Following in the Footsteps of McNally

There has been a bit of anger, even surprise seemingly, in the wake of Gerry Kelly’s expressed support for the British state practice of recruiting police informers. The current Sinn Fein politician and former senior IRA figure has no objection to the British recruiting informers in the North, merely that children are not incorporated into such activity.

Kelly explained his position succinctly and unambiguously. 'I am not against the use of informants and I’ve never said that ... of course police services operate on the basis that they gain information.’ And as he had publicly called on 'people to bring forward information ... it would be a complete contradiction for me to say I am against people giving information.’

Gerry Kelly has managed to overcome many contradictions in his political journey in order to make possible the hue of his politics today, but refraining from supporting the recruitment of informers is a contradiction too far for him. 

There is nothing at all surprising about Kelly’s stance. It is wholly consistent with his party’s open support for the British police, even if some sleight of hand is used by party spin doctors to pretend that the police force it supports is not a British one. It is depicted as a form of cloud policing, where authority is not really rooted in Britain but out there somewhere in the clouds. This is really just a way of clouding what in fact it is that is being supported.

Sinn Fein knows exactly what it is supporting. It has no lingering doubts that information from informers on republicans will go straight to MI5 who will, if they consider it a military necessity, use it to coordinate the type of operation that took place in Gibraltar where three unarmed IRA volunteers were executed in the street. At the very least it will end up in juryless Diplock courts.

Sinn Fein has merely embraced what all other former republican parties have – that long tradition, reviled by republicans, of Irish citizens informing on republicans to the British that stretches back even further than the barrister Leonard McNally of the United Irishmen.

More recent history shows the Sticks, whose clothing Sinn Fein now wears, making no secret of their support for the British police. Party luminary Cathal Goulding, a onetime IRA chief of staff, was in 1983 calling for people to support the supergrass system. It is a logical step to take for those who politically support the British police. It would be incongruous to demand that the police force being endorsed be denied access to informers. No security institution is going to refuse information that is advantageous to it particularly in an era that places great emphasis on intelligence led policing. 

So in all of this it is not Gerry Kelly who is the cause of surprise but former Sinn Fein member Frank McGirr, whose brother, an IRA volunteer, was shot dead by the beneficiaries of informer services in 1983. McGirr was “so annoyed with Gerry Kelly” that:
I am a member of Sinn Fein no longer from today. I don’t support informers. Informers are low lives. Thirty-one years ago my youngest brother Colm was murdered by the SAS on December 4 at Clonoe and that was due to police informers.
Frank McGirr, while nursing a serious and legitimate grievance, seriously needs to reflect on how much attention he has actually paid to the party of which he was a member. It has for the past 7 years consistently supported informing. The heroes of the revolution are not the republican prisoners in Maghaberry but the people who helped put them there.


  1. I for one found nothing shocking or surprising in commandant Gerrybroy Kellys support for the use of informants,its is indeed in keeping with his parties policy and well accepted fact that most of his party are paid informants, what did shock me was the resignation of Mc Girr the bro of a murdered vol, his shock at commandant Kellys assertion that touts r us is ok is probably more an embarrassment factor after all it is another widely regarded suspicion that most vols killed especially since Gerry Itwasntme took total control were touted upon, was Mr Mc Girr is some sort of stupor these last lot of years or has the penny finally dropped that the party he has just left are nothing but a bunch of quisling touting bastards

  2. Long runs the fox. Is Kelly maybe paving the way for a few more high profile touts?.

  3. Letting the entire leadership of agents sleep east once and for all.

  4. Gerry Kelly said “giving information is giving information whether you are a covert human intelligent source or otherwise”.

    That surprised me as objectively someone who betrays their fellow combatants for pay seems a worse offence than some poor punter in the street who reports something out of a sense of decency or for the public good. For example out of an honest worry for human lives rather than out of love for money and a dishonest disregard for his fellows.

    There may have been no callous betrayal on the part of the member of the public's actions, no knife in the back. He or she mightn't have a "side" just may think of the safety of others.

    If someone uninvolved in any illegal activity jeopardises lives or people's liberty rather than anyone who is involved all things remaining equal surely the latter is worse? Based not only on involvement but also intent.

    I think Gerry missed an opportunity to differentiate between informers and members of the public who report suspicious activity. He could have argued against the use of informers on the basis that their lives are put at risk and he should have mentioned the callous exploitation at the hands of people who in the past have shown disregard for informers' safety. Whether they are vulnerable people or not.

  5. Gerry Kelly agrees with touting but not touting on his lot who agree with touting...

    Paisley's old sack cloth & ashes must be itching like mad...


    According to the Andytown News Bobby Storey was arrested and 'questioned for several hours about an investigation into the whereabouts of Divis mother-of-ten Jean McConville...'

    It said 'large extracts of Boston tapes read to Bobby Storey during his interrogation last week....'

    'Bobby Storey on Boston College tapes, "it was like listening to Walter Mitty and Billy Liar being interviewed by Lord Haw Haw."


    However the PSNI had to release him as he has immunity as a result of the part he played in trying to locate the remains. Therefore why would they question him on something they knew they couldn't charge him with?

    The AT article says 'Large extracts were read to him' but Storey states it was like 'listening to Walter Mitty' etc....

    Could it be that he was allowed to listen to the tapes in order to possibly identify those on the recordings and that this was covered up as an arrest?

    I can't see no other reasoning behind it...

  7. Dixie a cara if anyone knows anything about Walter Mitty then Bob Doh Brains is yer man for fuck he,s head of intel lol lol ha ha ,stop it my sides are sore

  8. If they say he has immunity why was he arrested in the first place?

  9. If they say he has immunity why was he arrested in the first place?

    I don't understand that myself 'Young Hughes'. My understanding is because Jean McConvilles remains were found by a member of the public and not because of the Commission for the Dissapeared then there was no immunity...

    Maybe Dixie is closer to the truth about bringing Bobby Storey in to do a voice recognition and the rest (arrest) was a smoke screen...

  10. Any immunity would be only for assistance in locating and recovery of the bodies of the disappeared,not the actual crime.for which Gerry Itwasntme knows nothing he was in goal inventing a little whistle,which as we all know is a load of bollocks, he really was inventing how to blow the whistle..

  11. Marty

    His daddy taught him that wee trick way before he saw the cages.