Reiss Urged to Act on Police

Posted By: September 07, 2005

Reiss Urged to Act on Police

Dr. Mitchell Reiss
Special Envoy for Northern Ireland.
Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Dear Mitchell,

On August 31, 2005 I E-mailed you an article from
The Irish News by Brian Feeney ”Ever get the
feeling no-one’s in charge?”(Irish News,
Wednesday, August 31, 2005) — about the
perceived double standards of the PSNI.

Mr. Feeney argued:”The PSNI response to UVF
murders has been wholly inadequate.

Let’s hope Orde doesn’t trot out the couple of
dozen arrests and pathetically small number of
house searches. It doesn’t matter because they’re
all released again through the revolving doors
they have set into barracks for loyalist

The point is that no-one has been charged with
any of the murders or any weapons recovered.

Far worse is the impression the PSNI and NIO give
that they are content to let the UVF get on with
it. That impression is reinforced by the public
collusion between the police and UVF hoodlums
during the unforgivable scenes in Garnerville
when the UVF expelled six families.

How will the chief constable explain the PSNI’s
failure to deal with UDA gangs attacking Catholic
homes in north Antrim?…”

And I asked the question :”If a moderate like
Feeney thinks this about Orde, what do you
suppose Sinn Fein supporters — and especially
young Catholics in deprived areas — think?”.

Well, now, I offer you an article that exactly
answers that question : ‘Motiveless’ is no reason
for no action ” by Jim Gibney (Irish News,
Thursday, September 1, 2005).

Mr. Gibney, reflecting the Republican view,
argues that unless ” the mentality ” is changed
the PSNI could end up being “a mirror image of
the old RUC”.

I feel it would be an enormous mistake to think
that Mr. Feeney and Mr. Gibney are both
misreading the situation.

If Catholics cannot trust the police the Good
Friday Agreement cannot work… And the onus of
proof is on the police, just at it was on the
American police ( and especially the FBI) 40
years ago visa vi the African- American
community. The African-American community did not
have to prove anything to the police. The police,
as public servants of the community, must earn
the trust of the community.

Good , impartial , policing is the acid test of
the good -faith of the British Government and
Chief Constable Hugh Orde… It appears it is not
too much in evidence.

The American government, and your good self, have
done great work in promoting the Irish peace-
process. I urge you to give proper policing in
Northern Ireland the attention it deserves.
Nothing is more important.

Thank you.


Father Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus
P.O. Box 15128
Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C. 20003-0849


‘Motiveless’ is no reason for no action

Irish News. Thursday, September 1, 2005


By Jim Gibney

In late 1976, while locked up in Crumlin Road
gaol, I overheard the following conversation
outside my cell door: “Here Ronnie, your ma
couldn’t make it up today. She gave me your
parcel. I left it in for you. You’ll get it
later. Here’s the list.”

“Thanks mate.”

Harmless exchange, you might think, until you
learn the person leaving in the parcel was a
prison warder and the recipient of the generosity
was a loyalist prisoner charged with trying to
kill Catholics.

The warder lived in the same street as the
prisoner’s mother. He did not hesitate to bring
the parcel into the prison, the mother did not
hesitate to ask him and the prisoner matter of
factly accepted this neighbourly gesture.

Although minor, this story illustrates the
‘special relationship’ that has always existed
between this state’s armed forces and loyalist
killers. Members of the police, prison service,
crown forces, live cheek by jowl with those in
the UDA, UVF, LVF.

They share a common purpose – maintaining
partition and British rule. This common purpose
is intrinsic to how individuals in these
organisations think and act.

This outlook determines the relationship between
this state’s legal and illegal forces and how
state institutions deal with loyalist violence.

Loyalist violence is viewed as a reaction to
republican violence.

It is not seen as a threat but as a by-product.
The crown forces have a higher tolerance
threshold for loyalist activity.

This ambivalence means there are no military
installations in loyalist areas and few
checkpoints and leniency in the courts for those
charged sits alongside benign and misleading
commentary about this violence.

In recent months the PSNI have been using the
word ‘motiveless’ to explain loyalist attacks on
Catholics and nationalists.

Their RUC predecessors were fond of using this
word when the loyalist murder campaign was at its

It is a revealing word and says a lot about the
mentality of those who use it. The RUC knew and
the PSNI know that loyalist violence is not

Nor is it ‘motiveless’ on the part of the RUC or
the PSNI to use the word when commenting on
attacks on Catholics in Ahoghill, Short Strand or
north Belfast.

‘Motiveless’ implies the PSNI do not know what is
going on, that loyalists might or might not be
involved, that the campaign has no purpose, is
irrational. All of this is designed to cause

In their day this meant the RUC did little by way
of investigating the attacks or prevent them
taking place.

Indeed, the evidence shows there was a systematic
policy of collusion organised by the RUC’s
Special Branch. The same Special Branch control
the PSNI.

So it is not surprising that this pattern of
complicity with loyalist violence should continue
inside the PSNI.

A variation of the ‘motiveless’ theme was the
explanation offered by Assistant Chief Constable
Paul Leighton when he said sectarianism was “an
element” in the loyalist attacks in Ahoghill but
people “not getting on with each other” was also
a factor.

Neighbours in dispute requires a different and
lower-key response from the PSNI to a campaign by
loyalists against Catholics.

It takes the sharp edge of the violence and
provides cover for it to continue.

Although ACC Leighton clarified his statement,
the fact that he made it indicates little change
in dealing with loyalist violence at the highest
levels of the PSNI.

There are other examples of this ambivalence. The
response by the PSNI and indeed unionist
politicians to the loyalist feud which has
claimed five lives.

The cozy scenes at Garnerville a few weeks ago
when hundreds of loyalists and PSNI officers
chatted with each other while the UVF evicted
people from their homes.

The failure of PSNI to do what is blindingly
obvious to curtail loyalists’ attacks on

In the Short Strand recently they observed from
distance masked loyalists preparing their attack
on the area. They did not intervene.

It was this mentality which gave Johnny Adair the
freedom to behave like a ‘tin pot’ dictator on
the Shankill Road.

This mentality shaped and maintained the RUC as a
partisan force.

Its continuation inside the PSNI will shape this
force as a mirror image of the old RUC.

Father Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus
P.O. Box 15128
Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C. 20003-0849