Monthly Archives: April 2015

Desmond Boal & Ian Paisley: An End To The Affair

That Desmond Boal and Ian Paisley should die within six or seven months of each other seems somehow fitting. Paisley died last September and Boal last week, their exit from this world signalling not just the final act in a partnership that has left an indelible mark on Irish politics and history but the passing of an age, the like of which we will probably never see again nor soon even be able to imagine existed.

Desmond Boal in an undated photograph

Desmond Boal in an undated photograph

It was the most curious of collaborations, the gifted, cerebral, agnostic and very worldly barrister and the mesmeric, back street preacher cum demagogue united only by their aversion to the establishment forces that dominated their community. In the end the former’s principles could not find houseroom with the latter’s ambition and the alliance foundered. But in-between, in a few short years, they together made history.

I was going to write a lengthy and hopefully erudite essay on the significance of the Boal-Paisley alliance but then I realised that myself and Andy Pollak had already done that, first in ‘Paisley’ which we co-wrote in 1986 and then in the update of the saga, ‘Paisley – From Demagogue to Democrat?’ which was written under my single byline in 2008.

Boal celebrates his election to Stormont as the MP for Shankill. His constituency took in the Court Ward, which some regard as the birthplace of the Gusty Spence UVF. Boal's more radical stance on social and economic issues reflected the area's disregard for 'fur-coat Unionism', its traditional support for Independent Unionism and the subsequent development of the Progressive Unionist Party, the UVF's political wing which embodied many of these

Boal celebrates his election to Stormont as the MP for Shankill. His constituency took in the Court Ward, which some regard as the birthplace of the Gusty Spence UVF. Boal’s more radical stance on social and economic issues reflected the area’s disregard for ‘fur-coat Unionism’, its traditional support for Independent Unionism and the subsequent development of the Progressive Unionist Party, the UVF’s political wing which embodied many of these attributes.

So here are three extracts from those books, the first two from the ‘Paisley’ book and the third from the second book. The first extract deals with the incident that brought the two men together for the first time; the second deals with the formation of the DUP and the gradual fracturing of the relationship between the two men and the last reflects Boal’s anger at Paisley in the wake of the power-sharing deal with Sinn Fein.

(My own view of Boal’s final break with Paisley, for what it is worth, is that he objected not so much to the idea of breaking bread with the Provos, so to speak, but more to the fact that Paisley had gone back on his word never to have any truck with the IRA’s political wing, a commitment that had attracted tens of thousands of Loyalists to his cause, and some to prison cells and early graves. Boal had taken a similar line on Terence O’Neill’s meeting with the Dublin prime minister Sean Lemass. It was not so much the meeting he objected to – although he certainly was not happy about it – as that O’Neill had given Unionist MP’s at Stormont his word that he would never do such a thing.)

Boal attempted to move Paisley away from the Protestant Unionist Party and broaden its base. He failed in that task but arguably Peter Robinson completed the job.

Boal attempted to move Paisley away from the Free Presbyterian-dominated Protestant Unionist Party and broaden its base. He failed in that task but arguably Peter Robinson completed the job.

The first extract deals with an incident most readers of this blog have probably never heard of. But for a few weeks in the Summer of 1957, the town of Fethard-on-Sea in County Wexford was on lips throughout Ireland:

fethard1fethard2fethard3 1The second extract deals with the formation of the DUP, early signs of Paisley’s ambition to dominate anti-establishment Unionism, Boal’s failed efforts to make it a broad-based, social and economically radical Unionist alternative and his subsequent dalliances with politically dangerous ideas, dangerous to Paisley that is:

dup01 1dup02dup04dup05dup06dup07dup08dup09dup10dup11dup12Finally, post-St Andrews, came the final break between the two men and with it the end of an extraordinary era in Irish political life:


Gerry Adams’ ‘Job Interview’ With CBS

I don’t know what the guy who wrote this was smoking but I’m sure it’s not legal, not even in Colorado. It’s not a spoof, I promise, but actually appeared on something called the Bulletin Standard. But be careful of the site, it might carry an infection, so you’d be better just reading below. Enjoy!


Preview: The Fantastic Friday Agreement

In a rare interview, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams addresses allegations that he was complicit in the 1972 murder of Jean McConville

Preview: The Fantastic Friday Agreement

Gerry Adams, the notable Irish Republican politician and president of the Irish Sinn Fein political bash, speaks to Scott Pelley in a rare job interview. Adams has been accused of earlier involvement in the militant Irish Republican Army and of complicity in the notorious murder of Jean McConville in 1972 by the IRA. These longtime charges heated up a handful of yrs in the past when researchers at Boston School introduced excerpts from oral histories taped with former Irish militants, a person of whom right accuses Adams of offering the purchase to kill McConville. Adams addresses these allegations and the controversy created by his subsequent arrest and release about the Boston College or university tapes, in the job interview to be broadcast on sixty Minutes Sunday, April five at seven p.m. ET/PT.

A lot of believe Adams could be the Republic of Ireland’s primary minister someday. He is watchful in his solutions to thoughts about his affiliation with the IRA, for whom quite a few Catholic Irish voters sympathize. He tells Pelley he never pulled a induce, ordered a murder or established off a bomb during the many years-extended war in Northern Eire that he served to prevent in 1998.

He denies the demand he was a chief in the IRA. “I don’t disassociate myself from the IRA. I believe the IRA was a respectable reaction to what was taking place in this article,” he tells Pelley. “I in no way will [disassociate himself from the IRA]. But I was not a member of the IRA.”

McConville, a widow and mom of 10, was killed simply because she was believed to have betrayed the Catholic IRA by informing on them to the British – the group’s enemy, together with Protestants who supported British rule in Northern Eire. Her body, bullet gap in its skull, was located in 2003.

In 1984, Adams was shot 3 occasions in Belfast, Northern Eire, in an attack that a Protestant militant group reported was retribution on Adams for orchestrating attacks on Protestants. Even so, he says it was a surprise to understand that McConville experienced disappeared back in 1972. “I failed to know,” he tells Pelley, who then asks, “How do you orphan 10 little ones?” to which Adams replies, “That is what takes place in wars, Scott….Which is what American soldiers do, British troopers do, Irish Republican troopers do, that’s what happens in each single conflict.”

Adams states he named the police when he heard about the rates on the Boston College or university tapes he was arrested and held for four days. Did his arrest threaten the peace, asks Pelley? “I believe so, to be straightforward, I was unwell, sore and weary of a tsunami of tales based upon these tapes linking me to Mrs. McConville’s death. So I contacted the law enforcement.”

As Pelley studies, Northern Eire is nevertheless pretty considerably divided. Inspite of a “Superior Friday” agreement for shared power in the country among the Protestant the greater part and the Catholic minority achieved with Adams’ aid in 1998, walls different neighborhoods and Catholics will only phone a Catholic taxi, Protestants patronize their possess livery providers. Other businesses nonetheless work that way to a particular degree.

Helen McKendry, now a grandmother, was one of the 10 McConville youngsters orphaned in 1972. She would not consider Adams. “He is a liar…I would like Gerry Adams to stand up and acknowledge he performed a element,” she tells Pelley. “This man has blood on his arms and I want him to fork out for what he did.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers

Hillary’s War: The Disaster That Is Libya

I am not a fan of the right-wing magazine The Week, nor of the writer Michael Dougherty, but I thought this piece reproduced below was right on the button. As the presidential carnival gets underway in America don’t expect many reporters to recall the never-ending disaster that is Libya’s or the responsibility for it that lies at the feet of then US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton. You won’t, for example, see Niall O’Dowd, Ambassador-to-Ireland-in-waiting, writing anything at all about it, so fair play to Dougherty for some truth-telling.


Don’t let Hillary Clinton escape the blame for Libya’s anarchy

Michael Brendan Dougherty

(REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)

American military adventurism relies on a very backward notion of causation. When evil men in the world kill their own people, somehow America is to blame for not stopping them. When American action leads directly to disorder, barbarism, and terror, well, that’s someone else’s fault. It’s our unspoken doctrine of humanitarian anarchy.In a more innocent time, before Jordan Spieth could legally drive, American bombs began to fall on Libya. President Obama offered the following rationale: It was to stop the oncoming violence and slaughter.

[I]f we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.

It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen. And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing… [White House]

More Perspectives Damon LinkerIn the singularly uninsightful book Hard Choices, the following words on the Libyan intervention are attributed to Hillary Clinton’s authorship:

All of this — the defiant dictator, the attacks on civilians, the perilous position of the rebels — led me to consider what many of my foreign counterparts were debating: Was it time for the international community to go beyond humanitarian aid and sanctions and take decisive action to stop the violence in Libya? [Hard Choices]

Death and civil war in Libya were unacceptable outcomes for America when Moammar Gadhafi was alive. But death and civil war continue unabated, the difference being that the Islamic State is now one of the players — and somehow it’s not in the American interest to stop it or to help Libyans establish some kind of law and order. The lessons of Iraq have been internalized: Once you create a total power vacuum that will attract terror gangs and radical Islamic fundamentalists, it’s best to not have any boots on the ground to stop them.

Clinton’s chapter on Libya ends on exactly this note, disavowing any responsibility for death and destruction from here on out:

I was worried that the challenges ahead would prove overwhelming for even the most well-meaning transitional leaders. If the new government could consolidate its authority, provide security, use oil revenues to rebuild, disarm the militias, and keep extremists out, then Libya would have a fighting chance at building a stable democracy. If not, then the country would face very difficult challenges translating the hopes of a revolution into a free, secure, and prosperous future. And, as we soon learned, not only Libyans would suffer if they failed. [Hard Choices]

That’s a long comedown from her peace sign–waving braggadocio. (As Clinton had put it, “We came, we saw, he died.”) But notice the causality in the above passage. Hillary strikes an appropriately “worried” tone. But if there was a failure that caused Libyan suffering, that belongs to the “well-meaning transitional leaders.”

Libya now has multiple “governments” that draw massive amounts of the nation’s resource wealth to themselves, creating an endless amount of make-work and no-show jobs to secure the loyalties of their clients. Libya is essentially functioning as a Mediterranean gas station, the purpose of which is to provide enough revenue to perpetuate a civil war to determine the gas station’s ownership.

As per usual in this region, Sunni radicals are moving in to the power vacuum. Libya now has clerical thugs like Grand Mufti Sadiq al-Ghariani issuing fatwas against women’s rights. Perceived agents of “foreign” influence, many of them workers brought in by the Gadhafi regime, are being expelled or oppressed in popular uprisings. All in all, civil war tends to be a loser for minorities, women, and children.

Juan Cole argued last month that Libya is “messy” but has an “open future.” One upside of the Libyan war is that it has revealed that formerly sharp critics of George W. Bush’s foreign policy, like Cole, can be just as glib as the people they hated a decade ago. Yes, Libya’s future is wide open, just as a mass grave is.

Meanwhile, back home, one of the prime architects of this chaos gets the flattery of being chased by the national press, in a van that’s been named after a 1970s cartoon. There are no consequences for the woman who could be the next leader of the free world. Those are reserved for well-meaning transitional leaders and their constituents.

Seamus Treacy: The Belfast Judge From The Twilight Zone?

Read these two stories and when you’re finished ask yourself if you have gone to sleep and woken up in the middle of a Twilight Zone script:

Sister of UVF victim loses dossier disclosure battle

16:50 Tuesday 14 April 2015 (Belfast News Letter)

The sister of a man murdered by loyalist paramilitaries on the streets of Belfast has lost her legal battle to secure disclosure of a full dossier on the shooting.
A High Court judge ruled that the Secretary of State was right to refuse to hand over all material gathered by an international body who examined Bobby Moffett’s “public execution”.
The victim’s sister, Irene Owens, wanted the information supplied to the coroner for an inquest into the killing.But Mr Justice Treacy pointed out how the now defunct Independent Monitoring Commission had operated on a confidential basis in order to protect its sources.He said: “Any decision other than that arrived at by the Secretary of State would have been a grave betrayal of those who assisted the vital work of the IMC, and of the IMC themselves.”Once the “seal of its archive is broken” those who provided information to the body would be exposed to the risk of retribution, he added.Mr Moffett, 43, was shot dead at point-blank range in front of shoppers and children on Belfast’s Shankill Road in May 2010.Months later the IMC issued a special report declaring his murder had been sanctioned by the UVF’s leadership.The international body concluded that he was targeted due to his perceived flouting of UVF authority, and to send a message to the organisation and the community that this authority was not to be challenged.

In its report the commission described the killing as a public execution, but declined to say that it amounted to a breach of the terror grouping’s ceasefire.

So far only an edited version of the report has been supplied for the purposes of holding an inquest.

Ms Owens, was seeking a judicial review which would compel the Secretary of State to release the dossier in full.

Her lawyers argued that anything less undermines the coroner’s ability to oversee a human rights-compliant inquest.

Seamus Treacy, on the right, pictured after he made silk at the NI bar. He is now a High Court judge......

Seamus Treacy, on the right, pictured after he made silk at the NI bar. He is now a High Court judge……

October 2, 2012

McIntyre loses IRA tapes case

McIntyre loses IRA tapes case
UTV News
Tuesday, 02 October 2012

A former IRA volunteer-turned-writer has lost his High Court bid to prevent police taking possession of his interviews with a convicted bomber.

Anthony McIntyre was seeking to restrain disclosure of confidential archived material compiled for a history project at Boston College in the United States.

PSNI detectives wanted access to all interviews he carried out with Dolours Price as part of their investigation into the 1972 murder of Belfast woman Jean McConville, one of the so-called Disappeared.

Mr McIntyre claimed releasing the tapes and transcripts to police would put him under greater threat of being killed by dissident republicans who would perceive it as a betrayal of the IRA’s code of silence.

However, a judge dismissed his case after a senior detective stated he was not aware of any current, increased risk to the researcher due to his work on the project.

Mr Justice Treacy said: “In light of the unequivocal response from the PSNI, supported by the threat assessment from the security authorities, I conclude that the applicant has failed to make out an arguable case that disclosure of the Boston College tapes would, as he claimed, materially increase the risk to his life or that of his family.”

Loyalist and republican paramilitaries gave interviews to Mr McIntyre and journalist Ed Moloney for the college’s Belfast Project, an examination of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Those who took part included Price, who was jailed for her part in a bomb attack on the Old Bailey in London in 1973.

Recordings were carried out on the understanding that they would only be made public once interviewees had died.

However, the US courts have ruled that the Price interviews should be handed over to the PSNI.

The court heard Mr Moloney has stated that his research colleague’s interviews with Price contain nothing relevant to the Jean McConville murder investigation.

Lawyers for Mr McIntyre argued that his Article 2 right to life under the European Convention on Human Rights trumped the PSNI’s legal obligation to investigate murder.

But Mr Justice Treacy ruled that the former IRA man’s rights cannot prohibit police from seeking or receiving material relevant to a serious, live criminal inquiry.

“Investigating murder and gathering relevant material is not only a requirement of domestic law, but it is also a requirement of the positive duty which Article 2 imposes upon contracting States,” he said.

Rejecting Mr McIntyre’s application for judicial review, the judge added: “On the applicant’s case the PSNI is prohibited from receiving material no matter how probative – even a confession to murder if it exists – because of the risk from the IRA, dissident or otherwise.

“The very notion that a risk generated by the perpetrators or their associates could require the PSNI, or indeed the Court, to effectively suppress material potentially relevant to murder is fundamentally inconsistent with the very nature of the rule of law and Article 2 itself.”

Despite the ruling, the PSNI will not yet automatically gain access to the tapes. Lawyers for Mr McIntyre are expected to lodge an appeal against Mr Justice Treacy’s decision.

Meanwhile, any handover of the material has also been put on hold by the courts in America, pending a further hearing before the US Supreme Court.

Mr McIntyre’s solicitor, Kevin Winters, confirmed: “We have consulted with our client and we are set to appeal.

“We also welcome the stay that has been granted in the American courts because it prevents the handover of the tapes.

“That decision assists Mr McIntyre while he deals with the outstanding appeal issues arising from today’s judgment.”

Adams & McConville: First The Magazine Piece. Now The Book. Next The Movie?

An intriguing announcement in today’s edition of Publishers Marketplace, the US book trade’s go-to website for the latest publishing house deals with writers:

March 19, 2015 – Patrick Radden Keefe
Non-fiction: Narrative

National Magazine Award-winning New Yorker writer and author of THE SNAKEHEAD Patrick Radden Keefe’s account chronicling the powerful echoes of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, centering on the 1972 abduction of Jean McConville, a widowed mother of ten who was dragged from her flat in front of her children by members of the IRA, who believed she was an informer, and how this act has haunted her family, the perpetrators, and a country unable to come to terms with its violent recent past, to Bill Thomas at Doubleday, in a significant deal, for publication in 2017, by Tina Bennett of William Morris Endeavor (NA).

Kincora Scandal: Shocking Claims Made On British TV

If only a fraction of the claims made below by former Kincora resident Richard Kerr are true then the case for a truly independent tribunal of inquiry into the Kincora Boys Home scandal is unanswerable.

And to help ensure that it is independent from attempted subversion by British intelligence, it should be chaired by an international figure from a non-Commonwealth, non-NATO country.

Mr Kerr makes these claims, which point to Kincora being used to supply sex to members of the British establishment, on Channel Four TV tonight. The article below appeared in the Belfast Telegraph newspaper today. The Broken Elbow has been following this story consistently with particular attention paid to the role of British intelligence in helping to cover up the scandal. Previous articles can be read here, here and here.

Here is the Belfast Telegraph article:

What The Old Gerry Adams Would Have Said To CBS’ 60 Minutes

The CBS Sixty Minutes item on Gerry Adams and Jean McConville last night was utterly predictable, utterly simplistic, utterly superficial and in so many ways utterly wrong. The contrast between this so-called television journalism and the sort of work and research that Patrick Keefe put into his New Yorker piece published last month couldn’t have been greater.

The Troubles were, in the Sixty Minutes version, a civil war between Catholics and Protestants with the British accorded, implicitly, their preferred position as ‘piggy in the middle’, trying valiantly to keep these irrational and violence-addicted Irish tribes from slaughtering each other. The truth, that the British, historically and during the last forty years, share in full, responsibility for the state of affairs that caused the violence – and Jean McConville’s sad end – is not even acknowledged.

This was the journalism inspired by the British Information Office on Third Avenue circa 1972, recycled ad nauseum in The New York Times for the following two decades and picked up in 2015 by CBS: the valiant cousins trying to keep peace amongst warring clans just like the US Marines in Tikrit in 2003.

We were served platefuls of cliched journalism: fifteen foot peace walls and the lack of integrated education. Not a single nod in the direction of the facts and the possibility that the British Army might have been exploiting a widowed mother-of-ten for the pathetic morsels of intelligence she could provide; not a mention of the possibility that the IRA might have been telling the truth about Jean McConville.

Not a mention of what Brendan Hughes had to say, that Jean McConville confessed to him that she was an informer, that a radio transmitter found in her apartment had been used to communicate with her British Army handlers and not a word that he had let her go because of her family circumstances; not a word about the assertion that she then returned to her trade despite the damage this would do to her children; not a question directed at the British about their alleged role in the affair, that through malice or incompetence they kept on their books an informer whose life was in danger and by so doing contributed to her death. (CBS never once asked me for the full text of Hughes’ interviews, only selected parts, which had already been broadcast to death; by contrast The New Yorker did have a copy and the result is starkly apparent)

The IRA’s action in killing Jean McConville was, it must be said, completely unforgivable and unjustifiable. She was, if the charge against her is true, such a low level source and the human damage caused by her death so great in comparison, that she should have been put on the Liverpool ferry and told never to return to Ireland. She did not deserve a hole on a beach by Carlingford Lough. But if she was an informer then more than the IRA was responsible for her death.

Which brings me back to Gerry Adams and his response to the charge that the IRA made ten orphans when they killed Jean McConville. To that, the Sinn Fein leader replied:

“That’s what happens in wars, Scott. That’s not to minimize it, but that’s what American soldiers do, British soldiers do, Irish Republican soldiers do, that’s what happens in every single conflict.”

The Gerry Adams of yore would have had a different response, perhaps along these lines:

“How many orphans has Barack Obama made with his drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen? How many orphans did David Cameron make when he and his neocon buddies connived at and fuelled the overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya?”

He would have given as good as he got. But then these are different days.

Gerry Adams Tells CBS: ‘I Never Pulled A Trigger, Ordered A Murder Or Set Off A Bomb’. Well, Two Outta Three Ain’t Bad!

60 mins

According to a publicity release from CBS’ Sixty Minutes programme, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has told the show’s presenter Scott Pelley during an interview scheduled for airing this coming Sunday, that he was never in the IRA, adding that he never “pulled a trigger, ordered a murder or set off a bomb.”

You can watch a preview here.

Well, two of those claims are true or at least mostly true. During all the years that I covered the IRA for various newspapers in Ireland, I came across only two instances when Adams could be said to have pulled a trigger or implied himself that he had done so – both happened very early on in the Troubles – and absolutely no evidence that he had ever set off a bomb.

The Scott Pelley interview has inadvertently thrown into relief a rarely discussed aspect of Gerry Adams’ life in the IRA. He may have been the IRA’s most able strategist – in fact I would rate him alongside Michael Collins in that regard – but he never got his hands dirty. He never went on operations, he never really fired a shot in anger but he did spend most of his IRA life issuing orders, including orders that led to loss of life.

During the IRA’s lengthy war against the British, Gerry Adams was often like the Generals in the First World War. Living well behind the front lines and the danger they presented, they devised the strategies and issued the orders to implement them – although to be fair and accurate none of those Generals lived on the run, sleeping in different houses, wearing disguises and always in fear of arrest or worse at the hands of the enemy, which was the life Adams certainly lived, especially post-1970.


The two incidents when Gerry Adams may have pulled a trigger happened right at the outset of the Troubles. One incident he wrote about in one of the short stories that he published in the 1980’s. In the story he tells the tale of two IRA Volunteers firing shots over the grave of a recently interred comrade.

This story is a thinly disguised account of the controversy over the death of Liam McParland in November 1969, then the pre-split IRA leader in Ballymurphy who died in a car accident on MI motorway en route to Belfast. There are conflicting explanations for the journey. One says McParland was on the way back from an unauthorised training camp in Donegal. Adams, who was in the car with McParland when it crashed, was also at the same camp but neither had the permission of the leadership to attend. Another version, from Brian Feeney, says they were returning from Leitrim and were transporting weapons. Needless to say Adams himself has not shed any more light on the matter.

Adams was suspended from the IRA, according to Brian Feeney’s account of the episode, and the IRA leadership refused to afford McParland the usual republican funeral trappings, including a volley of shots over his coffin/grave. Adams’ fictionalised account has a young man, clearly himself, and an older man (Joe/Tom Cahill?) stealing into Milltown cemetery in darkness to fire some revolver shots over the grave.

So he may have pulled the trigger in this instance even if the shots fired were not in anger.

A contemporary of his in the pre-split IRA, the late Jim Hargey who kept friendly relations despite the subsequent parting of the ways, once told me that he knew that Adams had fired shots at the British Army’s base in Ballymurphy, the Henry Taggart hall, very early on in the Troubles. The hall, a local community centre, had been taken over by British troops who used it as their headquarters in the district. That was at a time when there were nightly incidents like that.

Gerry Adams’ lack of operational experience was well known within the IRA and a serious handicap when he began steering the Provos in a political direction. Adams was widely credited within the movement for rescuing the IRA from defeat after the 1975 ceasefire but nonetheless was viewed with suspicion by some for holding views that sometimes echoed those of former comrades in the Officials.

Hence the partnerships with figures whose military credentials were beyond question. Brendan Hughes and Ivor Bell were key allies when Adams began chipping away at the Provisionals’ abstentionist roots from Long Kesh by advocating ‘active abstentionism’ – i.e. the involvement of Sinn Fein in community politics as a way of building a long-term support base for the IRA’s military campaign. In practice though ‘active abstentionism’ signalled the beginning of a journey in the opposite direction, towards the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

The fact that figures like Hughes and Bell supported these ideas at their outset was crucial in settling nerves internally.

Adams’ relationship with Martin McGuinness was another and much more important example of this stratagem.

McGuinness suffered none of the military shortcomings of Adams and was well known throughout the IRA as an enthusiastic operator, always ready and willing for action. The Bloody Sunday tribunal, for instance, has an utterly believable account of McGuinness on the day of the killings wandering the Bogside toting a Thomson sub-machine gun, something that Adams would never have done.

Both Brendan Hughes and Dolours Price describe a Gerry Adams during this time who was always very careful to keep a safe distance from weapons, for instance on the day in 1972 when Armalite rifles were first delivered to the IRA in the lower Falls.

The role played by McGuinness during the dropping of Dail abstention in 1986 and later as the IRA was edged ever closer to the 1994 ceasefire was absolutely crucial. His constant re-assurances to the rank and file, his promise, for example, that no ceasefire would happen without an IRA Convention meeting to endorse it, settled nerves. Activists were just not ready to believe that McGuinness would sell them short while many were ready to think the worst of Adams.

There is no doubt that Gerry Adams was in the IRA and that he gave orders that led to others pulling triggers or setting off bombs and, of course, killing people. But he was not an operator by any stretch of the imagination. And this is a crucial and defining aspect of the story of how he brought the IRA from war to peace.

Ivor Bell Case: ‘Shameful Prosecutorial Malfeasance In Belfast’

A piece from Chris Bray’s blog puts it up to the North’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Barra McGrory and those of his people involved in the Ivor Bell case, which yesterday (Thursday) was once again put back, for the ‘nth time since he was charged.

McGrory may have recused himself in this case but it is his office that is responsible for this increasingly disgraceful debacle of delay and legal befuddlement.

The next hearing in the case is now scheduled for May 14th. Bell was arrested on March 18th 2014 and charged on the 22nd. By the time we find out whether this case is going to go ahead, and even that is not certain, nearly fourteen months will have passed. This is now a legal scandal. What does that famous legal phrase say? ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’. Heads should roll in the PPS:

Shameful Prosecutorial Malfeasance In Belfast

The Public Prosecution Service of Northern Ireland has broken its own rules, and embarrassed itself in the process.Ivor Bell was charged with IRA membership, and aiding and abetting in the 1972 murder of Jean McConville, over a year ago. He has returned to court several times since then, and in every instance, the Public Prosecution Service has asked for more time to think about the matter.Two weeks ago, Bell returned to court – so that prosecutors could ask for two more weeks to think about the case.This week, with that two week delay having passed, Bell returned to court again – so that prosecutors could yet again ask for another month to think about the case. Not that they promised a decision in another month, natch.The news reports on this week’s hearing say this: “A prosecutor said a meeting with senior counsel was due to take place on April 13 to discuss a ‘very lengthy’ recommendation from the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) on whether to proceed with the legal action.”More than a year after the PPS brought charges against Bell, they are preparing to have a discussion about “whether to proceed with the legal action.” The PPS has posted its own “Code for Prosecutors” online. This is what it says on pg. 9: “Where there are substantial concerns as to the credibility of essential evidence, criminal proceedings may not be proper as the evidential test may not be capable of being met.”In the case of the supposed evidence against Bell, a set of audio tapes from Boston College involving an anonymous interview subject, the PPS told a Belfast court that it would begin looking for a voice expert who could help them prove that the tapes contain interviews with Bell himself. To be specific, they told the court this important fact seven months after they brought the charges against Bell.So they threw some shit at a wall, and are hoping – thirteen months later – that they can find a way to make it stick.

The decision to bring charges against Ivor Bell on unreliable evidence was unethical, irresponsible, and unprofessional. At some point, the PPS has to be forced to stop kicking that can down the road. They filed charges without knowing they could prove them. It’s time to face that shameful failure.