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Northern Ireland Assembly

Tuesday 27 February 2001 (continued)

Security Forces: Alleged Collusion with Loyalist Paramilitaries


Mrs Nelis:

I beg to move

That this Assembly calls on the Secretary of State to initiate an independent public inquiry into allegations of collusion between the Royal Ulster Constabulary Special Branch, British Military Intelligence and Loyalist paramilitaries in the planning and murder of Catholics.

Mr Maskey:

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. It is my interpretation that the amendment to the motion is a direct negative of the motion itself. Is it a competent amendment?

Madam Deputy Speaker:

It is a competent amendment.

Mr Maskey:

Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Will you explain the rationale of that decision?

Madam Deputy Speaker:

The amendment deals with the same issue, but it moves on to congratulate the security forces. That is the difference.

Mrs Nelis:

Go raibh maith agat a LeasCheann Comhairle. For more than 30 years the British Government have been at the centre of allegations of collusion in what has been variously described as state killings, political murders, shoot to kill and sectarian assassinations.

Regardless of the terminology, the motion seeks to put the allegations to rest. It seeks to establish the truth about Britain's dirty war in Ireland; that is what has been going on in the past thirty years. Members on the Benches opposite would know all about that; they were involved heavily in it.

Mr Dodds:

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Before she really got into her speech, the Member started to make wild allegations against other Members that are untrue and have no foundation whatsoever. Can you use your powers to get her to rein in her wild allegations? As a supporter of IRA/Sinn Féin, she is prepared to turn a blind eye to the murders that they have carried out but continues to make wild, unsubstantiated and untrue allegations against other Members, some of whom have borne the brunt of IRA attacks. I appeal to you to take action.

Mr McLaughlin:

Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. May I remind the Member of the role that his party leadership played in setting up Ulster Resistance, a group that imported -

Madam Deputy Speaker:

That is not a point of order. I shall respond to the original point of order. No specific allegation was made about any Member of the House, but I would remind all participants in the debate to exercise caution and respect the dignity of the House at all times.

Mrs Nelis:

Britain's dirty war involved people in the highest echelons of Government, the British Army, the intelligence services and the RUC - in effect, the state. The guilt or innocence of that state in the planning and execution of the murder of 400 Nationalists - and some members of the Protestant and Unionist community, if that community would only acknowledge it - must be established. To establish the truth of the allegations, the Government should grasp the nettle and initiate the inquiry that the motion calls for.

There have been inquiries before. There was Stalker, whose inquiry was instructed by the RUC; there was the Sampson report, which was watered down and then suppressed by Paddy Mayhew for reasons of national security. Then there was Stevens. All those reports were about allegations of state murder.

The allegations of collusion and state involvement go back as far as the 1970s, when British Army intelligence, under the name "Military Reaction Force", recruited gangs - the UDA - to assassinate Republicans. The UDA gangs' tactics were predicated on the idea that any Catholic would do. They benefited from a policy of disinformation euphemistically named 'Clockwork Orange', in which military intelligence provided them with the information that they needed to assassinate Catholics and Nationalists.

There is a widespread belief that those involved in the Miami Showband killings, the killings at Silver Bridge in south Armagh, the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in 1974 and many more atrocities were working directly for RUC Special Branch and British military intelligence. It has taken the Dublin Government 26 years to set up an inquiry into the circumstances of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings; perhaps, the British should take a leaf out of the Dublin Government's book.

It is also widely believed that people in the British Government, through MI5 and MI6, their secret intelligence networks, must have known what was going on then and must know what is going on now.

2.15 pm

I believe that there are those in the British Government who know who murdered Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson and continue to cover the activities of Loyalist death squads. The British Government have consistently refused to answer questions on the role of the intelligence services and the activities of the death squads. What have they got to hide?

Questions have been put to them over the years by eminently renowned organisations such as Amnesty International - whose report criticising the British Government is widely available - the Helsinki Watch, United Nations rapporteurs, the United States Government's Human Rights Committee, the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), Relatives for Justice and the Pat Finucane Centre. All these creditable organisations are convinced that there is direct or indirect involvement of the British Government - through the intelligence services - with Loyalist death squads in the murder of Nationalists.

There is also mounting evidence that members of the British Government have, over the years, not only protected death squad operators but collaborated with high-ranking officials in the Northern Ireland Office, with the Chief Constable and with prominent Unionist politicians in the extensive cover-up of such activities. The deadly hand of collusion reaches far into the establishment. The assassins are protected by cosmetic investigations, non-prosecutions and curbing of inquests while the families and friends of those murdered have been subjected to harassment and intimidation by the RUC and the British Army. The victims of the death squads, even in death, are treated as less than equal.

The public face of the death squads, Brian Nelson, and his involvement with the British Force Research Unit - or "FRU", as it has become known - is well recorded by eminent journalists at the 'Daily Telegraph' and has been the subject of many documentaries. Nelson was involved in the South African arms shipment in 1988, which netted a huge haul of weapons including rifles, grenades and rocket launchers. The weapons were divided between the UDA, the UVF and Ulster Resistance - the organisation set up by the DUP.

In the six years prior to the arrival of the weapons, Loyalist paramilitaries murdered 71 Nationalists. In the six years following that delivery - from January 1988 until September 1994 - Loyalists murdered 229 Catholics, most of whom were innocent. Those killings were carried out in a brutal and sectarian manner.

Nelson was arrested by the Stevens inquiry - another cosmetic exercise by the British Government to quieten public outrage. Stevens "mark 1" was a spectacular failure, leaving Amnesty International to conclude in 1990 that

"it is obvious from all the evidence available that collusion remains a fact of life and the [British] Government is not prepared to confront it."

Stevens "mark II", which is inquiring into the assassination of Rosemary Nelson for doing her job as a lawyer and defending her clients, does not promise to deliver results either. It is clear that those who subverted Stalker and Sampson and all the other inquiries set up by the British Government to prevent the truth from emerging have a vested interest in subverting Stevens. The role of the death squads, the agencies behind them and the vested interests of the "securicrats" behind them must be made known.

According to the 'Irish News' today, 500 Republicans have been informed by the RUC that their lives are under threat after their personal details were found in the hands of Loyalists.

These documents, along with a quantity of firearms and ammunition, were recovered in searches in Loyalist areas. The documents could have come only from the same source that Nelson and the UDA got their documents from - namely, the intelligence services. It does not matter what name they use - whether it be the Force Research Unit (FRU) or the pseudo-gangs - these intelligence services are providing for and colluding with Loyalist paramilitaries in the assassinations of innocent people. There is further evidence of collusion and further evidence that Britain's dirty war in Ireland continues unabated. Collusion is not abstract; it is real. It has filled the graveyards with our young and our old, with our mothers and our children. The British Government must speak the truth. They must tell us what the relationship is between the British Government and the FRU - [Interruption]

Madam Deputy Speaker:


Mrs Nelis:

What is the relationship between the FRU and the RUC? What is the relationship between the FRU and the British Army? What is the relationship between the FRU and some Members in this Chamber?

Mr S Wilson:

I beg to move the following amendment: Delete all after "Assembly" and add

"rejects allegations of collusion between the RUC Special Branch, British Military Intelligence and Loyalist Paramilitaries and congratulates the security forces, who have striven to uphold law and order in Northern Ireland in the face of a sectarian campaign of murder directed by IRA/Sinn Féin in collusion with others."

I put down the amendment to ensure that the wild imaginations of Sinn Féin - in their attempts to blacken the security forces in Northern Ireland - do not go unanswered. Furthermore, I want to ensure that it is put on public record that if a party in Northern Ireland can be rightfully accused of collusion in sectarian murders, it is the party opposite.

By tabling the motion, Sinn Féin has to a certain extent, shot itself in the foot - although some people may prefer it politically shot itself in other ways.

At the beginning of the debate, Sinn Féin tried to have the amendment ruled out of order - out of embarrassment obviously, as it knew what would come after Mary Nelis's speech. Sinn Féin knew that putting the motion down was a mistake, because it would give both a platform and an opportunity to put the spotlight on the real guilty parties in Northern Ireland - those who really have been involved in colluding in murder across the Province, those who, unfortunately, because of present political circumstances, have now been elevated to a situation in which they are allowed to sit in the Assembly.

Anybody who listens to the imaginative outpourings of Mary Nelis - who makes Walter Mitty sound rather dull - can only be astounded at her degree of ingenuity. In her usual bitter and twisted way, she spits out the words like machine-gun bullets. She uses phrases like "the British Government's collusion in sectarian murder" and "the British Government's dirty war in Ireland". Unfortunately, that is an almost weekly diet of poison that is put into the system in Northern Ireland by the Member opposite and her party.

It is little wonder that in Nationalist areas in Northern Ireland the job of policing is made more difficult when that kind of poison is injected into our society. That poison is based on nothing other than the vivid imagination of members of IRA/Sinn Féin, backed up by the pseudo-legal groups that they gather around them. Then they talk about credible witnesses.

I want to deal today with the question of collusion in sectarian murder. I want to ensure that the finger of accusation is properly pointed at those who sit in the Assembly and who have been guilty of a bitter sectarian campaign over the last 30 years. I am not going to rely on my own views, or even on the views of Unionist commentators, but on the admissions of their fellow travellers and on the admissions of some people who are sitting in the House today. Their own people have pointed the finger of accusation at the sectarian nature of the organisation that IRA/ Sinn Féin so proudly represent. Indeed, Members of the House have served prison sentences for their activities in that organisation.

We often hear that the campaign of murder waged by the IRA over the last 30 years is not directed at their Protestant neighbours. We get the nauseating outpourings from members of Sinn Féin. I remember one occasion when the leader of Sinn Féin looked across to this side of the House and said "I want to be your friend." That is the way in which they try to hide their sordid sectarian past. Yet some of their own activists, sickened by the way that their organisation behaved, have pulled the lid off the kind of picture of themselves that they like to present - that they were fighting a war against British imperialism, but they never really meant to hurt Protestants. They were never really engaging in a campaign against other people who were their neighbours on this island. Let me quote from one who served on the Army Council of the IRA, and who was for a long time active along the Tyrone border. He was engaged in acts of terrorism, including murder, and he talks about his experience with those who carried out those acts. He said

"Inevitably the conversations I had with local IRA men and sympathisers 'the Prods' or 'the Orangies' centred around and it was becoming clear to me that Provisional IRA were in reality representatives of the Catholic 'defender' tradition. Irish Nationalism and Irish Catholicism was deep and complex. There was a deep and ugly hatred, centuries old, behind it all. The local IRA men would rather shoot a Protestant neighbour who was in the UDR or the police reserve."

He went on to say that when he went to the camp to be trained as a terrorist he was driven to a hotel called Carrigart

"Where we were awaited by Pat Doherty".

He nicknamed him "Smiler". We have seen the smiling face of Pat Doherty on many occasions in the House.

2.30 pm

He says

"The darker side of the character can be judged from his other nickname, 'Papa Doc', after Papa Doc Duvallier, the infamous Haitian dictator".

What was his role in that training camp? According to Sean O'Callaghan, at that stage he was the quartermaster for the IRA in Donegal where he was responsible for training camps and bomb factories. What were the bombs used for? Were they used for fireworks displays or for making bangs to scare people? These bombs were planted around towns, houses and roads in Northern Ireland to do what? To murder Protestants.

Yet we have the audacity of IRA/Sinn Féin today pointing the finger of accusation at the British Government, when in reality their own "smiling" members were involved in a campaign that led to hundreds of Protestants being killed along the border. That is not according to the view of Sammy Wilson, or even the RUC, but one of their own colleagues. We will always hear the argument that those who were killed, even if they were Protestants, were only killed because they were policemen or UDR men.

An interesting book on the involvement of the IRA in south Armagh is called "Bandit Country: The IRA and South Armagh" by Toby Harnden. I will refer to some of the people who sit in the House and who were involved with people in south Armagh. Unfortunately one of them has fled - gone on the run from the debate - and I would like to have quoted a few words to him.

In that book, commentary is made on the Tullyvallen and Kingsmills massacres, which were an embarrassment to those who claimed that their motives were not sectarian. They claimed that the massacres were the action of a splinter group - the Catholic Reaction Force. How often have we heard that since 1998? Let us look at the evidence. Eleven people were killed at Kingsmills and five at Tullyvallen. An IRA man from Cullyhanna was caught for the Tullyvallen massacre and he admitted his involvement. It was not the South Armagh Republican Action Force, but the Provisional IRA. One of their own people was caught and convicted.

The forensic analysis of the ballistics showed that several of the weapons used at Kingsmills had also been used at Tullyvallen, in a series of previous IRA operations, and in IRA operations for two decades afterwards. They may try to say that it was the work of a splinter group and nothing to with them because they do not involve themselves and collude in sectarian campaigns. However, the act was authorised by Séamus Twomey and was carried out by Provisional IRA activists.

Here is an odd thing. One would think that those in IRA/Sinn Féin would love to distance themselves from that incident. What do we find when there was some dissatisfaction among the very people in Cullyhanna who were unhappy about IRA/Sinn Féin's involvement in the so-called peace process?

None other than Mr Molloy went down to reassure them. What was his message to them? Do not forget that these are people who had been involved in a sordid, murdering sectarian campaign in south Armagh. What was his assurance to them?

"This phase of negotiations may fall apart, it may not succeed. And whenever that does happen -"

Did they distance themselves from all the acts in Kingsmills, Tullyvallen and Mountain Lodge? No.

"And whenever that does happen, then we simply go back to what we know best."

There is not even embarrassment about what they did in their sordid campaign. The collusion goes beyond the collusion between members of the party opposite and those who carried out these sordid acts. We find that they also had the help of the gardaí in the Irish Republic. The most notorious example of that was the murder of Ch Supt Breen. Members of the gardaí admitted that they were ashamed because he had been set up by one of their own people in Dundalk.

Lest we think that only individual members of the authorities in the Irish Republic were involved in that, I will show that the collusion went even deeper.

I am glad to see Mr John Kelly -

Madam Deputy Speaker:

Will the Member consider bringing his remarks to a close?

Mr S Wilson:

I am finishing. I am glad to see Mr Kelly here. He could not return to Northern Ireland for 15 years. Why? He could not return because he was involved in importing arms. According to 'Magill' magazine, Mr Kelly freely acknowledged his involvement in the attempted gunrunning. His defence was that he believed that the operation had been officially sanctioned. Again we find that there was collusion in the killing of Protestants not just at the lower reaches of the gardaí but at the highest echelons of the Irish Government. The importing of arms was not so that people could walk about Northern Ireland being macho men. Those guns were brought into Northern Ireland to carry out the sectarian killings to which I referred.

Madam Deputy Speaker, I am going to finish now. It is little wonder that Alex Maskey tried to have the amendment stopped today, because IRA/Sinn Féin does not like the spotlight of scrutiny to be placed upon the collusion between terrorists, gardaí and the Irish Government in a campaign that led to thousands of Protestants being killed in Northern Ireland. The police force, over those 30 years, has done a sterling job in seeking to protect the community. It is a scandal that we now have people elevated to the House - elevated to the Government - who can spew out that kind of vile propaganda.

Madam Deputy Speaker:

Given the number of Members who have indicated that they wish to speak in the debate, which has been allocated two hours, I advise Members to restrict their contributions to five minutes.

Mr McGimpsey:

It is fair to say, having listened to Mrs Nelis - and not for the first time - that Sinn Féin continues to be a keen practitioner of the art of black propaganda. As the old proverb goes, "Truth is the first casualty in war." That has certainly been clear over the past 25 years as we have listened to Sinn Féin excusing the actions of the Republican organisation, the Provisional IRA.

This is a mischievous motion. It is deliberately misleading propaganda. The evidence being given is based on hearsay and is made up of a series of allegations masquerading as fact. I totally reject Mrs Nelis's contention. I have heard nothing from Mrs Nelis to alter my opinion that we are dealing with a series of inventions from an organisation that has a shameful responsibility for the deaths of over 2,000 people in the past 25 years.

Two thirds of those who have died over the past 25 years were killed at the hands of the Provisional movement; and among those were some 500 Catholics. Over the past 25 years, more Catholics died at the hands of the IRA than at the hands of any other organisation. Although the motion appears to have been moved out of concern for the Catholic community, innocent Catholics also died at the hands of Republicans. The so-called protectors of the Catholic community have been among its greatest tormentors.

The motion alleges collusion. I will not pretend that I can answer for every individual in the security forces over the past 25 years. I know, for example, that there was collusion between the IRA and the gardaí in the murder of two senior RUC officers, Breen and Buchanan, as they returned back across the border from Dundalk. I also know that collusion between the IRA and a prison officer resulted in the murder of a prison governor.

The suggestion that, over the past 30 years, there was collusion on a stronger scale than that, or that there was official collusion, is simply nonsense, demonstrable nonsense. I completely reject that suggestion. If that is the case, how is it, for example, that the number of Loyalists convicted of serious crimes, including murder, far outstripped the number of Republicans who faced the judicial process. The number of Loyalists who have gone to prison as a result of that process was many times greater than the number of Republicans who paid the price in the courts.

If official collusion had taken place, how does one explain these facts? If there was collusion, why were Loyalists terrorists made accountable at all? If there was collusion, why, when they were made accountable, did Loyalists not spill the beans in response to an arrest that they would have seen as a double-cross? It is clear that there were no such incidences of collusion, in spite of the allegations.

These are easy allegations to make, but if the state organisations had decided to practise collusion or to take direct action, they had the skills and capacity simply to eradicate all terrorists. Republicans fail to appreciate that individuals in organisations, such as the RUC, are personally bound by the rule of law. The rule of law is paramount to them, and Republicans seem to fail to appreciate that there are people in this society who will not step over that line. Unlike the IRA and such organisations in many other countries, individuals in state organisations - for example, the RUC - are bound by law. If it had been otherwise, many Members of the House, who have been at the top of the IRA at various times, would not have survived.

Mrs Nelis stated that the RUC has today issued 500 warnings to people who are on a Loyalist death list - [Interruption].

Madam Deputy Speaker:

Five minutes.

2.45 pm

Mr McGimpsey:

I will finish in two seconds. This is an important point.

The Member suggests that that information came from a usual source and that it is evidence of collusion.

That list of people was downloaded from a Republican prisoners organisation by the Loyalist organisation concerned. I have seen the list. The Republican prisoner's organisation listed their prisoners' names, dates of birth, towns of origin and dates of release and asked Americans to give them support. Now, that is an example of the fallacy and fictious nature of the so-called evidence of collusion.

Mr A Maginness:

Listening to some of these comments, I am reminded of these words from the gospel:

"And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

We should bear that in mind when debating the motion and the amendment today.

The motion and the amendment are symptomatic of the selective view of our recent history that prevails in society and indeed in the Assembly. Both motion and amendment are selective in nature and partisan, and both are concerned with shaping one version of our history. Our history is in fact complex, and no one side in our conflict is without blame. Both traditions share the blame for the conflict that has caused so much death and injury in such a small part of western Europe. Of course, there are good grounds for suspecting that there was collusion between the security forces and Loyalist paramilitaries in a number of incidents. The murder of solicitor Pat Finucane is one example, and we as a party have striven hard to try to find a public forum for an inquiry into the circumstances of his murder. The public good would be served by a public inquiry to establish the truth, to establish whether there was collusion, and that would be a service to all.

The motion is not concerned with the truth, but with establishing a version of the truth. The truth is that 3,600 people lost their lives in the troubles. The truth is that 1,065 Protestants and 1,548 Catholics died, and 1,000 of unknown religious affiliation died as well. Republican paramilitaries were responsible for 2,000 of those deaths. Loyalist paramilitaries were responsible for about 1,000 deaths. The British Army was responsible for 318 deaths, and the RUC for 53 deaths. Loyalist paramilitaries were responsible for the deaths of 735 Catholics. The British Army was responsible for the death of 266 Catholics. The RUC was responsible for the deaths of 43 Catholics, and Republican paramilitaries were responsible for the deaths of 381 Catholics. Tell me: who is to blame? Is it the RUC? Is it the UDA? Is it the IRA? Who is to blame?

What is required is that we abandon our subjective versions of our common history and attempt to create a wider understanding of what befell our long suffering community. We must learn the lessons of our bloody history. We must learn the lesson that violence cannot achieve anything positive and that violence must be firmly placed in the past by both traditions, not just by one. Both traditions in our society must share the blame.

We should examine our history, both individually as citizens and legislators and collectively as a society. Perhaps in the future when our politics have matured we can find some way of establishing the objective truth of our history and use that to heal the divisions and to bind the wounds in our society rather than use history to create more divisions and more wounds.

Mr Shannon:

I support the DUP amendment and reject the allegation of collusion made by IRA/Sinn Féin. Instead, I wish to throw the focus back on IRA/Sinn Féin and its campaign of sectarian hatred that has resulted in the death of over 3,000 people in the Province. Mr Maginness gave a breakdown of who killed whom. The fact of the matter is that the IRA campaign led to the killing of more than 3,000 people. Lay the blame where it should lie: with the perpetrators of a murder campaign that has resulted in heartache and sorrow for so many families.

One must also record, as other Members have, that the IRA was responsible for the murder of some of its co-religionists. Indeed, it was responsible for the murder of most of them. That speaks volumes, given today's motion. Moreover, IRA/Sinn Féin has expelled people from the Province. The families asked if they could return, and when they come back, IRA/Sinn Féin became involved in their demise. As a result of standing up to the godfathers they were murdered. Roman Catholics who have served in the security forces have also been murdered. The campaign that the IRA has been involved in has been very direct.

We must salute the sacrifice made by the RUC, the most maligned police force in Europe. It was thrust into the forefront of a terrorist campaign orchestrated by the IRA who murdered its officers, both male and female, of both religions. The RUC's Special Branch played an important and significant role against terrorism from both sides in the Province. That IRA/Sinn Féin is so intent on its removal speaks volumes about the success that it had against IRA terrorism.

A story in 'The Observer' at the weekend referred to MI5's taking over the special role that Special Branch once had. If that is the case we would welcome it, so long as the Government do not interfere in the strategy or overall policy pursued by MI5.

Can we also recognise the excellent work that those in the UDR and the RIR have done as well, whether in a part-time or full-time role? The British Army - our army - has been involved in policing the Province. Little or no evidence has been given today to show that any collusion occurred. Many inside and outside the Chamber who have served in the British Army were proud to wear that uniform, and they feel especially aggrieved that such an allegation should be made.

Other investigations into collusion have taken place and have never at any stage been able to prove the allegations. They have been very costly. We should also deny the slur and the innuendo that have been made and fermented by IRA/Sinn Féin. We must consider the sectarian campaign that IRA/Sinn Féin carried out along the border. It targeted the eldest sons of Protestant families, shot the fathers, burned the farms, bombed the houses and intimidated them to leave. That was a direct sectarian campaign, and many of us who lost loved ones know all about it.

Yes, the IRA has colluded with others to carry out the campaign and has specifically targeted Protestants and their families. Yet, as I mentioned earlier, the IRA has killed so many of its fellow religionists. The motion that Danny Kennedy moved a short time ago related to the collusion between the gardaí and some Republicans. We should commit that to our memory because it is important. It has been well documented, and we are still demanding and waiting for the investigation, which will show that there was collusion at the highest level.

IRA/Sinn Féin has been involved in a most horrific campaign of murder. It has been blatantly sectarian, as the facts and figures, all the evidence, all the history and all the heartache and pain of all those families testify.

The security forces - the RUC, Special Branch, British military intelligence - deserve our sincere gratitude. They have been a bulwark between law-abiding citizens and the anarchy that Sinn Féin/IRA thrives on and relishes. The security forces deserve our thanks, and we reject totally any spurious allegations of collusion that have not been, and cannot be, proven. There is no substance whatsoever to the motion put forward by Sinn Féin today.

I urge Members to support the DUP amendment.

Mr McLaughlin:

A LeasCheann Comhairle, two issues face us today. I remind the Assembly that a few weeks ago we debated a motion that was proposed by the Ulster Unionist Party, which called for an inquiry into alleged collusion between the Garda Síochána and the IRA. The Assembly decided to support that motion. Unless Members are openly approaching this issue from the perspective of partisan and sectarian logic, the Assembly must support the motion proposed by my Colleague Mrs Nelis for the sake of consistency alone.

There is a second issue. The amendment cannot be supported simply on the basis of the volume of evidence, some of it emanating from the British Government and British Government operatives, that there was collusion, that it was institutionalised, and that it resulted in members of this society's being murdered by Loyalist sectarian gangs.

That may not matter to some people in the Assembly. We listened to the titters of the DUP/Ulster Resistance when Mary Nelis outlined some of the horrendous consequences of that collusion. They thought that it was funny, but the murder of Nationalists is not funny, and it is certainly not for the DUP to belittle it and to humiliate the relatives of those who were cruelly murdered by Loyalist sectarian murder gangs, over whom, given court testimony, they have had considerable influence over the years. Do not just take my word for it; listen to those who have ended up in court, regretting that they listened to the words of DUP leaders.

Logically, the amendment cannot be supported, and I regret Michael McGimpsey's comments; I expected more of him. He knows that the information that sustains the demands for inquiries into the formal involvement of British Army regiments and units in the murder of people in this society is irrefutable. It cannot be denied. Evidence of collusion will emerge eventually. It cannot be suppressed.

However, Mr McGimpsey knows that the British Government have been forced to resort to Public Immunity Certificates. He knows that because Loyalist paramilitaries confessed that the RUC Special Branch concealed the evidence in the case of William Stobie for ten years. When the evidence finally emerged, what did they do? They immediately arrested William Stobie in an attempt to intimidate him. Those people have much evidence to share with us about the role of the RUC Special Branch and the role of British military intelligence. Fair-minded people in the Assembly listening to the debate know that you cannot deny what is undeniable. The collusion happened. It was in an institutionalised form -

Mr McGimpsey:

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. The Member appears to be directing many of his comments to me. He is alleging that I know something that he cannot prove, which I deny. For him to stand here and say that I know is nonsense, and I ask him to use a different form of rhetoric. Perhaps he will revert to - [Interruption].

Madam Deputy Speaker:

That is not a point of order.

Mr McLaughlin:

Perhaps Michael McGimpsey should have chosen his words more carefully and with more certainty because he did, in fact, deny the undeniable. I regret that, and I prefaced my comments on that basis. I expected more from you, some even-handedness. We know that the information that has emerged about collusion is simply -

Madam Deputy Speaker:

Will the Member please address his remarks through the Chair.

Mr McLaughlin:

I thought that I was doing that.

Members of the Assembly know that the information that has surfaced on collusion is simply the tip of the iceberg. When the full story comes to light - and it most certainly will - I urge people to choose their comments very carefully.

The information cannot be suppressed indefinitely, and when it emerges it will be a huge story.

3.00 pm

We know that the then British Attorney-General, Sir Patrick Mayhew, who later became the Secretary of State here, secured a deal with Brian Nelson so that Nelson did not have to take the witness stand during his trial. Why? It was because Nelson would have testified about his recruitment by British Intelligence while he was a member of the British Army. He was recruited to become a member of the Loyalist paramilitaries. He would have then testified about his role - under the direction of British Intelligence - in directing murder.

Colonel J, or, to give him his correct name and title, Col Gordon Kerr - who has been recognised and rewarded by the British Government - was noticeably silent, when he gave evidence at that trial, about Nelson's direct involvement in many murders. Nelson had originally been charged with 10 murders and involvement in 16 attempted murders. All of those charges were mysteriously dropped.

Ulster Resistance was founded by the DUP. We all remember the red berets. Ian Paisley, Peter Robinson, and Gregory Campbell - a Minister in the Assembly - were associated with that. No one disputes that Ulster Resistance imported weapons from South Africa that were subsequently used to murder innocent Catholics in the community. Those are the facts. That evidence is there - like it or not.

There are people in the Assembly who have had roles in the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) and who could tell us many stories. They could perhaps tell us who murdered Patrick Kelly in County Tyrone. Which UDR patrol was it? There are people here who know that information, and they should share it with us.

All that has fanned the flames of insurrection, violence and conflict. That selective approach will not work - the truth will come out. I urge the Assembly to support the motion and to reject the lie that the amendment will perpetuate.


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