Confidential interviews with senior IRA figure Dolours Price have been
handed over to British security forces, it has been confirmed.
The PSNI police in the north of Ireland said two detectives had e
travelled to Boston to take possession of materials authorised by the
United States Supreme Court.
"The officers will return to Northern Ireland to assess the material and
continue with their inquiries," a spokesman added.
It is thought the interviews may contain information which might be used
by the PSNI against a number of republicans, including senior Sinn Fein
Dolours was a former republican hunger-striker who became a bitter critic
of Sinn Fein when the party encouraged the IRA to give up its weapons
and joined a local devolved administration under British rule.
She clashed with party leader Gerry Adams in recent years over his
denials that he had never been a member of the IRA.
The 62-year-old consistently had claimed that Mr Adams, now a Louth TD,
had played a significant role in IRA actions, including the
controversial killing of alleged informer Jean McConville.
She who died in January amid a trans-Atlantic legal battle over her
interviews and after a long battle with post-traumatic stress disorder
The allegations are among those believed to be contained in an interview
with Irish 'researchers' Anthony McIntyre and Ed Moloney, who were hired
for the purpose by the American university.
The recordings were started in 2001 and were made on the condition that
confidentiality would be guaranteed until after the death of the
republicans and loyalists who took part.
McIntyre and Moloney failed to block the release of the tapes after the
PSNI launched a high profile legal challenge to obtain the testimony.
However, they said the eleven interviews which were ordered to be
released to the PSNI are of limited value, and significantly reduced
from a previous demand for 85 interviews.
The PSNI's move to take possession of the tapes this weekend appeared
designed to pre-empt a new legal challenge based on an internal British
police report which found bias in the handling of historical cases by
the PSNI's Historical Enquiries Team (HET).
The Policing Board in the North has said it has no confidence in the
leadership of the HET Team on foot of the damning report, which found
British soldiers had received preferential treatment from investigators.
In a statement on Saturday, Moloney and McIntyre urged the Dublin and
London governments "to suspend all criminal and non-criminal inquiries
into the past until agreement has been reached by all parties on a
credible way forward and a mechanism to deal with the past has been
created in such a way that it commands widespread confidence and
P.S. Dolours was given the strongest undertakings and promises, that her interviews were strictly for historical purposes and would not be divulged for any purpose, other than historical reasons after all those concerned were deceased.. Ar dheis Dia go raibh anam, Dolours.
1. G8 SECURITY USED AGAINST SHORT STRAND
2. Killer soldiers got kid-gloves treatment, review finds
3. DUP blocks debate on Stormont corruption scandal
4. Maginnis links SAS ambush to Thatcher
5. Protests as anger grows over bailiff threats
6. PSNI raids continue while loyalist attacks go uninvestigated
7. Feature: The smartest guys in Ireland
8. Analysis: A tale of two enclaves
>>>>>> G8 SECURITY USED AGAINST SHORT STRAND
A giant steel wall was erected around the Short Strand enclave in east
Belfast this week in an unprecedented military operation to seal off the
nationalist enclave ahead of one of a number of sectarian Orange Order
The steel barricade stretched the full length of the contested section
of the route, but only encouraged marchers to breach the rulings of the
In total, 41 steel barriers were erected in an operation that took
several hours to complete and covered the entire contentious section of
While smaller barriers have been used in the past, this was the first
time the PSNI used the new metal wall, brought in for use at last
month's G8 summit in Fermanagh.
Around 100 nationalist members of the Sinn Fein-endorsed Short Strand
Residents Group held a protest as the march passed on Monday night. Some
loyalist bands stopped close to the protestors and played provocative
sectarian tunes including the 'Famine Song'.
Tensions have been high between the nationalist Short Strand and
loyalist Cluan Place area in recent weeks, with petrol bomb attacks on
the homes of Catholics on Bryson Street.
Monday's parade was a 'Mini-Twelfth' parade, one of the main marching
days ahead of July 12. This day next week, hundreds of coat-trailing
marches will take place across the North to mark the anniversary of a
17th century Protestant battle victory.
Sinn Fein councillor Niall O Donnghaile said that while the steel wall
"seems like a step back", it had aided the safety of residents.
"The cordon is only a temporary measure to what is a long-term problem
that can only be solved when the Orange Order talks to residents", he
"A key point is that the past two major Orange marches in east Belfast
did not go along this route but down My Ladys Road and away from
"And that is a key point that needs put to the Orange Order for them to
explain why if that route is available they are instead marching past
this section of the Albertbridge Road and nationalist family homes?"
Nationalists have long called for face-to-face talks in an attempt to
come to local agreements on the routes of contentious parades. But the
Parades Commission this week issued a ruling to allow one of the major
'Twelfth' Orange Order parade to pass the nearby St Matthew's Church,
Mr O Donnghaile condemned the ruling, which came just days after the
Commission's previous determinations had been violated. He also pointed
out that the conditions announced for the new parade were even more
relaxed than those which they have issued for parades past St Patrick's
Church in north Belfast.
He said there had been "breach after breach" of the rulings for Monday's
"It is evident that the Short Stand community and the parishioners of St
Matthew's can in no way rely on the Parade Commission, who year after
year allow clear disrespect to go unchecked."
His Short Strand Residents Group will again hold a protest to coincide
with the passing of the parade.
Meanwhile, a decision by the Orange Order to meet one of two nationalist
residents' group in north Belfast ahead of a 12 July parade has received
a mixed response.
The north Belfast parade through Ardoyne and nearby communities is
arguably the most contentious of the marching season.
The Orange Order issued a statement on Friday morning giving their
backing to three local lodges who will be involved in the talks with the
Crumlin and Ardoyne Residents Association (CARA) -- but not the larger
Greater Ardoyne Residents' Collective (GARC).
In recent weeks, there has been an increased polarisation in Belfast and
elsewhere between those residents' groups which are endorsed by Sinn
Fein, and those which are not.
CARA, a Sinn Fein-supported residents' group, has not yet issued a
statement in response. But Sinn Fein Assembly member for North Belfast,
Gerry Kelly, welcome the news of these talks.
"The residents group, CARA, is on the public record calling for such
talks for some years," he said.
However, a spokesperson for GARC said the move was "a cynical ploy" to
"dictate a loyalist agenda" to residents. "This deception will neither
work nor fool our community," they said.
"If the Loyal Orders are serious about real and meaningful talks with
residents they must first speak directly to those who represent the
majority of residents in the Greater Ardoyne area and not to an
artificially created front group."
Meanwhile, two loyalist parades through Carrick Hill at the weekend saw
calls for an investigation into how Parades Commission determinations
were once again "smashed".
"Here we are again and here's another determination smashed," said
Carrick Hill Concerned Residents Group chairman Frank Dempsey. "The
tension was down and we cut our protest numbers down. We are sending out
a message to these people that something has to give here."
Sinn Fein Culture minister Caral Ni Chuilin called on the Parades
Commission to investigate how their determination was broken.
"We now have a situation that needs to be resolved and we keep saying
the same thing but the best way we can resolve it is through dialogue,"
she said. "Local residents are not unreasonable."
Elsewhere, a contentious Orange Order parade on the Springfield Road
passed off peacefully on Saturday amid a tight security operation. The
Sinn Fein-supported Springfield Residents Action Group received
permission to make a protest during the annual march, which has seen
clashes in years past.
A relatively small group of Orangemen was allowed to pass through
Workman Avenue and along the disputed part of Springfield Road, while
the majority of marchers proceeded along an alternative route.
>>>>>> Killer soldiers got kid-gloves treatment, review finds
The future of the PSNI's Historical Enquiries Team (HET) is in doubt
after the Policing Board said it had no confidence in its cold case
The move came after an internal British police report found interviews
by HET investigators of former British soldiers had been 'insufficiently
All reviews by the HET into killings carried out by British troops have
now been suspended.
The no-confidence announcement has put pressure on both PSNI Chief Matt
Baggott and the HET head, former London police commander Dave Cox, to
The HET was set up in 2005 to review 3,260 conflict killings between
1968 and 1998. About 1,713 cases, relating to 2,209 deaths or about
two-thirds of the total, have been completed.
The unit consists of around 100 investigators and its aim was said to be
to bring closure to many bereaved families who still wanted questions
answered about the deaths of their loved ones.
A total of 157 killings by British soldiers between 1970 and 1973 are
the main issue in the new report. Those killings were the subject of a
special investigative process within the HET by a special made up of
retired British police. That group has now been accused by the PSNI's
Crown bosses, 'Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary', of carrying
out "inconsistent" interviews of former British soldiers.
Relatives for Justice, a group representing victims of the conflict,
said the removal of Cox or Baggott would not be enough to address the
fundamental and systemic problems at the heart of the HET.
"Such actions would be superficial and cosmetic as the real problem
rests with the leadership and intelligence section of the PSNI that in
effect created, oversaw and covered the illegal policy practice of the
HET in respect of killings by the British army," the group said.
"Such disregard for the rule of law on the part of new policing at the
highest levels has clearly demonstrated to families that the PSNI cannot
be allowed to reinvestigate these killings. They cannot be trusted."
The group said an independent body similar to the police ombudsman's
office had to be created.
"Such a body should have international judicial oversight. Families
demand nothing less."
Paul O'Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre (PFC) said the report was
"deeply shocking". He said that the PFC would no longer be advising
families that they had confidence in HET investigations of military
cases "and we cannot in conscience suggest the families should engage".
"Nor do we accept that the PSNI assume any role in the investigation of
British army killings," he added.
Margaret Kennedy, whose mother Maura Meehan and aunt Dorothy were killed
by the British army in 1971, has called for the HET to be abolished.
She said: "I still to this day haven't found out the truth.
"You just feel really hurt and angry.
"Every time you think you're getting somewhere a report like that comes
out you're just reliving the whole emotional aspect of it again, you're
"Emotionally and physically I can't go through this.
"I'd no confidence in them [HET] at the start and I've no confidence in
them now so I'm calling for them to be abolished."
Joe Simpson, whose brother Seamus was also shot dead by the army in
1971, said his family were not informed about the investigation and were
not kept up to date with the progress.
"Nobody came hear is to say there is an inquiry into your brother's
death, your son's death," he said.
"What can they tell us now? It's too traumatic to go through all that
again. My mother is 86.
"All we want is the truth how my brother was killed. Noting more,
>>>>>> DUP blocks debate on Stormont corruption scandal
The Six-County assembly at Stormont will be recalled from the summer
recess on Monday morning after a DUP councillor made serious
allegations of political interference against her own party's minister,
Nelson McCausland -- but the DUP appear to have successfully suppressed
any debate by issuing a 'petition of concern'.
Minister McCausland's special adviser Stephen Brimstone, is accused of
bringing pressure to bear on DUP councillor and housing Executive board
member Jenny Palmer to facilitate business dealings involving a company
known as 'Red Sky'. The firm is located in loyalist east Belfast, and
in the constituency which was once the stronghold of DUP leader Peter
The Lisburn councillor-turned-whistleblower says she was told to 'put
party interests first' by voting in favour of a request from Mr
McCausland to extend Red Sky's previously cancelled contract with the
Six-County Housing Executive. The contract had been cancelled due to a
series of alleged failures and fraudulent claims.
With tears in her eyes, Councillor Palmer said that he told her that
"he needed me to basically go against the decision of the board on the
extension of the contract for Red Sky."
I said to him: I don't think I can do that." She added: "He said: The
party comes first - you do what you're told, otherwise there is no
point in [you] being on the board, if I wasn't prepared to do what they
asked me to do."
The DUP, clearly embarrassed by the revelations, have broken new
territory at Stormont by submitting a 'petition of concern' on Monday's
motion, suppressing any discussion of the issue. Such a petition is
normally used to ensure cross-community agreement in contentious
sectarian matters. The DUP's action in this case is a new twist, as its
main criticism on the issue has come from fellow unionists in the UUP,
TUV and Alliance parties.
McCausland has dismissed the BBC programme in which the allegations
were aired as "cobbled together", and, with the apparent assistance of
a thesaurus, characterised the programme as "speculation, insinuation
Last month, McCausland raised eyebrows when he inexplicably published a
sectarian breakdown of Housing Executive staff in north Belfast. The
move appeared to place some employees in danger, and was later linked
to a petrol bomb attack outside a workplace in Newtownabbey.
DUP leader Peter Robinson is also facing questions after he held
private discussions with Red Sky management alongside Minister
McCausland, after the company had already had its Stormont contract
terminated. The firm and its workforce is located in his constituency.
The scandal has also raised new questions over the controversial
tendering process in relation to the recent G8 summit in county
Fermanagh. The two-day event cost over 80 million pounds in security
and "improvement" costs, according to the DUP Finance Minister Sammy
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness said councillor Palmer's allegations
raised a "number of very serious issues" which required a police
An Ulster Unionist spokesman said that, if true, the allegations
represented the "most serious case of corruption since devolution was
restored in 1998".
SDLP representative Mark H Durkan condemned the DUP's petition of
concern, and accused the party of "putting two fingers up" to other
political parties and to the public.
"Maybe they have been advised, like party colleague Councillor Palmer
says she was, that 'the party must come first'," he said.
"The DUP's actions are an abuse of power and an affront to democracy.
People will draw their own conclusions as to why any party would behave
in this way."
>>>>>> Maginnis links SAS ambush to Thatcher
A Sinn Fein assembly member has said that comments by former Ulster
Unionist Ken Maginnis during a TV documentary on Margaret Thatcher
confirm the British government has operated a 'shoot-to-kill' policy in
West Tyrone Assembly member Declan McAleer said remarks made by Ken
Maginnis showed the British government was "responsible for targeting
and executing people".
Martin Harte, his brother Gerard and brother-in-law Brian Mullin, all in
their twenties, were shot dead at Cloughfin in Drumnakilly, County
Tyrone, during an SAS ambush in August 1988.
Now a peer, 'Lord' Maginnis told the RTE film crew that IRA members were
killed in an SAS ambush shortly after he gave their names to Thatcher.
The former UUP negotiator said Ms Thatcher had asked him who he thought
was responsible for an IRA action, so he gave her names of people he
suspected of being involved.
"Subsequently, believe it or not, there was an SAS operation when the
same team.. were ambushed and that was the end of that particular team,"
Lord Maginnis said in the programme, broadcast on Tuesday.
The killings took place at a time of increased British intelligence on
IRA activity and less than six months after a previous SAS ambush saw
three other IRA members, Sean Savage, Mairead Farrell and Danny McCann,
shot dead at point blank range on the island of Gibraltar.
Mr McAleer said Maginnis's comments confirmed that there was a
shoot-to-kill policy sanctioned by the highest level of the British
"It confirms what republicans have been saying for years, that those at
the highest levels of the British government were involved in targeting
and assassinating republicans, solicitors and anyone else who challenged
their remit in Ireland," he said.
>>>>>> Protests as anger grows over bailiff threats
The memory of Cromwell and Parnell, Larkin and Connolly were raised this
week amid protests over bank repossessions and increased threats to
mortgage-holders across Ireland.
At the Shelbourne Hotel on Thursday, protestors disrupted a bank auction
of repossessed properties in a manner reminiscent of older times.
Independent TD Mattie McGrath, who attended the protest with Kerry
Independent TDs Tom Fleming and Michael Healy-Rae, described the auction
by British firm Allsop as the pursuit of "blood money".
He called on the 26-County Tanaise [deputy Prime Minister] Eamon Gilmore
and his advisers to "go see what's going on with ordinary people's
houses, businesses, family homes", as well as "the misery being
perpetrated by the banks".
McGrath said the cover of the Allsop catalogue was red, he added and
this was appropriate "because there is blood money - and Cromwell is
back", a reference to the conquest of Ireland by the 17th century
Mr McGrath asked the Tanaiste whether he would deal with the code of
practice "for the bankers and chancers who are creating misery for
At the protest leaflets were handed out with a quote from Parnell: "When
a man takes a farm from which another had been evicted you must shun him
on the roadside when you meet him..."
The quote, and the protest itself, recalled the Irish Land League
struggle of the late 19th century, when hated British land agent Captain
Charles C. Boycott was famously ostracised by the local Mayo community,
with the word 'boycott' subsequently entering the English language.
Another protest outside the Dail at the weekend was broken up by Gardai
amid pushing and shoving. It was one of a number held in response to
last week's leak of phone conversations by executives in Anglo Irish
Bank. The conversations in the weeks leading up to that bank's
disastrous collapse, which ended up costing the state in excess of
thirty billion euro, put the executives in a poor light.
Meanwhile, eirigi councillor Louise Minihan has slammed changes to the
rules governing home repossessions, saying that all evictions from
family homes must be fiercely resisted.
A new banking code approved by the Dublin parliament will potentially
lead to a dramatic increase in home repossessions. Under the new code,
which will come into effect in July 2013, the moratorium on home
repossessions will be slashed from twelve months to just two months,
clearing the way for the banks evict people in mortgage arrears.
Speaking from Ballyfermot, Councillor Minihan said, "Fine Gael and
Labour, in collusion with the Troika, have created an evictions charter
for the private banks.
"Once again the people of Ireland are living under the threat of
eviction from their homes."
Latest reports indicate up to 200,000 mortgages are already in arrears.
Quoting a slogan made famous by Larkin and Connolly -- 'an injury to one
is the concern of all' -- she urged anyone facing eviction or worried
about mortgage arrears to discuss the issue with their family, friends
"Where a family is willing to resist eviction ask your local community
to support you," she said. "You'll find there are more people then you
think in similar situations and many more who will be only to happy to
>>>>>> PSNI raids continue while loyalist attacks go uninvestigated
The home of a sister-in-law of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has been
subjected to a violent raid by the PSNI police, according to reports.
In a midnight raid, armed riot police dressed in balaclavas
kicked in the doors in of her Whiterock home.
Commenting after the PSNI raid in the Whiterock area last night, local
SF Assembly member and Policing Board member Pat Sheehan said the manner
in which the raid was conducted had led to a serious undermining of
local confidence in the PSNI.
"Masked and heavily armed officers entered the home of a woman, who is
recovering from hospital treatment, while she was having tea with her
daughter and her daughter's boyfriend," he said.
"The PSNI entered the house screaming and pointed their rifles at the
three people, forcing them to put their hands in the air and using riot
shields as they were forced from their home.
"I will be raising this issue at the Policing Board and with local
police commanders. I will also be encouraging the family to immediately
take the case to the Police Ombudsman. It is a disgrace that this family
have had to undergo such a terrifying ordeal."
Meanwhile, the family of a Derry man left for dead in a loyalist
sectarian attack seven years ago have said their "patience and goodwill"
with the PSNI "has been stretched to the limit".
Paul McCauley was attacked by a loyalist mob during a barbecue with
friends in the Waterside on July 16 2006. He suffered severe head
injuries in the unprovoked attack and now requires round-the-clock care.
The Independent Monitoring Commission has said the paramilitary UDA was
involved in the assault on Mr McCauley.
To date only one person has been convicted in relation to the attack
despite the PSNI believing that up to 15 people were involved.
Speaking this week Mr McCauley's father Jim hit out at the PSNI for
failing to bring more prosecutions.
"We are still working with police but our patience and goodwill has been
stretched to the limit. Seven years later and we still don't have anyone
in court for the attempted murder of Paul," he said.
>>>>>> Feature: The smartest guys in Ireland
By Fintan O'Toole (for the Irish Times)
"Slick and buccaneering". In Patrick Honohan's official report on the
role of the Central Bank of Ireland in the implosion of the banking
system, he explains that these were the terms regulators applied,
privately, to the management of Anglo Irish Bank.
After the release of recordings of internal phone calls between some of
those executives, Irish citizens might have added a few more terms:
arrogant, cynical, greedy, contemptuous, myopic, feckless, amoral - and
a string of unprintable ones besides.
For all the extenuating pleas of gallows humour, it seems clear that the
men in Anglo were confident that, whoever got hung out to twist in the
wind, it was not going to be them.
Listening to the tapes, it is hard to remember that David Drumm, John
Bowe and Peter Fitzgerald are not crazy or delusional. They are not in
denial. They know very well that they have destroyed their bank and
threatened the jobs of those who work for them. They know, too, that
they are about to cost the Irish people many, many billions of euro.
They know that they have screwed up monumentally.
In this light, the only thing that is really shocking about the tapes is
what we do not hear. There is not a single moment of embarrassment or
regret, not the slightest undertone of shame.
Nor is there even a sense of fear. These men are not worried about what
is going to happen to them. A line of Peter Fitzgerald's, referring in
his boy's-club manner to his boss, David Drumm, says it all: "As Drummer
says to me, 'Don't worry: we're going to be around a long time.' "
These are men who know that, whatever happens, they can play the system
to their advantage. While Bowe singing "Deutschland, Deutschland ueber
alles" mockingly to Drumm might be the moment that will be remembered
around Europe, for Irish people the real anthem here is not Der
Deutschlandlied but Hakuna Matata. The chorus is Drummer's line to Bowe:
"I'm relaxed about it, John."
Cost to taxpayers
The only expression of anxiety is Bowe's admission of a concern that the
authorities "might say the cost to the taxpayers is too high", but it's
a concern that has already been allayed. There is already a confident
belief that this obvious truth will be avoided by sucking the Central
Bank in for a relatively small sum of liquidity and then forcing it to
throw good money after bad: "You pull them in, you get them to write a
The guardians of the public interest are literally not a problem.
How do they deal with the knowledge that "the cost to the taxpayers" of
their collective screw-up will probably be catastrophic? They wrap it in
a language that distances themselves from any danger of moral
The bankers are acutely self-conscious about language. Drumm even makes
the point that, in dealing with authority, Anglo must control the
linguistic agenda "because, if we stay in their language, nothing
But they also use language to control their own understanding of what
they are doing. We hear different kinds of language on the tapes; four
verbal strategies for avoiding any acknowledgment of the human suffering
that is the price of their idiocy.
The first, favoured especially by Fitzgerald and Drumm, is the tough-guy
Americanised business cliche: "Skin in the game"; "What's the playbook
like?"; "The donkey in the room".
The second is macho vulgarity. Bowe talks of [euro]7 billion as a figure he
picked out of his a**e; Drumm gives orders to "stick the fingers up" to
the regulator's concerns about the abuse of the bank guarantee and
peppers his conversation with lines that seem to come straight from the
hustlers in David Mamet's play Glengarry, Glen Ross: "Do you want the
f***ing keys now? I can give them to you." (We can hear the others, in
their sycophantic desire to emulate Drummer, echoing his style among
The third verbal strategy is surreal understatement: "I don't think
we're an easy sell to anybody."
And lastly there is the big joke, especially at the expense of the
hapless regulator, Patrick Neary. His hand-wringing - "It's f***in'
awful what's going on out there" - is, for them, a hoot. For the Anglo
boys, regulation is almost literally a farce. They play out their
contempt in mocking mimicry of his ineffectual expressions of concern.
At one point they knock some fun out of repeating, as a patent
absurdity, the great cliche of reassurance that was fed again and again
to the Irish public by politicians and officials as things fell apart:
"We are monitoring the situation carefully."
Karl Marx said that everything in history happens twice, the first time
as tragedy and the second time as farce. But what we hear in the tapes
is a tragedy being played out simultaneously as farce. For the Anglo
boys, the whole thing is a breathless, madcap, often hilarious
burlesque. On the streets it will play out as Shakespearean tragedy,
with corpses all over the stage, but in here it's a comedy of the
At one point Drumm calls the regulator "F***ing Freddy f***ing Fly", a
sardonic reference, presumably, to a character from the Dandy comic,
Freddy the Fearless Fly. And what do you do to catch a fly? You spin a
One of the most striking things about the recordings is how theatrical
they are. Drumm, again rather acutely, notes that the key to the whole
crisis is not reality but perception: "Everything is in the head." The
reality may be that of a giant Ponzi scheme finally tumbling down, but
the perception must be that Anglo is a systemically important
institution that cannot be allowed to go under, at any cost.
This is why the bankers talk not just like gangsters but like actors
playing gangsters. The crisis, from their point of view, is one enormous
They play out different characters, including the pathetic regulator and
a very senior figure in their own bank. On a day when the bank has lost
[euro]1 billion in deposits Bowe imagines the blustering reaction of this
famously bullish figure: "A great day. A great buzz in the dealing room.
Everybody's tail was up. Fantastic."
But as well as playing characters the Anglo executives become characters
in their own little plays. They think through what Drumm calls "the game
plan" or "the playbook" for meetings with the Department of Finance.
The interesting thing about this playbook is that it's not about the
kind of thing we might naively suppose to be central to the crisis:
detailed figures for losses and liabilities, bonds and assets. It's all
about personal performance. The whole thing is an act.
'We need the moolah'
Drumm writes in advance the play that he and Bowe will perform for the
Department of Finance. "Get into the f***ing simple speak: 'We need the
moolah, you have it, so you're going to give it to us, and when would
that be?' We'll start there."
In the play they are devising they are not bankers but bank robbers,
bursting through the doors of the State, waving shotguns in the faces of
cringing civil servants and politicians.
The startling point, though, is that these demented little plays became
our reality. We live in the grotesque farce they devised. For just as it
is clear from the tapes that the bankers were not in denial about the
scale of the mess they had created, it is clear that they were not at
all wrong to believe they could treat the State as one big joke.
Freddy the Fearless Fly was easily caught in their web. The taoiseach
and the minister for finance did give them the moolah. Drummer's
playbook became, within months, the language of the State: "systemic
importance"; "national interest"; "austerity".
The hidden clauses in the Anglo game plan are national bankruptcy, Nama,
the troika deal, the loss of national sovereignty, mass unemployment and
mass emigration. Instead of seeing the Anglo boys as idiots clinging to
illusions in the face of catastrophe, we have to face the truth that
they were the ones who grasped the fundamental truths that Anglo could
play the State like a Stradivarius and that Ireland would dance to its
What comes across in the recordings as insufferable arrogance is in fact
just a keen realism. The bankers, not just in Anglo but also in the more
venerable but equally reckless Allied Irish Banks, knew that the real
delusions were the ones that were spun for public consumption: that the
State operated in the interest of citizens, that so-called regulation
could stop bankers from doing anything they wanted to do.
The bankers' contempt for the State and the regulators was entirely
justified. Which is more grotesquely absurd: the macho swaggering of the
Anglo boys or a typical speech by the head of the regulatory authority
in 2004, assuring the public that light-touch regulation was best
because "the boards and top management of financial institutions" were
"committing fully to a culture of integrity, competence and best
How the boys must have loved repeating that in a funny, namby-pamby
The bankers' verbal strutting is rooted in a simple truth: the Irish
banking system had already got away with a monumental fraud on the
State. In 2001, as the property boom was really taking off, the
Oireachtas Committee of Public Accounts published its devastating report
on the Dirt scandal. It found that all of the major banks had been
running a huge fraud since the 1980s, allowing their Irish-based
customers to avoid deposit-interest retention taxes by pretending to be
resident outside the State.
The bankers must have feared that there would be consequences. But
nothing happened: no one was prosecuted, no one was sacked, no one had
to pay any price.
What the bankers discovered was that instead of facing punishment or
even tighter regulation, they could see off even the mildest attempts to
rein them in. A telling example is one recommendation in the Dirt
report: that bank directors should have to sign individual statements
that they were complying with their legal obligations.
This was hardly a revolutionary idea, but the bankers didn't like it.
They geared up their lobbying operation and made some threatening noises
about how the horses at the IFSC might be frightened, and the idea was
The same thing happened with another gentle movement towards some kind
of ethical regime, a statutory code of corporate governance. It, too,
was dropped in the face of bank lobbying.
From these experiences the bankers learned two important things: that
they could get away with anything and that they could call the shots
with both officials and governments.
The Dirt inquiry criticised both the Department of Finance and the
Central Bank for excessive closeness to the banks. What happened? The
new regulatory regime was characterised, as Patrick Honohan, the head of
the Central Bank, put it in his report, by "deference and diffidence to
the regulated entities". The official attitude to the banks was, as
Honohan pithily characterises it, "Walk softly and carry no stick."
And if the officials were diffident and deferential, it might well have
been because their political masters were openly in awe of the
pink-shirted bluffers who could do no wrong - not least because, when
they did do wrong, it was all right.
The slick buccaneers at Anglo understood the real Ireland behind the
facades of democracy, patriotism and the "national interest". They saw
with cold clarity that the rest of us lived in their world. If they come
across on the tapes as sickeningly supercilious, it is only because they
do not bother with sentimental niceties such as respect for the State or
concern for the welfare of their fellow citizens. If those niceties were
necessary, they had people to do that sort of stuff for them,
politicians to put a gloss of decency on the brutal truth. That truth
was that a small financial elite could dictate terms to the rest of
It still does.
>>>>>> Analysis: A tale of two enclaves
By Brian Feeney (for Irish News)
For understandable reasons most of the publicity about petrol bombs
flying over interface fencing is focused on east Belfast's Short
Strand. It's not the only place where there is tension, of course. A
couple of weeks ago someone threw a petrol bomb into the small
Protestant enclave at Suffolk in west Belfast. In some respects that
enclave is a mirror image of the Short Strand but in important ways it
is completely different. It's a tiny orange blob in a vast sea of green
facing Lenadoon and Andersonstown across the Stewartstown Road.
Middle-class Catholic housing around Black's Road completes the
encirclement. Fewer than 750 Protestants remain in the district. The
Short Strand is much larger, with over 3,000 people hemmed in against
the River Lagan by the more than 60,000 in overwhelmingly unionist east
Belfast. Both enclaves are cut off from their ethnic soul mates.
There the similarities end. In the case of Suffolk, Sinn Fein people
have worked hard to reach out the hand of friendship and develop links
across the two communities. It hasn't always been successful. After all
there was that recent petrol-bomb attack. However, immediately
afterwards Sinn Fein councillor Gerard O'Neill issued a statement
saying: "Whoever was behind the attack and for whatever motive, it is a
disgrace and will not stop the good work continuing between the
communities of Suffolk and Lenadoon areas. If it is sectarian then the
people of the Suffolk estate should know that those that carried it out
do not represent their neighbours in Lenadoon. Sectarianism from
whatever guise is a cancer in our society and needs treated as such."
Of course it was sectarian but apart from that flaw in his remarks
O'Neill made an effort to reassure the people in Suffolk.
On the other hand it's rare to hear similar condemnation of their own
side from unionist representatives in east Belfast. Yes, it does happen
but almost invariably only after someone in the media has called to ask
for a reaction. There's almost never a spontaneous and unequivocal
rejection of sectarianism. The Short Strand's Niall O Donnghaile last
month appealed to unionists to "show leadership". He's wasting his
breath. Maybe he's being ironic. Why does he assume that unionists
disagree with the antics of Orangemen and the loyalist bands they hire
prancing past St Matthew's? Virtually every elected unionist in Belfast
(including the one who occasionally dons the mantle of first minister)
signed the notorious letter last year defying the Parades Commission's
statutory role. Unionist politicians march along behind bands that
breach Parades Commission determinations. None of them has ever
condemned misbehaviour during marches. On the contrary they have
justified and excused it. By asking unionists to show leadership
presumably Sinn Fein politicians, for it's not only O Donnghaile,
expect them to make speeches castigating misbehaviour. Why would they
when they agree with what is being done? That's why they justify and
Yes, it is worthwhile for Sinn Fein to talk of reconciliation and try
to find ways to reach out to unionists but the party needs to realise
that most unionist public representatives oppose equality and disagree
with the Good Friday Agreement and its principles. Most DUP politicians
didn't even agree with the St Andrews fig leaf and have since reneged
on what they agreed. Peter Robinson was faced with a revolt at
Hillsborough in February 2010 when Gordon Brown and Brian Cowen
compelled him to subscribe to devolved policing and justice.
Has any politician of note from any mainstream unionist party made a
speech supporting the concept of partnership in northern society? The
sad fact is that most unionists who vote, though admittedly we're
approaching the stage where most don't vote, vote for a party that
disagrees fundamentally with the political arrangements they're
operating and look forward to 'a return to normality' and you know what
that means. So when Sinn Fein appeals to them to show leadership,
unionists must be puzzled because the truth is that they are showing
leadership. It's a fallacy to think they're looking over their
shoulders at more hardline rivals. Sinn Fein doesn't even need to
review the DUP's performance during the 'fleg protests'. Just consider
the idiotic remarks of Paul Girvan about burning tricolours.
>>>>>> ANGLO FRAUDSTERS EXPOSED
Telephone conversations recorded five years ago between top bankers at
Anglo Irish Bank at the heart of the bank's collapse have enraged the
Irish public and confirmed that a culture of delinquency and deception
lay behind its failure and nationalisation by the 26-County state.
The Fine Gael-Labour coalition government is under fresh pressure to
launch a full public inquiry into the banking crisis in the wake of the
In the leaked conversations, Anglo chiefs are heard admitting to pulling
critical balance sheet figures 'out of their arse'. The comments were
made in confidence as a financial implosion loomed over their bank and
the the entire Irish banking sector in 2008.
The conversations between former Anglo chief executive David Drumm and
senior executives John Bowe and Peter Fitzgerald reveal how they
belittled and blackmailed the state's Financial Regulators, Central Bank
and government officials. Most embarrassingly, one of the trio mocked
Germany after it was forced to become involved with a clownish rendition
of 'Deutschland, Deutschland, ueber alles'.
The adolescent and boorish exchanges confirmed that the notorious
'cowboy capitalists' of the once high-flying bank were focussed entirely
on escaping the cost of their own disastrous mismanagement by exploiting
and defrauding the state, by deliberately downplaying the extent of the
crisis to the Central Bank and government ministers.
It also emerged this week that the Gardai had the tapes in their
possession for the past four years, but had inexplicably refused to take
The source of the tapes remains a mystery, as does the timing of their
release, years after the event.
Television and radio talk shows have been inundated all week with phone
calls from furious members of the public who were left in debt because
of the financial downturn or have suffered the effects of five years of
The main opposition party has again became the target of criticism over
its role in the collapse. Fianna Fail, currently the most popular party
in the state, remains most associated with the 'golden circles' within
Dublin society which fueled the property bubble and the
wheeling-and-dealing banking culture -- before ultimately making the
Irish taxpayer liable for their losses through the repeatedly extended
But, with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Brussels, it was Labour's Social
Welfare Minister Joan Burton who was on the receiving end of opposition
criticism today. Socialist TD Clare Daly and Sinn Fein's Dublin Central
TD Mary Lou McDonald led the assault in the Dail this morning over her
government's role in not making Anglo's bondholders (lenders) liable for
their investment losses -- and for paying millions to the bank chiefs
long after the failed bank had been nationalised.
Ms McDonald asked why Labour's Ministers allowed the Anglo chiefs "who
treated the State with such contempt" to remain in position for five
years, on salaries of hundreds of thousands of euro per annum.
"Labour and Fine Gael have been in government for nearly two and half
years yet not a single banker has gone to jail for bankrupting the
State.... Not one of them has spent a day in prison. At the same time
it's response to the plight of struggling homeowners has been
heartless", she said.
And speaking at the launch of the Sinn Fein summer school in County Cork
today, Sinn Fein's Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said the tapes
revealed "a concerted effort by Anglo executives to defraud the Irish
"People are rightly seething with anger and want these people to be held
to account," he said.
"A whole generation" of young people had been forced to emigrate because
of the actions of bankers, developers and the policies of Fianna Fail
and Fine Gael led governments, he added.
For the Taoiseach, the affair was clearly a deep humiliation as he
attended an EU summit in Brussels. Mr Kenny said the tapes "came as a
thunderbolt" and had underlined the need for a parliamentary inquiry.
"They show the contempt and the arrogance and the insolence of senior
personnel working in that bank towards everybody, towards government,
towards citizens, the impact on every company, every community, every
family in our country," he said.
He called on people to come forward with any information they had about
what had happened in the run-up to the banking collapse and the state
Suggesting there had been a cover-up by the previous government, he said
"this was the single biggest financial transaction ever made in history
of our State and there are no papers of any consequence relevant to that
in the Department of the Taoiseach."
Nevertheless, he continued to resist pressure to allow an independent
public inquiry into the crisis. He also did not explain why no legal
action had been taken against those involved in the bank fraud. He said
only that it was up to the courts system to tackle lawbreakers within
the banking sector.
"The courts can deal with those whom they find, or whether there are
charges made, against people," he said.
>>>>>> New group emerges from Carrick Hill chaos
A new umbrella group has been set up to represent nationalist residents'
groups. The 'Communities Against Sectarian Parades' (CASP) group was set
up last week to oppose coat-trailing loyalist marches in north, west and
east Belfast, as well as in Derry, Rasharkin and Newtownbutler.
It is set to take a stronger line on residents' rights than those groups
aligned to Sinn Fein. The group's chairman, Sean Hanna, said it may
"mobilise and disrupt" sectarian parades, including those in Derry,
where the Apprentice Boys currently organises its largest parades with
some support from local business interests and Sinn Fein.
CASP was formed just hours in advance of the controversial 'Tour of the
North' parade in north Belfast last Friday. That parade saw multiple
violations of the parades commission's restrictions as it passed Carrick
Hill, a favourite site for loyalist abuses.
Loyalists also attacked nationalist homes in the nearby Peter's Hill
area after being allowed to swarm through through a car park following
the parade. Later, Sinn Fein policing board member Gerry Kelly was
carried on the hood of a PSNI landrover, gripping onto a metal grill, as
he struggled and failed to stop a PSNI convoy of Landrovers following
the arrest of a local nationalist teenager. Sinn Fein Minister Caral ni
Chuilin also suffered an injury in her attempts to assist her colleague.
The party's supporters said the driver of the Land Rover, who drove
directly into Mr Kelly despite him asking the driver to stop, should
have been charged with assault, although unionists claimed the former
Sinn Fein policing spokesperson should have been arrested for
DUP Policing Board member Jonathan Craig described the two Sinn Fein
assembly members' behaviour as "completely unacceptable".
Mr Kelly said he had been told he could talk to the arrested officers,
before the PSNI convoy drove off.
"I was told lies. I don't like that," he said. "I then stood in front of
the fourth jeep and demanded to see whoever was in charge. At that stage
he rolled the jeep into me.
"I held on to the grill to get my balance because I near fell over. When
I held on to the grill he drove off.
"It felt like a lot longer but I suppose he drove maybe 20 yards down
the road," Mr Kelly added.
In the minutes afterwards, Mr Kelly said his party colleague, Ms Ni
Chuilin, was injured as she came to his aid.
The Sinn Fein representatives say they remain angry at what happened.
Ms Ni Chuilin said: "I got injured when the jeep was driving off and we
are very, very lucky there aren't more serious injuries if not worse in
this community.... I was hit by the jeep.
"There was a bit of recklessness here last night by some of the police
in those jeeps. That's not conduct befitting of PSNI and we will
certainly be challenging it."
Ultimately, the teenager was interrogated at Grosvenor Road PSNI
barracks before being released, pending a report from the Crown
Meanwhile, an increased number of 'Eleventh Night' bonfires are
currently under construction across the North, and a record number of
loyalist flags have been raised as the marching season continues to
intensify ahead of its climax on July 12th.