Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Senior Provos are Criminals Shocker!
A great deal has been said in the media and in the Commons about the report so I just wish to focus on one area that causes me some concern amidst the generally positive comment the IRAs' past three months has generated. The report states at page 13 :
2.16 We have found signs that PIRA continues to seek to stop criminal activity by its members and to prevent them from engaging in it. We believe that some senior PIRA members may be playing a key role in this. This seems to us to be in accordance with the publicly articulated strategy. We believe that volunteers who had previously engaged in illegal fundraising have been told to refrain from doing so. That said, there are indications that some members, including some senior ones, (as distinct from the organisation itself) are still involved in crime, including offences such as fuel laundering, money laundering, extortion, tax evasion and smuggling. Some of these activities are deeply embedded in the culture of a number of communities, not least in the border areas, and increasing proportions of the proceeds may now be going to individuals rather than to the organisation. We have no reason to amend our earlier view that money is a strategic asset and that the organisation will look to the long-term exploitation of discreetly laundered assets which were previously gained illegally.
Of the top of my head a few points arise :
• How high up the Provo food chain are these senior members?
• Are these senior members in leadership roles?
• Is there a cross-over of these senior members into Sinn Fein?
• When will the criminal exploitation of illegally obtained assets cease?
• Why are these assets still being exploited?
Questions surround Sinn Feins' fitness for government that are unique to that party. Any potential coalition partner has to be sure that by forming a government including Sinn Fein they are not empowering a front for continued gangsterism. Unusually for a unionist I would look to Fianna Fail and Bertie Ahern for some guidance on this issue. No weasel words about Europe or the status of the Irish Defence Forces please. I just want to know in light of the quoted paragraph are Sinn Fein fit and proper partners in a potential Irish government?
As the NI government won't have tax gathering powers anyway, they'll be (just as the DUP) toothless.
what if that legal obligation was to create a cross-community government with at least 66% of MLAs supporting it? Would we still have to endure the "half baked commies" exercising power?