Dissident republicans will ‘undoubtedly’ try to exploit Hard Border, says Harris

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris (right), Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan (centre) and RUC/PSNI acting deputy chief constable Stephen Martin, at the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle, Co.Down, during the cross-Border conference on organised crime. Photograph: Brian Lawles/PA Wire

Dissident republicans will “undoubtedly” attempt to exploit any form of hard border post-Brexit for their own ends, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said.

While it was “inconceivable” the close co-operation between the Garda and PSNI in fighting crime and terrorism would cease next March after Brexit, there were security risks associated with the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU.

These included attempts by dissident republicans to use any form of hard border as an emotional rally calling around their outlook and terrorist aspirations. Illegal immigration and people smuggling were also a worry.

“It’s something they may wish to rally around,” Mr Harris said when asked of dissidents would seek to exploit any form of hard border.

“Undoubtedly, they will attempt to do that. But we have to make sure as policing organisations that we don’t create any form of emotional driver that they want to tie into.”

Mr Harris was speaking at a cross-Border crime conference involving the Garda and the PSNI in Newcastle, Co Down.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris (left) and RUC/PSNI temporary deputy chief constable Stephen Martin address the media during the cross-Border conference on organised crime Newcastle, Co.Down on November 7th. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

At the same meeting, acting PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin also expressed his concern at any return to a hard border that would look different to the seamless and invisible border at present.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan echoed those sentiments, saying he had stopped at the Border on his way to the conference and had difficulty establishing exactly where it ran.

“It is absolutely essential that we have a [Brexit] deal and secondly that that deal ensures that the Border between North and South remains frictionless, that we have no return to the borders of the past or no hard border,” he said.

Many living along the Border fear of any physical infrastructure being erected along what will be the border between an EU and non-EU country after Brexit, that it would be a target for terrorism attack.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar recently brought a copy of The Irish Times to distribute to EU leaders at a dinner in Brussels. The newspaper contained a large feature about the concerns of locals in borderland communities that attacks such as bombings may resume of border infrastructure were installed.

Senior Garda sources have told The Irish Times they are very concerned that when Britain restricts ways for foreign nationals to live and work there, Ireland may be seen as a new soft route into mainland Britain.

The same sources said people may enter the Republic and register as asylum seekers with the sole aim of crossing the Border into the North and then travelling by ferry across to Scotland to illegally enter Britain.

Garda officers are concerned significant fees will be charged by gangs offering the smuggling, adding greatly enhanced security and immigration checks will be required within the common travel area for the first time.

Both Mr Harris and Mr Martin said illegal immigration and human trafficking would be a priority through and after the Brexit process.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan speaking at the conference. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Asked if a transit route would emerge involving landing in the Republic and travelling through the North into mainland Britain, Mr Martin said that form of illegal immigration or people smuggling was already a risk. Human trafficking was a “sinister and awful crime”.

Mr Harris added it was important for the PSNI and the Garda to remain attuned to a changing security environment due to Brexit.

“No matter what happens after Brexit we have to be very aware how the threat from organised crime might change,” he said.

“Obviously immigration crime and human trafficking is part of that and it is a priority for both organisations.”

Mr Harris and Mr Martin both believed that after Brexit a new legislative framework would be found to allow for Garda-PSNI co-operation such as sharing intelligence and suspects’ criminal records and arresting suspects in a way facilitated by the European arrest warrant at present.

Deal or No Deal: countdown to Brexit continues as the March 29th deadline fast approaches.

With many thanks to: The Irish Times  for the original story.

DUP criticises Theresa May following backstop letter

Arlene Foster claims British PM is ‘wedded to Irish Sea border’ after update on EU proposal

Theresa May faces a fresh Brexit headache after a letter to the DUP on the backstop risked a rift with her unionist allies.

Following receipt of the letter, DUP leader Arlene Foster said the prime minister appeared “wedded to the idea of a border down the Irish Sea” despite Downing Street’s assurances to the contrary.

The letter suggests the EU’s fallback proposal aimed at avoiding a hard Border between the North and the Republic, regardless of whether the UK and the EU reach a Brexit deal, would effectively keep Northern Ireland aligned with Brussels’s customs union and single market.

The leaked letter from Ms May to Ms Foster and her deputy Nigel Dodds sets out Ms May’s approach.

It states that Ms May wants a “backstop” measure which would create a temporary “joint customs territory” with the EU for the whole of the UK.

In the letter, obtained by The London Times, Ms May said: “I am clear that I could not accept there being any circumstances or conditions in which that ‘backstop to the backstop’, which would break up the UK customs territory, could come in to force.”

But the DUP has interpreted the wording of her letter to mean that the measure will be contained in the Brexit divorce deal.

Ms Foster said: “The prime minister’s letter raises alarm bells for those who value the integrity of our precious union and for those who want a proper Brexit for the whole of the UK.

“It appears the prime minister is wedded to the idea of a border down the Irish Sea, with Northern Ireland in the EU single market regulatory regime.”

The prime minister relies on the support of the DUP’s 10 MPs for her Commons majority, votes which may become crucial when she attempts to get a Brexit deal through parliament.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The prime minister’s letter sets out her commitment, which she has been absolutely clear about on any number of occasions, to never accepting any circumstances in which the UK is divided into two customs territories.

“The government will not agree anything that brings about a hard Border on the island of Ireland.”

Any version of the backstop would apply unless and until a wider UK-EU deal on a future relationship resolved the issue of how to avoid a hard Border in Ireland. – PA

Deal or No Deal: countdown to Brexit continues as the March 29th deadline fast approaches.

With many thanks to: The Irish Times for the original story


Key figures from worlds of Business, sport and arts sign letter to taoiseach on Brexit

A letter to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

A Thaosigh, a chara,

In December 2017 you made a commitment to Irish citizens in the north:

“To the nationalist people in Northern Ireland, I want to assure you that we have protected your interests throughout these negotiations. Your birth right as Irish citizens, and therefore as EU citizens, will be protected. There will be no hard border on our island. You will never be again left behind by an Irish Government. These rights will, of course, be available to everyone in Northern Ireland who chooses to exercise his or her right to be an Irish citizen, regardless of their political persuasion or religious beliefs.” Leo Varadkar 8th December 2o17.


Your commitment and assurances assurances are welcomed by all who cherish their Irish citizenship and identity in the north.

However, almost a year latter, the denial of our rights continues.

The political institutions remain in suspension as political unionism continues to deney respect for our Irish identity and and language, marriage equality, access to justice for legacy matters. As you know, these rights are now taken for granted by citizens in other parts of these islands.

The British Conservative government has rendered itself unable to effect any progress on these rights issues due to its dependence on the DUP. Brexit threatens to deppen the rights crisis and there is a real danger of serious erosion of current guarantees.

Access to free healthcare in EU countries will be denied, including if an Irish citizen from the north requires medical treatment while on holiday or visiting friends and family in the south.

The cost of studying at any university in the south will increase substantially rendering this option closed to many young Irish citizens in the north.

Irish citizens in the north will no longer be represented in the European Parliament.

After Brexit occurs, there are presently no guarantees as to the mutual recognition of qualifications. This may affect an electrician wanting to work in Dublin. Or a nurse from Dublin wanting to work in Belfast.

There is a very real potential that potential that partition could be reinforced, and our country and our people further devided. This is a source of grave concern to all of us.

We, as Irish citizens, urge you to adhere to your commitment that we would “never again be left behind by an Irish Government” and to redouble your efforts, and the efforts of government, to ensure that our rights are protected.


Chuir siad siúd sa sa tuaisceart ar mór acu a saoránacht agus a bhféiniúlacht Éireannach, chuir siad sin fáilte roimh na gealltanais a thug tú.

Bliain ina dhiaidh sin, áfach, leanann leis an diúltú cert.

Tá na hinstitiúidí polaitiúla ar fionraí fós mar a dhiúlataíonn polaiteoirí aontachtacha meas a thabhairt ar Ghaeilge agus ar ár bhféiniúlacht Éireannach: ar an chomhionannas posts; agus ar chearta maidir leis an chóras dla, is cearta iad seo nach iontach le sioránaigh in áiteanna eile sna hoileáin seo.

De dheasca go bhfuil siad ag brath ar an DUP, nil an Rialtas Coimeádach sa Bhreatain ábalta aon dul chun a thabhairt i bhfeidhm i dtaobh na gceisteanna ceart seo.

De bharr Brexit, tá an bhagairt ann go rachaidh an ghéarchéim ceart in olcas agus go gcreimfear dearbhuithe reatha.

Diúltófar cúram sláinte saor in aisce do shaoránaigh i dtíortha san Aontas Eorpach; cuimsíonn sé sin an saoránach Éireannach ó thuaidh dá mbeadh cóir leighis ag teastáil air/uirthi agus é/í ar saoire nó ar cuairt ag daoine muinteartha sa deisceart.

Méadóidh an costas a bhaineann me duine ag freastal ar ollscoil sa deisceart: rud a scriosfaidh sin mar rogha do chuid mhór saorábach óg sa tuaisceart.

Ní dhéanfar ionadaíocht, níos mó, sa Parliament Eurpach ar son saoránaigh Éireannacha sa tuaisceart.

Ó thaobh cáilíochtai de, níl aon ghealltanas ann faoi láthair maidir le haitheantas frithpháirteach indiaidh Brexit. Is féidir go gcuirfidh sé sin isteach ar an leictreoir ar mhaith leis/lei bheith ag i mBaile Átha Cliath: nó ar an altra atá ag iarraidh post imBeal Feirste. 

Tá fíorchontúirt ann go neartófar an chríochdheighjlt, agus go scarfar ár dtír agus ár muintir níos arís. Is cúis mhór imní í sin ar fad.

Mar shaoránaigh Éireannacha, iarraimid ort cloí leis an choimitmint a thug tú Bach bhfágfaidh rialtas d’Eirnn ina dhiaidh muid “choiche Arís”. Iarraimid ORT do chuid iarrachtaí do rialtais a ghéarú lena a chinntiú go ndéanfar ár gcearta a chosaint.

Is Sinne

With many thanks to: The Irish News for the original story

Saudis execute Indonesian maid after she killed boss while being raped – NZ Herald


Follow this link to find out more and how Britain in compelsent on the war in Yemen: https://www.facebook.com/100003696034573/posts/2010178189065438/

Parties have no political will to restore Stormont

THE civil service is running the north. To be fair, it’s been doing this for quite a while but last week’s Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions Bill has now made it official.

During a press briefing, Northern Ireland Office officials stressed that the legislation would give civil servants no new powers. The bill would “clarify” the powers they already have, the officials said, which seemed to be at odds with what the word clarify actually means. Understandably, the people whose job it is to keep our public services running have become a little twitchy since the Court of Appeal upheld a judgement in July that civil servants did not have the power to make key decisions in the absence of ministers.

Long before that case it had become obivious  that the power vacuum at Storming had left almost any civil service decision open to legal challenges. But when the interim head of the civil service, David Sterling, warned over the summer that the ruling meant his staff might not be able to ask for roads to be closed for the North West 200 the rediculousness of the problem has became clear. Unfortunately, rather than clarify civil servants’ powers the new bill seems to have done the opposite.

Anxious to avoid any accusation of direct rule Karen Bradley has issued guidance to Stormont departments about what decisions they can and cannot take. The ‘guidance’, which includes helpful reminders that civil servents must act in the “public interest” or to “realise a significant public advantage” is about as useful as sitting a French exam while the teacher shouts random irregular verbs through a closed door. Granted, the civil service could do with some guidance.

The inquiry into the botched Renewable Heat Incentive scheme has exposed frightening levels of incompetence across several departments and a tendency for public servants to protect their fiefdoms at the expence of any wider interest. However, that guidance should come from elected represtatives, not from a disinterested secretary of state. The difficulty is that no-one seems to be pushing for the restoration of power-sharing. And the bill, which effectively allows the parties another 10 months’ grace before Stormont should be restored, only puts key

Rather than clarify civil servants’ powers the new bill seems to have done the opposite. The ‘guidance’ from Karen Bradley is about as useful as sitting a French exam while your teacher shouts random irregular verbs through a closed door

decisions on the long finger. At the media briefing at Stormont Castle to discuss the bill, NIO officials scrambled to put a positive spin on developments. One insisted that British prime minister Theresa May will meet parties over the next few months. Most of the journalists in the room could hardly hide their disbelief. Mervyn Storey and Christopher Stalford are more likely to request a private audience with Pope Francis in the Vatican than Mrs May is to bother with the north’s parties during the Brexit negotiations. Quite frankly, she has more important things to worry about.

Whatever catastrophe emerges from the UK’s exit from the EU on March 29th is likely to overshadow or power-sharing woes. And just as the government attempts to deal with that disaster, our politicians will be gearing up for the council elections on May 2nd. The new bill will give the parties until August before fresh elections may have to be called. But surely political will, not time, is the real issue. Senior civil servent Dr Andrew McCormick, who unfortunately for him had a front row seat as tensions over the RHI debacle led to the fall of Stormont, last week made an impassioned plea for power-sharing to be restored.

Not known for his emotional outbursts, Dr McCormick had to take a moment to compose himself as he reflected on what steps could be taken to ensure such a botched scheme never happen again. “I am a passionate believer in these institutions,” he said. “There’s a long way to go to build a stable way of working but that’s the task.”

He seemed much more engaged than Mrs Bradley who said she will meet party leaders in the coming weeks “to discuss the basis and process for further talks”. It was hardly a strong intervention. Granted there can be no new talks if there is no political engagement. But the absence of an assembly will not make the Brexit transition any eaiser. Sinn Féin can put up as many anti-Brexit posters as they like and the DUP can rage about ‘no border in the Irish Sea’ but their contributions are moot when the north has no voice at the table. The task ahead is clear. And the answer doesn’t lie in fudged bills at Westminster.

With many thanks to: Claire Simpson and The Irish News for the original posting. She can contacted here: c.simpson@irishnews.com

Is Bradley out of her depth, in denial or both?

SECRETARY of State Karen Bradley has been in her post for 10 months and in that time there has been nothing newsworthy about her tenure.

SoS Secretary of State Karen Bradley (left) with the wicked witch.

It is the lack of newsworthiness that has has led me to this column. In all the time that Ms Bradley has been in office she has managed to say absolutely nothing. Nada. In the North of Ireland, we are used to having the mediocre, the outcasts and the underachievers exiled from Whitehall to Stormont.

Some secretaries of state have been lucky as the North of Ireland gets a fair share of visiting dignitaries and famous people dropping in and being in the top job, the resident of Stormont House gets to greet them. So, if nothing else, a secretary of state will have an impressive array of celebrity pictures for their ego walls in Westminster. By all accounts, from those who know her, Karen Bradley is a pleasant and well meaning individual. Unlike her predecessor, the dour James Broken shire, Bradley smiles a lot on camera and at least gives a good impression of liking the job.

She isn’t Tory-posh and she went to a comprehensive school. So as far as Tories go, in the North of Ireland she should be able to get on with all sides. But unfortunately for Ms Bradley, she is by and large ignored by the nationalist community because of the toxicity created by the DUP stranglehold on the Conservative government. In fact, as a consequence of the supply and confidence deal, the secretary of state is rendered hopelessly incapable of being credible as an independent chair of any talks process.

No self-respecting nationalist from either Sinn Féin or the SDLP should consider entering any talks process without independent facilitators – at the very least – co-chairing or joint hosting by the secretary of state and the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs. Some political commentators in the English media have been pretty harsh in their assessment of Bradley as a cabinet minister. Here it is hard to say because there is nothing to judge her by. As proven by her dilatory approach to everything – but particularly to reducing MLA salaries – the secretary of state could qualify for a masters in procrastination. The Northern Ireland Office as led by the secretary of state has outlined several objectives for the department. These include: Making politics work; creating a more secure North of Ireland; growing the economy and a stronger society. Let’s put it this way. If these objectives were on an exam paper, it would be a grade Es all round for performance.

Certainly in making politics work and making society stronger, the NIO manages to make the stewardship of the RHI scheme look competent. It is possible to feel sorry for the secretary of state. She voted remain but has to implement a Brexit policy which is hugely damaging to the North of Ireland. Her recent speech on Brexit in the House of Commons showed that she is either way out of her depth on the subject as it affects the North of Ireland or that she is in complete denial. It’s probably both.

The business community and most in civic society in the North of Ireland have made it quite clear to both the NIO and Westminster that they want a soft landing from Brexit but they have been patronised or dismissed for their efforts.

In making politics work and making society stronger, the NIO manages to make the stewardship of the RHI scheme look competent

As a non-unionist there is something bizarre and unsettling watching a combination of Conservative and Unionist sowing the seeds of disunity throughout the UK. When the ‘Union’ finally breaks up, as it will, they can tell their children and grandchildren that they were the demolition mob who swung the wrecking ball of Brexit. It’s hard to credit but the Secretary of State is actually assisted in doing nothing by two junior ministers, Lord Duncan of Springbank and Shailesh Vara, who is an MP. You can be forgiven if you have never heard of them. They are about as visible in the North of Ireland as a white-rumped sandpiper.

Even more incredible is that Lord Duncan is patron of the LGBT+ Conservative group and as a minister in the NIO he holds responsibility for, among other things, ‘human rights and equality’. Interesting conversations lie ahead for this undercover minister now that the equality amendments put forward by Labour MPs Conor McGinn and Stella Creasy have been included in the misnamed ‘Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions Bill’. Of course, the bill is just another legislative fudge so the secretary of state can continue her policy of non-interference in a region for which she has responsibility.

With many thanks to: Tom Kelly and The Irish News for the original posting.

Brexit Highlights Denial Of Sovereign Rights

A letter from the President of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement – FRANCIS MACKY.

That appeared in The Irish News Friday October 26th 2018

Francis Mackey – President of 32CSM on the left marching along side the late Marian Price on the right

THE problems highlighted in the Brexit talks emphasise the violation of our sovereign rights as Irish citizens whereby we are forced to accept the will of the English people irrespective of whether we agree or not with their expressed view.

This position of having accept enforced British sovereignty as opposed to having our own sovereign rights upheld epitomises the real difficulty that the Brexit issue presents to our people.

The time is now for the British government to treat their Irish neighbours with respect at this difficult time and to look realistically at the underlying problem.

In public pronouncements there would appear to be consensus on having no hard border in Ireland. If these statements are genuine then the next logistical step to ensure no border is to address the issue of sovereignty.

To fully ensure no border is to address the issue of Irish sovereignty. To fully ensure no border and to fully uphold the rights of Irish citizens, it is time to end the British claim to sovereignty here and to work respectively as neighbours in our common interests.

The future of all the people on this island lies within its people and not in Westminster, therefore it is time to end the violation of our sovereign rights as Irish citizens.

With many thanks to: Francis Mackey – 32 County Sovereignty Movement (32CSM) Omagh, Co Tyrone.

Follow this link to find out more about the: 32 County Sovereignty Movement (32CSM)- https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/32_County_Sovereignty_Movement