post-traumatic

Memorial fund should be phased out.

New commissioner to spearhead plans and priorities for
Victims and Survivors Forum.

Annual payment of £2,000 to spouses bereaved prior to 1998.

Further thought on setting up UDR Fund similar to the NI
Police Fund.

Victims given places on Community Planning Partnerships
being set up under the Review of Public Administration.

Counselling services for victims and survivors accredited
to recognised standards.

Regional and local trauma provision taken forward in tandem
with the Bamford review on mental health services.

© Belfast Telegraph


Opin: O'Loan, What She Didn't Say

[Published: Thursday 25, January 2007 - 11:27]

The report by Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan into the
conduct of officers dealing with the UVF in the 90s in
north Belfast presents an incomplete picture, and one which
fails to take account of the number of lives saved through
intelligence-gathering operations, argues Chris Albiston.
The former Assistant Chief Constable Crime, RUC GC and
lately UN Police Commissioner, Kosovo, was one of the top
police officers referred to in the inquiry

On Monday, the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Nuala
O'Loan, delivered the report on her inquiry (Operation
Ballast) into the conduct of police dealing with the UVF in
north Belfast during the 1990s. Her conclusions were
strongly critical of what she perceived to be serious
misconduct and mismanagement on the part of officers of the
RUC Special Branch in their handling of informants and the
intelligence produced by them.

It is unfortunate that the picture painted by her public
report was so incomplete.

One deeply sympathises with the families of the victims of
loyalist and republican murder during the last 40 years.

Some people may take some comfort from the successful
prosecution of those who were responsible for the murder of
their loved ones: to have prevented such murders would have
been infinitely preferable.

This was precisely the thrust of the whole security policy
prior to the first PIRA ceasefire in 1994.

What the Ballast report refers to as a 'culture of
subservience to the Special Branch' was in fact a series of
instructions which required the CID to seek clearance from
SB for taking certain initiatives in relation to terrorist

This was designed to cover such basic matters as the safety
of public and police, preventing the so-called 'blue on
blue' situation of policing operations clashing

But there were other issues. The arrest of a paramilitary
quartermaster in possession of weapons could be a welcome
success - and such events were frequent, due to the
provision of accurate and timely intelligence.

But if the quartermaster were an 'agent', there might be
wider considerations which would enable greater long term

Such matters require close supervision. There were
mechanisms in place to assess the wider picture and make
such judgements.

Some of those judgements might be made differently with
hindsight. Doubtless, over such a prolonged campaign
involving so many police officers, mistakes will have been
made. If police conduct amounted to deliberately
obstructing the course of justice, then serious criminal
offences would be committed.

Police officers, whether serving or retired, should never
condone such conduct.

The Public Prosecution Service has carefully considered
such evidence as the Ombudsman gathered, and directed that
there was not the evidence upon which to mount a
prosecution of any police officer.

Some remarks concerning regulations governing SB conduct
which were made at the launch of Mrs O'Loan's report
deserve comment. The direction to exempt SB from the new
regulations governing the use of informants in 1997/8 was
made because they were not appropriate for the conditions
in which the RUC SB was operating. The Ombudsman's report
fails to grasp that there is a big difference between
running intelligence operations against criminal gangs with
short term objectives, and running life-saving
intelligence-gathering operations against large terrorist
organisations which are prepared for a long war.

RUC SB officers regularly sought clearer guidelines. They
played a major role in the working party which drew up the
current very tight statutory controls provided by the
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which now governs
UK-wide intelligence operations and is fully Human Rights

The deaths of those murdered by the Mount Vernon UVF during
the period when a number of its members were reporting to
SB handlers are tragic. It does not follow that they could
have been avoided.

The difference between intelligence and evidence proved a
stumbling block to many RUC investigations, but remains a
cornerstone of our system of criminal law. The Ombudsman's
Office, never mind the public, will have difficulty with
this distinction if they use the word 'evidence' so
misleadingly and improperly.

Others have already elaborated on the difference between
what an informant tells his handler and what a suspect
under caution tells an investigator. We may not know
whether additional lives might have been saved, but we
should not so quickly dismiss the value of the lives that
were saved, the number of warnings that were issued, or the
number of operations that were thwarted.

The Ombudsman made pointed reference to the alleged refusal
of certain retired senior officers to co-operate with her
inquiry. This was both inaccurate and unjustified. A number
of retired senior SB officers were told in terms which
bordered on intimidation how they would co-operate.

They declined to do so in the manner directed. Instead,
they offered to answer specific questions and, indeed,
directed the Ombudsman towards a number of lines of

Why were they reluctant to write the statements which she
wanted? The answer does not lie in a lack of concern for
their junior colleagues - rather the reverse is true. Nor
was there any disrespect for the bereaved families.

The disrespect was for the Office of the Police Ombudsman.

This was founded upon their personal knowledge of a number
of matters, including the now discredited Omagh report, an
apology for which is still awaited.

The result of the steady stream of Press leaks and
misinformation around the Operation Ballast report,
culminating in the crescendo over the last weekend, is that
many more families are now wondering, without any
substance, just what their relatives were up to during
their dedicated and dangerous years in the police service.

© Belfast Telegraph


Opin: Let's Not Speak Of How The Media And Provos Collude

[Published: Thursday 25, January 2007 - 11:30]

Rewriting history is what failed terrorists always do, says
Kevin Myers

I have had some revolting experiences in my life before,
but few to compare with hearing the murderers and torturers
of Sinn Fein-IRA denounce the "human rights abuses" by the
RUC. To listen to the man who was in charge at the time of
the abduction, murder and secret burial of the widow and
mother of 10, Jean McConville, condemn the RUC for
collusion is surely the most nauseating banquet of humbug
and cant that the peace process has served up to us so far.

Martin McGuinness, to be sure, had nothing to do with Jean
McConville's death, but he is a self-confessed leader of
the IRA. So how is it possible that on the One O'Clock News
on RTE, Sean O'Rourke could have interviewed him about
allegations of RUC collusion with UVF killers without even
once mentioning this fact? Instead, he was treated as if he
and Sinn Fein had spent the past decades peacefully
campaigning for police reform. The rewriting of history
proceeds apace: Provisional Sinn Fein, apparently, was
actually a civil rights organisation which merely sought
justice for the nationalist peoples of the north. And if
anyone is going to challenge that fiction, it's apparently
not going to happen on RTE radio.

Now it is true that late in the interview, Sean O'Rourke
did point out to Martin McGuinness that the alleged
collusion between UVF men and RUC officers occurred during
an IRA campaign. But he didn't even once advert to the
known truth that a primary engine for that IRA campaign was
his guest of honour, the fine fellow denouncing the RUC.

So let us consider the activities of Martin McGuinness,
police reformer. I do not know if he was personally
involved in the murder of two police officers - Peter
Gilgunn, a 26-year-old Catholic, and David Montgomery, a
20-year-old Protestant - in Derry, in January 1972. But we
do know from the Saville enquiry that he was second in
command of the IRA in Derry at the time, so he cannot be
innocent of all legal and moral responsibility for their

Moreover, within two weeks, he was promoted to be in charge
of the IRA in the city - at around the same time as a
Catholic bus driver and off-duty UDR man, Thomas Callaghan,
was abducted from his vehicle in Derry, bound and gagged,
and then murdered by the IRA.

No doubt poor Thomas Callaghan was shot as part of the Sinn
Fein campaign for policing reform.

We might ask the families of RUC constables David Dorset
and Mervyn Wilson whether they were murdered as part of
that same campaign for police reform. They were certainly
re-formed, which is usually what happens to human bodies
when they are blown up, as these two young men were, by an
IRA bomb in January 1973.

As the IRA's commanding officer at the time, it is, I
suppose just about possible that Martin McGuinness knew
nothing whatever about this operation, and that when he
heard about it on the news he cried: "What. Two peelers
dead? Now how the flip did that happen?" But do you know, I
somehow doubt it.

And maybe as A Concerned Citizen Seeking Better Policing,
he was appalled and amazed at the killings of RUC Constable
William Baggley and his daughter, RUC Constable Linda
Baggley, who were murdered within 100 yards of another in
Derry City, but 30 months apart, in the mid 70s. However,
if he was, he has kept his views to himself.

Now, I know nothing whatever about the activities of RUC
Special Branch. No doubt they were murky indeed - but not
nearly as murky as the deeds of the Provisional IRA, which
was alone responsible for the deaths of almost 50% of the
people killed in the Troubles.

Members of the RUC were directly responsible for 1.4%
deaths, and I'm certainly prepared to concede that some
collusion probably increases that proportion, but not very
much, for most loyalist paramilitary murders were of
innocent Catholics, and no collusion was required to kill
these poor wretches.

However, I'm more than ready to have my mind changed. So
let's hear it all. Let's hear how many Special Branch and
MI5 agents were allowed to remain as active loyalist
terrorists. And let's hear about the last days and hours of
the 50 or so alleged informers murdered by the IRA.

And then, let's hear how many of their interrogators and
executioners were also working for the British. Scapaticci
and Donaldson we know about: but who else? Half the army
council, probably. And who knows? Maybe Martin McGuinness
was not just a police reformer, but a police informer, too.
Then let's hear about Bloody Friday, and Jean McConville
and Patsy Gillespie, Ireland's first, though involuntary,
suicide bomber, and all those other atrocities that their
authors are never confronted with on RTE and the BBC, even
as they are so freely denouncing the RUC.

Rewriting history is the first thing that failed terrorists
have always done whenever they look back at their failed
and bloody campaigns. They turn their banquets of murder
and depravity into peaceful crusades for justice. It is up
to journalists not to allow such historical fictions to

© Belfast Telegraph


Court Rejects Change Of City Name To Derry

25 January 2007 12:00

The High Court in Belfast has ruled that the official name
of Northern Ireland's second largest city is still

Derry City Council went to court in a bid to have its
decision to change the name to Derry upheld.

But the judge rejected its contention that because the
council had changed its title from 'Londonderry' to
'Derry', that had the effect of making Derry the city's
official name.

He said the council's decision had not had the effect of
changing the name specified in the 1662 Charter.

The judge said that to achieve the name change desired by
the council, it would be necessary to alter the charter by
exercise of the British Royal Prerogative, or by

Derry City Sinn Féin Councillor Kevin Campbell said the
ruling clarified the law, but did not alter the fact that
the council wanted the city's name changed.


Thousands In Dublin For Trad Festival

Thu, Jan 25, 2007

Some 35,000 music lovers are expected in Dublin for the
second annual Irish Music and Culture Festival that starts
later today.

The four-day event - celebrating the island's traditional
arts - features concerts, workshops, children's events and
a photographic exhibition.

Visitors - around 10,000 of whom are jetting in from
overseas - can also enjoy traditional storytelling and a
lively trad and folk pub trail. Organised by local traders,
the festival is designed to bring culture back into the
capital's Temple Bar quarter.

Many of Ireland's most talented traditional musicians and
singers are due to give rare Dublin performances, including
Peter Horan, Gerry Harrington, Ollie Ross, Martin Quinn and
Angelina Carberry.

A new feature of the 2007 programme will be the Showcase
Concerts, which aim to highlight young talented musicians
on the traditional music scene.

The event will end with a gala concert in the Olympia
Theatre featuring Dervish, Lunasa and Scottish singer Julie
Fowlis on Sunday night.

© 2007

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