OTRs and threats to the integrity of the justice system


I was driving home from a funeral today so I caught most of Radio Ulster/Raidio Uladh’s Talkback.  Unusually, it appeared to have just one topic of discussion: the report of the Northern Ireland Parliamentary Committee on Tony Blair’s on-the-runs scheme. There was much talk of the decision by the police to issue letters to 200 republicans telling them they were not wanted as being “potentially unlawful”. The committee includes among its members  Sylvia Hermon, widow of the late Jack Hermon, Chief Constable of the RUC;  Kate Hoey of the Labour Party, late of this parish; Naomi Long of the Alliance Party; Alasdair McDonnell, leader of the SDLP; Ian Paisley Jr of the DUP; and David Simpson of the DUP. So it wasn’t a total surprise that the committee was highly critical of a scheme that seemed to advantage republicans.

The matter seems simple enough to me.  When the police sent these letters to the OTRs, either the information that they weren’t wanted for any crime was true or it was untrue. If it was true, then that should have  been the end of the matter. If it was untrue, then the police should be under serious scrutiny for passing false information on a matter of some importance to the recipients. During the Talk Back discussion, Ian Paisley Jr and Jim Allister  directed their fire  at Gerry Kelly,  as though he or other republicans had sent out these letters. They didn’t, you know.

But the statement in the report that particularly caught my attention was that the OTRs scheme “threatened the integrity of the justice system”. EH? More than the Birmingham Six? More than the Guildford Four? More than the Maguire Seven? More than the Hooded Men? More than the Glenanne Gang which, in collusion with state forces, killed innocent Catholics? More than the killing of Catholic lawyers like Pat Finucane or Rosemary Nelson? More than Bloody Sunday? Or the Ballymurphy Massacre? More than the shoot-to-kill policy? More than internment without trial?

Maybe the members of the Northern Ireland Parliamentary Committee should get out more.

, , ,

9 Responses to OTRs and threats to the integrity of the justice system

  1. william March 24, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

    Let’s do the time warp again!

  2. paul March 24, 2015 at 5:23 pm #

    your piece de resistance( can I use that word or will Gregory object). Miscarriages of justice have typified British misrule in Ireland over the centuries right up to the present day, and don’t forget Diplock courts. The British justice system never had any integrity in Ireland or for the Irish in England. Reading “State Violence ” by Fr Raymond Murray lists numerous examples where state forces have murdered innocent people with no redress(i.e. Majella O Hare) . It is very rich to read the feigned indignation regarding OTR’s on both sides of the border. The hypocrisy is overwhelming.

  3. moser March 24, 2015 at 5:55 pm #

    I don’t think too many nationalists will be bothered by the committees findings other than it being just another example of the double standards we have come expect.

  4. moser March 24, 2015 at 5:57 pm #

    Come to expect.

  5. Iolar March 24, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

    During its existence, members of the UDR colluded with disloyalists. Many innocent people were murdered and the UDR was awarded a Gallantry Cross. It seems strange that the award should be followed by the de Silva Report. The report is unambiguous about the scale and extent of collusion and the fact that UDA attacks could be traced to intelligence gathered by the ‘security forces’. Perhaps while consideration is being given to OTR letters, some consideration could be given to some other letters, UDR UDA UFF.

  6. paddykool March 24, 2015 at 7:32 pm #

    Did n’t we sort this out last year, Jude? Groundhog Day, eh? …like a repeat on the BBC. Yes , there’s nothing new here at all, really.Some things never change .Ring that bell and Pavlov’s dogs will continue to bark. Look at it this way . Dig up the bones of some old king that have been lying under a car park for about a hundred years, Bung those old rumpled scraps of Richard III into a wooden crate and re-bury them in a church, and the buggers will come out in their thousands to gape at the wooden box as it is paraded about on the back of a cart…Yes…you might scratch your head…
    Nothing wrong with that at all but it tells you a whole lot about people and how easily gulled they can be…..it’s abox of old five hundred year old bones, folks!!!!
    So take a look at this OnTheRun story one more time and ask yourself why we shouldn’t be surprised. Do they really want to go back and do all that again?…Say we start at 1968 and re-run it all to see what conclusion we all come to this time around. Do it all over again to see how it all went down…every little stain…every little killing…every little misdeed on all sides , bar none….No it’ll not happen in any of our lifetimes.
    Tony Blair may have made some iffy moves in his time but it took a politician even more twisty than the rest of them to pull off the trick that he did and roll this old horror show to a stop.A less devious Prime Minister would have had this circus of Horrors rolling on for another generation. Give him that at least….I’ll give him that much. He did more than any unionist politician was fit or able to do.They dragged their feet at every turn and kept the bitchfest going.They’re at it yet, twenty years later….
    The DUP still can’t get over that particular chess move . Jim Allister {TUV}is also now struggling with the idea that Gerry Kelly{ Sinn Fein} actually got a Royal Pardon from Her Maj’s Government some thirty years ago, while on the run, so that he could be extradited from Amsterdam. The government will do whatever the hell works to get what it wants so Mr Allister must have been out of that room too when that particular deal went down ,because he seems to know nothing about that either. It just shows that the DUP didn’t even want to think the unthinkable about their Queen and Her Government and what they were prepared to do to get what they wanted. See no evil. hear no evil…..just run about with your eyes closed, eh?
    What was it James Molyneaux was purported to have said to the unionist community when the arms were to be set aside and a purely political way was to be forged by the british and the republicans …. “This (the ceasefire) is the worst thing that has ever happened to us.” … A member of the crowd called out to Gerry Adams to, “bring back the IRA”. They knew that it was the end of the road …
    This peace process was something they didn’t ever want to happen ….because it would mean “real” politics for the first time ever …. and they are fighting it still.

  7. Caoimhin o Loinsigh March 24, 2015 at 8:00 pm #

    Yea I laughed myself Jude,integrity is nt a word that you could associate with British justice in Ireland,the ex RUC man on the show is TUV to the backbone,was mentioned as an agreed unionist candidate fer.south Tyrone last time out.Gerry should have told them that if they lived in a proper democracy,there’d be no such thing as a royal pardon…..

  8. Ryan March 24, 2015 at 8:41 pm #

    When will there be an inquiry into the amnesty given to British Soldiers, RUC, UDR, Loyalist paramilitaries, British Government Ministers, etc that were knowingly involved in collusion and murder of innocent Catholic civilians spanning over 4-5 decades?

    Likes of Sinn Fein and SDLP have to do more to push for independent inquiry into these matters….

  9. ANOTHER JUDE March 25, 2015 at 1:03 pm #

    That panel reminded me of the jury in the film The Devil And Daniel Webster.