By Jamie Bryson
In a written response to a Freedom of Information request provided on 30th December 2021, the PSNI have formally confirmed in writing that their Paramilitary Crime Task Force (‘PCTF’) “do not investigate PIRA or the IRA”.
This formal admission of two-tier policing and de facto immunity for the IRA will come as no surprise to anyone who has closely followed the post-Patten development of policing. I am more surprised that no one in the PSNI had to wit to try and side-step having to make such a formal written admission.
Despite the PCTF having never even once uttered the words PIRA or IRA since their they came into existence in 2017, they have issued a total for 46 statements referring to the UVF and UDA in the past 12 months alone. The figure since 2017 is believed to be well over 100 statements about loyalists, whilst failing to even say the word PIRA or IRA once.
The PCTF came into existence following two murders carried out by the IRA, however the PSNI has formally confirmed that it does not (and has never) investigated the PIRA or IRA. That represents cast iron proof of the two tier and inherently biased nature of policing.
The IRA was, and remains, one of the largest criminal enterprises in Europe, if not the world. They have significant infrastructure and networks of businesses to facilitate money laundering and white-collar crime on an industrial scale. Despite all the tools available to the NCA, PSNI and HMRC (who unite under the PCTF) there has been (and I suspect will be) no effort to trace the stolen Northern Bank millions, or fruit of the IRA’s terrorist criminal enterprises.
It is beyond doubt- which is obvious before even being confirmed by the PSNI in writing- that republicans, and their surrogates fronting as ‘legitimate businessmen’, are a protected species. That is the unspoken arrangement underpinning the ‘process’ and nationalist support for policing.
Given the PSNI were conceived in the womb of political appeasement, it should be unsurprising that they have remained true to the ideological passion underpinning the conception, namely that the core objective of post-1998 policing is to secure, and maintain, nationalist/republican support.
This support is won by the structural two-tier nature of policing, and solidified by a relentless criminalisation of loyalist communities, which has the added ‘process’ bonus of weaking the cohesion within unionist/loyalist communities via a perpetual dehumanisation and criminalisation.
In a fatally flawed effort to conceal the blatant political motive of the PCTF, it is faintly suggested by some in the PSNI- and astonishingly repeated by some in the media- that the reason the PCTF do not investigate republicans, is because they are a terrorist organisation whilst loyalists are paramilitaries.
That argument is wholly contrived, and equally preposterous. There is no lawful distinction between ‘terrorism’ and ‘paramilitarism’. There are simply groups proscribed under the Terrorism Act, and those which aren’t. The UVF, UDA, IRA, INLA, RHC are all proscribed organisations. As a pure matter of law, they all fall under the same heading.
However, in an effort to conceal the political objective of ensuring republicans have complete immunity from PSNI investigation, an artificial distinction has been created (dreamt up purely by the PSNI) which has a Task Force for paramilitaries, but differentiates the IRA because they are supposedly a ‘national security’ issue.
That is in of itself illogical. The IRA is- via its political wing- in Government. If the PSNI- as they seem to suggest via their contrived justification for IRA immunity- view that organisation as a national security issue, then it follows that a party of Government in Northern Ireland is a risk to nationalist security given their (according to PSNI and every person with eyes and ears) “inextricable links” to the IRA.
For all the reasons canvassed supra, the PSNI ought to (at long last) actually grapple with this issue publicly and address the challenge arising from their clear implied assertion of IRA immunity.
Of course, there will be no such engagement with the issue in public, because if the PSNI were to do so, then their deception would collapse under scrutiny. And if the deception were to collapse, then they would be forced to remove the immunity they have de-facto granted the IRA. If that were to happen, then the ‘process’ would be in jeopardy, because it relies upon nationalist support for policing, and such support is predicated upon the unspoken arrangement that the PSNI must operate a two tier system.
Whatever about the darkness within which the PSNI skulk with the IRA (and a glimpse of sunlight exposed them during the collusion around the Storey funeral terrorist show of strength), this website will continue to challenge the PSNI and expose their blatant structural bias.