The news that Barra McGrory QC is to step down from his role as Director of Public Prosecutions will be widely welcomed within the Unionist community and those who served in our armed forces during the IRA’s armed terrorist campaign.
I have written extensively for 5 years about Mr McGrory and called into question his role as DPP, and how he came to arrive at that position. I published an extensive and widely read article in 2014 outlining some key points. It can be found here; http://www.longkeshinsideout.co.uk/?p=3071&wprptest2=2
During the devolution of policing and justice the DUP and Sinn Fein came to a secret, but rather obvious, deal. The DUP demanded that Sinn Fein, via the joint office of OFMDFM, rubber stamp their proposal for John Larkin QC to take up the role of Attorney General. Mr Larkin was favoured by the DUP due to his strongly conservative views and robust stance on social issues. The flip side of this coin was an understanding that Sinn Fein’s solicitor of choice, Barra McGrory QC, would be appointed as DPP.
John Larkin QC and Barra McGrory QC took up their posts without any dissent from the DUP or Sinn Fein. The only dissent came in the form of a statement from Jim Allister QC. The republican movement were cock-a-hoop to have secured ‘their man’ in such a vital prosecutorial position and from that day onwards the onslaught against the Unionist, loyalist and armed forces community began in earnest.
A large chunk of the PSNI’s legacy resources were chewed up investigating referrals from Mr McGrory, the majority of which were cases designed to work in tandem with the Sinn Fein strategy of re-writing the past to fit into their ‘freedom fighters’ narrative.
The DPP also played another crucial role; prosecuting any republicans that spoke out against the Sinn Fein strategy. Legacy prosecutions popped up against many republicans who had become critical of Sinn Fein, whilst senior republicans- such as Martin McGuinness, Gerry Kelly and Gerry Adams- were shielded from prosecution for some of the most heinous crimes and acts of terror perpetrated in our recent history.
I challenged Mr McGrory continually and published a plethora of online articles highlighting his close links to the republican movement. This was long before it was fashionable and when the mainstream Unionist parties were largely silent when it came to the DPP and the growing perception of bias.
The DPP responded by using Public Funds in an attempt to shut down my twitter account. A private legal firm were paid, out of public money, to act on behalf of Mr McGrory. I refused to remove the articles and during a heated NI Select Affairs Committee session investigating the OTR scheme, Kate Hoey MP challenged the DPP on why he was using public funds to try and silence my twitter account. After this public challenge, the DPP backed away from his threatened legal action and the matter of how he used public funds to pay a private legal practice has never been fully explored or explained.
During the OTR scheme it was Mr McGrory who was chosen by the IRA leadership (which at that time apparently did not exist) to represent their ‘volunteers’ seeking comfort letters. This raises very serious questions, that will not go away with Mr McGrory’s resignation. They are the following;
1. Barra McGrory stated that he received names from Gerry Kelly MLA, and he then pursued the issue of comfort letters on behalf of these individuals. Who then was Mr McGrory taking instructions from? Who was his client?
If the DPP never physically met the individual concerned, and instead dealt via Gerry Kelly, then he couldn’t possibly have been acting on instructions from the individual. Therefore he must have been acting corporately on behalf of Sinn Fein or the IRA.
2. Sinn Fein have continually sought to make a distinction between themselves and the IRA, so who provided the authority for Sinn Fein to act on behalf of IRA volunteers as a go-between with Mr McGrory?
3. Who paid Mr McGrory’s fees in relation to this matter?
It will become clear from the above questions that Mr McGrory was acting corporately on behalf of Sinn Fein, who by extension were simply a go-between for the IRA. In this regard Mr McGrory was a Sinn Fein solicitor, taking instructions on the matter of OTR’s from the party rather than the individuals concerned.
This gives rise to an enormous conflict of interest. It surely would raise the possibility that Mr McGrory was seriously conflicted when dealing with any case involving a member of Sinn Fein or the IRA or legacy cases involving either of those organisations of their deceased members.
The questions around Mr McGrory, how he came into position, who facilitated it and the decisions he took when in post will not go away.