The summer time blues!

Guest writer Derry Prisoner Rights activist, Pauline Mellon, with her take on recent events.

Over the past few weeks I have been watching developments here in good ol' Norn Iron with interest: things in the press or not in the press, policing, those holding positions in public office and the marching season have all piqued my interest. A lot of what I have covered to an outsider would seem insane but sadly this nonsense is what passes for democracy and government here in the North of Ireland. I had put a lot of the recent shenanigans down to the heatwave and people reacting to the heat but then realised a lot of these issues pre date the current heatwave.

A few issues in particular have caught my attention.

The issue of the Special Advisor Bill (SPAD Bill) was and still is a controversial issue in terms of equality and the Good Friday Agreement. This law will prevent those with a serious troubles related conviction from becoming special advisor’s in Stormont. Whilst I understand Ann Travers' position I am concerned that in terms of applying the law retrospectively it will set a dangerous precedent. The question now is, where will this juggernaut of justice stop? Will the Lollypop Man who was jailed in 70's come up against the same problem in the future?

On July 3rd the BBC Spotlight programme showed that a red sky at night isn't necessarily a good thing, well not if you are the DUP's Nelson McCausland. The programme exposed alleged dealings of a nefarious nature involving a company called Red Sky, the Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

The source of some of this concern came from a DUP councillor, who claimed she received a call from McCausland's special advisor a Mr Brimstone telling her to change her vote on a NIHE committee. This was rejected by the DUP and Mr Brimstone. The alleged antics of Mr Brimstone led me to wonder if there was an advisor in the ranks called Mr Hellfire which in terms of the DUP would be a reasonable expectation.

Sinn Fein's Catriona Ruane moved a motion at Stormont, calling for Mr McCausland to step down until an investigation is carried out. This motion was blocked when the DUP put forward a motion of concern. At this point I contemplated contacting the producers of 'Rip Off Britain' to report a bunch of opportunists masquerading as a government and exploiting loopholes when under pressure and democratically out voted. I think in terms of my complaint I should have recourse under the Sales of Goods and Services Act, because the service we've received isn't exactly what we were promised at election time.

On July 4th the Northern Ireland Policing board declared it had no confidence in the Historical Enquiries Team which was set up to re-examine deaths during the Troubles. It was found cases with state involvement were not being investigated as thoroughly as other cases. Considering this date is synonymous with Independence Day, there is a certain irony that the independence of the HET was called into question, after all I don't think they woke up one morning and decided to treat military cases differently, the question is who was dictating the agenda?

Then just a few days ago on July 10th, a report from Dr Michael Maguire the Police Ombudsman into the deaths of three people killed by a booby trap bomb in Derry in 1988 was released. The 'Good Samaritans bomb' as it became known claimed the lives of three people who went to check on a neighbour who unbeknownst to them had been abducted by the Provos and his home booby trapped.

The Ombudsman's report stated that the RUC had prior knowledge that a device had been planted and that the “Police allowed a booby trap bomb to remain in a location which presented a very real risk to life. It further Stated:

there was an obligation on police to protect the lives of the public and I have to conclude that they failed in this regard. They failed to do all that could reasonably have been expected of them in the circumstances.

What was also clear in the report was that during the inquiry former Special Branch officers, the senior investigating officer in charge of the 'Good Samaritans’ murder inquiry, his deputy and the then divisional commander refused to co-operate with the Ombudsman during his investigation. This would mean the Ombudsman would have had to proceed without the full facts coupled with the fact that documents were missing. The investigative journalism website carried and excellent comprehensive piece on this and I would urge everyone to read it.

It is incredulous to think that those employed by the state in 1988 to police and protect refused to co-operate with the office tasked with dealing with an investigation they were central to. In contrast in 2005 Derry man Martin (Duckise) Doherty was sent to prison for refusing to co-operate with the Bloody Sunday inquiry, The reason he refused to give a statement to the inquiry was on the grounds he was not present on Bloody Sunday.

What was absolutely astounding was the BBC's coverage of the Ombudsman report, the coverage on television and online was scant and the web link vanished from their website within 24 hours which in my opinion amounted to a case of out of sight out of mind. Yet each word uttered by the Orange Order since the Ardyone 'stand off' no matter how ridiculous gets maximum coverage, and that is not even taking into consideration the television programmes dedicated to the Glorious 'Twalf' (twelfth) that our television licence fee pays for.

Now on the subject of those models of Christianity. The annual Orange Order 'we want our own way' tantrums never fail to entertain. This coupled with the DUP's decision to recall the assembly over the parade commission's ruling preventing a return parade from passing the Ardoyne shops. The assembly will reconvene this week to debate a legally binding decision I wonder if they will discuss the determinations that were breached on the day?

Whilst most parades pass off peacefully there are those that cause contention and disruption. Maybe the Orange Order should consider that what was once a traditional route may have changed demographically and take into consideration the feelings of the residents who live there. The war cry of a protestant state for the protestant people is no longer relevant nor is the notion of special privileges, after all we are constantly told about this island of equals.

I think it fair to say we may be in for one long hot summer... and clearly there ain't no cure for the summertime blues!


  1. Lol Pauline enjoyed that,I have been of the opinion that all our problems could have been solved if the communities joined together marched in unison to stormont,burnt the fucking place preferably with the wasters who pose as political leaders locked in,on a happier note the brick so viciously attacked by the arch bigot Dodds is now safe and well and working as a spad for Jim Allister.

  2. A comprehensive, insightful and at times witty piece. I would like to see more of her work.

  3. A comprehensive, enlightening and entertaining read. Would like to see more features from this writer.

  4. Pauline,

    good piece lined with humour. Hopefully more to come!

  5. Pauline:

    Excellent piece, well written and paragraphed.

    Red Sky reeks of corruption within the DUP, its like handing the UVF/UDA money to buy MORE GUNS, or , should I say, DRUGS.

    SPAD. That is the Unionists saying to SF, OH NO, you can't do that.
    How many ex Loyalist Combatants are special advisers?.

    The HET!, those ex special branch who received exorbitant redundancy payouts were , In my opinion , Rehired specifically not to look at British Military Murders , also those of the RUC , and , In collusion with Loyalist Paramilitaries working via the FRU.

    The so called , Good Samaritans Bomb was farsical , RUC never even attempted to investigate it, to them It was easier to let Catholics die than themselves.

    I hope you continue to write pieces for TPQ, really enjoyed reading this, also , with the wit thrown in.

    Well done and keep them coming.

  6. Just a wee aside and something that may hay escaped your attention Pauline a cara and knowing you that is indeed remarkable.
    Forgive the pun but a statue of our lady has appeared on loyalist bonfires for the second time in as many years, has noone from norn iorn tourist board to the business entrepreneurs like quisling $inn £einds socialist rep from the Balmoral area of Belfast Martybroy O Millionaire has seen the tourist potential of this, when this happened in Lourdes and knock the locals didnt miss the chance and have been creaming it ever since,what do our leaders do,as always they blame someone else ,it seems even with divine intervention we cant see a golden opportunity.

  7. Thanks for all your kind words but the reality is I only summed up what goes on here... LOL Marty you've made an excellent point there, you should contact The Irish News or as you call it 'The Vatican Times to make them aware of this potential miracle!!!!'


    I think you're totally right with your theory on how the 'Good Samaritans' were let die. The inquiry ruled out that an informer was protected but clearly the information the police had weeks prior to the explosion had to come from somewhere. The source of the information has never been revealed.

  8. I,ve just heard that Nigel Dodds is now claiming that he was hit by a lump of wood,he said it came from a republican splinter group!