Unionist community will welcome news of Barra McGrory’s resignation 

The resignation of Barra McGrory QC as Director of Public Prosecutions will be widely welcomed by the majority of the Unionist community.
  
I have been highly critical of Mr McGrory for almost 5 years. Indeed the DPP even once engaged a private legal firm in an attempt to have me remove a number of online postings relating to his role. A freedom of Information request later confirmed that this initial legal action, undertaken by a private firm, was paid for out of the public purse. This led Kate Hoey MP to challenge Mr McGrory publically about whether this was an appropriate use of public funds. The threatened action never proceeded. 

There had been whispers within the legal community from the middle of 2007 that Mr McGrory was destined for bigger things. In 2007 he had become the first ever solicitor to become a QC and in 2009 was called to the Bar. This impressive rise ran, perhaps coincidently, in parallel with the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the road to the Hillsborough Agreement in 2010, which saw the devolution of policing and justice powers to Northern Ireland. 

Under Section 30 of the Justice (NI) Act 2002 the Attorney General- who was by then John Larkin QC- appointed West Belfast solicitor Barra McGrory as Director of Public Prosecutions. 

At the beginning of his tenure Mr McGrory took up post without a whimper of protest from the mainstream Unionist parties. Indeed there is a school of thought that there was a DUP-SF understanding that the DUP would get John Larkin QC, who was appointed jointly by OFMDFM and is robustly conservative on social issues, as Attorney General and in return they would raise no objection to Barra McGrory being installed as DPP. A move that would further ease Nationalist concerns in relation to their acceptance of the policing and justice apparatus. 

From 2011 onwards it was the loyalist community that arguably felt the full force of what many would contend were questionable prosecutorial decisions. This ranged from a largely discredited supergrasstrial to a number of contentious prosecutions of Unionist bandsmen and flag protestors. Despite the failure of the Stewart brothers supergrass trial, Mr McGrory defended the use of the system and in March 2012 told the BBC that the supergrass system “will continue”. There were also serious concerns within the loyalist community around the issuing of non-jury certificates for some cases which did not relate to terrorism and the issuing of such certificates were based almost solely on ‘intelligence’. 

It was not however until the explosion of the OTR scandal, when it was revealed that Mr McGrory acted on behalf of the individuals put forward by Sinn Fein as ‘on the run’, and the relentless pursuit of former armed forces personnel, that the mainstream Unionist parties were forced into joining the chorus of concern. 

Perception matters in Northern Ireland (our very system of Government is set up in such a way as to provide the two largest communities with an effective ‘safety lock’) and the filtering into the public domain that Mr McGrory acted on behalf of IRA volunteers on such a contentious issue caused a perception of bias to grow within the Unionist community. Mr McGrory has robustly rejected all such allegations. 

There is, however, a crucial and as yet unanswered question around the whole OTR scheme and Mr McGrory’s role. Who was his client? 

Mr McGrory told the NI Select Affairs committee that he was passed names by Sinn Fein and he then proceeded to write on their behalf to the PSNI to seek information on whether they were ‘wanted’ or not. That would suggest no direct contact with the individuals themselves, but rather instructions given via the conduit of Sinn Fein. If Mr McGrory did not personally deal with the individuals, then they could not personally instruct him. This leaves open the possibility that Mr McGrory was retained not by the OTR’s themselves, but by Sinn Fein corporately. Put bluntly, who paid Mr McGrory’s fees? 

If Mr McGrory was instructed corporately by Sinn Fein, then this leaves the door ajar in relation to two matters. The first being, at least in the interests of public perception, whether Mr McGrory should then have taken steps to recuse himself in relation to all matters involving individuals involved in Sinn Fein? 

The second is to what extent legal privilege covered his communications with Sinn Fein or IRA personnel in relation to the OTR scheme. Given we do not know who the instructing ‘client’ was, it is difficult to ascertain what conversations and advice was covered by legal privilege and what was not. 

The big questions will not go away with Mr McGrory’s resignation and it will take a long time to repair, at least in the eyes of the Unionist community, trust in the justice system within Northern Ireland.

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Big questions around departing DPP remain unanswered 

  
 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.

Local football club disadvantaged by tolerance of sectarianism 

 It is somewhat astonishing to read Drumbo’s statement in today’s Daily Mirror. It is a well constructed piece of PR, and for that they should be congratulated. But that is all that it is and anyone wise to the world of PR or politics could see through it a mile off.

Drumbo state they must wait on the guidance from the league, who they hope will acquiesce to their ultimate goal of prolonging the replay, and of course this suits them nicely. It means as they continue playing my team must sit idle, further disadvantaged by the malicious intent of their player who sought to seriously injure my player last Tuesday night.
  

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/red-card-horror-tackle-broken-10169575
This malicious challenge, which is described Drumbo somewhat passively as “reckless and silly”, was in fact precipitated by threats of violence with sectarian undertones. A point that most people wish to forget, it seems. These threats are now in the hands of the PSNI.

  
  
  
  
Of course miraculously, with all the negative attention on Drumbo, up pops graffiti at the ground. This of course is a classic ‘dead-cat’ strategy and one that no doubt many will fall for; but I won’t. It was self-orchestrated in order to deflect from the outrageous actions of Mr McAteer. Of course, according to their self serving lament in the Daily Mirror, they were bitterly disappointed the match couldn’t continue- perhaps they should have told their players who were cock-a-hoop that the match would be abandoned, with the result being our 1-0 lead and man advantage being wiped out.

The match, according to the rules, must be replayed at the earliest possible date. That is this Thursday and that is what we demand. We have agreed and secured a number of neutral venues, we have (finally) got the leagues agreement on these venues and now Drumbo appear to have vanished. They have made all kinds of promises, all of which it appear to be designed to stall and drag out the rescheduling of the game. Our club have been reasonable, far more reasonable than I would have ever advocated us being, and this has been met with honeyed words designed to advance Drumbo’s own ambitions. They have now, it seems, all had their mobiles disconnected; perhaps they have run out of obstacles to prevent the game going ahead on Thursday night.

  
  

Whilst I appreciate the sweet aroma of diplomacy, which of course is designed to cloak Drumbo’s real intention of stalling the replay, it is not something that I find appealing.

If others want to hug and kiss and engage in diplomatic relations that is a matter for them. Me and my team want the match- which was robbed, stolen, thieved from us last week- rescheduled for Thursday night. Rather than flowery words and constructing obstacles, Drumbo would be better served actually making some tangible efforts to atone for the despicable conduct of their club thus far.

I personally have no intention of engaging in the false pretence that our club are not being wronged and that everyone is friends and trying to be honest and helpful. Such foolish naivety is a sure-fire route to getting shafted. We are not naive, we see through Drumbo’s agenda.

The match must go ahead on Thursday night in line with the rules, and if it doesn’t, then the NAFL will need to make a very detailed and public statement on why they have permitted Drumbo to disadvantage my team due to the sectarian actions of a lunatic.

I further want to place on record my solidarity with the good people of Drumbo, many of whom I understand have been victims of anti-social behaviour at the local ground for months. This is unacceptable and everyone should be entitled to live in peace without being victims of the sort of vile anti-social behaviour that some political representatives have advised me has been going on. I encourage the local people to report any incidents of anti-social behaviour to their local elected representatives.

Sinn Fein leader’s terrorist cousin convicted of fuel laundering 

Sinn Fein leader Michelle O’Neill’s cousin has this week been convicted of fuel laundering in Dungannon Magistrates Court. 

Gareth Doris, who is 39 and from Coalisland, is a convicted IRA terrorist and cousin of newly appointed Sinn Fein leader Michelle O’Neill. Doris is believed to have canvassed for the Sinn Fein leader in the past. 

In 1997 Gareth Doris, then 19, was convicted in relation to a bomb attack on an RUC station. He was released under the terms of the Belfast Agreement. 

The conviction will cause major embarrassment to Sinn Fein who have sought to build their election campaign on fighting corruption. 

The latest criminal conviction comes only days after Gerry Adam’s former Solictor, Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory, announced that high profile South Armagh Republican Micksey Martin would not face charges in connection with the sectarian slaughter of 10 innocent Protestants at Kingsmill in 1972. 

Martin, a close associate of notorious crime lord and former IRA Chief of Staff Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy, is a key supporter of Sinn Fein and was seen as instrumental, alongside Sean ‘the Surgeon’ Hughes, in keeping South Armagh IRA onboard in the formative years of the peace process.   

The conviction of a close relative of the newly appointed Sinn Fein leader will raise numerous questions for the party, and Michelle O’Neill in particular. 

Laughable PSNI investigation into DUP NAMA complaint doomed to fail 

The basis of this nonsensical investigation is Lord Morrow writing to the PSNI to claim the reputation of the DUP had been damaged.

 The law raises two primary hurdles in order for the PSNI to substantiate any alleged offence. Firstly they have to prove that the alleged holder of public office committed the substantive offence, to do that they would have to show the disclosures were not in the public interest or were otherwise untrue; given the disclosures before the committee were true, they fail on that point. 

Secondly the PSNI are trapped on the point of trying to rubbish the allegations, and therefore prove public harm, because the National Crime Agency are investigating many of the allegations. 

I have asked the PSNI to clarify whether their understanding is that Mr Robinson is a suspect of the NCA investigation, as this is directly relevant to the public interest disclosures made at the committee hearing. 

If the position is that the disclosures were made in the public interest, then the PSNI can not prove public harm therefore there can be no malfeasance committed by the individual in public office, and accordingly the fantasy ‘conspiracy’ theory promoted by Ms Pengelly and Lord Morrow falls. 

It is somewhat hilarious to hear the DUP talk about their reputation. What reputation? This from a party that brought us NAMA, Red Sky, SIF and RHI. And that’s only scratching the surface. 

I would welcome a court case in relation to this matter as in the course of such many extraordinary matters could be examined in the public domain.

 This, I am very sure, could backfire very badly on the DUP and especially Mr Robinson who is liable to be called as a witness and cross examined under oath in any potential trial, in order to ascertain whether the disclosures made were true and therefore in the public interest, or false and caused public harm. 

Sectarian campaign by small NUJ group ends with a tantrum 

The small group within the Belfast NUJ
who have fought hard to block my perfectly legitimate membership, have run out of road. 

This realisation has led to an almighty tantrum, with the Belfast NUJ social media page even stating that the NUJ “used to attract a better class of applicant”. An astonishing comment from a union that is supposed to base their entire ethos on equality. 

  

The Belfast NUJ gleefully rejected my application. I appealed this decision and won. My appeal was upheld within 24 hours. 

Despite the fact the appeals panel ruled in my favour, still some members of the Belfast NUJ resolved that they would block me from being ratified. 

Despite my letter confirming my eligibility and successful appeal, the Belfast NUJ continued to use their social media accounts to claim I was not a member of their union and make other comments about me. I posted a copy of the picture confirming all the details of my successful appeal on their page- they deleted it!
    

 
In January, their final throw of the dice also failed as the NUJ governing body, the NEC, ratified my membership. 

  

At this point the Belfast NUJ decided that they would shut down their social media accounts- which they had used to announce I was not a member of their Union. Whether this is on instruction, or because they would have had to clarify that I am a member of the Union, is not known. 

 

 

There has also been posts made on the Belfast Branch NUJ page, which refer to me as an individual unsuitable to be a member to the Union. That is an outrageous comment. I responded, as per my right, and the Belfast NUJ simply removed my post and banned me from their page. 

  
At this point I emailed the Belfast Branch secretary and requested that I be added to the branch mailing list and informed of meeting times. The secretary responded saying “no”. It appears that now this small group within the Branch also wish to exclude me from all Branch activities. 
  

This is a disgraceful way to treat any person. All groups and organisations have rules which should be equally applied.

 I have succeeded in gaining membership through the proper channels and by using the NUJ’s own rules; it appears the next phase is for the Belfast NUJ to treat me like some kind of sub-human that is not allowed to be included in activities or even added to the Branch mailing list.  

The former secretary, who has resigned in outrage, writes in today’s Newsletter that I am not a journalist. The logical conclusion of this is that he does not agree with the NUJ’s broad definition of journalism. One would wonder why he only became so infuriated at this broad entry criteria once I submitted an application. 

The former Secretary also makes clear in the Newsletter he does “not accept” the NUJ’s decision. It appears the rules are only good so long as they work in their favour; much like class equality is the ethos, until such times as they come across an application from an individual who doesn’t meet their “class of applicant”. 

Perhaps some of the outraged individuals, including those quoted in the Newsletter, could point us to some stories with their byline on it? 

Due to their stringent definition of journalists I presume subs, PR consultants or authors don’t fall under their criteria. Perhaps they will end up demanding such a tight criteria that they will exclude themselves. 

Most actual journalists I have spoken to this week are too busy covering a momentous week in politics. They have no time, no interest, in worrying about whether I am in the NUJ or not. Meanwhile others are calling emergency meetings to plan how they are going to inflict more humiliation upon themselves. 

As far as I am concerned this matter is now closed. The small cabal within the Belfast NUJ- who are not reflective of the vast majority of members- have done little but humiliate themselves with their squalid little sectarian campaign to block me, presumably because I wasn’t a high enough “class” of applicant. Their tantrum-now they have run out of road- is quite a sight to behold. 

Full text of Ruth Patterson’s City Council speech 

Before I begin this motion, let me address the intervention by the British Government this afternoon. The test under Section 1 is clear, it is a test of public concern. And I believe that is best satisfied by a democratically elected council demonstrating that concern. 

Therefore whether the British Government makes a helpful intervention on behalf of the DUP and SF or not, the Secretary of State still has statutory responsibilities under the Inquiries Act 2005 and he should not be allowed to shirk them, or bury this motion with an 11th hour intervention- to try and save the un-saveable marriage of Marlene! 

This motion comes before Council tonight to provide all of us, as public representatives, the opportunity to call on the Secretary of State to initiate a full public inquiry into the shambles that is the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

I have listened in bewilderment as various parties have called for various forms of inquires, yet appear to continually insinuate that the DUP have some form of veto over a full public inquiry, or that their permission would be required to initiate such.

That is, colleagues, absolute nonsense. 

Sinn Fein are full of bluster, full of flowery language- but it’s all nonsense. Because when it comes to the legislative mechanism that would actually enable a full public inquiry, they want to airbrush any mention of the Inquiries Act from this motion! 

Sinn Fein have ended up at sixes and sevens over this motion. Their position, for the first time, has been flushed out. We even had that Sinn Fein stalwart, Mr Kearney, writing an article and then having to withdraw it from Sinn Fein’s own publication. How humiliating! 

SF’s reasoning, apparently, is that a public inquiry could take too long or cost too much. Yes, that’s what SF- the serial public inquiry advocates- have said. I take it we will witness the immediate abandoning of their call for inquiries into Pat Finucance, Loughall and Ballymurphy etc then? 

Their investigation proposal wants the Attorney General to select the Judicial figure- this would be the same Attorney General that is appointed by the DUP and SF through the Executive Office! That arrangement came about after yet another dirty deal at Hillsborough- but that’s a story for another day! 

The DUP of course have moved on to trying to bully the media. They don’t want the public to read any paper besides those they approve. 

Ms Fosters office worker wants us to boycott the Newsletter, the DUP are now attacking the BBC- yesterday we had Mr Wilson getting wound up about an ‘exclusive’ that was in the public domain 5 years ago! And previously they refused to speak to the Irish News! Like North Korea it appears the DUP have decreed the people may only read what they approve! 

The requirements for a full public inquiry are laid out very clearly in Section 1 of the Inquires Act 2005. It is abundantly clear upon reading Section 1 that the Secretary of State has discretion to initiate a full public inquiry if- and I quote the act- “particular events have caused, or are capable of causing, public concern, or.. there is public concern that particular events may have occurred.”
In relation to the shambolic RHI scheme, it is impossible to see how the above conditions are not satisfied. 

But how better to demonstrate public concern, than by an elected council placing on record our concern and therefore asking the Secretary of State to use his discretion contained within Section 1 and initiate a public inquiry.

The DUP have no veto, no emergency brake. They are not the custodians or arbitrators of public concern, so let us as a Council clearly satisfy the conditions laid out in Section 1 of the Inquires Act 2005, by placing the public concern on record in writing to the Secretary of State.

This is a way to subvert the DUP’s attempts to sweep this matter under the carpet. Under that carpet is already bulging with the skeletons of Red Sky, SIF, Nama, £5 land deals and numerous property scandals. And let me briefly highlight those appalling aforementioned matters, which it may appear have disappeared from public consciousness.

And talking about things drifting from the Public’s mind. Let me turn now to one of the biggest lies ever sold to the electorate of Northern Ireland. In the most recent Assembly elections the DUP, and their foot soldiers, trooped all around Northern Ireland telling the people that only a vote for Arlene Foster could keep Martin McGuiness out. Such a lie, and many of us called it for what it was at the time!

Arlene Foster cannot even speak without the permission of Martin McGuinness, well not withstanding the dubious assistance of the Charter NI advisor and Stormont Speaker Robin Newton. Yet the DUP told the electorate that a vote for them would keep Sinn Fein out! Lies, lies, lies! That, colleagues, is why my motion refers to the Joint First Minister Arlene Foster, because that is what she is.

The DUP cannot have it both ways, they want all the trappings of power, ministerial cars and expenses granted to them by virtue of the mandatory coalition structures of the Belfast Agreement, yet they want to pretend that such structures do not wed them to their partners in Government, Sinn Fein! Of course they do. So, in that regard, I was glad that the DUP’s electoral lie was woefully exposed- as the DUP leader spoke only to her fawning sheep, in an otherwise empty Assembly chamber.

Now that I have dealt with the practical matters, and highlighted the duplicity of the DUP, let us look at the burning- pardon the pun- matter of RHI.
This scheme is a farce, a waste of hundreds of millions- how many hundreds we don’t even know yet- of tax payers money. Why was the RHI scheme constructed in such a woeful manner? And who benefitted from such scandalous errors?

There have been serious allegations from a former DUP Minister, Mr Bell, of political corruption. These allegations need fully tested and investigated. 

In relation to the DUP attempts to blacken Mr Bell- If any woman, or man, feels bullied, harassed or intimidated then they should always report such matters. It can never be a case of ‘the party comes first’ and thus such despicable behaviour is covered up. However, one must few with cynicism complaints that arise only after an individual has dared speak against the party. I would wonder why no such issues arose prior to Mr Bell exposing matters relating to alleged political corruption.  

There are also other allegations in the public domain that DUP donors benefitted extraordinarily well from the scheme. If this is the case, and as yet we do not know, then this is a scandal that could well out-do every out recent DUP scandal- and my oh my, that takes some doing!

And in relation to the second part of my motion. I think every right think person within Northern Ireland believes Mrs Foster should step aside, not as an admission of guilt of any wrong doing, but at the very least to demonstrate some remorse for the horrendous squander that has taken place- and just to ensure Gregory Campbell doesn’t work himself up an end up screeching over the radio, squander that WILL take place. Mr Campbell of course does not accept there has been squander, because it will take 20 years for the squander to be complete. Such absurdity! So we aren’t raiding the current bank account, just spending the inheritance. 

We increasingly see the arrogance of the DUP, a far cry from the party I joined. A family party under the leadership of the late Dr Paisley. It is a matter of great disappointment to me that the ‘Paisleyite’ wing of the party didn’t re-take the reins following the departure of Mr Robinson, who was himself, of course, embroiled in allegations of political corruption.  

Perhaps those DUP members who ‘fought the good fight’ in the same vein as Dr Paisley may take the current opportunities available to them and turf Mrs Foster out. One can only hope.

I must say that I had great respect and hopes for Arlene Foster. But her arrogance has grown to such an extent that she appears a shadow of her former self. It appears she takes the attitude that she will do what she wants and how dare anyone- whether it be the opposition, the media, or the general public- question her or the DUP.

I hope I never displayed such arrogance or smugness, but in May I was humbled at the polls. And that is no bad thing, a bit of humility never done anyone any harm. So from a position of experience I can tell Mrs Foster, do the decent thing, show some humility and step aside- even for a short period of time. Because if you don’t, eventually your arrogance and smugness will be your undoing. 

Someone close to me said on election day, suck it up, take it all in and let them gloat- one day it will all come crashing down around them. Perhaps today isn’t that day, but it is coming, and my oh my how many people will love to see them humbled and brought back to earth with a bang. NAMA, SIF and RHI… every dog indeed has its day! 

To those in the DUP that have a conscicence. Going against your party isn’t easy. They will savage you, and perhaps- like me- you will even be savaged by the electorate…. but at least you won’t be tortured by your own conscience. History will judge you kindly.

I ask all of my colleagues in this chamber, regardless of party background, vote for what is right. Do what is right. Do not vote for your party- vote for the difference between right and wrong- because frankly- Northern Ireland deserves better! 

Cllr Ruth Patterson dismisses SF ‘amendment’ to Tuesday’s Council motion 

Statement from Cllr Ruth Patterson following Sinn Fein attempts to amend a motion calling for a full public inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005
” Sinn Fein’s statement, issued on Sunday evening by Cllr McVeigh, is a textbook piece of political wriggling- designed to get them out of the box that Tuesday night’s motion has locked them in. 

” The matter of RHI is only being debated at Belfast City Council because of this motion, a motion that Sinn Fein would clearly rather had not come before Council. 

” The proposed Sinn Fein amendment is designed- as is so often the case- to use linguistic summersaults in order to cloak their true aims in language that suggests something quite different. 

” The fact is that Sinn Fein are running a mile from a public inquiry- which can only properly happen under the Inquiries Act 2005. The amendment seeks to omit any reference to the Inquiries Act, thus removing the legislative mechanism that would give all their blustering some credence. 

” I hope my Council colleagues see through Sinn Fein’s duplicitous posturing on this issue. 

” It may appear to some that the marriage of ‘Marlene’ is going through a very public and nasty divorce. But make no mistake, despite one partner being linked to an organisation recently involved in the murder, and the other caught sharing the spoils of the family inheritance with their cronies, the marriage will soon be back on. 

” Sinn Fein are playing poker, and not playing it very well. Their most cherished possession is the iniquitous architecture of the Belfast Agreement; hell will freeze over before they collapse the Assembly. 

” As for the DUP, they are the chief implementers of the Belfast Agreement, and therefore as long as they continue to ride on that Trojan horse, they can do whatever they want. Sinn Fein might make a lot of noise, write a lot of articles and put out a lot of statements, but the DUP give Sinn Fein the oxygen to breath and to advance their ultimate goals, there’s no chance either of the partners are cutting out the other.” 

Full written response to PSNI request for journalistic NAMA material

 Dear Mr Geddes

 
I write in connection with your letter, received by me on 23 December 2016.

In the first paragraph you refer to your belief that I may hold material relevant to your investigation into evidence given by me to the Stormont DFP committee on 23 September 2015. 

I note that you do not expand on what alleged offences you are investigating. I would be somewhat surprised if you were investigating the nonsensical complaints submitted by the DUP, who are simply seeking to muddy the waters to deflect from the criminal actions of their associates, and alleged corruption by members of their party, in relation to Nama.

In this regard one would initially suspect that you are casting a wide net, with the purpose of engaging in a fishing expedition.  

It is my understanding that I am not a suspect in any investigation related to Nama or the hearing on 23 September 2015, if that is incorrect then I request you advise me of such.

The material I hold in relation to Nama has been published in my book and provided to the Stormont committee, and is therefore publicly available on the Assembly website, my blog and within my book ‘The Three Headed Dog’. I am of course happy to furnish you with a copy of same, should you so require.

In regards to the source of said material, or notes etc in relation to Nama or the hearing on 23 September 2015, this material is protected by journalistic privilege. The definition of journalism is a broad one, however I point out that I fall under the National Union of Journalists definition of journalistic work. In this regard the information to which you refer is excluded journalistic material.

The concept of confidentially for journalists protecting their sources, or more broadly the protection of journalistic material, is recognised in law, specifically within the Terrorism Act 2000 and Article 10 of the ECHR.

I suspect you already know that the material is excluded, or else you would not be sending me a letter asking for co-operation, but rather taking a more robust method to simply go ahead and seize such material.

I, at this point, wish to make clear that I am strongly asserting my right to protect the material to which you refer and therefore should you seek to try any back-door moves to seize it, then this will be strongly resisted legally. It would not, of course, be beyond the PSNI to fabricate a search warrant on the basis of some contrived unrelated ‘soft intelligence’ and use this as a method of seizing the material and subverting due process. I would respectfully advise you to resist any temptations to engage in such nefarious back-door tricks.

I note your implied threat within your letter that you reserve the right to go to the County Court. The PSNI can go to the County Court if they so wish, but such a fishing expedition will be strongly resisted.

In summary, I will not be co-operating with your investigation nor will I be making any material covered by journalistic privilege available to the PSNI.

Kind Regards
 

Jamie Bryson

 

   

 

 

 

 

Bombshell claims- Does Jonathan Bell have tapes? 

 It has been sensationally claimed, from authorative sources, that former DUP Minister Jonathan Bell has tape recordings of meetings with DUP SpAds, senior party members and Civil Servants.

It is believed that Mr Bell began taping meetings following concerns arising over alleged undue influence being exerted by DUP SpAds. If, as is claimed, such tapes exist then they could fatally undermine the claims of the Joint First Minister Arlene Foster.

Today’s Assembly descended into a farce as DUP Speaker Robin Newton allowed a personal speech to be made by DUP leader Arlene Foster, without any lawful basis for doing so under the Assembly’s standing orders.

Robin Newton’s position is already on shaky ground following revelations over astonishing conflicts of interest in relation to the Social Investment Fund, and the Charter NI scandal. It now appears that the Speaker may have fallen on his sword at the behest of his DUP leader, Arlene Foster.

The DUP continue to try and stifle calls for a Judge-led public inquiry. There is, however, a way to circumvent the DUP’s attempts to block a full public inquiry. Jonathan Bell, as a former Minister involved in the administration of the RHI scheme, could apply to the Secretary of State under Section 1 of the Inquiries Act 2005 and request a full public inquiry. 

This would take the decision out of the hands of the Executive, and force the Secretary of State to take the decision on whether there should be a full public inquiry. Should the Secretary of State refuse, then this is then a decision that could be judicially reviewed and in this regard a number of documents could, at that stage, be compelled and entered into the public record.

  

It has further been exposed that Arlene Foster did receive a second email, 8 days after the email released by the DUP, which made very specific allegations about the RHI scheme. The existence of this email was reported by the Irish News last week, and the content of the email was reported on the BBC Nolan Show this morning.

The drip feed of allegations in relation to the RHI scheme are set to continue for quite some time. There are a number of DUP members who either personally, or via their families, have benefitted handsomely from the RHI scheme and specific DUP SpAds are also understood to have encouraged associates to get onboard the scheme . 

Mr Stephen Brimstone, former SpAd to the DUP Joint First Minister, is connected to a gross abuse of the scheme whereby a pipe was used to heat a private home, which was being run from a shed with ‘cash for ash’ boilers.

Today’s drama in the Assembly further undermines the DUP’s electoral slogan of ‘Arlene 4 FM’ and the DUP’s assertion that only a vote for Arlene Foster could keep Martin McGuiness out. It now has become clear, as many people pointed out during the election campaign, that electoral slogan was a lie. Arlene Foster cannot even make a speech without the approval of their partners in Government, Sinn Fein.