WHEN IS A TERRORIST NOT A TERRORIST?
From our contributor S.Row
In the moments following the recent punishment shooting in the Republican Ardoyne district of North Belfast, the PSNI had no hesitation labelling the attack as ‘paramilitary linked’.
This was no surprise to anyone; as such attacks occur with shocking regularity in Republican areas across Ulster.
It was a surprise though, that following the arrest of IRA bomber / Sinn Fein activist Sean Kelly in connection with the incident, the PSNI hastily withdrew the ‘paramilitary’ tag, practically rendering the offence as mere domestic!
There can be no question whatsoever, that this move by the PSNI, was geared specifically to minimise embarrassment to Sinn Fein, and to quell the destabilising ripples that the involvement of a prominent member of the IRA in a gun attack, would undoubtedly have upon society in general!
Kelly gained notoriety for his part in the 1993 bombing of Frizzell’s Fish Shop on Belfast’s Shankill Road, where no less than nine men, women, children and an unborn child, were murdered in cold-blood, at the hands of the murderous PIRA.
The bomb exploded prematurely, killing Kelly’s accomplice (Thomas Begley), outright, and leaving Kelly himself with a number of minor injuries.
For his part in this genocide, he was sentenced to nine life sentences, one for each of the lives he took. After serving an insulting seven years, Kelly walked free from HMP Maze, under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
Since his release, he has enjoyed somewhat ‘celebrity’ status in the Republican community. He retained his PIRA membership, and in recent years, has even branched into Sinn Fein activism, by very publicly taking part in various protests and lurking about interface areas prior to Loyal Order parades, in the company of fellow terrorists, Gerry Kelly, Eddie Copeland and Bobby Storey.
THREAT IS ISSUED
We understand that Kelly, who works in the Flax Complex, was incensed that a computer from the building had been stolen.
Upon crossing paths with the suspected thief in a local pub, (18 year old Padraig ‘Doot’ McAleenan), it is reported that in no uncertain terms, Kelly informed the youth that he would be ‘getting done!’.
Not long after the threat was issued, as predicted, McAleenan found himself the victim of a punishment shooting.
McAleenan was engaged in the act of stealing a car from the Flax Centre, when the gunmen approached.
He was dragged from the car, and subsequently shot three times!
KELLY IS NAMED!
McAleenan, who is from the Oldpark district, was seriously injured in the attack, and to seek justice, he informed his parents of his previous ‘encounter’ with Kelly, explaining how he had been told that he was ‘getting done!’.
Naturally, the parents contacted the PSNI with the information, and as a result of this, Kelly was arrested!
On the testament of their son, the parents of Padraig McAleenan implicated Sean Kelly in this attack, and were unafraid to do so.
Sickeningly though, amid the furore, and as McAleenan recovered from his injuries, shady individuals attached to the PIRA in Ardoyne ‘intervened’, and as a result of this, the statement naming Kelly as central to the plot, was hastily withdrawn and as such, he was released unconditionally!
THE CHARGE IS ‘UPGRADED’
Upon Kelly’s release, the PSNI reinstated the ‘paramilitary’ tag to the charge.
This we find abhorrent and indeed, clear cut evidence of the PSNI’s appeasement of Sinn Fein!
With this development, we ask, why retract the ‘paramilitary’ tag in the first place, and why reinstate it immediately following Kelly’s release?
Was it an exercise to save Sinn Fein’s blushes and prevent Martin McGuinness being put on the spot to answer a multitude of ‘uncomfortable’ questions?
Or was it purely and simply to get Sinn Fein and the PIRA off the hook?
We believe without a shadow of a doubt, that it was a devious and underhand concoction of both!
Believe it or not, there was actually CCTV evidence of the entire incident, for the location where McAleenan was ‘dealt with’, is covered by a number of cameras / surveillance equipment!
As the PSNI attended the scene of the crime, we understand that they were approached by a third party, who advised that they should secure the CCTV footage, as it would undoubtedly hold vital evidence to the identities of those involved.
Despite protocol, and good advice, the PSNI failed to seize the recordings, and no less than two days later, a number of masked Republicans entered the Flax Centre and spirited the evidence away, effectively cutting off what would have been, a pivotal line of enquiry!
To compound the matter further, the car which McAleenan was attempting to steal when he was shot, was not treated as a crime scene by the PSNI, and despite the absolute gift of an opportunity for forensics on the gunman, the PSNI failed to have the vehicle immediately recovered for examination!
A DEAFENING SILENCE
And during it all, as the days passed, Ulster’s ‘fine’ band of journalists and correspondents remained uncharacteristically quiet, in fact, the silence was deafening!
The reality is, if it had been an ‘out on licence’ Loyalist who was arrested in connection with a similar incident, the usual suspects, being messrs Rowan, McDowell, Nolan and Clarke, would have been up in arms, their storyboards and airwaves literally red hot with yet another barrage of disparaging columns and broadcasts, surrounding and dedicated to the vilification of ‘evil Loyalist thugs’.
But, as has been the case on many occasions in the past and as has become the norm in Northern Ireland, the less than credible local journalist fraternity, failed to deliver the facts, failed to fulfil their obligation to the public as ‘investigative journalists’, quite simply…. Failed!
In regards to Sean Kelly, we ask visitors to ‘Long Kesh Inside Out’, to objectively weigh up all the relevant facts, and accordingly, draw your own conclusions.
But…. Be it the PSNI, the ‘string pullers’ in Government or disreputable local journalists / broadcasters, in the case of the recent arrest of Sean Kelly, it certainly looks like the events of the past few weeks, have been nothing short of an unashamed, cloak and dagger campaign to Save The Shinners / Protect The Provos, and as such, we, the Protestant community, are left asking ourselves, “When is a terrorist not a terrorist?”. This is easily answered – when he is connected to SF / PIRA!