Michael McDowell and his exposure of ‘the politburo’

 I wonder does Michael McDowell own a gun.  I don’t mean an Armalite or, perish the thought, an AK47. I mean an old-fashioned shotgun that he discharges in the air when feeling particularly frustrated.

If so, you may have heard the echo of such a blast drifting over the border which his grandfather Eoin MacNeill helped construct. But don’t pay too much attention to that. Turn instead to Michael’s waspish words in The Irish Times this morning.

Jumping on the overloaded Bobby-Storey bandwagon, Michael explains how the republican movement (or ‘the Provisional movement’ as he likes to call it) works. It consist of “a small group of self-appointed Provos [who] actually plan and dictate the strategy of the entire movement”.

Never one to fail to give credit where credit is due, Michael commends his co-columnists at the IT, Gerry Moriarty and Stephen Collins, for the anti-Shinner columns they recently wrote. The publication of their thoughts provided “a valuable service” to the public.

He himself provides more of the same, explaining that Sinn Féin are just a front. “The real power is not exercised by ministers [in the north]; it lies with an unaccountable politburo centred in west Belfast”. As Joxer might have said, politburo, now there’s a darlin’ word, a darlin’ word entirely.

This politburo arranged for the FARC in Colombia to pass over $25,000,000 in exchange for services rendered. The politburo told Bobby to carry out the Northern Bank robbery. 

Michael also worries about how unionists “see the commemoration and glorification of killing and criminality” that was Bobby Storey’s funeral. And Michael indulges in a little nostalgia to the days when he was Minister for Justice and how he stood up to the politburo via Sinn Féin.

Michael expresses concern for the one million unionists who’ll have been appalled by Storey’s funeral – the next best thing to a state funeral, delivered by “a state within a state”.  Oddly, he doesn’t mention the half-million people who, despite his prickly warnings down the decades, voted for Sinn Féin in the south’s last elections. Maybe he forgot.

But to be honest, I’m baffled as to why Michael objects to backroom advice being used by the Shinners. Doesn’t every party have background brains? I’m sure if the PDs still existed, and Michael was rejected yet again by the electorate, he’d be in the backroom advising them until he turned gammon-pink in the face. (Do be quiet, Virginia – he may hear you.)

But most puzzling of all is why, as a top barrister, Michael hasn’t presented his evidence against the ‘politburo’, so they could be punished for taking £25 million from the FARC and several millions from the Northern Bank.  I’m sure Michael would be the first to argue in court of the need for evidence before conviction. Outside of court, it doesn’t seem to bother him at all. Because if he has evidence for half the things he accuses the ‘politburo’ of doing, the PSNI would be all ears. As would the rest of us.

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