The murder of Kevin McGuigan has brought into the public consciousness the very real problems with Policing and justice in Northern Ireland.
Policing decisions, statements and arrests have to be carefully weighted between pursuing justice and protecting the fragile political process.
Sinn Fein have already warned it would be ‘unhelpful’ to suggest IRA involvement. They made similar statements following the Columnia three, Robert McCartney & Paul Quinn murders- and the Northern Bank robbery. No one believed them then, and no one believes them now.
The majority of those arrested as part of the PSNI murder investigation are members of Sinn Fein. All are IRA members.
Shankill Bomber Sean Kelly, whose life licence appears to be made of Teflon, is a Sinn Fein member and helped with Gerry Kelly’s election campaign.
The man charged today with possesion of a firearm, Patrick Fitzpatrick, is a member of Sinn Fein.
One of those who is widely believed to have been the gunman- Sean Clinton from Short Strand- is a Sinn Fein member and is still in police custody.
The PSNI have today admitted what everyone knew a week ago- IRA members were involved- but in typical ‘protect the process’ style, the PSNI have added the caveat that ‘it was not sanctioned at command level’.
This is a ludicrous statement, how would the PSNI assess if it was issued at a command level when we are expected to believe the IRA do not exist? Did they make the assessment of a non-existent command structure and decide they couldn’t find any evidence the very same non-existent structure had sanctioned the murder?
Or are the PSNI accepting that some resemblance of the old IRA command structure still exists? Given the murder was ordered by what would have been the Belfast Brigade staff, does this mean that the PSNI are just simply keeping up appearances by letting on ‘they have gone away’? The PSNI assessment leads to questions around exactly what command structure they assessed?
Sinn Fein could not stop this murder, it was happening whether they liked it or not, so instead of actually falling out with the hardliners- they will pretend in political and security circles, that they are furious.
In reality Sinn Fein accepted the reality of the situation and will now manipulate it to present a ‘serious situation’ to the British government and claim that ‘big players’ could go dissident. This will be Sinn Fein’s latest leverage when it comes to extracting concessions.
Of course Peter Robinson threatened consequences if the IRA were found to be involved. Much like the DUP’s partner in government, Sinn Fein, no one really pays much attention to the threats or denials anymore- it is usually just a tissue of lies designed to mislead and cover the tracks of their associates- in Sinn Fein’s case their terrorist assosicates, in Peter Robinsons his higher class of white collar criminal associates. Fine bedfellows in OFMDFM.