Politically motivated PSNI seek to question me over the playing of a hymn 

I was not in the least surprised to find three plain clothes PSNI officers, from Antrim Road PSNI station, arriving at my door this morning. 

Given the political nature of policing in N.Ireland, a contrived & politically convenient case is never far away from those who cause political difficulties. 

The “serious crime” on this occasion was our band playing a hymn on Clifton Street. I, of course, am a deacon in the band and therefore merely carry a stick- yet to date the PSNI have decided to target only me. 

The officers present were extremely keen for me to voluntarily come to the station and assist them to “avoid any bad PR”. 

 Why on earth would I voluntarily assist the PSNI who have done nothing but seek to persecute me and many others in my community? 

I do not believe I have committed any offence whatsoever, therefore why would I voluntarily enter the PSNI station for a “quick chat”?

I will make no effort to hide from the PSNI, I am easily accessible and the PSNI know where I live. If the PSNI wish to speak to me over the “serious crime” of carrying a stick whilst our band played a hymn, then they can come and arrest me at any time. 

Whilst republicans have letters of immunity and the NIO work in tandem with the politically compromised PPS- headed up by the IRA’s solictor of choice- to ensure no prosecutions are brought against any republicans who remain loyal to Sinn Fein, loyalists are hunted down relentlessly like animals. 

It is also worth noting that the last case the PSNI brought against me has been utterly discredited by the fact that the one time investigating officer, Lesley Stock, is currently suspended from duty and under investigation for serious crimes committed as part of her role in my case. 

Other officers were exposed as liars on the witness box and the other detective in the case, Mr Owen Nevin, is under Police Ombudsman investigation for committing perjury during my original bail hearing. 


Banned #Nama book: Chapter 3- Internal DUP revolt! 

On 22 September 2014 the Democratic Unionist Party held a meeting of senior party members. Less than twenty-four hour later, three high profile members were dumped out of respective positions within the Stormont institutions. The announcements on 23 September were portrayed by Peter Robinson and the DUP press office as routine.
   On the evening of Robinson’s 23 September cull, a senior DUP source telephoned me to express disgust at the situation that had unfolded and made clear that there was almost a complete media black-out of the real story behind the “day of the long knives” within the DUP. The source- who is very publicly perceived to be close to Peter Robinson and a loyal ally- expressed dismay at Robinson’s wielding of the sword and told me of his concern that the DUP leader’s actions would prove counter-productive in the long run. He maintained that he was shocked the true timeline of events had not leaked out into the mainstream media.
   On the afternoon of 24 September I published a blog entitled “The Poots proposal” which told the whole story of the events during that fateful 22 September DUP meeting when opponents of Peter Robinson sought to move against him, and as a result the DUP leader lashed out wildly within twenty-four hours. I also emailed this blog to various media outlets and the Newsletter carried the story on the front-page on the 25 September. The story in the Newsletter was written by their political journalist Sam McBride and he expressed dismay that I was the only one who had been able to ascertain the right way of the story, whilst all the mainstream media remained in the dark. A DUP source of McBride’s accepted that I had been briefed by someone around the senior DUP leadership table. This, naturally, caused some serious concern amongst the DUP leadership. Alex Easton, a DUP MLA from Bangor was initially thought to be getting the blame for the ‘leak’. However this was quickly dispelled when some within the DUP pointed out that Alex Easton would not have been in a position to leak the information, and even if he was, the relationship between me and Easton was so fraught that I am about the last person he would have leaked it to.
   What had transpired was that at the DUP meeting on 22 September Peter Robinson was bringing forward his ideas for the DUP commitment to a fresh round of talks, this of course came in the wake of the DUP leader’s call for “St Andrews two”- a reference to the first set of talks that lead to the restoration of the devolved power sharing Executive in 2007, which came after five years of direct rule following the collapse of the Assembly amidst allegations of continued IRA activity in 2002. The DUP had hounded David Trimble from office and as Suzanne Breen recalled in her Sunday Life column on the 30 August 2015, in May 2000 the DUP stood outside a meeting of the Ulster Unionist Convention in the Waterfront Hall, as David Trimble fought for his political survival and sang the following:
“What shall we do with the traitor Trimble
What shall we do with the traitor Trimble
What shall we do with the traitor Trimble
Early in the morning?
Burn, burn, burn the traitor
Burn, burn, burn the traitor
Burn, burn, burn the traitor
Early in the morning.”
The fact that the DUP now implement all the key architecture of the same agreement they denounced Trimble for propping up seems to have been conveniently brushed under the political carpet.
   During the tense DUP leadership meeting on 22 September the DUP leader was under pressure to get agreement for renewed talks. He thought the reason for this pressure was known only to him, but political opponents within the room were aware of Robinson’s secret. He had agreed with the Secretary of State that he would back-track on his previous ‘principled’ position and allow parades, flags and the past to be included in a new round of talks. The quid-pro-co of this was that the Secretary of State would bring forward some sort of whitewashed ‘inquiry’ into the North Belfast parading situation. Robinson needed some way to ‘appease’ the hardliners and also extract himself from the “graduated response” he had committed himself to. In truth the “graduated response” mattered little to Robinson, it was merely a stalling tactic to ensure a peaceful July- lest it upset his political legacy ambitions.
   All of this came after a bombshell announcement by Robinson who claimed that Stormont was “not fit for purpose”. The bizarre nature of this announcement had become clearer when it became known that Robinson had made a secret deal with the Secretary of State. His “bombshell” was really nothing of the sort; instead it was simply laying off ground for a new round of talks. The talks lead to what is known as the “Stormont House Agreement” and only hours after the agreement was made, the Secretary of State changed her mind on the promised inquiry into the North Belfast parading situation. Of course Robinson knew she was always going to do this, he simply needed a carrot to throw those who were taking a principled stand on parading to get them of his back, and then in the midst of the political backslapping of the Stormont House Agreement, the Secretary of State would withdraw the inquiry proposal and Robinson would once again proceed having trampled over the Unionist people. The parading situation in North Belfast was cynically used by Peter Robinson to gain political leverage- once it had served it’s political purpose he abandoned the bandsmen and Orangemen of North Belfast and then he simply fronted out the criticisms- which were being drowned out by the peaceniks praise for the latest agreement- and moved on.
   A rump within the DUP could foresee this latest betrayal by Robinson- which came to pass following the aforementioned Stormont House Agreement- and thus sought to derail his cynical political bargaining by bringing forward a counter proposal at the 22 September meeting.
   In an internal DUP report- commissioned by Peter Robinson- it had come out that there was widespread internal discontent with Robinson’s leadership and the current Stormont institutions that he headed up. Robinson’s response to this was to initiate the talk’s process.
   One of the open internal critics of Robinson’s leadership is Edwin Poots. He is a long term member of the DUP, a devoted “Paisleyite” and a current MLA for the Lagan Valley constituency. His father, Charlie Poots, was also a DUP politician and stood in the 1969 Northern Ireland General Election under the banner of Protestant Unionist Party (not to be confused with the latter day Progressive Unionist Party). In the 1998-2003 Assembly the Lisburn man was a member of the Environment committee and also chaired the Committee for the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister. On 8 May 2007, following a return to devolution after a period of Direct Rule, Poots was appointed Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure in the newly formed Northern Ireland Executive. Poots held this position until 9 June 2008 when, only three days after the official culmination of the Rev Ian Paisley’s forced removal from office by Peter Robinson, Poots was removed from post and replaced by Gregory Campbell, an ally of Peter Robinson. In a sop to Poots, designed to minimise any dissent, Robinson ensured that Poots was kept busy and thus on 23 June 2008 he was made deputy Mayor of Lisburn.
   Little over a year later, on the 1 July 2009, Edwin Poots was brought back into the Executive when Robinson made him Minister of the Environment. The Lagan Valley MLA held this position for a little over two years and in May 2011 he was handed a high profile portfolio, but also somewhat of a poisoned chalice, when he was made the Health Minister. During his period as Health Minister he became the victim of a number of online ‘satire sites’. He was relentlessly targeted by the “Loyalists Against Democracy” site which had sprung up in the wake of the Union flag protests. The supposedly secretive group had among its administrators Gary Kirby, whose partner Olive Buckley was a major player in the Unite Union and the NHS. Under the direction of Buckley, Gary Kirby used the LAD site to wage a campaign against Poots and promote extreme left wing and communist propaganda. In 2014 Kirby was exposed as an administrator of the LAD site and as a result he left his job in Convergys’s call centre, based in Belfast. All of LAD’s activities had been encouraged and done with the knowledge of NI21 leader Basil McCrea and he rewarded Gary Kirby by making him his office worker at Stormont. Poots remained in the Health hot-seat until the September 2014 “day of the long knives”.
   The proposal put forward by Poots on 22 September 2014 was that the DUP refuse to enter into any talks on parades, flags and the past and furthermore he added that the Irish Government should have no role to play in any talks. This proposal flew in the face of Robinson’s secret agreement with the Secretary of State and the First Minister reacted with fury. Internally blind-sighted in his own party meeting, Robinson was furious and became visibly agitated. Paul Frew, Paul Givan and Ian Paisley Jnr spoke in support of the proposal put forward by Edwin Poots. A wounded Robinson, sensing a move against him, decreed that the party officers would decide and called a halt to the meeting.
   Less than twenty-four hours later, still smarting from the previous day’s ambush, Robinson decided to take drastic action. Edwin Poots was the most high profile of the dissenters to be punished; he was removed from his Ministerial post. Paul Frew and Paul Givan also became victims of the “reshuffle”. There was precious little that Robinson could do about Ian Paisley Jnr, given he was an MP.
   A gleeful Robinson smugly reveled in the “punishment” he had dished out. On 24 September the dissenters struck back. Edwin Poots told Stephen Nolan that it was common knowledge that Robinson was soon due to stand down as party leader, fueling speculation about Robinson’s future. The DUP leadership response to this was comical. Peter Robinson called those opposed to him within the DUP “puffed up lemmings”. This outburst from the First Minister was compounded when the DUP Press Office told all party members to tweet their support for Peter Robinson. This was a blatant attempt to “flush out” the dissenters but it became a running joke as DUP member after DUP member tweeted their “support” for Robinson, all in strikingly similar fashion. If the DUP leader had ever looked weak, it was at that moment.
   The DUP leader believed he had put the dissenters to the sword and ended the rebellion. In the end he only added more to their ranks as the split within the DUP widened. The wounds of Robinson’s hostile takeover were still there, and they weren’t going away.
   In May 2015 senior DUP members went and spoke to Arlene Foster, seeking to recruit her into a plan to force the issue with Peter Robinson. One of those who went to discuss the situation with Foster was the man who will become the next DUP leader, Nigel Dodds.
   Nigel Dodds is a long standing member of the DUP. The current North Belfast MP is Christian man who lives in a modest home and is described by those within the party as a “genuine, honest family man”. First elected to Belfast City Council in 1985, he became Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1988 and again in 1992. He was elected to the Northern Ireland Forum in 1996, a body set up as part of a process that led to the Belfast Agreement. In 1998 Dodds topped the poll in North Belfast and was elected to the new Northern Ireland Assembly and he repeated this feat in 2003 and 2007. He was elected MP for North Belfast in 2001, replacing Cecil Walker. Nigel Dodds has also held a number of ministries in the devolved Northern Ireland institutions including Minister for Social Development from December 1999-2001 and again until October 2002, Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment from May 2007 until June 2008 and finally Minister of Finance and Personnel from June 2008 until June 2009 when he was succeeded by Sammy Wilson, who would later become embroiled in the NAMA scandal.
   Nigel Dodds is a man who is uncomfortable with corruption and underhand dealings. He dislikes the so called “trappings of power” and appears to resent the role he played in the ousting of Ian Paisley, at the behest of a power hungry Peter Robinson. That is not, however, to say that Dodds is soft, far from it. A ruthless political operator with a pragmatic streak, he is widely respected within the party. Deeply wounded by the comments of the DUP’s founding father, Ian Paisley, in the infamous documentary “Genesis to Revelation”- Dodds came to regret his role in removing Paisley from office.
   In May 2015 it almost seemed as if history was repeating itself, as Dodds and another senior DUP figure asked Arlene Foster to assist them in removing Robinson. Foster was having none of it and immediately walked down the Stormont corridor and told Peter Robinson of the plans to move against him. It was only days later that Peter Robinson took a “suspected heart attack”. Conveniently this dramatic turn of ill-health bought the DUP some good-will and more importantly time, it would look bad to move against an ill-man.
   As the Nama scandal broke attitudes changed and finally Arlene Foster accepted that Peter Robinson was going to have to go. Sammy Wilson was shipped off to Westminster to keep him out of the way. He was always going to have to make a decision on whether to stay in the Assembly or Westminster, with double jobbing coming to an end, but with Nama hurtling towards DUP towers his decision was made for him. Wilson is implicated in the scandal from his time as Finance Minister when he undertook some dubious “lobbying”.
   It was agreed that Nigel Dodds will be the new party leader and Arlene Foster would become First Minister. Robinson began laying the ground for his exit in early August when he spoke to Liam Clarke of the Belfast Telegraph and hinted at health issues and remarked that “no one can go on forever”. This leadership transition hid a speedbump when the IRA murdered one of their former assassins, Kevin McGuigan.
   The hit, which was sanctioned by a number of IRA Army Council members and planned by a prominent and notorious Belfast IRA man- led to a political crisis- which at the time of writing is still ongoing. The PSNI and sections of the media combined to felon set against a little known crime gang called Action Against Drugs. The purpose of this was to divert suspicion away from the IRA and serve up a fall guy for the McGuigan murder. With a dubious “statement” issued by AAD following the murder of former IRA man Jock Davison, it seemed to anyone watching closely that the scene setting had been going on for quite some time. On 30 August 2015 Richard Sullivan and Paula Mackin devoted a number of pages in the Sunday World to blaming Action Against Drugs and Sullivan even went as far as to say the IRA leadership had not met in a decade. One could have been forgiven for thinking that the Sinn Fein press office had written the stories and the Sunday World journalists had simply put their by-line on it. Paula Mackin is a close relative of IRA money man Dessie Mackin. Her story managed to blame the murder on “criminals, dissidents and drug dealers”- despite the fact that it was acknowledged almost universally, except of course by Sinn Fein, that the IRA had been responsible. The Sunday World were clearly running diversions and distractions on behalf of their trusted Sinn Fein “sources” and thus contributing to the felon setting against a little known group of low level criminals, who would not have been incapable of carrying out the Kevin McGuigan murder even if they desperately wanted to.
   The Ulster Unionist Party took the step of leaving the Northern Ireland Executive, claiming that the assessment of the PSNI that IRA members were involved and indeed that a command structure still existed, was enough to prove bad faith on behalf of Sinn Fein. The DUP responded by attacking the Ulster Unionist Party, ironically for doing the same thing that they themselves done when David Trimble was in office.
   On 31 August Peter Robinson broke his silence on the political crisis, writing an article for the Belfast Telegraph. Robinson went on the offensive against the UUP and appeared to be desperately trying to identify some ambiguous angle to allow him to cling to power alongside Sinn Fein. He also remarkably spoke about the Stormont House Agreement and wrote that it had dealt with “parading”. This is despite the DUP leader giving assurances, on 15 February 2015, in an interview with BBC Political journalist Chris Page that the DUP had not negotiated on parading during the Stormont House talks. I tweeted that a liar needed a good memory. Clearly Peter Robinson’s had failed him on this occasion.
    At the time of writing the Stormont Assembly looks set to collapse at some stage in the near future. It appears that all the ghosts of Robinson’s past are coming back to haunt him. His Deputy leader is lining up to take his position, just as he himself had done to Ian Paisley. Powerful people within his own party are openly briefing against him, just as his allies had done to Ian Paisley. The UUP have placed him between a rock and a hard place, walk out of the Executive and be seen as being led by the nose by the UUP or stay in and cling to power courtesy of IRA murder. The grassroots of Unionism is turning on him for remaining in Government with an armed IRA which still maintains an organisational structure.
   It is now not a case of if but when Peter Robinson steps down. His political legacy is in tatters and with the full story around NAMA yet to come out, the DUP leader has bigger problems that Sinn Fein looming ahead. The National Crime Agency investigation is buying him time- but time eventually runs out for us all. The ship is sinking and it looks as if Peter Robinson is desperate to cling on and go down with the Stormont ship that he himself built. His legacy will sink with that ship. That I suppose is honourable in some respects. Perhaps the kindest thing that I, or those within his own party who are moving against him, will be able to say in hindsight is that at least he went down with his own ship and didn’t abandon it to try and save what is left of his legacy.
   Robinson became everything he once despised and as Ian Paisley would have undoubtedly said to the man who was once his young protégé- “What one sows, so shall they reap.”

Banned #NAMA book: Chapter 2- Alan Mains (Smithwick tribunal, MI5 & the Omagh bomb) 

Alan Mains may not be a household name but he would be widely known in security circles for a variety of reasons, not least because of his involvement in the run up to one of the most infamous IRA attacks of the Troubles.
   The cross border IRA operation, involving allegations of collusion at the highest level, almost derailed sensitive British/ Irish diplomatic relations. The double murder of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan in 1989 as they returned from a meeting in Dundalk Garda station caused a political crisis. Harry Breen was the highest-ranking RUC man to have been killed by the IRA, questions as to why he was travelling unguarded through South Armagh’s infamous Bandit Country were raised almost immediately. Questions about Alan Mains’ involvement on that fateful day came much later.
   Alan Mains went on to have a remarkably successful career within the RUC/PSNI and climbed through the ranks at an astonishing pace. When he finally retired with a handsome pension he promptly reinvented himself as a ‘security consultant’, working primarily from Box nightclub in Belfast. It is somewhat bizarre that Mains, would later find himself in the middle of a sensational political scandal. To understand his involvement in the murky world of property scandals, political nepotism and brown envelope backhanders you must first look at his relationships with individuals at the highest echelons of government.
   Mains primary role in the Nama scandal was acting as a ‘fixer’ and ‘go between’ for Peter Robinson and Cerberus, the CIA backed vulture fund which is headed up by a former US Vice President Dan Quayle. Quayle is himself no stranger to controversy, having previously been engulfed in scandal due to taking part in high level black op’s on behalf of George Bush Snr and the CIA during his political career. Mains linkman within Cerberus is a former MI5 operative, Ronald O Coggle. To understand those links we must go all the way back to 1989 and the gun attack on Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan.
   The two men had been to Dundalk in the Irish Republic for a meeting with Gardai in relation to the smuggling activities of Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy. Murphy, the man who for many years was believed to be the IRA Chief of Staff. His own personal ‘unit’ was the South Armagh brigade, widely acknowledged to be the most professional and successful IRA unit to have ever existed. The reason for the meeting seems to have come from the insistence of the then Secretary of State, Tom King, that Slab Murphy and his money making activities be shut down. It would later be claimed that at a dinner prior to the attack, the Secretary of State was made aware, by the military, of the considerable smuggling activities being carried out by Murphy on behalf of the IRA and as a result King ordered the RUC to see what could be done to shut down this lucrative enterprise.
   Of course, the notion that a Secretary of State, who would have been regularly briefed by MI5, would be surprised to hear of these activities is somewhat far-fetched, Slab Murphy’s activities were an open secret at the time. However, that is the official version of events and was the reason given for the cross border visit by the two RUC men on March 20, 1989.    
   This was again repeated to a senior judge asked to investigate allegations of garda collusion in the murder of the two officers. Judge Peter Smithwick delivering his findings in December 2013 said he was; “satisfied there was collusion in the murders”. Alan Mains was one of the people to give evidence to Judge Smithwick. His evidence clearly fingered a garda officer as the mole and furthermore he recounted a meeting he claims he held with the then Chief Constable, Sir John Hermon.
   There are no independent witnesses that could verify this meeting and Judge Smithwick established that no credible witnesses could actually verify for certain that it even took place.
   In his evidence Mains claims he told Sir John Hermon that his senior officer, Harry Breen, had expressed concerns to him prior to his departure on March 20, 1989 about a rogue garda in Dundalk, and that he mentioned the name of Owen Corrigan.
   What is remarkable about this testimony – notwithstanding the fact that there is no independent verification, and that Sir John Hermon is now deceased- is that when Alan Mains sat down to make his statement on March 22, 1989, he did not include the name of the rogue garda officer. Instead he referred to the fact that “members of the garda were on Slab Murphy’s payroll”. This statement is undoubtedly true, but it is beyond comprehension that Mains would wait 21-years before giving the name of the rogue officer. Surely this information could have been invaluable in saving the lives of other RUC officers or civilians at the time, yet he decided not to include the specific name within his witness statement, taken only 48 hours after the brutal slaying of two of his fellow officers.
   I have since been furnished with an alternative version of events from a source who would have had detailed information and access to highly classified documents. It is clear, from the overall picture, that Owen Corrigan was working in some capacity for the IRA. The assessment of highly placed security force sources is that this was probably for purely financial gain rather than any ideological purpose. However, did Corrigan solely set up Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan? I have been told, by a highly credible source, that he did not. Owen Corrigan colluded with the IRA, but on March 20, 1989 the collusion wasn’t between the IRA and the gardai, but between British security services and the IRA.
   The two officers were it seems considered expendable assets in a dirty war. MI5 had an asset within the IRA unit involved with the murder- official sources have always been keen to suggest this source was ‘Stakeknife’- Freddie Scappitici -but was it? An alternative version of events is that there was another agent within the IRA unit on that day, a man who would was one of the gunmen in the Kingsmill massacre and who would go on to be one of the key players in the Omagh bombing.
   We know there was a last minute change in plan to open fire on the two officers and kill them immediately rather than kidnap them. Why did this happen? Only those on the operation- or those pulling their strings- know the exact circumstances. In evidence to the Smithwick tribunal, IRA representatives became agitated when this question was asked and requested a short recess. It is clear that questions still hang over why the IRA unit opened fire on March 20, 1989.
   Official sources will always be keen to pin the blame on ‘Stakeknife’- he is an asset that has already been burnt- but how much more shocking would it be if not only was there another agent within the IRA unit involved in the attack, but if that same agent was later intricately involved in the Omagh bomb.
Peter Keely- aka Kevin Fulton- gave evidence to the Smithwick tribunal and laid the blame at the door of Owen Corrigan. At the time of his statement, Kevin Fulton was still being paid by MI5. The evidence that was given in regards to Owen Corrigan may, or may not, have been true, but it raises a number of questions regardless.
   Ronnie Flanagan described Fulton as an intelligence nuisance following claims that he had informed his handlers prior to the Omagh bomb and this intelligence was not acted upon, costing the lives of 29 innocent people at the hands of a Real IRA atrocity in 1998.
   There are a number of problems with Flanagan’s statement- firstly, if Kevin Fulton was merely a Walter Mitty, then why would he have been retained by MI5 and the CID for as long as he was? Why did other credible witnesses testify to the calibre of Kevin Fulton as a useful asset? If he was so unreliable then surely no intelligence agency would touch him? Yet MI5 continue to pay his allowance and accommodation up to this very day.
   Does it not beg some astonishing questions as to why Kevin Fulton only became a Walter Mitty following his claims – which have subsequently been proven to be true via a Police Ombudsman investigation carried out by Nuala O’Loan – that the RUC had intelligence that may have prevented the Omagh bomb?
   All the evidence, when one examines it in the context of a detailed timeline, leads to the inevitable conclusion that Kevin Fulton was a useful and important asset. His former handlers have testified to this. He was only dismissed when he went public with claims the RUC could have prevented the Omagh bomb.
   The details of what intelligence the RUC had could only have come from either an officer with high security clearance or else Fulton was telling the truth, and indeed he did warn the RUC of the plans to carry out a bomb attack and as a result he was aware of the fact the RUC were in possession of the intelligence, because it was he who provided it.
   So unless a senior RUC officer decided to go and tell Kevin Fulton, who don’t forget Ronnie Flanagan tried to paint as a Walter Mitty, that they had been in possession of that intelligence, then the only logical conclusion is that Kevin Fulton did indeed pass intelligence relating to the Omagh bomb on.
I believe it can be taken as read that Kevin Fulton was a valuable asset to the intelligence services, and only lost his value when he exposed a monumental error by the RUC.
   What is beyond doubt is that MI5 have continued to take an interest in Fulton and at the time of the Omagh bomb they were handling him along with CID. In the competitive world of the British Intelligence services, it is by no means beyond the realms of possibility that MI5 could have used Fulton to pin the blame on the RUC, for what was essentially an MI5 sanctioned bomb attack.
   By going public and stating that the RUC had the intelligence prior to the bomb served two purposes. Firstly, it allowed the blame for a monumental error to be pinned on the RUC and secondly, it diverted suspicion away from any thoughts that MI5 could have had an asset within the RIRA bombing team. If going public over the Omagh bomb had damaged or embarrassed MI5, then they would have cut him loose, or worse. But they didn’t, instead MI5 continue to pay an ‘allowance’ to Kevin Fulton and provide him with accommodation. Is this the usual treatment dished out to a rogue agent?
   A former very senior RUC officer told me that MI5 did indeed have an asset within the RIRA bombing team. The source was unsure exactly which one of the bombing team it was, but he has claimed that MI5 allowed the attack to go ahead, again for two purposes- firstly to effectively finish the dissident republican movement before it got off the ground. In this regard they succeeded; even former well respected republicans were hounded for involvement with the RIRA following the Omagh bomb. Widespread revulsion, even within the republican community, dealt a fatal blow to the RIRA and helped cement the Sinn Féin’s political project, even among those republicans who were initially sceptical.
   The second reason it is now thought MI5 allowed the bombers to attack the market town and slaughter innocent civilians was that once their asset-Kevin Fulton- revealed that the RUC could have stopped the bomb, but failed, then Unionists may very well be more open to reform of the RUC through the Patten reforms which they initially rejected.
   All of the above shows that not only was Kevin Fulton a credible asset, but he was an important one. So it stands to reason that Kevin Fulton would never have engaged with the Smithwick tribunal unless he had received the explicit permission of his handlers. I am in no position to say whether Kevin Fulton’s evidence to the Smithwick tribunal was accurate or not, but what is beyond all doubt is that whatever evidence he did give, he gave with a nod from MI5.
   So what would the MI5 purpose have been in allowing Kevin Fulton to validate the evidence of Alan Mains in relation to Owen Corrigan? It is beyond doubt that there were political agendas and horse trading at play. There was a piece of disclosure from the NIO included in the Smithwick findings that was unreported at the time. A note claimed that Lady Sylvia Hermon, wife of the late Sir John Hermon, told former Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble not to push for the inclusion of the Breen and Buchanan murders, as part of the Weston Park talks because it could embarrass the RUC.
   It was Sir John Hermon that Alan Mains alleged he told of Garda collusion the day after the Breen and Buchanan murders. The North Down MP denied ever making such remarks and the rest of the UUP team validated this by denying ever hearing Lady Hermon making that case. Why the NIO would concoct such a note is open to speculation. What is not open to speculation is that the note was ‘recorded’, prior to Alan Mains making the claims about Sir John Hermon.
   I know Lady Sylvia Hermon and have always found her to be a woman of the highest integrity. She is a well-known and well respected MP. I find it hard to believe that if Lady Hermon said, what the NIO note claimed she had, that she would give a false affidavit in relation to it, furthermore it seems unthinkable that she would encourage the rest of the UUP team to also lie. Therefore I am firmly of the opinion, as are others, that the NIO concocted the note for an ulterior motive.
   So why would they have done this? As I said previously, the why is all open to speculation, but in regards to the wider context, there is something very strange about the NIO – who have their strings pulled by MI5 – concocting a note claiming to be from Sylvia Hermon stating that a Catholic RUC man had been passing information to the IRA and so Unionists should avoid pushing for an inquiry into the murders of Breen and Buchanan.
   If the purpose of this concocted note was for a political leverage around the Weston Park talks, then the NIO would have played their hand much sooner, but they didn’t, instead they released it late into the Smithwick tribunal- therefore the inference being that the purpose was to influence those proceedings.
   The inference from such a note would have been clear. It sought to create the impression that Sir John Hermon had passed some form of information to his wife, which would be frowned upon and damage the legacy of the deceased Chief Constable, but furthermore it would lead to speculation that Lady Sylvia Hermon was trying to shut down any possible inquiry, so as to cover for her husband. The question would then be what was she trying to cover for her husband? Enter Alan Mains and his account- 21 years later – claiming he passed Owen Corrigan’s name to Sir John Hermon the day after the murder of his two fellow RUC officers.  
    There is no independent verification that this meeting took place and Alan Mains made no reference to Owen Corrigan in his statement on the March 22, 1989. In evidence to the Smithwick tribunal, Alan Mains claimed he excluded the name of Owen Corrigan because he was advised to by a senior CID officer. Initially he could “not recall” who this CID officer was, however, in his testimony in the days after being unable to recall, Mains miraculously remembered the name of the CID officer. Conveniently the officer was, like Sir John Hermon, also now deceased so therefore we only have Mains version of events to go on. The ‘Hermon note’, would have created the impression that Mains was telling the truth and Sir John Hermon’s wife, Lady Hermon, was trying to cover it up. Except it wasn’t Lady Hermon trying cover up the events of that awful day.
   The involvement of MI5 ripples throughout the events of March 20 1989 and indeed the subsequent cover up and finger pointing. I have since learned that not only did MI5 have a second agent, besides ‘Stakeknife’, involved in the operation to murder Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan, but they also had a third asset who was within the RUC station. This asset was made aware prior to the murder that he should avoid travelling with Harry Breen to Dundalk on that fateful day. Let us consider the testimony of Alan Mains, and his statement dated March 22, 1989. Mains claimed he was asked by Harry Breen to travel to Dundalk with him but he decided not to go and instead telephoned Bob Buchanan to take his place. This is contradicted by various witnesses who gave evidence to the Smithwick tribunal. It was established by Judge Smithwick that ever since a meeting on March 16, when the intention to travel to Dundalk was discussed, Bob Buchanan was always intended to be part of the RUC delegation that would travel to the meeting with the Garda.
   A number of credible witnesses describe Mains being present at various times during the meeting held on March 16 – yet Mains claims he has no recollection of being at this meeting. This is remarkable given that he remembers every word spoken during the events of less than one week later. Alan Mains also claims Harry Breen asked him to make a call to Dundalk Garda station on his behalf, yet once again the only person who could verify this- Harry Breen – now deceased. Mysteriously there was no mention of this call, within Alan Mains statement on the March 22, 1989. None of the staff within the Garda station could recall or verify Mains making any of these calls. So the question then arises, between gaining knowledge of the planned trip to Dundalk on March 16 and the IRA ambush four days later, just who did Alan Mains actually call? Given Mains could not recall being at the planning meeting, but could recall- 21 years later- calls that he made from the RUC station, supposedly on the orders of the now deceased Harry Breen, it poses the question- how come Mains memory and recollections are remarkably sharp about some events but conveniently cloudy about others?
   Alan Mains, 21 years later managed to recall that he was supposed to travel with Harry Breen on that day, a claim disputed by all independent witnesses and rejected by Judge Smithwick, he has subsequently given a number of different versions as to why he did not travel to Dundalk. In an interview with the BBC on December 4, 2013, Alan Mains told journalist Sharon Ferguson that he had been asked by his boss, Harry Breen, to travel to the meeting in Dundalk. All independent witnesses and evidence collated during the Smithwick tribunal, contradicts this claim. Alan Mains further claims, in his interview with the BBC, he did not travel to Dundalk because he wanted to “go to the gym”.
It is worth quoting the full paragraph, attributed by the BBC to Alan Mains:
“I remember looking out the window and looking at the sunshine, I was very tempted to go, but decided that I would go to the gym and do some weight training.”
It has never been questioned, or established; whether Alan Mains did, or did not, attend the gym on that sunny day. It would be reasonable to assume the gym would have kept a sign-in book, which could provide verification as to whether Alan Mains actually did go to the gym. I am informed that this sign-in book, if it still exists, has never been sought. In the Belfast Newsletter, on the June 22, 2011, under the headline “Gardai were in pay of top republican” the paper describes Alan Mains evidence to the Smithwick tribunal in Dublin. The article contains the following account of why Alan Mains did not travel to Dundalk on the fateful day. Again, it is worth including the relevant paragraph in full:
“Mr Mains was originally to go with Chief Superintendent Breen to Dundalk but asked to be excused so as he could play Rugby that evening. Instead, said Mr Mains, Chief Superintendent Breen picked Superintendent Buchanan not only for his expertise in the border area but also because he was soon to be transferred to Newtownards and a visit to Dundalk would allow him to say farewell to many of the Garda officers he had been working with.”
Again, it has never been verified or even questioned, if there even was a rugby match taking place that evening. If there was, there would have been a number of independent witnesses who would have been aware Alan Mains was due to play alongside them, yet not one has ever come forward. The BBC interview was given after the completion of the Smithwick tribunal, and therefore Judge Smithwick was unable to assess or question why Mains decided not to travel to Dundalk and why he gave two very different accounts of his movements that night. This, of course, is notwithstanding the fact that Judge Smithwick had already rejected his claims that he was ever even going in the first place.
   The continued varying of Alan Mains own account raises a number of questions but also provides us with some answers to who knew what on that fateful day. Join the dots and what emerges is the very real possibility that it was Alan Mains who the MI5 asset within the RUC station and he knew in advance the attack was going to take place. There is no suggestion that he was in contact with the IRA, instead it was MI5 who were running two agents involved with the murder plot and who were reporting back to Mains. One of these assets was ‘Stakeknife’ and the other was later part of the RIRA team that bombed Omagh.
    The original plan put together by Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy, was to kidnap the two officers and have them interrogated, this is where ‘Stakeknife’ would have come in, as a member of the IRAs ‘nutting squad’ that was his area of expertise. MI5 feared what the two officers might have revealed under interrogation, and I have also been informed that MI5 viewed Harry Breen as a ‘problem’ due to his hardline stance against the IRA. I have been unable to corroborate that piece of information, therefore it is important to state that I have no evidence or independent verification to prove that MI5 viewed Harry Breen as a problem. I am merely repeating the comments of one well-placed source.
   ‘Stakeknife’ would never have been involved in the actual operation itself because it was not part of his IRA remit, therefore MI5 decided to use another of their assets to shut down the planned kidnapping by executing the officers on the spot.
   MI5 let the planned operation, and eventual murder of the two RUC officers, go ahead for two reasons. The first was to protect their assets within the IRA, who had informed their handlers of the plans. The second was to bring the issue of Garda collusion with the IRA to the fore and to put pressure on the Irish Government. Sir John Hermon, the then RUC Chief Constable, blew the second part of the MI5 plan out of the water only days after the murder, when he dismissed allegations of Garda collusion. Perhaps Sir John Hermon knew as far back as then and was disgusted by the fact that MI5 had sacrificed two of his officers to protect one of their terrorist agents. Alan Mains was unaware of these plans and the finer details of what was going to happen, instead he was asked by his contact in MI5 to simply keep an eye on the planned trip to Dundalk and report back. Mains duly undertook this task and telephoned his MI5 contact on a number of occasions between March 16 -20.
   Prior to the attack Alan Mains was informed by his MI5 contact that he should avoid the trip to Dundalk at all costs if asked to go because ‘things were happening’. But as it happened Mains was never asked to go to Dundalk. The two different stories, one about the gym and one about a rugby match, came over 20 years later during the Smithwick tribunal and media interviews he gave afterwards. If Alan Mains evidence is looked at in its totality, it becomes clear that there are a number of purposes to his revised recollections. Firstly his latest evidence throws further bad light on the RUC due to the allegation that Sir John Hermon basically ignored Garda collusion. It is always a trick of MI5 to point the finger at other parts of the security apparatus. Secondly the tearful testimony of how Mains was supposed to travel to Dundalk but pulled out at the last minute was designed to allay any suspicions he was forewarned about the attack. Thirdly, Mains testimony played into the political agenda of MI5 at that time. It put pressure on the Irish Government in relation to collusion, which did take place between gardai and the IRA, as Judge Smithwick concluded. And finally the evidence of Alan Mains diverted all suspicion away from MI5 in relation to their part in the double murder.
   The fact is Alan Mains never pulled out of the trip, because he was never going. He never telephoned Dundalk on behalf of Harry Breen. He telephoned his MI5 contact to keep him up to date with the travel plans of his two colleagues. He never asked Bob Buchanan to replace him at the last minute, because Bob Buchanan was always going to Dundalk ever since the March 16 meeting, a meeting which Alan Mains cannot recall being present at, even through various credible witnesses placed him there coming in and out at regular intervals. It is not a coincidence that Mains evidence to the tribunal was backed up by Kevin Fulton, a credible MI5 agent who was still in the pay of the security services when he gave evidence to the tribunal. There is no doubt that there was gardai collusion with the IRA, probably on a scale that has yet to be fully uncovered. But on this occasion it was MI5, who allowed the murder of two honest, decent RUC officers.
   Did Alan Mains know the two officers were going to be murdered? I do not believe he did, nor do the highly placed and credible security sources that have assisted me with this book. What he did do was pass information to MI5 in the days leading up to the murders and he knew that ‘something was going down’- yet he failed to tell his fellow officers. Alan Mains may not have knew he was aiding MI5 and their assets in the murder of two RUC officers but he would have known afterwards and yet stayed silent.
   The whole purpose of the trip to Dundalk was to discuss fuel smuggling and money laundering, MI5’s interest would have extended to Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy, of course it would have. The Secretary of State was demanding action, and it’s therefore ludicrous to think that MI5 would not have been involved in the plans to shut down Slab Murphy’s smuggling and money laundering.
   From 1976-1991 there was a MI5 operative working under the cover of the fraud squad in New Scotland Yard, his name was Ranald O Coggle. He is now the Cerberus European head and he is Alan Mains contact for ‘fixing’ sweetheart deals, for Peter Robinson’s charmed circle.
   Alan Mains has never come clean on the events of that day, instead he has further served MI5 by giving a self-serving account to Smithwick. He shot up through the ranks of the RUC, benefitting in certain circumstances from the MI5 hidden hand, clearing the path up the ladder aided by his close friendship with Ronnie Flanagan. In 2007 Mains retired from the PSNI and set himself up as a ‘security consultant’. He regularly spoke to the media about security issues, and made a small amount of money from these appearances, this in itself is not unusual. The website for Alan Mains security Consultancy Company is remarkably blank; it offers little or no information. This is strange for a security consultant.
   Following the sale of the NAMA portfolio to Cerberus, Peter Robinson sought to ensure that his charmed circle of property developers benefited from a sweetheart deal that would allow them to refinance their debt. He needed a middleman to work with Cerberus to ensure this happened; the man he chose was Alan Mains. Mains made contact with Cerberus to discuss the deals that could be made available to a select number of property developers. Cerberus agreed, and with the help of Jeffries Loan Core and others, a number of corrupt property developers had their loans refinanced in sweetheart deals which seen a large portion of their debt wiped clean.
   Those to benefit included the Lagan brothers, Paddy Kearney, Noel Murphy and Adam Armstrong. Paddy Kearney showed his appreciation to Alan Mains by buying him an £80,000 Mercedes. This generous gift shows the level of gratitude Paddy Kearney felt for the work Mains carried out on his behalf. While this was going on small companies with far less debt than the friends of Peter Robinson, were squashed or placed into receivership by the US vulture fund- Cerberus. People like Paddy Kearney are having millions of pounds of debt wiped clean and individuals like Alan Mains are benefiting with £80,000 gifts. Thanks to this old boys network the rich were getting richer while the poor were getting trampled on and put out of business.
    Alan Mains still has some friends within the PSNI at a reasonable level, and indeed he is still in contact with MI5 and his close friend and former RUC Chief Constable, Ronnie Flanagan. It has been claimed, by some sources, than an incident internally within the PSNI prompted an earlier retirement by Alan Mains than he had originally planned.
   Throughout the entire cash for influence scam that has perverted the NAMA process, Alan Mains was a central player. Trusted by Robinson, trusted by the corrupt property developers and trusted by MI5 operative Coggle, who he has known for many years. Almost as soon as my blog began to highlight the involvement of Alan Mains he approached a private investigation firm and asked them to “find the leaks” and to “dig dirt”- presumably on me and others that he blames for his exposure. He also enquired about the possibility of bugging private business offices.
   Alan Mains blames someone from within his inner circle for hanging him out to dry. He has sat in business premises in the Newtownards area and spoke about his anger over the situation and also discussed why they couldn’t have me ‘whacked’ at this stage because it would lead to far too many questions. He was accompanied on occasions by a serving senior PSNI Detective who I shall call Nigel.
   From that dark day on March 20, 1989- and probably prior to that- up until the cash for influence Nama scheme, Mains has inhibited a dark and murky world of espionage and counterespionage. In recent times he has brought this expertise in the dark arts into the political sphere, to help and protect the financial interests of a select group of property developers. The only unanswered question is why? Is it for purely financial gain or is Alan Mains still actively working for MI5?
   If the latter is the case, then this opens up more questions around why MI5 would be interested in Cerberus, who of course own Dyncorp, the world’s largest private military and security contractor. Dyncorp specialise in ‘snooping’ on private citizens on behalf of the CIA, FBI and others. It is a world where lives and livelihoods can be bought and sold, where money talks all languages and where Alan Mains feels very much at home.

Banned #NAMA book: Chapter 1- Genesis of the swish family Robinson 

To understand how it came crashing down, one must first understand the foundations from which it was built. The Robinson dynasty has its genesis in the property and development market and within the formative days of the Democratic Unionist Party.
 The lucrative dynasty almost ended many years prior to the Nama scandal, when Peter Robinson’s wife, Iris, was caught having an affair with 19 year old Kirk McCambley. That young man’s life was never the same afterwards- he was set up and ultimately exiled in the most Machiavellian way.
  Peter Robinson is a Unionist politician in Northern Ireland, the current First Minister (at the time of writing) and the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, a party he co-founded along with the late Rev Ian Paisley in 1970. Born on 29th December 1948, Robinson was in his early twenties when the troubles began in Northern Ireland. He was among a great number of young and articulate Unionists and Loyalists that rallied behind the stirring speeches and passionate calls to defend Ulster that epitomised one of Unionisms most charismatic leaders, Ian Paisley.
  Robinson was initially a Parliamentary assistant to Ian Paisley before becoming the secretary of the DUP in 1975. His position as secretary gave Robinson a great deal of latitude when it came to shaping the party and its early policies. With an intelligent, sharp and strategic mind, Robinson was one of the key architects of DUP strategy from the earliest days of the party.
  In 1977 the young Peter Robinson was elected for the first time, taking a seat on Castlereagh Borough Council and in 1979 Robinson became the youngest serving member of Parliament when he took the East Belfast constituency seat, a seat he held until 2010 when he lost out to Alliance party candidate, Naomi Long, in a shock defeat. He was re-elected to Westminster in 1983, 1992, 1986 (He resigned his seat in 1985 in protest at Anglo-Irish Agreement but was re-elected in a by election the following year) 1987, 1992, 2001 and 2005. Following the aforementioned defeat to Naomi Long in 2010, it became a personal crusade for Peter Robinson to win back East Belfast. Ever since the defeat in 2010 he had endured the taunts of political opponents. During a rally outside the Maze prison site, protesting against a planned IRA shrine, one speaker told the crowd that “Peter Robinson couldn’t even hold East Belfast for the Union.” In 2015 the DUP regained the East Belfast seat, with considerable assistance from the UUP who agreed to an electoral pact. Belfast City councilor, Robinson protégé and namesake, Gavin, was elected. It is a common that people think Gavin Robinson is related to Peter Robinson; in fact the two are no relation whatsoever. Peter Robinson has two sons; one is called Gareth, a lobbyist who was deeply involved in Namagate. His other son is called Jonathan and his only daughter is called Rebekah.
   Peter Robinson, in his early days, prior to his election successes, worked as a clerk in McConnell-Martin estate agents and earned around £40 a week. He was described as an intelligent and shrewd business operator with a keen eye for detail.
   When Peter entered politics a shrewd Fred Fraser, a now deceased property developer, spotted the potential in the young political activist. He could see that Peter Robinson was destined for a political life of power and influence- so Fraser made an investment. He hedged his bets on Robinson and it proved to be the start of a long and fruitful relationship, which earned both men a lot of money but also quite nearly brought it all crashing down on more than one occasion.
   When Peter Robinson was first elected he purchased a dilapidated bungalow, situated just behind where the Dundonald Ice Bowl now is. The bungalow was a 1200 Sq. Ft. property and was ideal for Peter and Iris, a young couple setting up a family home.
   David Harper was an architect who once worked for Fred Fraser and his brother Bill. David Harper never really liked Fred Fraser so when he and his brother Bill fell out, he went along with Bill to continue his work there. At this stage in the story however, Harper was an architect working for both brothers.
  Fred Fraser asked Harper to draw up plans for an extension to Robinson’s bungalow, he done this and the extension was completed. There was never an invoice passed between Robinson and Fraser- this was done in kind, a sweetener to entice the young Robinson into the world of cash, favours and gifts for influence.
   Fred Fraser continued, right up until his death, to provide Peter and Iris Robinson with £10,000 each prior to every election for their ‘expenses’. Many of these donations are alleged to have never found their way into an election campaign or the DUP coffers- it was given as a ‘personal’ donation and received as such.
   These donations were small in comparison to Fred Fraser’s other contributions to the Robinsons bank accounts. There was once a cheque for a staggering one million pounds passed between Fred Fraser and Peter Robinson. A DUP councillor resigned in protest after personally witnessing the transaction.
   With Robinson’s political career flourishing, he never found himself short of businessmen and willing allies, who were only too happy to lavish financial rewards and gifts on the young politician in return for his influence.  
   A bizarre incident took place during the early days of the DUP and Robinson’s rise to power. Ronnie Ferguson, a long standing UUP councillor, was a window cleaner and had acquired the contract to clean the windows in Peter Robinsons rapidly expanding Dundonald home. It has been said that whilst on the roof of Robinson’s home, he looked through a dormer window and witnessed two people making love, neither of whom was Peter or Iris Robinson. Sammy Wilson, and another woman with strong DUP links, was using the Robinson home for their sexual purposes. It is unclear whether Peter and Iris consented to this, but it does seem unthinkable that Sammy Wilson- and his lady friend- would have broken into the home of Peter Robinson. Eileen Paisley would later quip, in a television interview, that “all the sleaze came from Peter’s house”.
   Ronnie Ferguson later had a run in with Peter Robinson over damage the window cleaner caused to an archway that had been built, by Fred Fraser, between Robinson’s house and garage. Ferguson had clipped the archway with ladders that were pointing skywards from his trailer, rather than in their usual position attached to the roof of his car. A furious Robinson demanded remedy and Ronnie Ferguson, extremely embarrassed by the incident, organised and paid for the repair himself. This, however, did not stop Peter Robinson from submitting an insurance claim in the region of £1,100 for the damaged archway.
   In the early 1980’s, following his elevation to Deputy Leader of the DUP, Peter Robinson began a project, without the knowledge of Ian Paisley, which eventually led to the formation of Ulster Resistance and the arrest of three of their members in Paris in 1989. Robinson held two all day ‘strategic sessions’, over two successive Saturdays during the mid-1980’s. The agenda for these sessions had three items- The purchase of property by the DUP, methods of increasing party membership and a close working relationship with loyalist paramilitaries. The DUP would later call for the death sentence for loyalist prisoners.
   These strategic planning days were attended by party members such as Gregory Campbell, Nigel Dodds, Roy Thompson, Denny Vitty and Cedric Wilson. After the two Saturday sessions, a thick document- around 1.5 inches- was drawn up. The document outlined the strategic vision of the DUP in terms of building a property portfolio, increasing their party membership and integration with a loyalist paramilitary organisation. Robinson always envisaged the DUP having a closer working relationship with the UDA, although many loyalist paramilitaries resented the DUP and especially their leader Ian Paisley. The loyalist organisations suspected that they were only cannon fodder for the DUP, who would use them as muscle and later condemn them, or worse still, call for them to be hung. In 1985 Robinson told a car full of Unionist activists, returning from Portadown where young loyalist Keith White had just been killed by a rubber bullet, that he wanted a “nice wee army, who would throw bricks and stones when told and stop when told.” Denny Vitty, Alan Wright of the Ulster Clubs and two other men were present in the car during this conversation.
   It would be many years later and only following the coup that removed Ian Paisley Snr that Robinson’s early vision of closer integration with a loyalist organisation would come to fruition. In 2011 the UDA, particularly in Robinson’s heartland of East Belfast, began to “link in with the DUP” in the words of an East Belfast UPRG community leader speaking to Josephine Long for a BBC Radio Ulster documentary during the Union Flag protests of 2012/13. This “link in”- particularly in East Belfast- was seen as part of an attempt by the UDA at moving on a path of strategic integration into the political process and civic society. The Ulster Democratic Party, which had represented the UDA during the Belfast Agreement negotiations were defunct by 2011 and the Ulster Political Research Group had taken up the role of a lobbying group.
   In September and October 2015 a UDA magazine “the Loyalist” was openly critical of the DUP and Robinson in particular. The magazine appeared to reflect a ground swell of anti-DUP feeling amongst grassroots Unionists and certainly won the approval of many within the Unionist community.
   Following Robinson’s strategic planning days, which he had organised to coincide with periods in which Ian Paisley was out of the Country, his plans of integration with the established loyalist paramilitary groups fell through. The UVF and UDA were not keen to be used by big house Unionists and at times open hostility existed between the loyalist organisations and the DUP. This was evidenced in 1998 when a war of words erupted over the Belfast Agreement, which was supported by the Progressive Unionist Party, representing the UVF and the Ulster Democratic Party, representing the UDA. The DUP opposed the agreement and Ian Paisley denounced it as “traitors and treachery together.”
   Not long after the production of the document it was not only the scorn of the UDA and UVF that threatened Robinson’s vision for a “nice wee army”, but his mentor and party leader Ian Paisley issued a stark warning to the young political hardliner that he should “avoid getting involved with paramilitaries.” A meeting, initiated by Paisley, was due to take place in his church in Belfast, but once another one of those summonsed by Paisley arrived at the Church, he was driven to the home of Peter Robinson, where Paisley delivered a withering rebuke of Robinson’s document and plans.
   In 1986 however, Ian Paisleys attitude following the Anglo Irish Agreement began to soften in relation to militant loyalism and thus he supported the formation of Ulster Resistance, a group designed to protect Ulster in a doomsday scenario. Paisley has always denied that he was aware Ulster Resistance was ever going to be anything more than a Dads army, but it is hard to believe that Paisley really believed this himself. It has been claimed by prominent DUP sources that Paisley preferred to “hear no evil and see no evil” when it came to Ulster Resistance. Following the formation of Ulster Resistance the DUP lost all control over the movement and found that they were consigned to the role of bit part players. One former prominent member of Ulster Resistance had this to say in relation to the DUP:
“Following the initial political support we treated them like mushrooms. Kept them in the dark and fed them shite. We needed the initial political cover, and senior members of the DUP like to have their ego massaged, so we let them present themselves as the new Carson’s. They used us and we used them. And I think deep down they knew that and we certainly knew that.”
   Others dispute that version of events and claim that Peter Robinson was kept briefed about all of Ulster Resistance’s plans via Noel Little, the father of his current special advisor Emma Pengelly. Noel Little would later find himself arrested in Paris in 1989, as part of a sting operation which had major political ramifications. The American Government and CIA were delighted with the seizure of the blowpipe missile part that Little and Ulster Resistance had stolen for their South African arms contact- had South Africa got the technology they required it would have enabled them to develop their own missile systems- something that was of a major National Security and Foreign Policy concern for the US Government and intelligence apparatus.
   On the 7th of August 1986 Peter Robinson sought to demonstrate his militant leadership qualities by leading a group of around 500 loyalists on an ‘invasion’ of a small town in the Republic of Ireland- Clontibret- County Monaghan. Initially it was believed this invasion was the brainchild of DUP leader Ian Paisley, but many years later in an interview Paisley gave to Eamonn Mallie for a special program “Genesis to Revelation” – the then retired DUP leader mocked Robinson’s incursion over the border and stated that the whole plan was thought up by Peter Robinson himself. Following the explosive interview, in which both Ian and his wife Eileen participated, Peter Robinson responded by saying that he would serve Ian Paisley one last time and “bless him with his silence.”
   Robinson was arrested during the ‘invasion’ and held at Monaghan Garda station. The DUP deputy leader pleaded guilty to unlawful assembly and was fined 17,500 in Irish currency. Robinson initially vowed to refuse to pay the fine but later did, leading scornful loyalists to label the future DUP leader “Peter Punt”.
   As Robinson’s political career soared, he continued to use his influence to further increase his personal wealth. Fred Fraser was Robinson’s main source of ‘cash for influence’ payments and throughout Robinson’s time as a Castlereagh councillor- a role he maintained until 2 July 2007 when he resigned his seat- Fraser benefited greatly from the influence Robinson was able to exert to help “get things done”.
   Fred Fraser made a considerable profit out of Cairnshill developments, which is a housing area surrounding the Four Winds bar. The area is within the boundaries of Castlereagh Borough Council, which Peter Robinson served on from 1977 until the resignation of his seat in 2007.
   At one time Peter Robinson was the chairman of the council’s planning committee. When a planning appeal was held into a proposed development within the green belt area in Castlereagh, it came to the attention of the committee that Fred Fraser had options on all the lands around the proposed developments, and some of the land he owned outright. Initially, he lost the planning inquiry. However, when the then Environment Minister Lord Mitchell was taken out of the Northern Ireland Office in a cabinet reshuffle, he signed a paper giving ministerial approval for Fraser’s development scheme- overriding the planning inquiry- in his last act as minister. That summer Lord Mitchell, with the assistance of Fred Fraser, became the proud owner of a new luxury villa in Portugal .
   It wasn’t the only time Fred Fraser seemed remarkably well informed and in possession of insider intelligence. Brian Patterson, who was an estate agent in Hollywood and once of McKibben and Co., once heard in advance about plans to build in the Glenmachan area. Trying to capitalise on this “insider information”, Patterson travelled widely over a number of days trying to purchase quickly any land within this particular “green belt area”. He discovered that Fred Fraser had bought up the land and options between six and eight months earlier.
   Robinson greatly assisted Fraser in his development of the Castlereagh green belt area, and another regular feature of these developments was that Peter or Iris Robinson would start complaining to the Department of Environment about sewers or water supplies to the particular proposed development area, saying they were inadequate and that he had numerous complaints. Such a move once brought around £1 million expenditure on a new sewer, which ran along the dual carriageway from Cherry Hill to Quarry Corner, in Dundonald.
   Word of Peter Robinson’s openness to a certain amount of bribery spread widely throughout certain business and developer circles. He was known as the ‘go to’ man who could fix planning issues and assist property developers to gain a favourable response to their needs from Government and local Council. Gilbert Graham, of Clearwater Devs and McKinneys, was involved in organising the proposed Sainsbury development of the old Supermac site and he wanted to get the approval and support of the then East Belfast MP and local Castlereagh councillor, Peter Robinson. He, like many others was aware that Robinson was open to bribery, but he was unsure how to approach this subject with the MP. A meeting was arranged in Gilbert Graham’s boardroom and following the completion of the meeting, Peter admired the boardroom table, remarking that he and Iris had always wanted such a table for their home. Within seventy two hours the boardroom table was packed and dispatched to the Robinson house as a ‘gift’. It then took pride of place in the Robinson household for quite some time.
   Robinson was also not averse to using the threat of loyalist violence, which the DUP claimed to abhor, when it could assist him in his business deals. In the 1990’s a catholic businessman approached Peter Robinson during a period when the Ice Bowl was going badly and pitched the idea for Indiana Land, a children’s play area, to be opened on the premises. Robinson agreed this was a good idea and used his influence to ensure that the catholic businessman was able to rent that section of the premises from the Council. At this point in time Peter Robinson took no issue with a catholic businessman working in the area.
   The business was an outstanding financial success, generating jobs for local people and income into the local economy. All of a sudden Peter Robinson approached the businessman and warned him that, in the present climate, it would be unwise for him to continue operating because loyalists were planning to attack him. Robinson was never able to substantiate this threat of potential violence or explain where the threat came from. It was put to the businessman, by Robinson, that he could either sell to the Council or to another businessman, who naturally, would be a friend of Peters.
   Whilst Peter Robinson continued to inhibit the seedy cash for influence world of property developers, bankers and politicians- he also continued his rise to power within the DUP and Northern Ireland politics. In 1987 he had briefly resigned as Deputy leader of the DUP when a task force report, jointly drawn up between Robinson, Ulster Unionist Party MP Harold McCusker and Frank Miller, was dismissed by their respective party leaders- Ian Paisley and James Molyneux. He would soon return to the fold and continue as a ruthless political strategist, who was beginning to plan and plot his way to the very top of the DUP and Unionism in general. Robinson returned to the DUP fold because he knew that without the party machine he would struggle to fulfil his political ambitions. He snuggled up beside Ian Paisley once more, but he never forgot the humiliation of Paisley’s rejection of the task force report and told those close to him that one day, he would have his revenge.
   The 1990’s saw the dawn of the peace process and whilst Robinson overtly resisted attempts to create a way forward that would be inclusive of the IRA’s political representatives- Sinn Fein- privately the Deputy DUP leader acknowledged that only a decision to share power would grant him his ultimate wish of reaching the pinnacle of Northern Ireland’s political sphere. Even political enemies of Peter Robinson, of which I am one, have always accepted that he is an extremely ruthless, talented and strategic political operator. His Machiavellian ways mark him out as a political climber whose pragmatism and relentless pursuit of power, and money, would always lead him to effortlessly make the transition from anti-agreement to chief implementer of the agreement.
   There is no doubt that Robinson, at once stage, was a fiercely proud Ulster loyalist who would have put principle before personal gain. I got a remarkable insight into Peter Robinson during a private meeting I held with him in the summer of 2013 in his Stormont office. During the course of our conversation I asked Peter Robinson why he had changed and what prompted the change, he told me that there was an event during his political career (I am not sure of the date as I did not ask, and I do not wish to guess) when he broke through the security barrier during a protest at Stormont and charged forward with the aim of entering into the building. Robinson claims that he turned around to find that he was alone and that others had not followed him. The First Minister did not expand on this but I got the distinct feeling that it was at that particular moment, which I could tell by the expression on his face was etched deep into his psyche, he decided that he would do what was best for Peter Robinson and any thought of self-sacrifice for the cause went out the window.
   Peter Robinson could also be charming, witty and compassionate. My mother met with him after I had been imprisoned for my part in the Union flag protests and she described how he spent considerable time listening to her concerns and displayed a genuine interest in my case and how he could help. As a political cynic I recognised that Peter Robinson no doubt seen the political capital to be gained out of jumping to my defence, at a time when he was being dismissed as a traitor by hard-line loyalists, but nevertheless he did not have to take the time to listen to my mother. I wrote to Peter Robinson following my release from prison to thank him for his willingness to set time aside to listen to the concerns of my family.
   As the peace process gathered pace, the DUP found themselves as the main voice of Unionist opposition, they attracted at least half of the Unionist electorate to their cause as evidenced by the No vote in the 1998 referendum on the Belfast Agreement. Whilst an overwhelming majority of Nationalists and Republicans endorsed the Belfast Agreement, when it finally came, only a tissue thin majority of Unionists voted in favour of the agreement which was seen- quite rightly in my view- as a betrayal of Unionism and a sop to the terrorists of the IRA.
   Peter Robinson made a famous speech following the Belfast Agreement when he stated that “the only cabinet the provos should be in, is made of wood and has brass handles”. This comment would come back to haunt Robinson as the DUP would eventually, in 2007, sign up to a mandatory power sharing coalition with Sinn Fein in which Ian Paisley, and later Peter Robinson himself, would occupy a joint First Ministers office with the former IRA Chief of Staff, Martin McGuinness.
   Prior to the Belfast Agreement Robinson was elected to the Northern Ireland Forum on 30th May 1996 and served in it until it completed its work in 1998
   Following the signing of the Belfast Agreement, and subsequent restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Robinson stood as an anti-agreement candidate for the DUP and was elected to the Assembly- for the Belfast East constituency- on the 25th June 1998. The DUP and anti-agreement Unionists took a considerable portion of seats in the new Assembly, which left the pro-agreement Ulster Unionist Party and their leader and First Minister, David Trimble, two short of the Unionist majority required for the cross community vote that was built into the Belfast Agreement as a so called ‘safety mechanism’- this mechanism discarded the normal democratic system of majority rule or voluntary coalition in favour of a much criticised and dysfunctional system of mandatory coalition.    
   David Trimble was able to count on the support of the two Progressive Unionist Party candidates, Billy Hutchinson and David Ervine, who had endorsed the agreement and campaigned for a yes vote in the referendum on the issue.
   The DUP had decided to take their seats in the Assembly and run their allotted departments, but boycott the Executive due to the inclusion of Sinn Fein. Robinson’s future partner in the Office of First and Deputy First Ministers- which is in reality a joint office- Martin McGuiness, was one of those who was appointed by Sinn Fein for a ministerial post, the other was Barbara De Brun.
Robinson was the Minister for Regional Development, which has overall responsibility for the Department for Regional Development, from 29 November 1999 until 27 July 2000 and one more from 29 October 2001 until 11 October 2002. Under Robinsons ministerial leadership the DRD introduced free fares on public transport for the elderly and also helped formulate the 25- year Regional Development Strategy as well as developing the 10-year Regional Transport Strategy.
   David Trimble’s power sharing Executive collapsed in 2002 amidst allegations of continued IRA activity. The DUP exerted considerable pressure on the UUP leader and in the words of one political commentator “forced him from office”. The same DUP would later implement all the core strands of the Belfast Agreement following the restoration of the power sharing Assembly in 2007.
   From 2002-2007 the DUP gradually overtook the Ulster Unionist Party as the largest Unionist party and were involved in numerous talks processes aimed at restoring the Assembly. The initial pioneers of the Belfast Agreement, the UUP and SDLP, had both found themselves ditched by the electorate in favour of the DUP and Sinn Fein respectively.
   The DUP claimed to have u-turned on their long term position of opposition to Sinn Fein in Government due to the alleged disbandment of the IRA- who in the interim period between 2002-2007 had murdered Short Strand man Robert McCartney and carried out the Northern Bank robbery- and the decommissioning of IRA weapons. The DUP initially demanded photographs as proof of the IRA decommissioning and Ian Paisley memorably quipped that the IRA would have to wear “sackcloth and ashes” and “repent”. In the end the DUP got no photographs and the IRA certainly did not repent. At the time of writing the current PSNI Chief Constable, George Hamilton, and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland have both confirmed the continued existence of the IRA Army Council and ballistics tests on weapons and semtex recovered from so-called “dissident” republicans have shown that they have use of and access to IRA weapons- that were supposedly decommissioned. A BBC Spotlight investigation in 2014 also revealed that a senior Sinn Fein negotiator and IRA leader, Sean Murray, had engaged in a gunrunning operation to bring fresh weapons into Northern Ireland from Florida, during the period of the peace process. In the follow up searches following the current IRA Army Council sanctioned murder of Kevin McGuigan in August 2015, which was carried out in revenge for the killing of one time IRA Belfast Brigade commander, Gerard Jock Davidson, in May 2015, PSNI recovered a glock pistol- believed to have been one of the guns imported from Florida- in the home of Sinn Fein member Patrick Fitzsimons.
   It was under the false premise that the IRA had stood down and got rid of all their weapons that Peter Robinson, Ian Paisley and the DUP entered power with the IRA’s political wing-Sinn Fein- in May 2007. On the 8 May 2007 Peter Robinson was nominated, and accepted, the ministerial post of Minister of Finance and Personnel. He held this position until the merciless coup that removed the founding father of the DUP, Ian Paisley, from office. Paisley announced his decision on 4th March 2008 and stated that he would officially step down in May 2008. On 17 April 2008 the coup was completed when Peter Robinson was unanimously voted leader-designate by the 120-member DUP executive committee. His co-conspirator in the move against Ian Paisley- Nigel Dodds- was also ratified as the new Deputy leader, fulfilling the position left vacant by the upward move of Peter Robinson. As Peter Robinson entered office he did so selling the lie to the Unionist community that the IRA had gone away. Everyone knew that they hadn’t, at least everyone that wanted to know knew that they hadn’t. Turbulent political and professional times lay ahead for the man who slayed the king, and wore the crown. Robinson officially became DUP leader on the 31 May 2008.
   The murder of Paul Quinn, carried out by the South Armagh brigade of the IRA in October 2007 had already caused the DUP to huff and puff and threaten to blow the house down prior to Peter Robinson ousting Ian Paisley. Jeffrey Donaldson, the man who- when it came to the devolution of policing and justice- would turn a “political lifetime” into six weeks, promised there would be “consequences if the IRA were involved”. There were no consequences. The DUP were becoming accustomed to the newly found trappings of power and prestige and thus the murderous activities of the IRA no longer weighted upon their minds. Not for the first time, a blind eye was turned to protect the political institutions.
   The murder of Paul Quinn, the Northern Bank robbery, the murder of Robert McCartney and the entire litany of crimes, terrorism and murderous acts perpetuated by the republican movement during their terrorist campaign, was brushed under the carpet. Consigned to history and all current IRA activity was ignored as far as possible, and if it couldn’t be ignored there was always enough willing persons within the policing, justice and political spheres that would create just enough constructive ambiguity, so as to allow the DUP to wriggle out of ever having to take action against the IRA’s political representatives, Sinn Fein.
   The heady days of 2008 were happy ones for the Robinson dynasty, at the peak of his political power and having fulfilled his long time ambition- partly driven by revenge and partly by a lusting for power-to replace Ian Paisley at the helm; Peter Robinson sat in the driving seat of political Unionism. The happy days were not to last, for Ian Paisley he was not. Robinson did not have the charisma of Paisley and nor was he adored, worshipped even, by the party faithful in the way his predecessor was. Rifts begin almost immediately and Robinson’s treatment of Paisley had created a huge divide within the DUP. The “family party”, which for the most part religiously rallied behind “big Ian”, was now split into a number of camps, all of which were treacherously plotting against the other. As Robinson officially took the party leadership on 31 May 2008- there were powerful players within the DUP who swore revenge. They knew they would have to wait, they knew they would have to bide their time, but these political veterans knew their time would come.
   The heady days of 2008 and 2009 drifted into the turbulent times of 2010, for it was a year that Peter Robinson is unlikely to ever forget. His personal and political worlds collided and collapsed, only for Robinson to fight back in a manner that impressed even his most venomous critics. By 2011 he had found himself back at the pinnacle, with his power restored and with the DUP the dominate voice of Unionism. He had vanquished the UUP and stood as master of all he surveyed, it was remarkable turnaround from the dark days of the previous year. But the wounds inflicted in 2010 would never fully heal, neither personally nor politically. The scandal of the Iris affair, the £5 property deals and that painful loss of his treasured East Belfast Westminster seat had all been buried- but they were buried alive.
   On the 28 May 2009 the planning Service of Northern Ireland granted Robinson permission to build six houses in his rear garden on the Gransha Road, in the Dundonald area of East Belfast. At the time this was not a major story, that is until the BBC reported on the 30 March 2010 that Robinson had purchased a piece of land from Fred Fraser, his old property developer friend, for £5 which enabled him to sell part of his back on for almost £460,000. Robinson claimed the BBC was leading a “smear campaign” against him, he did not however deny the allegation of the £5 land purchase. It was subsequently proven to be true. But by the time the BBC got around to revealing details of the huge profit Peter Robinson had made from part of his back garden he purchased for a paltry £5, their Spotlight program had already- for a period of time, at least- brought the whole Robinson dynasty crashing down. The powerful dynasty of Peter and Iris Robinson would never return following the broadcast of that Spotlight program, he would fight back but would do so without his wife by his side. She would vanish from public life.
   The 8 January 2010 Spotlight program reported that Iris Robinson had secured £50,000 for Kirk McCambley, a 19 year old who she was having a sexual affair with. Kirk McCambley’s life would never be the same after 2010 either- the Special Branch and Public Prosecution Service made sure of that. Kirk McCambley no longer lives in Northern Ireland.  
   Iris Robinson had lobbied on behalf of McCambley for his business premises, the Lock Keepers Inn. Once Robinson found out about the financial dealings between his wife, Kirk McCambley and the two property developers, who had given Iris £25,000 each, he is alleged to have ordered the money to be returned. He did not, however, inform the Assembly or any other authorities of what he had learnt about the arrangement. Fred Fraser, the long term Robinson family friend was again involved, lending Iris £25,000. The other contributor was Ken Campbell, who also contributed £25,000. Campbell was also involved in a number of questionable deals with the Robinson’s, including the sale and purchase of a DUP office in Newtownards.
   In the wake of the Spotlight program Peter Robinson was quite visibly a damaged man, understandably, both in a personal and political capacity. On 11 January 2010 Peter Robinson stood down as First Minister for what was to be a maximum interim period of six weeks. He was replaced by Arlene Foster.
   To make matters worse, Robinson’s long term business and property developer friend- Fred Fraser- passed away weeks later, quite literally in the middle of the biggest personal and political challenge of Peter Robinson’s life. The two men, along with Iris, had achieved much together. They had assisted each other and both reaped great financial benefits from their ‘cash for influence’ arrangement. Fred Fraser had seen the money and gifts he had invested in the Robinson dynasty turn a huge profit for him. He also liked Peter Robinson, and Iris. He had a fondness for them both; they were ‘his’ political people. Peter Robinson owed much of his political career and financial stability to Fred Fraser and, in turn, Fred Fraser owed much of his wealth and enormous property portfolio to the political influence of Peter Robinson.
   Following the Spotlight program, and revelations that Iris had failed to declare a monetary interest in the restaurant owned by Kirk McCambley, she was expelled from the DUP and resigned her seats in both Westminster and the Northern Ireland Assembly, retiring from politics. It was also revealed that she had attempted suicide on 1 March 2009 and her solicitor, Paul Tweed, would later successfully argue in court that the media should be prevented from reporting on Iris Robinson due to the fact she was suicidal. Doctors supported this case and as such she remained eligible for a huge Westminster and Northern Ireland Assembly pension, both of which she dutifully collected.
   A number of investigations have been carried out into the whole scandal, a PSNI investigation into the financial affairs of Peter and Iris Robinson concluded with a recommendation not to prosecute in 2011. A standards and privileges enquiry had still not been completed three years after it was ordered by the Assembly; however it eventually reported on 28 November 2014. Iris Robinson’s lawyer had successfully stalled the publication of the report-citing his client’s mental health issues.
   Peter Robinson returned to his post as First Minister after he had voluntarily stepped down and he immediately began a plan to rebuild his legacy, the party and his political career. With an ambitious grassroots engagement policy, Robinson began to reach out to the old traditional DUP base- which the party had abandoned since coming to power. Robinson also partly fulfilled his long term ambition to work alongside the UDA when that organisation, particularly in East Belfast, began to “link-in” with the DUP.
   Robinson also set about surrounding himself with younger and more progressive political figures within the party such as Gavin Robinson and Simon Hamilton. The ‘old guard’ within the DUP had rapidly become disillusioned with Robinson’s leadership and for many of the loyal Paisleyites, the party was a far cry from the “family party” that had stood shoulder to shoulder all over the country during some of Ulster’s darkest days.
   In 2011 Peter Robinson remarkably fought back, winning a huge mandate in the local Government elections. It was a stunning turnaround and a testament to Robinson’s incredible personal resolve and political ability that he was able to turn things from such a desperate place to the pinnacle of his career. Alex Kane, the respected political commentator, has often said that Robinson should have retired then, gone out at the top. Robinson however resolved to stay on. Perhaps the hurt of losing his Westminster seat is what drove Robinson to hold on.
   In late 2012, with the decision on 3rd December to remove the Union flag from the City Hall, Peter Robinson once again found himself having to batten down the hatches. As a surge of grassroots loyalist anger erupted across the province, the DUP found themselves in no man’s land. Some party members joined the protests- the DUP refused to endorse them, then they condemned them and then called for them to stop. All their calls fell on deaf ears. Robinson’s “link-in” project with the UDA also looked shaky. The DUP leader held the mistaken belief that his ongoing working relationship with that organisation would mean that they could use their influence to halt the protests. He was wildly mistaken. The protests exposed the woeful lack of influence that the DUP could actually wield amongst the majority of grassroots loyalist communities and once again an anti-agreement movement within loyalism began, almost out of nowhere, to grow at a rapid pace. It was almost if the DUP ghost of its former self was coming back to haunt them.
   Anti-agreement Unionists, such as myself, were in a bad place in 2011. On the political scrapheap, the electorate had endorsed the power sharing Executive and the DUP had a huge mandate, far and beyond what any other Unionist party could claim. But on the 3rd December 2012 all that changed and suddenly the voices in the wilderness began to resonate louder and louder. The anti-agreement whimper turned into shout that rapidly turned into a chorus of opposition to the peace process. This was the beginning of the end- again- for Peter Robinson. He knows, and anyone with a keen eye on politics knows, that even aside from the property deals and corruption, Peter Robinson’s political career was always on a downward spiral from that cold Belfast night just before Christmas 2012.
   The dysfunctional days of late 2012 onwards saw the Assembly stumble from one crisis to the next. The revelation of a Government side deal for IRA OTR’s and of Royal Pardon’s issued for republicans sparked another round of huffing, puffing and threatening to blow the house down by Robinson and the DUP, but-predictably-it came to nothing. The OTR scandal, just like all those before it, was brushed under the carpet for the sake of the peace process.
  The parading dispute, epitomised by the ludicrous determinations issued in relation to the Crumlin Road in North Belfast, once again led to the DUP feigning outrage. Robinson got all shades of Unionism, loyalism and Orangeism together and promised a graduated response. It was much like the failed Unionist Forum that he had pulled together to try and take the sting out of the Union flag protests. The graduated response was a farcical affair, a transparent attempt to keep the lid on things over July and then all would be forgiven-and forgotten- come August. And so it came to pass. At the time of writing the Crumlin Road parading dispute, is still ongoing.
In 2015 Peter Robinson’s problems began to come to a head. At the time of writing his personal, political and financial worlds are heading for a perfect storm that is gathering above the Stormont institutions. The perfect storm has many little satellite hurricanes all hurtling towards one central point. The welfare crisis, the renewed questions over the existence of the IRA and then the scheme that will be the biggest political scandal of a generation- NAMA- are all in play. As we will see from this book, it is the NAMA scandal that has sparked a renewed coup within the DUP. The consequences of the NAMA revelations will lead to the collapse of many huge players in the property development worlds, political careers will end, criminal charges could possibly be brought and Peter Robinson’s enemies in the business, political and security worlds, all those who have felt wronged or betrayed in the course of his merciless climb up the political ladder are now coming back to haunt him in a most ironic fashion.
   In September it was also reported that a DUP nominee for a peerage had been rejected. The DUP declined to comment and instead they began briefing their favourite paper- the Belfast Telegraph- that the nominated peer was a party donor. This fooled very few people. Private Eye reported that the rejected peer was none other than Peter Robinson himself. The DUP have been unable to deny this.

   Peter Robinson lived by the political sword, he is going to die by it.

Revealed: Robinson on Gareth Graham tapes discussing plan to discredit Peter Curistan

Yesterday saw another twist in the rapidly unfolding scandal surrounding Peter Robinson.

Developer Peter Curistan, represented by KRW Law, issued a complaint to the PSNI in relation to comments made by Robinson using parliamentary privilege. 

The then East Belfast MP (before he managed to lose East Belfast) had stood up in the House of Commons and accused Curistan of being involved with IRA dirty money. There was never any substance to the allegation and letters- previously published on this blog- between Robinson & the Secretary of State prove that the Government repeatedly told Robinson they had no information nor intelligence to suggest any improper conduct by Curistan’s company. 

I revealed some time ago that Robinson’s reason for trying to discreet Peter Curistan was that the West Belfast developer had won preferred developer status for the Queens Quay development. Robinson’s ally’s Paddy Kearney and Kevin Lagan were both unhappy and wanted Curistan “taken out of the equation”. Robinson cooked up the plan to discredit Curistan and then followed this up with a number of letters to the Secretary of State and other Government ministers asking them to tighten to assessment criteria and to stop Curistan from winning the bid. 

For quite some time Peter Robinson may have thought he got away with that dirty little scheme, but he didn’t account for the fact that Frank Cushnahan was recorded discussing it. 

KRW Law also hold the Gareth Graham tapes- explosive recordings of Cushnahan, which include Robinson- and it is on these tapes that Robinson and Cushnahan discuss the plan to discredit and destroy Peter Curistan. 

The fact that Peter Robinson is on the tapes in relation to a plan to use Parlimentary privelege to destroy a legitimate businessman- all so his golden circle could benefit- signals a major breakthrough for those alleging serious misconduct by Robinson over many years. 

Paddy Kearney, Alan Mains and the tearful testimony riddled with holes 

Today Mr Paddy Kearney came forward to give evidence to the DFP committee. Mr Kearney brought along with him Alan Mains, a former MI5 operative, who now describes himself as a security consultant. However, strangely, it appears he has now widened his expertise to financial matters.
Mr Kearney was scathing of my evidence and branded it unfounded and without a scrap of evidence. 
The irony of this is that Mr Kearney then spent the remainder of his evidence session confirming everything I had told the committee.

I had informed the committee Mr Kearney was to buy Millmount- today the Mayple 10 property developer confirmed this was the case.

I consistently named Alan Mains from the very beginning, today confirmed that Alan Mains has indeed been involved in this and further it was confirmed that- as I had said- it was he who arranged for Mr Kearney to meet with Peter Robinson.
Mr Kearney refused to discuss the financial figures in terms of how much debt had been written off, yet the committee hold his audited accounts which confirms that it was in the region of 224m. Again, this confirms my evidence.

I claimed Peter Robinson lobbied on Mr Kearney’s behalf- Mr Robinson denied this- yet today Mr Kearney confirms that indeed Mr Robinson did write to Nama on his behalf.

I claimed Mr Kearney was purchasing John Miskelly’s assets. He confirmed this from his own mouth.
I claimed David Watters had been working for Nama- this has now been confirmed by Mr Kearney. 

Mr Kearney stated he was taking no legal action against me. He failed to mention that he- and five others, namely Alan Mains, Peter Robinson, Frank Cushnahan, Brendan McGinn and Kevin Lagan are jointly being represented by Paul Tweed- a business partner of Brendan McGinn- and have been writing letters to Amazon trying to use every angle possible to have my book stopped.

Not one single part of my evidence has been proven false by Mr Kearney, in fact he has actually confirmed most of my evidence and has very helpfully now brought Alan Mains into the public domain in relation to the Nama conspiracy.
The tearful- and well crafted- opening statement was little more than an attempt to portray a billionaire, who cares so much about Northern Ireland that he was a tax exile, as some kind of victim. He claims my sources are out to get him. Yes, the whole Nama revelations are because some fictitious personal enemy of Paddy Kearney is jealous of him. That sounds plausible.

Mr Kearney is working in unison with at least five others- as proven by his Amazon action- to stifle and shut down any investigations into the nefarious and corrupt Nama deal. Mr Kearney even expects the committee to believe that the fact Peter Robinson met Ian Coulter and Frank Cushnahan and then two days later met him, and then sent a letter that would benefit those cooking up the plan to get themselves- and Mr Robinson- a financial kick-back, is all just a big misunderstanding.

I am keen to know exactly what part of my evidence Mr Kearney outed as malicious, unsubstantiated or unfounded?
Did I lie about Millmount? The “celebration” dinner? John Miskelly’s assets? The meeting with Robinson? Alan Mains involvement? The loans that were written off? His involvement in the Mayple 10 criminal enterprise? Robinson’s lobbying on his behalf?

The fact is that there was more substance to my evidence than anything that was put forward by Paddy Kearney or former MI5 operative Alan Mains. Mr Mains at one point referred to my sources as “informers”, well Alan Mains would know all about informers wouldn’t he, a fact he forgot to mention at the Smithwick tribunal.

One only has to watch the body language of Paddy Kearney when he was quizzed about exactly how much money had been written off for him by Cerberus. He refused to answer or discuss it. Now why was that?

Another interesting point was Ian McCrea mentioning openness from public representatives. Perhaps he should look a bit closer to home and ask his father to tell us all about the conversation at the back of his Church in relation to the Claudy bomb. Mr McCrea isn’t too quick when it comes to openness on that issue is he?

The facts are clear and unambiguous. As Mr Kearney helpfully pointed out, they are actually largely available in the public domain. For all the bluster and tearful testimony- perhaps he learnt that trick from his “advisor” who deployed the tearful testimony trick at Smithwick- Mr Kearney has not contradicted one single iota of the evidence I provided.

Their contrived strategy of damage limitation, which involved bringing Alan Mains into the equation themselves before he was outed by a current affairs programme, may have just backfired spectacularly.

The questions for Paddy Kearney & Peter Robinson-The explosive #Nama letter Robbo “forgot” about! 

A copy of this document has been sent to the DFP committee

When I appeared before the DFP committee I repeatedly made reference to the golden circle of property developers, who I alleged had received sweetheart deals, and I specifically mentioned Mr Paddy Kearney.

Peter Robinson described my appearance as a “pantomime” and claimed my allegations were “groundless” and “lacked credibility”. This of course is notwithstanding the fact that to date around 90% of my evidence has been proven factual.

The existence of the Dankse bank account has been proven, the “celebration dinner” Peter Robinson attended has been proven, the refinancing of certain property developers debt has been confirmed, the lack of minutes of meetings held between DUP figures and potential bidders has been confirmed, the existence of a letter written by David Watters claiming the money has been confirmed, the fact that the money was to be split five ways with £1.5m each has been confirmed (I named five people) and now it has been confirmed that indeed Peter Robinson wrote to Nama on behalf of Paddy Kearney.

During Mr Robinson’s evidence he evaded questions about Mr Kearney and scoffed at any suggestion that a golden circle of property developers existed and that he would have sought sweetheart deals for them. Mr Robinson must have “forgot” to tell the DFP committee he had written to Nama on behalf of Mr Kearney following a personal meeting with the Mayple 10 property developer. The Sunday Business Post exposed the existence of this letter from Mr Robinson to Nama on Sunday 1 November and wrote that Mr Robinson “pleaded” with Nama on Kearney’s behalf. Surely the DFP committee must ask why Mr Robinson failed to disclose this during his “evidence”?

Mr Robinson was forced to confirm to the DFP committee- following my evidence- that indeed he had attended at dinner in Carrickfergus to “celebrate” the sweetheart deal that he helped Paddy Kearney achieve. He “could not recall” who organised that dinner or who invited him. Let me refresh Mr Robinson’s memory- it was Alan Mains, the same man who organised the private meeting between Robinson and Kearney on May 17 2013.

Mr Paddy Kearney is one of the six- dubbed by me as the dirty half-dozen- who have engaged the services of Mr Paul Tweed to attempt to have my book banned via the back-door. Of course none of the six want to air the arguments in open court; instead they prefer to threaten the publishers with jargon-filled legal letters that in reality are not worth the paper they are written on. Mr Tweed is of course a business partner of Brendan McGinn. Mr McGinn is one of the dirty half-dozen but interestingly he is also the main man behind the Fortress bid beneath the reserve price. Here is evidence of Mr Tweed and Mr McGinn’s business relationship.

I point out to the DFP committee- and especially those who resisted and resented my appearance- that if it were not for my evidence before the committee you would not have gotten the First Minister to appear, you would not have gotten Paddy Kearney to appear and you most certainly would not have been able to uncover much of the information you have now uncovered. I unlocked doors that were bolted shut. The committee should now go through those doors that have been kicked of the hinges and rigorously interrogate the evidence mounting up in front of them.

I have drafted a number of questions that the DFP committee must surely ask Paddy Kearney :

1. Were the loans of your business formerly known as P.B.N Holdings, with an approximate value 300 million pounds, acquired by Nama circa December 2010?

2. You are widely known as one of the ten members of the so called Anglo Irish Bank golden circle/mayple 10, were that group were loaned circa 45 million pounds to participate in what has been determined in April 2014 by the Dublin courts as an illegal share support scheme. Is this true?

3. Was the illegal mayple 10 loan acquired by Nama?

4. It was widely reported you received this illegal loan in/around July 2008. Is this correct?

5. Did you inform your fellow shareholders in P.B.N in July 2008 that you were in receipt of this illegal loan?

6. Did you receive further personal loans in Anglo Irish Bank to purchase bonds against the illegal mayple 10 loans?

7. Did Nama acquire the bond loans?

8. Were the P.B.N Holdings loans of around 300 million and the illegal mayple 10 loans acquired by Cerberus?

9. It is reported that you bought your debt back at a substantial discount. What was the cost to buy back this £300m of P.B.N debt?

10. Was the illegal mayple 10 loan of 45 million bought back by you?

11. What was the cost to buy back this illegal mayple 10 loan?

12. Have you received a pay-out on the bonds and if so how much?

13. Did you buy these loans back with your own money or did you seek finance and from whom?

14. It would appear you have received extremely favourable terms from Cerberus- can you account as to why?

15. Peter Robinson attended a “celebratory” dinner hosted by you in Carrickfergus. Mr Robinson “cannot recall” who invited him to the dinner. Can you confirm if it was yourself or Mr Alan Mains?

16. Have you ever purchased or leased a Mercedes car for Mr Alan Mains?

17. Have you ever made any payments to Mr Mains for services?

18. Have you ever personally or have any of your companies made any payments to Mr Peter Robinson, Mr Gareth Robinson or any other member of that immediate family?

19. What is the nature of your relationship with Mr Peter Robinson?

20. Who organised the May 17 2013 meeting between yourself and Mr Peter Robinson?

21. Who was present at this meeting?

22. Was Alan Mains involved, in any way, either in this meeting or in setting it up?

23. Did you personally or your company have any personal or professional relationship with any of Mr Frank Cushnahan, Mr Ian Coulter, Mr Andrew Creighton or Mr David Watters?

24. If so, what is the nature of these relationships?

25. You appear to have preferred status with Cerberus as you have recently acquired the former loans of Mr John Miskelly including the Ten Square Hotel, the Millmount site and the sirocco site. How do you explain this preferred status?

26. Can you detail your involvement in Millmount? The DFP committee have possession of an email sent by you to Mr Pat Whelan of the Anglo Irish bank on 07 November 2008 (attached). In this email you state that you have held discussions with Ciaran McAreavey in relation to the Millmount site and you also write in this email that you were receiving information from the original architects. Can you explain what you meant by this?

27. Did you have any discussions with Mr Robinson, Mr Ian Coulter, Mr Frank Cushnahan, Mr Andrew Creighton, Mr David Watters, Mr Paul Tweed, Mr Alan Mains or Mr Brendan McGinn prior to your appearance before the committee?


#NAMA- It hasn’t gone away you know- 20 basic questions

On Wednesday this week my book on Nama was banned by Amazon, on the foot of “complaints” received by Mr Paul Tweed, a respected libel lawyer. As respected as Mr Tweed is, it seems beyond his capabilities to serve a writ upon me and deal with the issue through the transparent court process. 

Instead Mr Tweed, and the six individuals he is representing, and trying to avoid court and go via the back-door to have the book removed. If they think that this is going to work, they are sadly mistaken.
The Nama story has slipped out of the headlines slightly in recent weeks, and Peter Robinson and his cronies seem to believe they are in the clear, far from it. 
There are big revelations on the horizon- not related to Nama- that will lead to very awkward questions for Frank Cushnahan, Peter Robinson and Terence Brannigan.

It is however worth pointing out that many questions remain unanswered, and Peter Robinson’s ducking and diving under the poor questioning of the DFP committee has not made them go away. Here are 20 very basic and simple questions, which should be quite easily answered:

1. What process was undertaken by the then Finance Minister Mr Sammy Wilson when putting forward Mr Frank Cushnahan to the Nama NI advisory committee?

2. Why did Sammy Wilson not make Nama aware that Frank Cushnahan was subject to a damming report by the NI Audit office in relation to his role in the NIHE and Red Sky scandal?

3. Why did Fortress- who are heavily influenced by Brendan McGinn- bid so far beneath the reserve price knowing they could never win?

4. Did Paul Tweed declare in any of his correspondence- representing unnamed individuals- that he was in fact a business partner of Brendan McGinn?

5. Why did Peter Robinson and Sammy Wilson meet PIMCO- organised by Frank Cushnahan, whilst still on the NI Advisory committee- and why did PIMCO have the impression that on the basis of this meeting the NI Executive were “assessing their credibility”?

6. If Frank Cushnahan had no information about the NI Loan portfolio, then how was he able to hold discussions with potential buyers and assist in drawing up a potential MoU?

7. Did Gareth Robinson undertake lobbying work for Lagans? Mr Robinson said he did not believe he did, however I have firmly said that Gareth Robinson did undertake lobbying work for Lagans. What is the truth?

8. How does Mr Robinson explain the conversations he held with Mr Frank Cushnahan- which are held on the Gareth Graham tapes? (unrelated to Nama but relevant to Paddy Kearney and Kevin Lagan)

9. Does Peter Robinson know David Watters?

10. Does Peter Robinson know Andrew Creighton?

11. Has Peter Robinson ever been party to any arrangements whereby Frank Cushnahan has donated money- fronted by Andrew Creighton- at the request of Mr Robinson?

12. Has Peter Robinson ever been party to any arrangements whereby a donation by Frank Cushnahan was part of a formal arrangement that would get Terence Brannigan a particular position?

13. Does Peter Robinson know Alan Mains and has he held any meetings with Mr Mains?

14. Can Mr Alan Mains categorically refute that he was an MI5 asset- and was in that role when Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan were murdered by the PIRA?

15. Mr Robinson played down his relationship with Mr Paddy Kearney in his evidence to the DFP committee. Has Mr Robinson Paddy Kearney’s personal mobile telephone number and has he had any telephone conversations or exchanged text messages with Mr Kearney?

16. Mr Robinson said he could not recall who organised the celebratory dinner in Carrickfergus with Paddy Kearney; I have said that it was Mr Alan Mains. Can Peter Robinson categorically refute this?

17. Why do no minutes exist for the meetings Mr Robinson held with potential buyers of the NI Loan portfolio?

18. Did Peter Robinson mention any specific loans during his discussions with Cerberus?

19. Was it the DUP or Cerberus that requested their meeting in Stormont castle be held at 8am in the morning?

20. Does Mr Robinson have access to any off shore bank accounts?

The above questions are very basic. They do not even scratch the surface. They are easily disproved if they are untrue. Perhaps the media could fulfil the role of asking some of those questions and let’s see whether my allegations are “baseless”.