Wisely, the usual knee jerk reactions from politicians and commentators committed to one side or another in historical cases have been held back after the sudden announcement from Jon Boutcher the chief constable of Bedfordshire running Operation Kenova that he has gathered evidence to prosecution standard. It remains to be assessed by the Northern Ireland director of public prosecutions.
The prospect of state servants being charged over the record of Stakeknife cuts through the deadlocked debate on dealing with the past. Read more
VICTIMS of the worst single atrocity of the Troubles have secured an order for disclosure of documents in a major legal action over alleged British Government collusion with the loyalist killers.
Survivors and relatives of those who died in the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings were at the High Court in Belfast yesterday for a preliminary hearing in their lawsuits. Read more
A police officer leading the inquiry into the activities of the man alleged to have been the Army’s most senior agent within the IRA is to recommend prosecutions.
It is understood recommendations to prosecute a number of people will take place next year.
A specialist team is investigating allegations of murder and torture by the agent codenamed Stakeknife. Read more
Loyalist Willie Young has told Unionist Voice that he is has felt “compelled to respond” after a Sunday World article published (16th December) made a number of allegations against him, including that he was a ‘tout’.
The article alleged that Mr Young had been ejected from a pub in east Belfast and further went on to state that the North Belfast loyalist had been “exposed as a police informer” in a 2007 Police Ombudsman’s report.
Despite the severity of the allegations, Mr Young was not contacted for comment and the loyalist has told Unionist Voice that he feels this is “plainly unfair”. Read more
Paisley and McGuinness helped open industry door to ex-paramilitaries; Drew Harris helped draw up the rules
The Private Security Industry, with its ability to provide employment to their unskilled members and lucrative income to its owners, has long been a target of Northern-based Loyalist and Republican paramilitary groups.
So it is no surprise that in the wake of the eviction riot near Strokestown, Co Roscommon at the weekend, there were allegations, so far unconfirmed, that former paramilitaries, allegedly of a Loyalist persuasion, were involved in the fracas. Read more
This great photo has only recently come to light. There have been a series of reunions of loyalist ex- prisoners which has prompted the emergence of photographs and stories. It is amazing to see the friendships that still exist between ex-prisoners, in some cases after a break of over 35 years. This photo was taken from the roof of the middle hut in compound 21 in the early 1980s. The UVF/RHC huts were named after World War 1 battles. The middle hut was named Passchendaele and was the best hut in the whole camp. Also, in 21 were Messines and St Quentin. This photo was taken looking north across Phase 6; the top of the compound system of the Kesh. To the left of the photo and out of view is the wall that separated us from the H Block complex. The photo gives a good idea of the tangle of wire fences, wooden posts, hundreds of lights, barbed wire and huts. Read more
Political commentator Jude Collins has been told to stop wallowing in self-pity after he claims to have been dropped by the BBC over his views. Ulster Unionist councillor Chris Smyth suggested instead that Mr Collins should reflect on his comments heaped more hurt on innocent victims of terrorism and their families. Mr Collins, who was a regular freelance contributor to Radio Ulster programmes such as Talkback and The Nolan Show told the Belfast Telegraph that he believed the BBC have cut his air time after comments about IRA victim Patsy Gillespie, a civilian Army worker who was forced to drive a bomb to Coshquin barracks in 1990. Read more
“Horrified”. That is how Labour MP Kate Hoey described the news of masked contractors invading a community sports facility in East Belfast to tear down a self-funded hub, designed to provide education and mental health provision for young people, many of whom come from areas of social deprivation. Read more
The late IRA commander and leader of the 1980 prison fast for political status, Brendan Hughes called him ‘the eleventh hunger striker’, and believed that Dr David Ross, the Maze prison’s medical officer, had been so deeply affected by the deaths of the ten IRA prisoners on the second protest in 1981 that, five years later, he took his own life.
In sharp contrast, Hughes’ colleague, Bobby Sands, who was the first IRA prisoner to die on the 1981 hunger strike, disagreed. Dr Ross, he told Hughes, was ‘a mind manipulator’ and he did not trust him. Ever since, their argument has divided the IRA prison population of the day. Read more
A man was gunned down and killed in the community where I live yesterday. He was in a parked car outside his son’s school on the Glen Road at hometime, waiting to give his son a lift. While he did so a man walked up to his car and shot him 5 or 6 times. He died immediately.
To put this horror in context you’d need to know the area where this murder took place. That part of the Glen Road has two big secondary schools sitting opposite each other. There are hundreds of children who go there and who were leaving the schools at the time. There is a primary school 400 yards down the road and children would have been walking up the road from their after-schools clubs. Read more