Barra McGrory, Sinn Fein and the IRA: Jamie Bryson

Barra McGrory, Sinn Fein and the IRA!


Barra McGrory, Sinn Fein and the IRA….the hidden thread….

When you enter a Northern Ireland courtroom you enter a sham. A farcical system designed to protect the peace process and by extension the IRA terrorists who the Government perversely feel they must keep onside. When you sit in the dock of the Court of the Queen (which of course bears no symbols of the Crown lest it offend the IRA) there are two things that are certain. You will have been charged by the PSNI (who are now accountable to a policing board which contains convicted IRA terrorists) and you will be being prosecuted by the Public Prosecution Service (which is headed up by the former solicitor of choice for the IRA, Barra McGrory QC).

I want to explore Barra McGrory, his role as DPP and how he came to arrive at that rather convenient position. By extension I will also explore the inextricable links between the IRA and all their most prominent solicitors of choice through the years. This may provide uncomfortable or unpopular reading, it is however the truth and to understand the seriousness of Barra McGrory’s appointment as DPP, one must take a lesson from history. I will also explore a vital question; was Barra McGrory instructed and paid by Sinn Fein for his work on the OTR scheme and if so why has he not excused himself from all prosecutorial decisions that involve any member of Sinn Fein or the IRA rather than just those who he represented as individuals?


At Hillsborough in 2010 there was a deal done. I am not talking about the deal that was signed by the DUP and presented to the electorate. I am talking about the deal that was done behind closed doors, the deal that has no paper trail but the legacy of which haunts Ulster Protestants to this very day.

Sinn Fein wanted the justice ministry. The DUP knew this would never fly with their own electorate so there would be no devolved powers of policing and justice until this political ‘inconvenience’ could be overcome.

Sinn Fein came up with a compromise. They would support a cross community candidate (Alliance) for the justice ministry only if they could have their choice for the Attorney General post. (OFMDFM ratify this post and given it is a joint ministry the DUP would have to be in agreement). The DUP agreed to this and the man Sinn Fein wanted appointed was John Larkin. John Larkin had previously represented Gerry Adams but had also worked with the DUP during the talks. He was seen as an agreed candidate.

Under section 30 of the justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 the Attorney General appoints the Director of Public Prosecutions (Northern Ireland). It was a silent understanding that Sinn Fein’s ‘prize’ for pulling back from other demands would be the installation of Barra McGrory as Director of Public Prosecutions. The DUP agreed they would not create any public controversy over this appointment.

This ‘plan’ had been some years in the making. As far back as 2007 there had been discussions between Sinn Fein and the NIO about the devolution of policing and justice. The DUP had on occasions been involved in these back room discussions.

In 2009 Barra McGrory was called to the Bar, two years after becoming the first ever solicitor in Northern Ireland to be awarded the rank of QC (Queen’s Counsel) in 2007. It was a strange move and it was widely suspected in legal circles that the ground was being laid for Barra McGrory to take up a senior prosecutorial role. Perhaps all this, and the timing of it, is just one big coincidence.

Here is a short summary timeline to help you make your own mind up.

• 2007- Restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly (Barra McGrory becomes first ever solicitor to be awarded the rank of QC.)

• 2009- Discussions begin via back channels about the devolution of Policing and Justice (Barra McGrory is called to the bar.)

• 2010- Policing and Justice is devolved via the Hillsborough Agreement (John Larkin- Gerry Adam’s former solicitor- becomes Attorney General. Appointed by OFMDFM)

• Under section 30 of the justice (Northern Ireland) Act , John Larkin in his role as Attorney General appoints Barra McGrory QC as Director of Public Prosecutions.

Barra McGrory was previously a solicitor in his father’s firm. His father was called PJ McGrory. On 20th June 1972 the leadership of the IRA (a proscribed terrorist organisation) held a meeting with representatives of the British Government (Philip Woodfield a Civil Servant and Frank Steele who was an MI6 officer) at Balleyarnet, close to the border of Londonderry and Donegal.

The IRA showed how seriously they took the meeting by sending along their then Chief of Staff, D O’Connell and senior Belfast Brigade commander, Gerry Adams. It is in this context that the IRA also asked PJ McGrory to come along with them, albeit only briefly to verify the authenticity of the meeting. It is however quite reasonable to think, based upon the facts outlined above, that PJ McGrory was trusted by the IRA and perhaps even an advisor to that organisation. It must be remembered that the IRA were an illegal terrorist organisation sworn to destroy the British Sovereignty of Northern Ireland.

The IRA’s other solicitor of choice was a Mr Pat Finucane. It has been alleged that Pat Finucane was a member of the IRA Belfast Brigade staff. The IRA informer Sean O’Callaghan alleged that he was told of the lawyers rank in the organisation when he was introduced to him by Gerry Adams at a high level IRA meeting in 1980.

Pat Finucane’s brother John was an active IRA terrorist who was killed during a terrorist operation. His brother Seamus is a senior IRA member in Belfast; he was jailed for 14 years after being arrested with Bobby Sands (the first IRA member to starve himself to death in the Maze prison in 1981) in 1976. He has also been in the news recently following the withdrawal of charges against him for his part in an internal IRA investigation which sought to cover up the rape of Maria Cahill and other sexual abuse allegedly carried out by another senior IRA man, Martin Morris. Seamus was engaged to Mairead Farrell (killed by the SAS in 1988. The families of the murdered terrorists were represented by PJ McGrory in a subsequent Court hearing and it was found that the SAS acted lawfully in killing the terrorists). His other brother Dermot was one of the 38 IRA terrorists who escaped from the Maze in 1983. It was during this incident that Gerry Kelly MLA shot a prison officer in the head. (Gerry Kelly has recently published a book glorifying the escape). It is fair to say that the Finucane family are steeped in Irish Republican terrorism.

What is clear from all of the above is that the IRA chooses their lawyers carefully. In this context we move on to the current Director of Public Prosecutions (Barra McGrory). Barra McGrory was the solicitor of choice for many members of the IRA Army Council, notably representing Gerry Adams (the former Chief of Staff of the IRA who was never even in the IRA.) He was also the solicitor of choice for the Bloody Sunday families. Most shocking of all however is that when the IRA leadership sat down to pick someone to corporately represent the terror organisation in a perverse scheme dealing with the issue of their ‘On The Runs’ , they chose Barra McGrory (who was appointed DPP by the man Sinn Fein jointly appointed as Attorney General).

Now let’s examine the reality of this. Sinn Fein claim that they are completely separate from the IRA, one is a ‘military’ organisation and one is a political party (apparently).However it was Sinn Fein that negotiated on behalf of the OTR’s and it was through Sinn Fein and their MLA Gerry Kelly (former IRA Chief of Staff and old Bailey bomber) that the letters were passed to the terrorists. This means that if Sinn Fein decided to undertake this task and submit names of their own accord then they are simply one and the same as the IRA. But this could not be the case because Sinn Fein has consistently said over the years that they cannot speak for the IRA.

During the negotiations leading up to the Belfast Agreement-and later decommissioning- the Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams consistently said that Sinn Fein could not speak for or make decisions on behalf of the ‘Army’ (this was the term used by Republican activists to describe the IRA, a terrorist organisation involved in thousands of murders and also the sexual abuse of children within their own community). This leaves only one explanation, the IRA instructed Sinn Fein to act on their behalf and in light of Gerry Adams’s consistent assertion that Sinn Fein cannot make decisions on behalf of the IRA, all decisions relating to the OTR scheme from the Republican end would have been made by the IRA and Sinn Fein would merely have been the messengers. It therefore has been established -by following the logic of Sinn Fein’s own words- that the IRA would have made their own decisions in relation to their engagement in the OTR scheme.

What is the relevance of this you might ask? Well quite simple, it shows that the decision to instruct a solicitor to act on behalf of the IRA OTR’s- who are subservient to the IRA leadership as per the oath they took when joining the terror group- must have been made by the IRA itself. Given the previous examples of the republican credentials of the IRA’s other two notable solicitors of choice ( Pat Finucane and PJ McGrory) it is logical to believe that the man the IRA would chose to legally represent their interests on such a major issue would be someone trusted and someone with republican sympathies. They chose Barra McGrory.

The reality is quite simple, Barra McGrory is held in such high regard by the IRA leadership that he was the man chosen to represent their OTR terrorists. He was also the solicitor of choice for the former IRA Chief of Staff (who was never in the IRA, despite attending meetings with the British Government impersonating an IRA leader) Gerry Adams and a number of other Army Council members.

Barra McGrory was not asked by IRA members as individuals to represent them, he was instructed by Sinn Fein who in turn was being instructed by the IRA leadership. It is therefore true to say that Barra McGrory acted corporately on behalf of the IRA, as recently as 2009, only two years prior to his quite amazing rise to the lofty position of DPP.

It must be asked, if Barra McGrory was submitting names on behalf of Sinn Fein and therefore the IRA, who was paying the legal bill? Was Barra McGrory paid a retainer for his services? It is an intriguing point. Perhaps Barra McGrory voluntarily undertook this task on behalf of Sinn Fein, but why would he do that? Or perhaps Sinn Fein paid him, which would then mean that he was corporately representing that party and by implication he is linked with every member of that party.

The above question is very important. It has huge legal ramifications. What is clear is that Barra McGrory was instructed to act on behalf of Sinn Fein then Sinn Fein as a party was a client of his. So how can Barra McGrory have any involvement in making any prosecutorial decisions in relation to any member of Sinn Fein?

He has previously ‘withdrawn’ himself from decisions relating to some of the IRA terrorists who were personally instructed by him, but he has not withdrawn himself from decisions relating to other members of Sinn Fein- even though he represented that particular party corporately. This is just one of the many questions Barra McGrory needs to answer. Hopefully he will answer it more convincingly than his answers at the NI Select Affairs committee when he stated he only submitted names and that he played no other role, and then only weeks later he is named in the Hallett report as attending meetings with PSNI discussing how the scheme should operate.

Charges against Sinn Fein/IRA members have consistently been dropped by the PPS. Barra McGrory has not excused himself from all these decisions. He has ratified many of them. He has also ratified charges brought against loyalists that are viewed by many as quite outrageous and without evidential basis. He has also quite conveniently approved many dubious charges against dissident republicans who are opposed to his former client, Sinn Fein.

Some of the charges brought against those from the republican community who are opposed to Sinn Fein are quite frankly outrageous. Whilst I am no fan of any kind of republican, I must say I have looked on in amazement at some of the charges brought without a shred of evidence against those who Sinn Fein would call dissidents. If one studies the charging decisions made by the PPS under Barra McGrory’s leadership , you could be forgiven for believing that he is now used by Sinn Fein to pursue a policy of criminalisation against their so called ‘dissidents’ as well as protecting IRA members who stay onside with Sinn Fein. It is hard to think of one decision Barra McGrory has made as DPP that has went against the IRA or Sinn Fein.

This article should give rise to many serious questions. It should also focus the attention of the public on to just what is going on in this Country. A blind man on a galloping horse would be able to see how justice has been passed into the hands of the IRA. It is the price of this false peace.

Could you imagine for one minute if Osama Bin Laden’s solicitor became US Attorney? There would quite rightly be uproar yet here in Northern Ireland we are expected to accept the IRA’s former solicitor of choice and salute him as some kind of noble protector of justice? How can the Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist community be expected to believe the PPS is independent and impartial?

In case you are fooled by the DUP’s occasional feather duster approach to challenging PPS decisions- don’t be- they have only a few months ago happily joined with Sinn Fein in re-appointing John Larkin as Attorney General.


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