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Discussion-United Ireland Must Be Independent and Sovereign

Discussion-United Ireland Must Be Independent and Sovereign

Before 1921 Ireland Was United Within the Union With Britain. But it wasn’t INDEPENDENT!!! https://wp.me/pKzXa-142

Could Ireland Become United within the EU after Brexit but not INDEPENDENT or SOVEREIGN?

Note that Europe Will Soon have Its Own Army which Could enforce its wishes even on Members of the Proposed European Federation

I carry Here 2 relevant articles from Sunday Business Post April 1, 2018 Articles

1)Interview With Mary Lou McDonald, President of Sinn Féin

“There have been suggestions that instead of having one parliament in a future United Ireland, the Stormont Assembly would be left in place to run the North – while the Dáil would continue to have jurisdiction over the South.

McDonald says that this is something she will not rule out at a time when the prospect of a United Ireland is coming on the table as a real conversation.”

2) UNITED IRELAND (UNDER EU FISCAL TREATY?)  DRAWING NEARER ???

Kevin Meagher   SB POST   APRIL 1 ,2018

UNIONISTS BEWARE: MAY WILL PUT BRITAIN FIRST

“No, we are entering the endgame where realpolitik will trump abstract symbolism. And the narrow interests of the DUP will be sold out faster than half-price iPods in the Argos sale.”

Kevin Meagher was special adviser to former Labour Northern Ireland secretary Shaun Woodward. He is author of A United Ireland: Why Unification is Inevitable and How it Will Come About

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Interview With Mary Lou McDonald, President of Sinn Féin

“There have been suggestions that instead of having one parliament in a future United Ireland, the Stormont Assembly would be left in place to run the North – while the Dáil would continue to have jurisdiction over the South.

McDonald says that this is something she will not rule out at a time when the prospect of a United Ireland is coming on the table as a real conversation.”

Reaching out to unionists

In her opening address as the new president of Sinn Féin, McDonald pledged to reach out to the unionist community. That was something that Martin McGuinness did by shaking the hand of Queen Elizabeth II. Nelson Mandela acted similarly by greeting the South African rugby team – the ultimate symbol of Afrikaner culture – on the pitch before they beat the All Blacks to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

So would McDonald be prepared to march in an Orange Order parade to show that she was willing to accept a key part of unionist culture?

“I’m not sure they would want me on one of their marches,” she says. But she goes on to say that she does want to meet officially with the Orange Order.

“I think for Sinn Féin to officially meet with the Orange Order – what harm can it do? I think these discussions and these dialogues at a minimum achieve the very positive thing of people showing the respect to each other of sitting down with each other,” she says.

But while McDonald says she feels liberated as a new leader to make “big gestures” to unionists, her use of the IRA’s ‘Tiocfaidh ár lá’ slogan on becoming party leader last February did not help her case. Her repeated warnings – most recently in a speech at Queen’s University Belfast last week – that unionists are going to be outnumbered by nationalists could further alienate them.

McDonald says she has raised the demographic trends many times because it is a “fact”.

“It’s an electoral fact that the unionist vote dipped beneath the 50 per cent margin both at the last Westminster and the last Assembly election. The reason that’s significant is that the Northern state is constructed on the notion of an inbuilt unionist majority – but they never thought it would get that tight,” she says.

McDonald says she does not want to be seen as “lecturing unionism”, but adds that they have to start “thinking for themselves”.

“My option is Irish unity, but we don’t live in that reality. For almost a century, we’ve had a partitioned Ireland. We’ve had to come up with Plans B ,C, D, E and F, even if they weren’t always very good plans. I think it’s necessary for unionism to start thinking that way,” she says.

There have been suggestions that instead of having one parliament in a future United Ireland, the Stormont Assembly would be left in place to run the North – while the Dáil would continue to have jurisdiction over the South.

McDonald says that this is something she will not rule out at a time when the prospect of a United Ireland is coming on the table as a real conversation.

“It’s at a point now where people can intervene and say: ‘Hang on a minute, this is what we think, or let’s consider this.’ I think all of those ideas – I’m not going to discount or rule out anything because that is not the way you have an open or respectful conversation with people,” she says

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UNITED IRELAND (UNDER EU FISCAL TREATY?)  DRAWING NEARER ???

Kevin Meagher   SB POST   APRIL 1 ,2018

UNIONISTS BEWARE: MAY WILL PUT BRITAIN FIRST

“No, we are entering the endgame where realpolitik will trump abstract symbolism. And the narrow interests of the DUP will be sold out faster than half-price iPods in the Argos sale.”

Kevin Meagher was special adviser to former Labour Northern Ireland secretary Shaun Woodward. He is author of A United Ireland: Why Unification is Inevitable and How it Will Come About

Unionists beware: May will put Britain first

Realpolitik will eventually give us a wet border – in the Irish Sea – and if that makes unionists feel less British, they’ll have no option but to put up with it

By Kevin MeagherApr 1, 2018

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One size fits all is generally the way in which sovereign nation states go about their business. But the United Kingdom is not an arrangement of equals. Britain’s unwritten constitution and tradition of muddling through – with a combination of ambiguity and asymmetry – has become a defining aspect of our political culture.

Scotland, for instance, has its own parliament, but Wales only gets an assembly. As for the North, well, it’s anomalous in all sorts of ways.

Just last week, Labour MP Conor McGinn introduced legislation to permit same sex marriage in the North – now the only part of these islands without such a provision.

Similarly, it’s been the DUP pushing to lower the North’s corporation tax rate, dropping Britain’s 18 per cent rate to match the 12.5 per cent found in the South. “Lord make me equal,” to paraphrase St Augustine, “but not yet.”

When it comes to finally reconciling the question of post-Brexit border arrangements on the island of Ireland, a bespoke solution – ‘special status’ – for the North is the obvious move.

It’s a decision that cries out to be made so we can nail down the all-important question of Britain’s future trading relationship with the EU.

For the moment, British ministers cling to the fiction they can split the difference with some technical wizardry that affords two customs arrangements, but doesn’t result in checkpoints and watchtowers and other ‘infrastructure’ to police the demarcation. They have been sold a con, or are trying to palm us off with one.

Not just my view, you understand, but that of the House of Commons Northern Ireland Committee. In a report published last week, MPs made clear there was “no evidence to suggest that there is currently a technical solution that would avoid infrastructure at the border”. All the more damning for ministers given the committee is dominated by unionists and Tories.

Whitehall’s fundamental mistake was assuming the border question was the easy bit. So much so, that British prime minister Theresa May simply glanced over it in her Lancaster House speech in January 2017 setting out her approach to implementing Brexit, saying: “Nobody wants to return to the borders of the past, so we will make it a priority to deliver a practical solution as soon as we can.”

We are still waiting.

The assumption – casually made – was that the Irish would simply “get with the programme”. Even now, there is a focus on the trade and tariff arrangements without any appreciation of the security and symbolism of a hard border and the damage this potentially does to the Good Friday Agreement settlement.

It is part of a wider pattern of ill-preparedness that has dogged the British approach since triggering Article 50. David Davis, the Brexit secretary, is an open and honest man, even if, like most arch-Brexiteers, he remains a self-indulgent romantic nationalist.

His cavalier admission last December that ministers have not commissioned economic impact assessments about Brexit serves as a perfect illustration of the point.

But time is fast running out and the British government needs to get real. Although Theresa May is reliant on Arlene Foster to augment her lack of an overall majority in the House of Commons, the prime minister must recognise she cannot have the unionist tail wagging the British dog.

For unionists, the issues at stake are purely symbolic. As they see it, remaining in the customs union and even the single market makes them less British and more obviously Irish. Too bad.

May must not accommodate their rarefied sensibilities at the expense of the wider national interest. The North accounts for only 3 per cent of the UK’s population and just 1.5 per cent of its GDP. As on so many issues these days, unionists simply don’t have the right numbers to dictate terms.

When the unicorn option of a digital border is finally ruled out, it will dawn on unionists that their Conservative allies have now agreed to implement the European Commission’s ‘backstop’ option of keeping the North in the customs union and single market and effectively redrawing the border in the Irish Sea. (Not so much a hard border as a wet one.)

They will huff and puff in their inevitable style, but the DUP are in no hurry to bring down the Tories and risk putting Jeremy Corbyn in Number 10. If Theresa May is trapped by bad options, so is Arlene Foster.

The risk of no deal on the border and a hard Brexit, with all the uncertainty it would engender, is economically ruinous for Britain. Not just that, but there is no way the prime minister can sell that sort of outcome to her own party, let alone the country.

Not when a recent poll for radio station LBC found that more than two-thirds of Brexit voters thought leaving the EU was more important than keeping the North in the UK.

No, we are entering the endgame where realpolitik will trump abstract symbolism. And the narrow interests of the DUP will be sold out faster than half-price iPods in the Argos sale.

Kevin Meagher was special adviser to former Labour Northern Ireland secretary Shaun Woodward. He is author of A United Ireland: Why Unification is Inevitable and How it Will Come About

————————————————————-Irish Mirror: A former top-ranked PSNI officer is set to be brought in to work with his one-time colleague Drew Harris to lead the garda change programmes.

The officer, former Chief Superintendent Ivan Farr, who was involved in counter terrorism among other operations, is set to take on the job in the coming months.The Irish Mirror has learned that he will lead the Strategic Transformation Office in the Phoenix Park Headquarters.

It is understood that he will be appointed on a one year contract and will report to the Commissioner’s office.

A source said: “The officer underwent a full interview scenario in the recruitment phase – he was selected because of his background in difficult policing situations. https://wp.me/pKzXa-142

“One of the key areas for the appointee will be the proposed strategy of offering a severance package to senior officers.”

Getting Rid of Senior Gardaí????

————————————————————-Discussing Drew Harris at the PSNI:
“The only services our families have received were denial and delay. The PSNI has done nothing other than try to block our campaign for truth and acknowledgement.

“It has dragged our older family members through courts as it tried to defend what was a sectarian police force in the past. Drew Harris was at the forefront of that organisation.

“So Harris’s appointment as Garda Commissioner is an aberration and an insult to families who are fighting for truth and justice.”
https://www.thesun.ie/news/3060803/reactions-drew-harris-garda-commissioner/

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Charlie Flanagan, Minister for Justice on RTE-Sunday News at 1: “I have every confidence in Drew Harris… He Was Vetted By An Gárda Síochána”  https://wp.me/pKzXa-142

Department of Justice must address Drew Harris’s MI5 role-Irish State Security Must Be Removed from His Control

British Security Expert: Dr Edward Burke is director of the Centre for Conflict, Security and Terrorism at the University of Nottingham-Irish Times https://wp.me/pKzXa-142

But Sinn Féin has Unconditionally Welcomed the appointment of Drew Harris as Garda Commissioner and pledged to hold him to account in his new role.

Irish Times, June 26, https://wp.me/pKzXa-tR

“Despite his oath to the Irish Constitution – which this most scrupulous of officers is likely to take with the utmost seriousness – he is open to political attack on State security and intelligence matters. The Government should now move to separate the security intelligence function from the main Garda organisation.”

Full Article  Irish Times: Friday, August 31, 2018,

The appointment of Drew Harris as the new Garda Commissioner has prompted considerable discussion, including criticism that Harris, a former deputy chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) who has worked closely with the British security service (MI5) on intelligence and counterterrorism operations, is unsuited to the role of primary custodian of the State’s security.

Harris, who takes up his role next week, is a highly intelligent, capable police officer. Thankfully, he has offered his professional experiences and abilities to the State.

At a bare minimum, the Oireachtas and wider public should give him the benefit of the doubt and judge on results. His desire to take up his new position, a decision that surprised many in Belfast in London, is testament to his professionalism and his commitment to Irish policing.

Harris could very likely have taken up a leadership role in the Metropolitan Police or in another constabulary in Britain.

His move to Dublin has shocked some unionists. The PSNI is a unique police service within Britain. Like its predecessor the Royal Ulster Constabulary (and the Royal Irish Constabulary before it) the PSNI to some extent resembles the gendarmerie-type police seen in France or Spain – armed and capable of quasi-military operations if required.

Proud tradition

Harris comes from a family with a proud tradition of service in the RUC – which some in unionist circles still (wrongly) believe to be a superior version of the PSNI, more unambiguously committed to physically and symbolically upholding the union.

Nevertheless, the PSNI’s role in policing, guaranteeing the integrity of the UK’s only land border mean that some unionists still see it as a fundamentally British institution (whether its Catholic, nationalist recruits like it or not), one whose sacrifices continue to be represented on Remembrance Sunday and other national ceremonies.

Many republicans are outraged at Harris’s appointment. They particularly recall his supposed act of “political policing” when he ordered the arrest of Gerry Adams in 2014 as part of the investigation into the abduction and murder of Jean McConville in 1972.

Former senior Defence Forces’ officers and gardaí are worried that although Harris is of course an Irish citizen, he cannot be securely vetted, since he worked in sensitive intelligence positions in another state and that he faces a conflict of interest when it comes to overseeing historical inquiries into the past (which may involve questions of releasing sensitive material passed by the RUC to the Garda, which the PSNI may not want released in the public domain lest it compromise agents who supplied critical intelligence).

Sensitive intelligence

Some also point to his evidence to the Smithwick Tribunal where Harris drew upon sensitive British intelligence to make allegations of Garda collusion with the Provisional IRA in the Dundalk, north Louth Border area as evidence that he is unfit to take up the role of commissioner, since he did not offer more concrete information, including details about his sources (even if this is often a “no go” for intelligence officers since it could put agents’ lives in danger).

If Harris is to maximise his professional strengths as a police officer, then the Department of Justice must move to address his political weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

Despite his oath to the Irish Constitution – which this most scrupulous of officers is likely to take with the utmost seriousness – he is open to political attack on State security and intelligence matters. The Government should now move to separate the security intelligence function from the main Garda organisation.

There is already a useful precedent for such a move: in 1996 the then government established the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab). The chief bureau officer is drawn from the ranks of the Garda, is appointed by the Garda commissioner, holds the rank of chief superintendent but operates independently and reports directly to the Minister for Justice.

Other Cab appointments are made directly by the department. This new security and intelligence agency would draw upon Garda crime and other policing data. But it would have separate, dedicated resources and the authority to conduct medium- to long-term intelligence operations and analysis, including in counterterrorism and counterintelligence.

It would also deal with allegations of Garda collusion, investigations related to policing during the Troubles.

‘A peeler’s peeler’

The label “peeler” is not often used when offering a compliment about a police officer. But Harris, like his father, is regarded within the PSNI as “a peeler’s peeler”, a reference to his unflinching application of the “Peel principles”. These are the fundamentals of policing named after British home secretary, later prime minister, Robert Peel, and still referenced in police colleges worldwide.

The most important of these principles is that “the police are the public and the public are the police” – the key to successful policing is securing public co-operation rather than the threat of force or other means of coercion. But that does not mean shifting policing priorities or practices according to populist trends.

Good police officers will, according to the Peel principles, “seek and preserve public favour not by catering to the public opinion but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law”.

If that means irritating or inconveniencing certain public representatives or institutional interests then so be it. Adams was on the receiving end of the firm application of a Peel principle. This is exactly the type of approach that is required in Garda HQ in 2018. Drew Harris is the right man at the right time.

  • Dr Edward Burke is director of the Centre for Conflict, Security and Terrorism at the University of Nottingham

© 2018 irishtimes.com

 

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Political Dynamite From Former Deputy Director of Irish Military Intelligence

Drew Harris: Garda Chiefs Appointment Potentially Puts State at Risk

Regardless of Drew Harris’s experience and competence, it is impossible to do adequate security checks on anyone from outside this jurisdiction

By Michael C Murphy SB Post Aug 26, 2018  https://wp.me/pKzXa-142

Michael C Murphy is a former deputy director of Military Intelligence with the Defence Forces

“States conduct counter-intelligence (defensive) and counter-espionage (offensive) operations to prevent foreign intelligence operations.

Such a system does not exist in Ireland.

The government does not take the security of the state seriously. During my service in the Defence Forces, efforts were made to establish a state information security system to protect state secrets but, as with efforts to establish a professional civilian intelligence agency, it was made very clear that there was no political appetite to do so.”

On September 3, Drew Harris will formally take up his new position as Commissioner of An Garda Síochána. Harris is known as a highly experienced and respected officer in the PSNI. He has been involved in operations against criminals, both terrorist and non-terrorist, and has experience in special operations and intelligence at British national level.

During the Smithwick Tribunal it was disclosed that he had overall responsibility for intelligence within the PSNI and was its liaison officer with MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence agency. Harris is the first person from outside this jurisdiction to be appointed commissioner. Last June, it was disclosed that he had applied for Irish citizenship.

Harris is obviously very capable and was one of the representatives for the PSNI at the Smithwick Tribunal which investigated alleged Garda collusion with the Provisional IRA. Near the conclusion of the inquiry, the PSNI provided controversial, unsubstantiated evidence that the alleged informer was an individual working at Dundalk Garda station.

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan, then barrister for one of the individuals at the tribunal, stated that “the tribunal has been placed in an impossible position by the PSNI and British security services who make decisions whether or not intelligence is disclosed”. The then Garda commissioner Martin Callinan claimed that the PSNI had tainted every garda who served in Dundalk Garda station.

While the tribunal concluded that an unnamed garda had colluded with the Provisional IRA, it did not state if the evidence supplied by the PSNI was an attempt to distract from an unknown person within the Garda who might have been working for both the PIRA and British intelligence.

On taking up his appointment, Harris will sign the Official Secrets Act (1963). Taoiseach Leo Varadkar informed us that as part of the recruitment process “background checks and security clearance that you would expect to be done in terms of due diligence” were carried out. Anyone involved in Irish state intelligence would quickly identify that there is a problem with the Taoiseach’s statement and he needs to clarify what vetting due process was actually conducted, as all is not what it seems.

To safeguard sensitive official information a state needs to have an interlocking security system of six component parts. Unlike other European states, the Irish government does not have such a system. The following will explain those components.

Security classification is assigned to information (verbal, hardcopy, electronic) to denote the damage that could be done to a state’s security if there was unauthorised disclosure of that information. The top three categories used are Top Secret, Secret and Confidential. These correspond to ‘exceptional grave damage’ ‘serious damage’ and ‘damage’ if that information was disclosed. To ensure consistency throughout state networks it is necessary to have regulations on who can assign such categories to information, how it is to be protected during storage and transport, and who may have access to it.

Secondly, facility security classification determines the security classification of information that may be stored in that facility. The higher the facility’s security measures, the higher the classification permitted. It will also determine who may enter, what may be carried into and out of the facility and the level of searching required to enter and exit for individuals, baggage and stores.

Thirdly, in order to perform duties assigned to an appointment, an individual may require access to classified information. Depending on the level of security classification required, an appointment is assigned a security clearance category. It can be taken that the appointment of the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána would require Top Secret clearance, which is achieved through security vetting: the fourth element.

People are familiar with the term ‘Garda vetting’ which concerns a criminal background check and should not be confused with security vetting. Security vetting is a vital part of counter-intelligence. It is necessary to exclude individuals who may represent a security threat to the state through previous employment, espionage, pressure or improper influence. To ensure consistency, security vetting is conducted by a dedicated agency. For example, in Britain it is done by the United Kingdom Security Vetting (UKSV), and in the US by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

To receive a security clearance an individual is required to undergo a personal background investigation. For a Top-Secret appointment this could take up to at least six months. The vetting process would be extremely thorough. An individual would first submit a disclosure form, the information on which would be verified. Then there would be a background check of family, friends, third-party relationships, financial records, criminal records and any intelligence/espionage connections. Following this would be interviews with third parties and local police, plus a security interview to clarify matters arising. Finally, where information could not be verified, a counter-intelligence polygraph would be conducted.

As this process cannot legally be conducted outside a state’s jurisdiction, a Top Secret clearance would not be granted to someone from outside the jurisdiction.

Fifthly, the purpose of the Official Secrets Act is to protect official information. But investigations of several possible breaches did not take place. For example, when senior gardaí lost official phones and sim cards; when gardaí did not certify the return or destruction of official phones, sim cards or laptops; when senior gardaí and senior government ministers used private communication to pass on official information; or when evidence required by investigations was lost by the Garda on at least eight occasions, including after the Dublin Monaghan bombings.

This is in contrast to Britain where, in 2017, the West Midlands Police assistant chief constable Marcus Beale was found guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court under the Official Secrets Act for failing to safeguard sensitive documents by leaving his official laptop in the boot of his car. He was fined £3,500 and sacked by the police force.

Finally, intelligence services have their missions and the acquisition of intelligence, including economic intelligence, to support national security is paramount. Britain is a prime example. Those who work in intelligence know that there is no such thing as a friendly foreign intelligence service. Services may cooperate, but suspicion of the other always exists. States conduct counter-intelligence (defensive) and counter-espionage (offensive) operations to prevent foreign intelligence operations. Such a system does not exist in Ireland.

The government does not take the security of the state seriously. During my service in the Defence Forces, efforts were made to establish a state information security system to protect state secrets but, as with efforts to establish a professional civilian intelligence agency, it was made very clear that there was no political appetite to do so.

It should be expected that the Commission on the Future of Policing, reporting next month, should address those problems. However, all indications suggest that it will fudge the issue and merely recommend that the security of the state remit should remain with An Garda Síochána, with an artificial wall created between policing and security.

Serious Garda failings were made public in the Morris Tribunal in 2008, which highlighted the need for urgent serious reform. Since then, a series of ministers for justice have failed to properly reform the force. As a consequence, it has become necessary not only to go outside the Garda force but – incredibly – to go outside the state to find a Garda commissioner.

Tinkering with reform did not serve An Garda Síochána or its members well. Tinkering with state intelligence reform will have similar results for the security of the state, its people and our economic future.

Michael C Murphy is a former deputy director of Military Intelligence with the Defence Forces

 

 

 

 

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New Garda Commissioner ‘incapable of being independent’, court hears-Irish Independent  https://wp.me/pKzXa-142

Mr Humphreys(on behalf of Mr Mac Airt) said Mr Harris lacked the independence required to be Garda Commissioner due to his role in the PSNI and its predecessor the RUC.

Mr Humphreys said Mr Harris had signed and was bound by the UK’s Official Secrets Act making it impossible to fully discharge his duties as the next Garda Commissioner. This conflict was incompatible with the duties of Commissioner as laid out under Section 5 of the Garda Siochana Act, in particular to state security and the investigation of crime

Counsel said Hr Harris could not direct or control any Garda investigation into the murder of an Irish citizen where there was credible evidence of collusion, between the killers and the RUC or agencies of the British State, including the Dublin Monaghan bombings.

Due to his senior role with the PSNI, and contacts with other agencies of the British state including MI5, Mr Harris has possession of information directly relevant to Garda investigations into the murder of Irish citizens during the troubles.”

Aodhan O’Faolain and Ray Managh, Irish Independent August 21

A High Court judge has reserved his decision until Wednesday on an application ultimately aimed at blocking the PSNI’s Deputy Chief Constable, Drew Harris, from taking up his position as the next Garda Commissioner.

Belfast based researcher Ciaran MacAirt, whose grandmother Kathleen Irvine was one of 15 people killed when a loyalist bomb exploded at McGurk’s Bar in Belfast in December 1971, has asked the High Court to judicially review the Government’s decision to appoint Mr Harris.

VIDEO: Dublin High Court hear challenge against new Garda Chief

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The State, represented by Remy Farrell SC, has opposed the application, and argues Mr MacAirt’s action is “unstateable and novel” and should be dismissed.

Following the conclusion of submissions from both sides Mr Justice Denis McDonald said he was reserving his position on whether to grant permission allowing Mr MacAirt’s case to be heard at a full hearing of the High Court.

The Judge, who acknowledged the urgency in the matter as Mr Harris is due to commence the role on September 3rd, said he hoped to be in a position to deliver judgment tomorrow morning.

In proceedings against the Minister for Justice, Ireland and the Attorney General Mr McAirt seeks various orders including one quashing the decision to appoint Mr Harris as Commissioner of An Garda Siochana and a declaration that he is unsuitable for the post.

In the alternative, he seeks an order preventing Mr Harris having any role in the direction and control of the Garda investigation into the murder of Irish citizens where there is credible evidence of collusion by the RUC or other agencies of the British state in the murder.

He also seeks declarations that the Irish State is obliged to conduct independent investigations into murders of Irish citizens where there is credible evidence of collusion with the British security forces.

He further seeks a declaration that due to his obligations under the UK’s Offical Secrets Act and his role in the protection of the PSNI, the RUC and other agencies of the UK, Mr Harris would be incapable of controlling an independent investigation into the murder of those Irish citizens where collusion was alleged.

On Tuesday Mr Farrell for the state said that the case being advanced by Mr MacAirt was “unstateable” and even when taken at its height  was “nothing more than an expression of an opinion” that the applicant does not agree with Mr Harris’s appointment.

No legal points had been raised in the action that would allow the Court grant Mr McAirt permission to bring his challenge before a full hearing of the court which was being asked to substitute Mr McAirt’s views over those of Police Authority which had recommended his appointment.

Mr Farrell also told the court that the Government had a minimal role in Mr Harris’s appointment. Mr Harris had been selected following a process undertaken by the Police Authority and the Public Appointments Service.

Counsel said Mr MacAirt had not challenged that process nor did he make the argument that the decision to nominate Mr Harris was irrational and unreasonable or that there was a flaw in the process.

Counsel said that the recruitment process for the new Garda Commissioner had also sought candidates from outside the State.  Obligations of such candidates from other countries, under laws such as the UK’s Official Secrets Act had been taken into account by those undertaking the search for a new Garda commissioner.

The state’s submissions were rejected by barrister Gerard Humphreys who appeared for Mr MacAirt with Ruadhan MacAodhain of McGeehin Toale Solicitors.

Mr Humphreys said Mr Harris lacked the independence required to be Garda Commissioner due to his role in the PSNI and its predecessor the RUC.

Counsel said Hr Harris could not direct or control any Garda investigation into the murder of an Irish citizen where there was credible evidence of collusion, between the killers and the RUC or agencies of the British State, including the Dublin Monaghan bombings.

Due to his senior role with the PSNI, and contacts with other agencies of the British state including MI5, Mr Harris has possession of information directly relevant to Garda investigations into the murder of Irish citizens during the troubles.

Mr Humphreys said Mr Harris had signed and was bound by the UK’s Official Secrets Act making it impossible to fully discharge his duties as the next Garda Commissioner. This conflict was incompatible with the duties of Commissioner as laid out under Section 5 of the Garda Siochana Act, in particular to state security and the investigation of crime.

Mr MacAirt, who says he was shocked by the decision to appoint Mr Harris, had written a book about and researched the McGurk’s bombing and is a director of the Charity Paper Trail which supports victims and survivors of the Troubles. He claims that he has been trying to establish the truth behind the bombing.

The RUC initially blamed it on an IRA bomb being accidentally detonated when in fact the bomb was deliberately planted in the bar by the UVF.  Mr MacAirt claimed there was never a proper investigation into the bombing, and alleged there was an RUC cover-up in regards to what happened.

He claims his efforts to find the truth had been frustrated by the PSNI and he had been consistently obstructed by Deputy Chief Constable Harris.

He alleges that as part of his role with the PSNI Mr Harris had responsibility for the PSNI’s Historical Enquiries Team, which investigated the bombing.  It had produced four reports, which Mr McAirt claimed Harris had the final say over.

Those reports had all been rejected by the victims of the bombing because allegations of collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and the RUC had not been addressed.

 

 

 

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Belfast Telegraph

Four DUP MLAs have failed to disclose payments that paid for a four-day visit to Israel in May.

The BBC has reported that the MLAs each received donations of £2,700 from the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel but did not disclose them to the Electoral Commission.

Any extra costs for the trip were paid for by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

MLAs Michelle McIllveen, Jonathan Buckley, William Humphrey and Gary Middleton did report the donations to the Northern Ireland Assembly, but failed to disclose them to the commission.

Electoral Commission rules say that all MLAs must report any donation over £1,500 within 30 days.

The DUP told the BBC that the matter was an “administrative oversight” and that steps were being taken to rectify it.

A party spokesperson said that rules in the Assembly should be reviewed to align with those at Westminster.

MPs can report donations to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and this information is then passed on to the Electoral Commission, but MLAs must report donations to both the NI Assembly and the commission themselves.

The DUP described the Israel visit as “aimed at developing economic links in such sectors as cyber security, with Israeli and Northern Ireland companies at the cutting edge of new technology in this specialist field”.

The trip was also attended by DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds and MPs Ian Paisley, Jeffrey Donaldson, Emma Little-Penegelly, Gregory Campbell and Paul Girvan.

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