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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bogey at St Andrews

I'm still attempting to digest the latest version of the only deal in town presented at St Andrews yesterday evening.

But even if the DUP and Sinn Fein sign up to it, my first impressions leave me with that sinking feeling that we're into yet another round of proposal-vote-assembly-brinksmanship-collapse with no real change of benefit to the people of Northern Ireland.

The text includes a number of bogies, not the least of which is this little gem:
"The great majority of national security agents will be run by the PSNI, under the strategic direction of the Service, mirroring the arrangements the Service has with the police in GB.
This makes sense in NI in particular because of the interface between serious crime and national security; the police also have the advantage of local knowledge.
The Security Service will continue to run directly a small number of agents
who are authorised to obtain information in the interests of national security as distinct from countering criminality, where the circumstances make that appropriate."
So we'll still have MI5 and Special Branch running agents, shall we? Lovely. Sadly, the document makes no mention of whether they'll be running entire paramilitary outfits, authorising murders, infiltrating political parties or simply looking for Al-Qaeda in Magherafelt.

But hey, we'll get a freeze on the current stratospheric house rates and a victims' commissioner, so that's all right then.


WorldbyStorm said...

Have to say I agree with you re: the security dimension, this could ultimately lead to even greater 'competition' between PSNI and security services. I wonder if there is a secret protocol that SB in the Republic are also allowed to run agents (in the interests of parity)...

JC Skinner said...

With a current budget of around 35 cents and a shiny apple, the Irish 'secret service' is unlikely to be running anything more high powered than a single retired copper in a Dublin Castle broom closet taking calls from Interpol.
But it would be lots of fun if the Shinners were to propose such a 'parity of esteem' venture, I'd think.

MelloBiafra said...

Considering the RUC record on agent handling you think this would be the perfect opportunity to slap the PSNI down and tell them to stick to POLICEWORK, like perhaps solving an occasional crime...e.g. who keeps burning down the B&Qs (I wonder....hmmmm!) and leave the spy stuff to those who are professionally inept...i.e. British Military Intelligence (arff! As if there is such a thing!!)

Anybody fancy Denis Donaldson's old Job!!!