The Irish News has this morning revealed the contents of a leaked report prepared by independent mediators for Belfast City Council. You can read the article HERE
The contents of the report appears to vindicate and substantiate the continued assertions put forward by east Belfast loyalists, namely that they had worked tirelessly for peaceful solutions and this had been undermined by the PSNI and officials in Belfast City Council.
The explosive report is thought to contain the following key details:
- Belfast City Council officials and the PSNI were the driving force behind the invasion of east Belfast to tear down unionist bonfires.
- NIFRS and DFI both felt the bonfire was manageable, but the court action was driven by a Belfast City Council official. Although unnamed in the report, this official is Nigel Grimshaw, a former senior PSNI officer.
- Community representatives had worked positively towards solutions, but this was undermined by PSNI and Belfast City Council, especially in relation to Cluan Place.
The report raises a number of very serious questions for Mr Grimshaw and the PSNI, whose covert agenda to target the bonfires has been subtly exposed within the report, compiled by independent mediators.
It is also clear that there was an agenda from the very start of the process- by statutory agencies and the PSNI- to target what is believed to be described in the report as ‘Inner East’ bonfires.
The key political driving force working alongside Mr Grimshaw in Belfast City Council was the Alliance Party. They, even more so than Sinn Fein, manoeuvred in the background to force the aggressive court action.
This included selective leaking, mischief making and urging Council to take DFI to court in order that the blame for the invasion of the bonfire sites would be laid at the door of DFI, and Alliance could conceal their role in the targeting of the unionist community.
East Belfast Community Initiative has responded to the story with a statement which urges the grassroots unionist community to ‘pause’ any engagement with the PSNI.
A spokesperson on behalf of EBCI has said;
“The contents of the report that has leaked demonstrates the futile nature of any community based relationships with the PSNI. It reveals their duplicity and how they tricked the unionist community, and respected mediators.
“They made a phone call, which was placed on speakerphone with the PSNI’s knowledge by an elected representative in the presence of loyalists, and they told outright lies and gave their word there was no planned action against the bonfire sites.
“The report also fully vindicates everything that EBCI said, including our last ditch attempts to find a solution. It is very clear that DFI, the NIFRS and the mediators did not want the aggressive invasion of the bonfire sites.
“The report also states very clearly that the apocalyptic invasion of east Belfast was driven by the PSNI and Belfast City a Council officials, not DFI. This is at variance with the public narrative PSNI and the council tried to present.
“You will also find buried deep in the report an incident whereby Belfast City Council officials, believed to again be Mr Grimshaw, tried to encourage the mediators to engage in secret manoeuvres, and to their credit the mediators refused saying they wanted a transparent process.
“It is our view that this report raises very serious issues around the agenda being pursued by the PSNI and specific council officials, and it would certainly be our view that a pause should be put on any community engagement with the PSNI, until such times as they can explain their duplicity and indeed their growing harassment of the unionist community.”