Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness has said collusion in the PSNI/RUC police went “to the very top” following this week’s report which implicated the Special Branch in a decade-long campaign of sectarian murder in north Belfast.

Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan’s report found Special Branch officers gave killers immunity up to recent months and said they could not have done so “without the knowledge and support at the highest levels of the RUC and PSNI”.

“Collusion was a British policy,” said McGuinness. “It was about upholding the Union [with Britain] and its result was a campaign of State terrorism in Ireland.”

With his party controversially debating a motion on endorsing the PSNI police this weekend, the Sinn Féin chief negotiator also insisted that any serving members of the PSNI involved in the serial killings be “drummed out”.

On Wednesday, a Sinn Féin delegation led by Mr McGuinness held what were described as “urgent” talks with the 26-County Minister for Foreign Affairs in Dundalk.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr McGuinness said he believed the report was “the beginning of the process to uncover the full extent of collusion and the involvement of the most senior political figures in the British system in it.”

Mr McGuinness referred to a newspaper article this week in which former RUC/PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Raymond White admitted that British Ministers and senior officials were ‘regularly briefed’ on undercover operations and that he personally had briefed former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

“This goes right to the very top,” said Mr McGuinness.

“I impressed upon the Irish government today that a passive role on this issue is no longer an option for them. They must join with Sinn Féin and the families of those killed and injured through this British policy in demanding that the British government come clean.

“They must rigorously pursue those instances where the collusion policy directed from Whitehall resulted in attacks in the 26 counties. They must join with us in demanding that any serving members of the PSNI involved in this activity are drummed out of policing.”


Also this week, SDLP leader Mark Durkan used parliamentary privilege at Westminster to name three former heads of RUC/PSNI Special Branch who are believed to have refused to cooperate with the police ombudsman’s investigation into its murderous links to the UVF in north Belfast.

During Prime Minister’s Question Time, Mr Durkan criticised the three men for allegedly failing to take part in the investigation.

Mr Durkan added that collusion “was a fact, not a myth” and demanded former RUC/PSNI chief constable Ronnie Flanagan resign as ‘Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary’, a supervisory role over all British Crown police forces, including the PSNI.

In a spirited intervention, Mr Durkan challenged Mr Blair over the Ombudsman’s report showing that a serial killer “was protected by special branch and paid by the state for years”.

Anywhere else this would be a national scandal, Mr Durkan added, as he demanded: “Does the prime minister accept that collusion was a fact not a fiction? Is it not a disgrace that three former heads of special branch failed to co-operate with the Police Ombudsman’s investigation, Chris Albiston, Ray White and Freddy Hall, but two of them now attack her report and her office?

“Can Ronnie Flanagan, who presided over a culture of ‘anything goes but nobody knows’, be credible as the chief inspector of constabularies, and will the prime minister now rethink plans to install MI5 as continuity special branch in Northern Ireland beyond the reach of key powers of the Police Ombudsman?”

Tony Blair said while the British government regretted the state killings, it was important to “make sure that such a thing can never happen again and that obviously, as we are doing, we deal with those responsible”.

However, no details have yet emerged as to what actions, if any, are to be taken against those involved in the conspiracy.


Meanwhile, Sinn Féin may boycott the last day of the assembly next week after the DUP and UUP blocked plans to have a debate on the ombudsman’s report and collusion.

The SDLP and Sinn Féin had proposed a debate before the transitional assembly is dissolved but unionists rejected the move, accusing the nationalist parties of “political opportunism”.

Sinn Féin assembly member John O’Dowd later claimed the two unionist parties were guilty of “breath-taking hypocrisy and cowardice”.

While UUP spokesman “Lord” Ken Maginnis initially dismissed Mrs O’Loan’s findings as “rubbish”, the party was forced to backtrack following a meeting of the Policing Board.

However, DUP board member Ian Paisley junior claimed information in the report was “perhaps not as credible as some people have been led to believe”, while other unionists spoke of “rogue elements” in the RUC/PSNI.

Raymond McCord snr, who motiaved the Ombudsman’s investigation, has announced he will stand as an independent candidate in the Assembly elections scheduled for March 7th.

He said yesterday he wants to press sitting North Belfast unionists Nigel Dodds and Fred Cobain on the issue of police collusion with paramilitary death squads.

“I have yet to heat Unionist politicians call for the arrest of the murderers of my son and the other victims of this UVF murder gang,” said Mr McCord.

“We listened last night to good policemen confirm that the Special Branch was a law onto themselves and destroyed evidence.”

“Can Ian Paisley Junior and Lord Maginnis explain to me how these killers were allowed to operate with immunity? Rather than criticising the report, they would be better off trying to help the victims get justice.”

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© 2007 Irish Republican News