It was announced a few days ago that the Police Service Northern Ireland is to take over the work of the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) which is set to wind down this month.
|Bloody Sunday 1972|
This new investigations unit will consist of 70 police officers and staff with it's initial focus said to be on investigating the Bloody Sunday murders and reviewing the “On the Runs” letters. The announcement that two cases in particular will be given priority would suggest that once again the Bloody Sunday issue is being used as a political pawn whilst the 'On the run letters' are a reminder to some players of who continues to hold the full deck of cards.
In the past I remember thinking that the Bloody Sunday family members were lucky in comparison to the families of other victims, having been granted a full inquiry. However today I believe these people have been used and abused with their plight continually used as a smokescreen for the lack of progress, justice and democracy in this little statelet.
Name me any other 'democratic' country in the world where 13 people innocent people were brutally murdered in one day with the perpetrators and their paymasters known and then less than one year later their leader given an award by his monarch.
Name me any other 'democratic' country were after over 40 years no-one has been arrested for mass murder such as those on Bloody Sunday. To say this beggars belief is an understatement. Contrasting this we have two men in the north serving life sentences for the murder of a police officer in 2009. These two men, now known as the Craigavon 2 have been jailed on circumstantial evidence, missing evidence and on the word of a Walter Mitty with a drink problem and an imaginary dog. This grave miscarriage of justice could be a storyline from the TV fantasy show the Twilight Zone. Yet some how the facts of this case conveniently escape the notice of many including those keen to talk behind closed doors!
With the above cases in mind I would have deep reservations about the PSNI heading these investigations, not least due to their incestuous relationship with the RUC coupled with their failure to robustly investigate the death of one of their own officers.
In 2012 the BBC revealed that over 75% of civilian staff employed by the PSNI on temporary contracts were former RUC officers who had retired under the Patten redundancy scheme. Nearly half of these were involved in some of the most sensitive areas of policing, including intelligence. An October 2012 audit office report revealed that over 20% of all RUC officers who took Patten redundancy were later rehired by the PSNI.
This year Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire launched legal proceedings against the PSNI who had obstructed his investigations into 60 murder cases. Additionally the retired Police Officers Association attempted to take the Ombudsman to court over his findings in the case of the Good Samaritan Bombing. The association also threatened a boycott of ombudsman investigations into historical cases of alleged human rights breaches. So with the current and retired officers impeding historical investigations it must be asked what chance is there for future investigations?
If I was a Bloody Sunday family member I would be demanding an full independent investigation with international oversight as anything less is an insult to the intelligence of people who have suffered enough. If any of the so called nationalist politicians from Derry had any integrity they would be publicly demanding David Cameron fulfil his responsibilities on this matter when he arrives for more closed shop talks next week with Enda Kenny.
How often have we heard of the need to fulfil the Good Friday Agreement? The reason I bring this up is that this was the only deal people got to vote on. From shady deals at St Andrews, to the Haas talks a year ago the people have had no say. Yet in the next few weeks we are to learn if Stormont is to be responsible for corporation tax. Jesus help us!!!
A reduction in corporation tax potentially means more money for the rich and further hardship for the poor. Furthermore for a deal to be brokered the British government are insisting on the implementation of Welfare reform. People seem to forget that a few weeks ago the people who want to be responsible for corporation tax went cap in hand for a 100Million quid hand out from the British Treasury. Handing these clowns that level of fiscal control is like Guinness giving full control of St James Gate Brewery to someone with a Chronic Alcohol addiction – it just doesn't make sense, well that is unless it's Sinn Fein's unification strategy to bankrupt the north so London wants rid of us?
Tax expert Richard Murphy has warned that that the moment the corporation tax rate is cut we lose the same amount from the block grant. This means we lose the tax, the cut in the block grant and there is no guarantee of one extra job. If these plans don't help the public see that some Stormont representatives lack the capacity to make important decisions then nothing will.
Mr Murphy estimates that if the corporation tax is cut by 300 million quid, companies would need to generate and additional 2.4 billion quid in profits for this to be of benefit to the public purse. However considering the amount of tax paid by the Starbucks, Amazons and Ikeas I wouldn't be so sure of Stormont holding them to account. You only have to have watched the recent Spotlightbroadcasts to see how useless they are at protecting the public purse. And like those tax dodging companies they weren't breaking the law... they were working within the system.
And as in any self respecting banana republic, god help those who would raise their heads above the parapet to raise awareness of an amoral and unjust system. Three Derry men including a local Councillor are to face prison for painting political slogans on the city's walls.
Gary Donnelly was elected to the Derry/Strabane Super Council this year having topped the poll in his constituency. Whilst I would fundamentally disagree with Gary's political persuasion I recognise the sterling work he has been doing at a grass roots level for a number of years. This was reflected in his vote. Gary isn't your 'all suit and no substance' style Councillor, unlike some Gary's work is in his feet and not in his bank balance or expense account.
The sentence imposed on Gary and two others over a slogan they painted on the Derry Walls is overly harsh and politically motivated. Whilst every court case should be examined on it's merits, it beggars belief that shortly after the judge's ruling two drug dealers and a repeat child abuser were dealt with in a more lenient manner by the same court. Whilst I don't condone his actions, I recognise the thinking behind painting slogans or indeed 'the writing on the wall'.
The wall at Free Derry Corner with it's slogan was once referred to as graffiti. The inspiration for the slogan 'Welcome to Free Derry 'now known world wide came from a wall painted as part of the free speech campaign during a civil rights sit-in at Berkeley, California, in the 1960s. Today Free Derry Corner attracts thousands of tourists to the Bogside with the added bonus of the world famous murals, which further assist with depicting our turbulent past.
In his ruling the trial judge in the case appeared to take more issue over the use of the word internment suggesting that it had been resigned to the dustbin of history and that the very suggestion was but a poor reflection on the judiciary.
This would suggest that the message was more of a problem than the action. This decision which is due to appealed early in the new year serves to undermine the democratic process and sends the message that some are dealt with more harshly than others particularly those who are known to go against grain or as I would put it, those with an independent thought of their own.
During the Hunger Strikes the Derry Walls became a focal point in highlighting the severity of the action taken in a demand for political status and an end to inhumane treatment. In a leaflet published and distributed by the Derry H-Block committee in 1980 the committee raised issue over the priorities of local business people who viewed the messages on the walls as 'wanton destruction'.
Yet today some of those who sit in judgement of Gary Donnelly in the council chamber and in Stormont are the same people who supported the same action in the past and who condemned the businessmen for their lack of compassion. And if the truth be told, one of those who sought to deride Councillor Donnelly really should know better, as he was on on Hunger Strike in Long Kesh and was singled out on the Hunger Strike Committee Leaflet.
|Look Raymond - Ye got a mention!|
My question is simple where is your compassion for the growing number of people held on lengthy remand without trial and essentially where is your protest? Like it or not lengthy remand is tantamount to internment, new name same aim. With your memories seemingly lacking do your research and you will learn that internment has been around in every decade of the Stormont regime and that people have and always will oppose it irrespective of the name it's given. But then again as the self serving proponents and protectors of this grubby little statelet I should know to expect nothing less.
I wonder is if the PSNI will fully investigate the claims made recently in the BBC Spotlight programme? Claims involving millions of pounds of tax payers money paid out to invisible landlords and elusive research companies owned by members of the Sinn Fein's finance department, who allegedly receive no payment.
How can we as a society sit by and say nothing when men are being sent to gaol for political 'graffiti' whilst at the same time a blind eye is being turned to the misappropriation of tax payers money running into millions of pounds.
But then it would seem money is no option in these cases and that the law can turn a blind eye to maintain this endless railroading process some call the peace process.
What a crazy place we live in!!!!