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Collusive behaviours January 19, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

There’s long been a trope on parts of the right in the UK and in certain other quarters about the RUC which has been all too generous to that organisation as a whole, and which regards the replacement by the PSNI as some sort of great wrong. Yet reading this report it is difficult not to feel that the eventual disbandment was essential for broader societal acceptance of policing.

An official investigation into police handling of loyalist paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland that resulted in 19 murders has identified “collusive behaviours” and “significant concerns” about officers’ conduct.

The long-delayed report by the Northern Ireland police ombudsman into the killings included an investigation into the circumstances around the 1993 Greysteel pub massacre, which left eight people dead and 19 injured.

All the attacks were carried out by the Ulster Defence Association/Ulster Freedom Fighters in the north-west of the island of Ireland between 1989 and 1993.

What’s particularly notable is how late in the conflict these attacks were. But also notable is how the RUC had information on potential targets which was not conveyed to a number of them.

While she said that there was no evidence that the RUC had prior knowledge of the attacks, the names of a number of people targeted in the attacks were discovered in loyalist “intelligence caches” between November 1989 and February 1992.

The police failed to warn a number of people their lives were at risk and in some cases did no assessment of the risk. That, she said, was a “contravention of RUC Force Orders”.

Of the 11 attacks investigated, seven involved the targeting of individuals whose names had appeared in the caches.


1. benmadigan - January 19, 2022

the RUC, particularly the B specials, were, from their inception, overwhelmingly accepted by Protestants/Unionists/Loyalists in NI. They were seen as “our boys and girls who could do no wrong” and had fought long, hard and well to oppose disloyal Catholics, nationalists and republicans . Hence the feeling that a “great wrong” had been done when they were replaced

On the other hand, they enjoyed an appalling reputation among catholics in the north as enablers of Loyalist anti-catholic violence and of British hardline opposition to nationalism and republicanism. They were perceived as an overwhelmingly sectarian force, with anti-catholic and anti-Irish sectarianism predominating over whatever “traditional” policing they carried out.

The perception was strong enough to ensure disbandment was crucial if Catholics were to accept policing in NI and thus the GFA settlement.

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2. roddy - January 19, 2022

The Loyalist “intelligence caches” were official montages of people compiled by that great misnomer “the security forces”

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3. Gearóid Clár - January 20, 2022

I appreciate it’s outside the remit of that report linked in the OP, but media reporting on these findings like that in the Guardian might at least include a sentence or two about the who and how of the procurement of the weapons used in attacks such as at Greysteel. The assault rifle didn’t appear out of thin air and wasn’t manufactured in the North’s old industrial centres.

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4. WorldbyStorm - January 20, 2022

And worth keeping in mind that the RUC was not in fact the RIC writ small but was a refounded organisation entirely even if it did appropriate the RIC infrastructure and many though far from all in the North. It was quite literally another new tradition rather than being a seamless continuity, not that the RIC was any great shakes.


EWI - January 20, 2022

It was quite literally another new tradition rather than being a seamless continuity, not that the RIC was any great shakes.

But the RUC themselves claimed descent from the RIC (this is the ostensible reason that some of them are involved with carry-on down here like the HARP society). And on the contrary, they clearly had a lot in common with the RIC ‘tradition’.

People were justifiably upset at plans to commemorate the Tans and the Auxiliaries, but the Good Old RIC ran death squads as well during the WoI, and were loyal in their service to Dublin Castle for decades before, including during the Land War and the Famine.

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