Tuesday 25 October 2016

Blind eye to IRA crime is behind two garda deaths

Dublin and London have effectively ceded control of the border corridor to vicious IRA gangsters, writes Jim Cusack

Published 18/10/2015 | 02:30

STATE FUNERAL: Over 4,500 officers follow the remains of colleague Garda Tony Golden after his funeral in Blackrock, Co Louth. Photo: Mark Condren
STATE FUNERAL: Over 4,500 officers follow the remains of colleague Garda Tony Golden after his funeral in Blackrock, Co Louth. Photo: Mark Condren

Garda Tony Golden's murderer was one of the violent petty criminals who had hopes of becoming one of the IRA's 'made men' in the border area.

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Crevan Mackin was closely associated with members of the gang, formerly based in the Cullyhanna area in the heart of 'republican' south Armagh, that murdered Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe in January 2013.

One member of this gang, who is believed to have been present when Det Garda Donohoe was shot at point-blank range, is a close relative of, and works for, one of the IRA's top diesel smugglers and money launderers.

Privately, gardai say that one reason they have been unable to bring Det Garda Donohoe's murderers to book is the notorious rule of 'Omerta' that is still allowed to exist under IRA control in the border region centred on south Armagh. Detectives also say it is no coincidence that two gardai have been murdered in the same district in less than three years. The IRA leadership operates a criminal network that bears a striking resemblance to the old-fashioned mafia mob rule in the US.

Mackin and his associates were violent petty criminals who were working their way up the 'republican' criminal world, seeking the attention and approval of the IRA leadership by 'earning' from their own criminal endeavours and 'kicking up' money to the local under-bosses.

In turn, they hoped to become more important figures in the organisation and eventually one of the millionaire gangsters whose control extends along the border corridor. These are the actual IRA 'made men' who live in the extravagant mansions, drive 'flash motors' and control the border area. The plotlines of the Provo gangsterism story would be immediately familiar to anyone who watched the HBO TV series The Sopranos.

This Irish mafia has emerged from the settlement between the British and Irish governments and the IRA and Sinn Fein over the 'cessation' of IRA terrorism against the British and Irish states 20 years ago. Whether or not a decision was made at senior level in both governments to effectively cede control of the nationalist areas along the Border and other parts of the North to the IRA remains a moot point. But the one discernible effect of the Good Friday and subsequent agreements on the border area has been the failure of effective policing and the consequent ceding of control to the IRA right along the Border.

The 'dissident' republican elements to which it is said Crevan Mackin claimed association are little more than a cover that has allowed the governments and media to pretend that the actual 'Provisional' IRA no longer exists.

This is the view held by gardai who have spoken on the basis of anonymity to the Sunday Independent.

The term 'subversive' rather than 'dissident' is being again used by gardai to cover a wide range of criminal-political activity along the Border, from the murder of the two gardai to the diesel-washing, cigarette-smuggling, laundering of huge amounts of currency and various other forms of organised crime.

The 'subversive' term, commonly used in the early part of the Troubles to describe broad IRA activity, is being used again because, alongside the actual criminal activity, there is also the infiltration and corruption of government on both sides of the Border.

The Garda Special Branch is aware of the identities of the moles the IRA has infiltrated into government - from local authorities up to senior positions in key government departments. Most are non-IRA figures, who have either been bribed or otherwise coerced into working for the IRA but some are actual IRA members or 'volunteers'.

The Special Branch has never held with the notion that the IRA has 'gone away' but merely that it has changed its modus operandi and is seeking the subversion of the Republic by different methods - using its huge criminal earnings and influence inside the structures of the State, the media, trade unions and academia to undermine and eventually overthrow what they still term the '26-county State'. This has been greatly assisted by the pursuance of a policy referred to under the 1998 and other agreements as 'security normalisation'. This was in direct response to Sinn Fein's demands for what it termed an 'end to political policing', which was manifested in the closing down of the old Royal Ulster Constabulary Special Branch.

The British side of this deal was carried through with the dissolution of the RUC Special Branch and the introduction of the UK spy agency, MI5, as the primary 'counter-terrorism' force in Northern Ireland.

MI5's role, according to gardai, has been to recruit and operate large numbers of informants within the ranks of the so-called dissidents.

This, sources in the North now say, has become a major headache in policing terms as many of these MI5-protected 'touts' are figures like Crevan Mackin, who are a general danger to society.

There are also other significant criminal legal issues at stake as the British spy agency operates outside the normal constraints on policing and is effectively unaccountable.

Its objective in stopping any further IRA terrorist attacks on Britain is helped by the deviation of the Provos into crime, rather than terrorism.

Though this has never been acknowledged, there has been de facto political acceptance of this situation at governmental level in both jurisdictions.

The fact that joint-policing is so ineffective that the criminal/terrorist activity along the Border has flourished is, apparently, regarded as the price the public and gardai have to pay for the ending of the IRA's campaign of political terrorism.

This continues in the absence of proper policing of the areas where the IRA wields control. The fact that a second garda has now been murdered by members of the same criminal/subversive group operating out of south Armagh is no coincidence.

IRA 'terrorism' may have ended but it has been replaced by IRA gangsterism and both states have let it happen.

Sunday Independent

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