Money talks

It’s twenty years since I first took active steps to try and find the killers of my parents.

A Crown prosecutor for many years, it was slowly dawning on me that what I had been told, professionally, was not what it seemed in many cases.

I started gently, asking for an update on the killings, which had happened twelve years earlier. It might surprise the reader to know that in those twelve years , not one officer in charge had ever contacted me with an update.

My first enquiries were met with the usual obfuscation and it took many months before I had an intelligent response.

That was to tell me almost nothing. 

Where was the file? Well, it was clear that it had been put away many years before and no detective  had given it a second thought in those years.

What followed was a succession of promises from lots of senior officers who , shortly afterwards retired.

I will not trouble you Dear Reader, with the HET or the Police Ombudsman, because my target is elsewhere.

Follow the money

The Patten payment scheme, ostensibly designed to remove sufficient officers to achieve some parity of religious breakdown in the police, was a bonanza to members of the RUC.

A fifty year old superintendent with thirty years enhanced pensionable service could expect a lump sum of £300,000 and an annual pension of £27,000.

A constable in similar circumstances could expect a lump sum of £134,000 and an annual sum of £13,000.

There were other benefits too. Money to train to be a mountain guide in the Mournes, for example.

Four thousand officers took the Patten offer.

Then there were revised injury on duty schemes.

Then there was a hearing loss scheme.

All-in-all the State paid out more than half a billion pounds to ex-RUC officers.

What did it get in return?

The absolute unwavering silence of every member of the RUC about any information relating to wrongdoing by its members, even if it resulted in the death of a colleague.

For the State, the mirror image is the menu of on-the-runs, Royal Pardons and huge sums paid to SFIRA.

In the last twenty years a number of police officers, known to me personally, and for whom, on occasions I had given advice, pro bono; could have given me information, evidence, a hint, a ‘steer’ or a nod, about the circumstances of the killing of one of their own [and his wife].

Apart from one seriously unwell detective, not one of these heroes opened their mouths. 

Let me give you an example, Dear Reader.

Alan Simpson was the senior CID officer in D Division on the day of the bomb, 6th June 1990. I met him, I think , that day or the next. I certainly met him at the inquests, because he was managing them.

Years on, an intermediary, who I had helped, suggested that Simpson might be willing to meet me and  discuss the case. A date was set , I awaited his arrival but was told instead that he was too ill to meet me.

I suggested that, if I could communicate by email, that would suffice.

He provided his email.

I wrote to him.

On 7/23/20, peter sefton  wrote:


Thank you for providing your email address.
My parents were murdered by PIRA by a PIRA ucbt on the Ballygomartin Road on
the morning of 6 June 1990.
I think that you were in Tennent St at the time, in charge of CID.
I seem to recall that we met, once at least, at the inquest.
On the day of their deaths or the next day, I was in Tennent St and I was
taken to a room and shown a wall display of the suspected bomb team,
including their photographs. I believe one may have been a woman and another
was a Finucane.
I have been campaigning for justice for them, actively, since 2002 and very
pro-actively , since 2014.
I know that a person called Braniff was arrested and questioned shortly
after the deaths but was released without charge.
My question is :
As CID commander, did you receive intel from the Branch or any other entity,
including a CHIS , as to the identity of the culprits? Were any suspects
protected by the Branch, FRU/Army or MI5?
My hypothesis is that PIRA were so infiltrated by the State that, even if
advance knowledge was not available [though I have reservations about that
scenario] identities would have been ascertained in the aftermath. So it is
a matter of great distress to me that no prosecution ensued.
Time for me is short and I would like to unlock this case sooner rather than


Peter Sefton”

Within 24 hours he replied:

“Hello Peter,

Thank you for your email.

My desk is almost clear now and I will be in touch probably over the weekend.



He never did reply. Big desk. 

My intermediary was apologetic but assured me that Simpson was ‘very unwell’.

I heard no more from Simpson but was mildly interested that he wrote to the Times on the deaths of Lords Hutton and Kerr, suggesting that he had met them in the course of his duties. Then he published an article in the Belfast Telegraph on 19th January this year. I don’t subscribe to this rag and the article, behind the paywall began:

Colleagues  fed me a false line on Finucane killing writes Alan Simpson 

“As a former RUC CID Detective Superintendent, I was greatly disappointed, but not surprised, at the Police Ombudsman’s recent finding that there had been “collusive behaviours” by elements of Special Branch when dealing with UDA killer gangs in the north-west of the province.”

Perhaps  he has a ghost writer or he has risen Lazarus- like from his bed or perhaps his solicitor , Kevin Winters, has inspired him to write about Finucane but not Jimmy Sefton.

Let me be clear, in the course of my career I met many brave, devoted and honest police officers.

I also met rogues, cowards and liars, the latter too often in the course of a trial.

My observations are directed at those whose  help I have sought, directly or indirectly, who have been motivated by one thing.


I could name these men. But, aside from the most egregious,  Alan Simpson, I won’t.

What lesson can we learn?

The State has bought their compliance and silence.

The operation to kill Jimmy Sefton, happily retired but not on Patten, aged 65 and by implication, his wife, wasn’t sketched out on the back of a fag packet. It was scouted, planned , approved at the highest levels in PIRA. It is inconceivable that informers, agents, touts, whatever you want to call them, were not involved. It is inconceivable that Special Branch did not have information and that some or all of that was not shared with CID. 

Without exaggeration, it is likely that a dozen RUC officers have information that would be useful to their case. 

The same silence operated against my parents is practised when investigations into other killings are carried out by other bodies. 

Some of these culprits think nothing of instructing solicitors on their own behalf and for their own cases  who are , shall we say, critical of the State.

This blog is written more in sorrow than in anger. I saw enough  in my time of corruption at the highest levels of the RUC. Often it was at the expense of their junior colleagues and of justice; but killing is in another realm.

The fact remains that “one of their own” will receive no justice because money talks.

Many of the men of whom I speak profess Christianity.

Proverbs 11:4

The killing of Ritchie McKinnie


Personal circumstances

Mr. McKinnie was a married man with four children. He lived in North Belfast and worked  in Mackie’s engineering works. On the evening of 7th September 1972 he was driving in the Shankill Road area of Belfast. His passenger was his brother, Thomas, who had just arrived home from Canada, after an absence of  31 years. They were visiting old haunts and had stopped by the Melville Arms public house, where they had a couple of drinks. 

Movements prior to the shooting

Having been advised of crowd trouble close by, they decided to leave the public house and pick up Ritchie’s wife, who was visiting her sister’s shop at the corner of Wimbledon Street and Matchett Street, close by. At approximately 9.30pm he turned into Matchett Street and turned his headlights on. He has earlier turned them off as a security precaution.  Members of the First Battalion , the Parachute regiment were in the vicinity. Ritchie  drove slowly up the centre of the street, avoiding debris. Thomas describes a blinding flash and a loud bang. Ritchie fell on to his lap, saying;  “Tom, I’ve been hit”. Tom got him out on to the road. An ambulance was called. Mr George Cree, a resident of Matchett Street, said that he  saw a car come up the street from the direction of  Snugville Street. An English voice  twice called for it to extinguish its lights. Mr Cree then heard four to five shots.  The car lurched to a stop and a passenger got out and said ; “somebody help me , my brother has been shot”. This incident was also witnessed by Evelyn McIntyre , Joseph Thompson , David Beck, Mr A Armstrong and Joyce Cummins. No witness said that they heard firing before the army opened fire. The number of shots fired by the army is put between two and five.

Injuries to Mr McKinnie

He was placed on the road way and was seen to be bleeding profusely from a wound to the right hand side of his chest. He was taken to hospital where he died , shortly afterwards.

Police investigation

The shooting happened a short distance from Tennent Street RUC station. It is not known what steps the police took to cordon off the scene or  take forensic samples.

A detective sergeant made a police report concerning death. He simply recorded “Rioting was taking place in the area between Military and UDA. The windscreen of the car was shattered and the subject received wounds to his right shoulder.”

The same sergeant or another, from Tennent Street , attended the mortuary and identified the body to the pathologist , Dr Marshall. He opined that death was due to perforation of the chest and right armpit by fragments of a bullet. “These indicate that fragments of a copper cased, lead cored bullet were responsible for the fatal injuries.” Mr McKinnie’s injuries were photographed. His car was photographed.

The scene was photographed and mapped. A scenes of crime officer gathered evidence re the deceased, which was examined by a forensic scientist. He opined that the lead deposits on Mr McKinnie’s clothing and hands originated from the bullet fragments. He identified the fragments as coming from a 7.62 NATO bullet discharged from a British Army SL rifle. Interestingly, he had been provided with test bullets from a number of rifles but he was unable to say which had fired the round.

As was the practice, the Royal Military Police took witness statements from the soldiers present. Soldier A,B,E and J’s statements were presented to the inquest. It is not known what other witness statements were taken by police, except that they appear to have enquired of the deceased’s employer as to whether he could have come into contact with lead.

A file was sent to the DPP. A decision of no prosecution was made in December 1973.

There may have been some sort of investigation by the HET.

State reaction

An army officer claimed on television on 8th September that Mr McKinnie’s hands tested positive for traces of lead.

On 20th November 1972 , Stratton Mills, MP asked the Secretary of State for a statement re Mr McKinnie’s death. Whitelaw said that “troops came under armed attack and gunfire was returned. Shortly after this exchange of fire…..Mr McKinnie was admitted to the RVH.”

West Belfast Orange Hall Enquiry

The UDA held an enquiry, to which many of the persons named above gave testimony. They produced a pamphlet entitled “The Shankill Disturbances”. A call for a judicial enquiry went unheeded.


An inquest was held on 24th  October 1972. An open verdict was returned.

Soldier A’s statement to the Royal Military Police [“RMP”] said that he saw soldier L fire at a gunman and he saw that man fall. Soldier A then told the RMP that two gunmen opened fire with what may have been Stirling SMGs. He fired at one of these men and saw him fall. Neither fallen man was detailed or identified.

Soldier E made a more dramatic statement. He said that a man appeared ‘wearing a bush hat’. The man fired two rounds from a revolver. These rounds struck a wall above soldier E, then stood up from a crouching position. Soldier E fired two rounds from his SLR rifle. “I saw him leap into the air, spin around and fall on his face. A group of about 5 men were around him and a large crowd were [sic] on the corner of Jersey Street. This crowd moved around the injured man and I last saw him being dragged away, face down, by his legs.”

Soldier J told the RMP that he saw a light blue BMC 1100 car “moving slowly in a westerly direction , along Matchet St [sic] , it had its headlights on full beam. Soldier B , who was standing on the opposite corner, shouted to switch his lights off, to no avail. I also shouted to him along with soldier E who was also at my position. I then saw a muzzle flash to the left of the vehicle. At the same moment I heard the report of the weapon. I fired one aimed shot at the direction from where I had seen the flash. I then saw a man move from the car. He was carrying a rifle pointed in my direction..I then saw another muzzle flash from this weapon. I ran forward into the road and took aim in the standing position and fired two rapid shots at the person. I saw the man fall, I think I hit him in the chest. I returned to my position on the corner and when I looked around again his body had gone.” Soldier J makes no further mention of the car nor its occupants . This car , which , according to soldier J, contained a gunman, was not stopped by him or his colleagues, nor the occupant(s) detained.

Soldier B was the commander of a twelve man mobile patrol. His initial statement , made at 03.00 on 8th September, made no mention of seeing the BMC 1100 , shouting at it or of  seeing a gunman or gunmen. He was re-interviewed on 23rd September. He said that he saw a car travelling along Silvio street with its lights on. He approached the car and smashed the lights with his baton. This was not the car containing Mr McKinnie.

Despite soldiers J , A and B, their commander, being, according to J, being together at the time when the blue BMC 1100 drove down matchet Street, only soldier J gives a detailed account.

All statements were taken by corporals in the RMP.

Thomas, Ritchie’s brother made a statement about the events. Neither he nor anyone at the scene mentions the presence of any soldier, after the shot was fired.

A helpful neighbour in Matchett Street agreed to drive the BMC 1100 car to Mr McKinnie’s home. The driver noticed that there was a bullet hole in the windscreen, immediately above the rubber sealing ring and under the wiper blade, directly in front of the driver’s position. 


It is clear that there was unrest in that area of the Shankill on that evening, involving Loyalist paramilitaries and the Parachute Regiment. Several witnesses told of abusive and threatening behaviour by soldiers towards local householders.

The army did not stop to search for any weapons or arrest Thomas. They left the scene, despite stating that they fired at a man with a rifle or rifles and a hand gun.

Thomas was never arrested or tested for gunshot residue.

The residue on Ritchie’s hands could be explained by the bullet striking his hand, severing his thumb and disintegrating.

Soldier J, who admits firing at the muzzle flash which was approximately three feet to the left of the BMC 1100 was either a bad shot or a good liar, given that the bullet that killed Mr McKinnie entered the car at the driver’s position, in the opposite direction.

No loyalist weapons were recovered by police or the army. No dead or wounded civilians were detected save for Mr McKinnie and Robert Johnston, a “harmless drunk” who was shot dead by the same regiment at much the same time, a few streets away.

The soldiers on duty that evening were from 1 Para mortar platoon.

The same platoon had been prominent in the events of Bloody Sunday.

To the Widgery Inquiry, the army made the case that they had been fired on first and that they were returning fire at known gunmen. The same case as made at Matchett Street.

On 30th January 1972 13 unarmed civilians were killed by the Parachute Regiment in Londonderry.

Lord Widgery was appointed to enquire into the circumstances and reported in April 1972.

1 Para were the soldiers who opened fire. Present were Support Company, A and C Companies.

The soldiers of Support Company were the only ones to open fire.

Widgery described how mortar platoon were cutting wire when a single high velocity shot was fired at them from somewhere near Rossville flats and struck a drainpipe nearby. [paragraph 35]

Support Company, when it was giving cover to Mortar Platoon , opened fire on nail bombers shortly thereafter.

At paragraph 46 Widgery says that Mortar platoon moved into the courtyard of Rossville flats. There they fired 42 rounds and killed John Duddy.

Widgery, at paragraph 51 records a series of soldiers from Mortar platoon , who gave evidence of being under fire, identifying gunmen and then firing at them.

This , of course , was the same type of evidence that they were to give at the inquest into Mr McKinnie’s death.

Some commentators reason that , having got away with it in front of Widgery, they repeated the performance. The author used to note the presence of Army Legal Branch at trials and often wondered what their role was and what advice they gave to soldiers who were witnesses. 

“Bag a Paddy” was a phrase not unfamiliar in connection with the British Army.


Unionist politicians have signally failed to point out the behaviour of the Parachute Regiment on the Shankill. To do so would have lent credence to the families of Bloody Sunday.

As ever , the working class suffer at the hands of the Unionist Big House.

All picture, no sound

Somewhere in Belfast..

“Hello police exchange, how can I help you?”

“I want to report domestic abuse”

“One moment caller and I’ll transfer you to that team”

“Domestic abuse team, Sandy speaking”

“I want to report my husband for domestic abuse”

Sandy takes the caller’s name, address and telephone number.

“And what form does the abuse take, Ann?”

“He’s here right now, just listen”

Sandy listens, he hears nothing.

“Is your volume turned up , Ann, I’m having trouble hearing”

“That’s it , Constable”

“What’s it?”

“The silence- I’m getting the silent treatment, all picture, no sound, he frequently does this.”

“And your husband, what’s he doing at the moment?”

“A jigsaw puzzle, since this morning, not a word”

“I’ll send a car round”

“Wait constable, there’s more…he’s been humming”

“Do you mean the noise or the smell, Ann?”

“He’s been humming that tune again.. by the Devine Comedy, the one with the line “it’s hard to get by when your arse is the size of a small country”…you see I used to be an air hostess and that’s what the song’s about, he knows it annoys me”

“Don’t worry Ann , a car is on its way”

Later at Antrim Custody suite.

“Well, Tom do you know why you are here”

“Sarge, shouldn’t we caution him first?”

Tom is cautioned, to the effect that he doesn’t need to speak.

“Do you know why you are here?”


“You’ve been abusing your wife—you have been subjecting her to silences, sometime lasting hours- what do you say about that?”

Tom exercises his right of silence.

“This is what’s know amongst us Domestic Abuse Teams as the ‘silent treatment’, chummy, don’t you know that’s an offence?”


“Do you want us to call in Women’s Aid?”

Tom looks startled but remains silent.

“Or the rugby rape demonstrators?”

“Furthermore you have been, on a number of occasions, humming the tune “National Express” by the Devine Comedy—to wit, that your wife has a large bottom. What do you say about that?”

Contrary to his rights, Tom speaks.

“Are either of you familiar with Shostakovich’s Waltz Number 2?”


“Well, it’s a particular favourite of mine, that’s probably what I was humming”

“Is this Covich a communist, or a supporter of Al-Qaeda, what’s his address?”

Tom refuses to answer any more questions.

Later , a file is sent to the PPS…it could be many years before anything is heard from there….


Thanks to Adam Kula for first breaking this story and to Derek for one of the better jokes.

Victims’ payments-who is to blame?

On 22nd October 2019 the British government launched a consultation on a ‘Victims’ Payment Scheme’. 

The consultation closed on 26th November 2019.

The legislation was made on 31st January 2020 at 11.20am and laid before Parliament at 2.30pm that day.

They were the Victims’ Payments Regulations 2020 No. 103, made under the powers conferred by sections 10 and 11 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc ) Act 2019.

The NIO issued the following press release.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon Julian Smith CBE MP, has today signed new legislation establishing a victims payments scheme.

This scheme acknowledges the harm caused to those people injured through no fault of their own in the Troubles through annual payments of c. £2,000 to £10,000 for the rest of their lives.

Following consultation, changes have been made to the scheme to increase the number of injured people who will qualify, and to benefit spouses and carers looking after those who were seriously injured. It will not apply to those who were injured due to their own actions or who committed serious criminal offences. An independent judge-led board will make decisions on whether payments should be made where there is compelling evidence that a payment would not be appropriate.

Secretary of State Julian Smith said: “The Troubles had a devastating impact on many, and the time has come to implement a victims payments scheme to deliver for those who need it most and for those injured through no fault of their own.

“I would like to pay tribute to the courage of those people who have fought long and hard to see such a scheme.

“We have talked about this for long enough. It is time to get it done.”

The Troubles had a profound and often devastating impact on too many people, in Northern Ireland and beyond. When we speak about the Troubles we rightly talk about the many violent deaths, but it is also vital that we do not overlook the harm caused to those who were seriously injured in Troubles incidents.

Many of the people who were injured have to live with a daily reminder of the impact of that terrible event or events – whether through loss of mobility, loss of limbs, psychological trauma or some other life limiting health condition or disability.

Following the recent consultation, the Secretary of State has introduced new rules for the scheme, so that the needs of those injured in the Troubles through no fault of their own receive the recognition that they deserve.

The new scheme will mean:

*The payment can be transferred to a spouse, civil partner, cohabiting partner, registered carer or anyone who provided a substantial amount of care on a regular basis for ten years on death of the injured person.

*The date parameters for the scheme will be Jan 1966 – Apr 2010, but an independent Board will also have discretion to consider applications for incidents outside these dates which they consider it would be in line with the purpose of the scheme to include.

*Awards may only be adjusted for historic compensation where that historic compensation is higher than a threshold.

*Payments through the scheme will not impact income-related benefits or tax (including income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax).

*Anyone injured anywhere in the UK who meet the other eligibility criteria will be eligible for the scheme (regardless of residency). And any UK citizen, or person of NI, injured in Europe will be eligible.

The discussions and delay of the past few years have gone on long enough. The time has come to get this done and deliver for those people who will benefit most.

The new Regulations will mean that from May, victims can apply for payments, and the system has been designed to support those seriously injured and traumatised in the Troubles.

This new scheme and legislation being introduced today puts victims and their needs at the heart of Government’s approach to dealing with the legacy of the Troubles.

Whilst it was legislation made at Westminster, with some minor exceptions the Regulations extended to Northern Ireland only.

A number of provisions came into force on 24th February 2020. Particularly  , the provisions of Schedule 1. This Schedule provides for the formation of a Board. The law required the Executive Office to designate a Northern Ireland Department to exercise the administrative functions of the Board on the Board’s behalf.

This has not been done, on time or at all.

The Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission [“NIJAC”] must appoint all the members of the Board. This has not been done, because NIJAC has received no request from the Executive Office to so do.

I only became aware of this situation on 20th May.

We are now told that no action has been taken regarding the legal duties of the Executive because there is a row over funding.

The remaining regulations come into force on 29th May, the date when victims thought they could make application for compensation.

Nothing will happen on that date.

It is clear that neither Covid-19 nor a row  about the source of funding would have prevented the Executive from nominating a Department nor giving instructions to NIJAC.

It is equally clear that despite the Executive knowing that the date would not be met, even when visualised in early pre-Covid March, they kept quiet.

So, how did this all come about?

Here’s what the News Letter reported on 4th  February 2020

Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson said face-to-face assessments “must be handled sensitively” while DUP leader Arlene Foster welcomed the fact that money “will not be awarded to victim makers”. But Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill says the government “appears intent on excluding large sections of our society” from the money. Ulster Human Rights Watch welcomed the news but “will continue to pressurise Government for clarity” on how pereptrators are excluded.

At the same time Foster was telling the media that the NI budget could not fund the scheme and the Victims’ Commissioner was agreeing with her.

So, on one view of it , it’s a cock up between Westminster and Stormont and a misunderstanding as to where the money was coming from to fund the scheme.

When Stormont re-opened on 11th January, it was after tortuous discussions, including finance. The Executive knew that Westminster was legally committed to making laws for Northern Ireland, including a victims’ payment scheme.

On 17th February, that man for all seasons, Jeffrey Donaldson was quoted :

A senior DUP MP is “hopeful” that the Treasury will be “forthcoming” in funding a pension scheme for victims of the Troubles. 

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the DUP’s Westminster leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, emphasised that victims had already been waiting too long for the payments.

“The next financial year begins in April,” Donaldson commented, “So the sooner we can get a commitment to fund the scheme, the sooner the innocent victims can start to receive their payments.

“Frankly, they have been waiting too long already, and I hope that the Treasury will recognise the need to provide this funding as soon as possible.

“We would hope that the Treasury will be forthcoming with funding,” he stated. 

That statement was made a week before the first phase of the scheme was to become operational.

But is it the usual tale of  Stormont incompetence or is it something more?

At the Executive Office Committee meeting on 20th May, Foster said “we don’t have the wherewithal in the block grant…this is a legitimate expectation”.  It is of course law, not an expectation.

The SFIRA Deputy First Minister said this “it is one part of the package of legacy measures that need to be implemented… all things need to be delivered upon”.

Doug Beattie [ that towering intellect] replied: “you’re right of course”.

Later Bomber Anderson, who also graces the committee said “there isn’t the funding in the budget, the responsibility resides with the British government and we need full implementation of the Stormont House Review.”

Readers will know  that SFIRA were unhappy with the legislation, which seeks to exclude the likes of Kelly , the Shankill bomber. The Shinners are also unhappy with proposals for amnesty for members of the armed forces.

So, the message is clear, the Victims’ Payment Scheme is going nowhere, courtesy of yet another SFIRA veto.

As before , the DUP is complicit in this, terrified of another Stormont collapse and loss of power. The Official Unionists don’t count and the Alliance Party, particularly the Justice Minister, is silent.


The toll on victims is unimaginable.

Covid-19 for dummies-“the front line”

Here is the report of the state statisticians for the period ending 17th April 2020.

Key Points – Analyses based on date of registration

  • ·  The provisional number of deaths registered* in Northern Ireland in the week ending 17th April 2020
    (week 15) was 424; 11 fewer than in week 14 but 134 more than the 5‐year average of 290. Over the last 3 weeks, 410 ‘excess deaths’ (i.e. deaths above the average for the corresponding week in previous years) have been registered in Northern Ireland.
  • ·  Over two‐fifths (42.2%) of all deaths in week 15 were classified as ‘respiratory’ (179). Please note that all COVID‐19 related deaths have been included in this classification.
  • ·  There have been 5,245 deaths registered in the year‐to‐date, 30.3% of which (1,589) were classified as ‘respiratory’. The number and proportion of respiratory deaths is lower in the year‐to‐date than the 5‐year average of 1,613 and 31.7% (Table 2 below).
  • ·  One hundred and one deaths mentioning COVID‐19 on the death certificate were registered in week 15, accounting for 23.8% of all deaths in that week and bringing the total number of COVID‐19 related deaths registered in calendar year 2020 to 242.
  • ·  Males accounted for around half (49.0%) of registered deaths in the calendar year 2020 to 17 April and slightly more than half (54.1%) of the 242 COVID‐19 related deaths registered over the same period.
  • ·  The majority of all deaths registered in week 15 and the year‐to‐date were of persons aged 75 and above. This age group accounted for two‐thirds of all deaths and almost 75% of COVID‐19 related deaths in the year to date up to 17th April.


Of the 276 deaths ‘associated’ with Covid-19  so far in 2020 , 34% took place in nursing homes.

So 94 deaths , so far in 2020,  were in nursing homes and 182 were in NI hospitals.

Is this the front line?

IN 1972 , 479 people were killed in terrorist acts. Averaged out , that was 9 per week, 138 by the end of the first 15 weeks of the year.

Are we in a crisis? Is there a front line? Are all nurses, doctors and ancillary staff “heros”. What exactly are we clapping for?

Why are we locked down?

I suggest that history will show that there was no pandemic, that the NHS was never under threat and that the majority of supposed Covid deaths were due to underlying health issues and old age.

Or is that a shibboleth?




You’ve painted up your lips and rolled and curled your tender hair

Ruby are you contemplating going out somewhere?

ACC Todd says the police are locking down

Oh Ruby, don’t drive the car to town.


It wasn’t me that started isolation, it really is a bore

But I am proud to do my patriotic chore

And yes, it’s true that Todd hasn’t got a clue

But Ruby, just walk to town in lieu



Covid-19 for Dummies

Citizens! We are currently subject to the greatest restriction to  our human rights since perhaps the Middle Ages.

The law states: “No person may leave the place where they are living.” Subject to certain exceptions.

Freedom of assembly, of movement and of religious assembly have been curtailed almost to the point of non-existence. We are under virtual house arrest. The police are, in many instances, interpreting the law in a way which flouts the words of the statute. The State is threatening to clamp down further if people continue to sunbathe. Minister Swann has weighed in to repeat the threat.

Not a peep has been  heard from our Human Rights Industry. No judicial reviews are in train.

The State narrative, picked up by most of the compliant and doltish media , is that there is a pandemic sweeping Northern Ireland. Thousands may die if we are not kept at home.

It seems likely that commerce and industry will be decimated , if restrictions are kept in place much longer.

The mental  health of our countrymen and women, fragile to begin with, is in real danger as a result of these restrictions.

The media gives us a daily score on Coronavirus deaths. At  the time of writing, Sunday 5th April at 18.00 BST the BBC tells us that “seven more people who had tested positive …have died in NI , bringing the total to 63”.

So, what are the facts?

No better starting point than the Northern Ireland Statistics Research Agency. [“NISRA”]

Their data is based on death registration, not the date the death occurred. Here is their summary.

“Overall, there were fewer deaths registered in Northern Ireland in the week ending 27th March than there have typically been in the same week in recent years. Nine COVID-19 related deaths were registered by the General Register Office (GRO) in that week”.

The number of deaths registered in the week ending 27th March was 287, compared to the average number 2015-19, of 320. The graph shows that , on average , fewer deaths are occurring in NI since January than in an average year.

Helpfully the NISRA has explained how it collects data and compares that to other information.

“ The data in this bulletin are based on the date of the death registration, not on the date the death occurred. It can take up to five days for a death to be registered in Northern Ireland.

  1. Based on the latest data, 19 deaths occurred in NI between 18th March and 27th March which mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate (see below for definitional explanations).
  2. All COVID-19 deaths registered to date were of persons aged 45+.”


So the first bit of good news is that nobody under 45 years of age has died from the virus in NI.

Where do these other figures come from? The BBC figure of 63?

NISRA explains that, to some extent.

Differences between NISRA’s death registration statistics and the Public Health Agency’s (PHA) Daily Surveillance bulletins

PHA COVID-19 Daily Surveillance Bulletin

The PHA’s COVID-19 Surveillance Bulletin describes COVID-19 activity in Northern Ireland and is produced daily. Alongside information on confirmed cases and numbers of individuals tested, this includes deaths reported on the following basis:

  • Case definition: Patients who have died within 28 days of first positive COVID-19 test result, whether or not COVID-19 was the cause of death
  • Datasource: Clinicianreports(e.g.HSCTrusts),RegionalVirusLaboratoryandlocallaboratory reports.
  • Reporting period: 09.30 am (individuals who have been reported in the previous 24 hours)

PHA figures therefore include the number of deaths reported who have tested positive for coronavirus. These are valuable because they are available very quickly, and give a good indication of what is happening day by day. Their definition is also clear, so the limitations of the data can be understood. But they won’t necessarily include all deaths involving COVID-19. PHA figures report 16 deaths associated with COVID-19 by 27th March 2020.

NISRA weekly death registration statistics
NISRA figures (which show 19 deaths associated with COVID-19 occurring by 27th March) are different from the PHA’s daily surveillance figures on COVID-19 deaths described above. The NISRA figures are derived from the formal process of death registration and may include cases where the doctor completing the death certificate diagnosed suspected cases of COVID-19, for example, where this was based on relevant symptoms but no test for the virus was conducted. The NISRA figures also include all deaths that occur outside hospital.

Figures produced by NISRA are slower to prepare, because they have to be certified by a doctor, registered and processed. But once ready, they are the most complete statistical information.

So it appears then that the Public Health Agency’s figures are not to be relied on?

They are different….

What is the real number and rate of deaths caused by Covid-19?

The NISRA says that nineteen deaths in the relevant week mentioned Covid-19 on the death certificate. It is not clear whether any of these deaths were actually caused by Covid-19. They were “associated” with Covid-19. It is not stated anywhere that any death was caused by Covid-19.

If a doctor mentions Covid-19, even if there has been no test, does that get into the statistics?

Apparently. We don’t have any outcomes from Post Mortems.

But the State says it’s a pandemic?

Yes, so  it does and it legislated about it.

OK , if we can’t be sure of the exact number of dead, it’s a pandemic , so many more people are dying in NI , aren’t they?

No , actually.  Here’s what NISRA says about that:

The number of death registrations mentioning COVID-19 increased from 1 in week 11 to 9 in week 12.
In week 12, 27% of all deaths registered mentioned terms relating directly to respiratory causes on the death certificate. These are counted as ‘respiratory’ deaths in the table below and are provided to aid comparison with the COVID-19 statistics (COVID-19 deaths are also included in the respiratory category).

There have been 1,119 respiratory deaths registered in the year-to-date; this equates to 28% of all deaths so far in 2020. The number and proportion of respiratory deaths is lower in the year-to-date than the5-year average (1,354, 32%).

So, even if Covid-19 caused some deaths in the last week, the overall result was fewer deaths than the five year average.

But the Assembly had good reason to pass very restrictive measures did it not?

Here is the response. When this legislation was placed before the assembly, [not passed] one Covid-19 related death had taken place in NI. Notice how they mention “incidence and spread”.


The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations

(Northern Ireland) 2020

Made – – – – Laid before the Assembly Coming into operation –

at 9.15 p.m. on 28th March 2020 at 10.00 p.m. on 28th March 2020 at 11.00 p.m. on 28th March 2020

The Department of Health(a), makes the following Regulations in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 25C(1), (3)(c), (4)(d) and 25F(2) of the Public Health Act (Northern Ireland) 1967(b).

These Regulations are made in response to the serious and imminent threat to public health which is posed by the incidence and spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS- CoV-2) in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Health considers that the restrictions and requirements imposed by these Regulations are proportionate to what they seek to achieve, which is a public health response to that threat.

In accordance with section 25Q of that Act the Department of Health is of the opinion that, by reason of urgency, it is necessary to make these Regulations without a draft having been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, the Assembly.

Here’s a reminder of the actual restrictions. No mention of how often you can go out or for how long or what “exercise” means. Sunbathing, barbeques or swimming are not prohibited.

Restrictions on movement
—(1) During the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living

without reasonable excuse.
(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1), a reasonable excuse includes the need—

  1. (a)  to obtain basic necessities, including food and medical supplies for those in the same household (including any pets or animals in the household) or for vulnerable persons and supplies for the essential upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household, or the household of a vulnerable person, or to obtain money, including from any business listed in Part 3 of Schedule 2;
  2. (b)  to take exercise either alone or with other members of their household;
  3. (c)  to seek medical assistance, including to access any of the services referred to in paragraph 37 or 38 of Schedule 2;
  4. (d)  to provide care or assistance, including relevant personal care within the meaning of paragraph 7(3B) of Schedule 2 to the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (Northern Ireland) Order 2007(a), to a vulnerable person, or to provide emergency assistance;
  5. (e)  to donate blood
  6. (f)  to travel for the purposes of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where it is not reasonably possible for that person to work, or to provide those services, from the place where they are living;
  7. (g)  to attend a funeral of—
    (i) a member of the person’s household,

(ii) a close family member, or
(iii) if no-one within sub-paragraphs (i) or (ii) is attending, a friend;

  1. (h)  to fulfil a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions, or to participate in legal proceedings;
  2. (i)  to access critical public services, including—
    1. (i)  childcare or educational facilities (where these are still available to a child in relation to whom that person is the parent, or has parental responsibility for, or care of the child);
    2. (ii)  social care services;
    3. (iii)  servicesprovidedbytheDepartmentforCommunities;
    4. (iv)  services provided to victims (such as victims of crime);
  3. (j)  in relation to children who do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents, to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children, and for the purposes of this paragraph, “parent” includes a person who is not a parent of the child, but who has parental responsibility for, or who has care of the child;
  4. (k)  in the case of a minister of religion or worship leader, to go to their place of worship;
  5. (l)  to move house where reasonably necessary;

(a) S.I. 2007/1351 (N.I. 11). Sub-paragraph (3B) was substituted, with sub-paragraphs (1) to (3) and (3A) to (3E) for sub- paragraphs (1) to (3) by s. 78 of and paragraph 3(2) of Schedule 7 to, the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (c. 9)

(m) to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm.

(3) For the purposes of paragraph (1), the place where a person is living includes the premises where they live together with any garden, yard, passage, stair, garage, outhouse or other appurtenance of such premises.

(4) Paragraph (1) does not apply to any person who is homeless.

Restrictions on gatherings
During the emergency period, no person may participate in a gathering in a public place of

more than two people except—

  1. (a)  where all the persons in the gathering are members of the same household,
  2. (b)  where the gathering is essential for work purposes,
  3. (c)  to attend a funeral,
  4. (d)  where reasonably necessary—
    1. (i)  to facilitate a house move,
    2. (ii)  to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person, including relevant personal care within the meaning of paragraph 7(3B) of Schedule 2 to the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups (Northern Ireland) Order 2007,
    3. (iii)  to provide emergency assistance ,or
    4. (iv)  to participate in legal proceedings, or fulfil a legal obligation.



Why have I spent all weekend in the house?

I don’t know- but the State knows what’s best for you, Dummy.








The Banks and Covid-19

The courts in Northern Ireland are now closed , except for pressing business such as the liberty of the citizen or family matters.

All actions by mortgagees for possession of property and all disputes between individuals and banks are in suspended animation.

Many solicitors have closed and therefore little new litigation is getting under way.

There will be a considerable backlog when the courts do finally get back into action. What will the attitude of lenders be? Will they, in the light of inevitable losses be more amenable to settlement? Or will they toughen their stance?

Over the last year, significant inroads have been made into the previously impregnable attitude of lenders , towards defaulting borrowers.

This will be the subject of a second blog, dealing with Danske Bank, Ulster Bank, Cerebus, Promontoria and others.

Meanwhile, what relief , if any, are the banks offering borrowers, distressed by Covid-19?

Here is what they say.


I’m writing today as I know that coronavirus is a source of concern for many people right now – and I wanted to let you know we’re here to help.

Whether you would like additional support with managing your money, or have faced disruption to finances or travel plans, we can work with you to look at ways to make things easier, including:

  • Mortgage Payments: Repayment holidays on residential mortgages for up to 90 days
  • Accessing Savings: Removing penalty charges to access fixed savings accounts early
  • Paying Fees: Stopping late payment and cash advance fees for the next 90 days for credit cards.

For more information on this and managing your finances during this period, you can find our latest advice by visiting our homepage and clicking ‘Coronavirus help’ – there you’ll find links to all the content referenced in this email on pages that will be updated daily.

If you need to access your banking services and are unable to get to a branch, or need to stay at home, there are also a wide range of ways that we can help you there too. I’ve outlined a number of those below which hopefully you’ll find useful.

I appreciate that the circumstances in which we find ourselves at the moment will cause worry. At Barclays we are committed to being responsive to your needs as the situation evolves, and we will continue to be in touch with information and updates.

In the meantime – with best wishes.

Matt Hammerstein
CEO Barclays UK


So, if a borrower is unable to work and applies for relief, what will Barclays do? Here are two relevant Q and A’s.


Will I be charged interest on my mortgage while the repayment holiday is in place?

Yes, we’ll continue charging interest on your mortgage, and we’ll apply it to your mortgage balance monthly. You will not, however, have to make any payments during the holiday period.

How will this affect my mortgage payment at the end of the holiday period?

We’ll be in touch before your payment holiday ends to tell you what your new monthly payment amount will be and the date when payments will begin again. The amount might be higher than before the repayment holiday started. If you’re worried about paying the new amount, our support team will be able to talk through some options, such as extending your mortgage term to ensure your payment is affordable.

In other words, a “mortgage holiday” means delaying the inevitable payments and probably incurring additional interest charges , which will increase the amount of your monthly payment and/or push out the date on which your mortgage ends.


This is what the Danske Bank website says.

Is a payment holiday the right option for me?

A payment holiday is a temporary break from your repayments to help you through these uncertain times.

There are a few things to consider before applying for a payment holiday, to make sure it’s right for your situation:

  • The interest on your mortgage will continue to accrue during the payment holiday.
  • If you have a fixed rate mortgage, there will be no change to your fixed payments after the payment holiday. If you move on to a reversionary rate after your fixed rate period ends, then these payments will be higher than shown in your original mortgage agreement.
  • If you have a variable rate mortgage, like a base rate tracker or if you are on standard variable rate, then the interest accrued will be added to your mortgage and the repayments after the mortgage holiday period will increase as a result.

Please be aware that if you need independent support regarding your mortgage, you can get help from Citizens Advice, Housing Rights NI or other debt counselling agencies.

So, in some circumstances, your payment may not change after the “holiday”. Like Barclays, this offer is not necessarily open to those already in arrears.

The Ulster Bank website is rather more terse.

Here are some things to consider before applying for a payment holiday:

  • At the end of the holiday your monthly payments will be recalculated and you will see an increase in your monthly payments.  We’ll give you an estimate of what that will be before setting up your break
  • The total amount of interest you pay over the term of the mortgage will increase.


Let’s remind ourselves of what the government  had to say about this, as the BBC reported it.

And Mr Sunak said that for those in financial difficulty due to coronavirus, mortgage lenders will offer a three-month mortgage holiday.

BBC personal finance correspondent Simon Gompertz said it was important for borrowers to remember that they would have to make up the payments at a later date. 

“The result is that you have some breathing space but when you resume payments the amount will be adjusted to be slightly higher, because the missed interest payments have been added to the loan,” he said. “This doesn’t mean the mortgage holiday is a bad idea.”


It would seem that the mortgage holiday is merely a temporary relief, for which the borrower will have to pay. Those already in arrears are unlikely to benefit and those teetering on the brink may find that the new repayments are beyond their reach.

Borrowers should think twice and get advice before going on  a mortgage holiday

Many borrowers have businesses. Again the government promised relief. Here is what the Times reported on 26th March.


The government and the banking industry are being urged to revisit the terms of emergency coronavirus loans after some directors were told that they would be personally liable for bank debts underwritten by the taxpayer.

The business department is to talk with lenders to discuss how this burden could be lightened after a backlash over the onerous terms being asked of the owners of small companies.

Yesterday, Royal Bank of Scotland, the biggest banker for small companies, said it would not ask for personal guarantees to secure the loans, putting pressure on other lenders to follow suit.

Under the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme, the state will underwrite 80 per cent of the risk of bank loans of up to £5 million. However, borrowers are liable for the entire debt, as the taxpayer guarantee is purely for the banks’ benefit, intended to give them confidence to lend to businesses that they may otherwise avoid.

Lenders including Barclays and HSBC have been asking directors of companies struggling to stay afloat to sign personal guarantees, as well as to pledge business assets as security.

Second homes and other personal assets also could be at risk. The banks point out that the terms of the scheme mean that they must exhaust all recovery action against borrowers before they can claim on the state guarantee.

The business department is aware of the anger among business owners and officials are due to consult UK Finance, the banking trade body, on the issue.

Kevin Hollinrake, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on fair business banking, said that the government must issue “clear and direct guidance” that there will be no personal guarantees.

Gina Miller, founding partner of SCM Group, a wealth management firm, and a campaigner for fairer financial services, said: “These personal guarantees are rubbing salt in wounds.”


So again, all is not as it seems. Whilst the government is making money available and ‘guaranteeing’ it; the lender will be required to exhaust all steps to recover the money from the borrower before the government guarantee will be operational. Even if the business is not required to give a personal guarantee, only those with the protection of limited liability are likely to  escape proceedings potentially involving their homes and personal property. Even the directors of a limited company could be personally liable in certain situations.

Irish Legal News reported this move by the IOD.

UK: Directors urge government to relax insolvency rules to save businesses

Directors across the UK are asking the government for a temporary indemnity which allows them to keep technically insolvent firms in operation during the coronavirus pandemic without fear of legal action.

Under current legislation, company boards can be sued for failing to wind up a company if it is running out of money and facing insolvency.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) has therefore asked for such rules to be relaxed to prevent viable businesses from collapse to avoid legal consequences.

The Treasury and Bank of England are offering billions of pounds in loans to businesses to counteract the effects of the pandemic, but the IoD said that directors may hesitate to take them “if they believe that, by failing to declare insolvency now, they may face personal financial and legal liabilities at a later date”.

Under the Insolvency Act 1986, directors can be sued for wrongful trading if they do not put a company into administration or liquidation that is later declared insolvent.

Creditors also can issue winding-up petitions to get their money back if they fear it is being wasted keeping the business going.

The IoD urged that in these extraordinary circumstances, boards should be allowed to continue to run their companies even if technically insolvent as a means of maintaining employment levels and preventing a major economic downturn.

It said that firms should not hesitate to seek government support if their business was a viable concern before the onset of the crisis. In this environment, maximising the ability of creditors to recover funds from a struggling entity after a lengthy legal process is not the economic priority.

The institute said: “Of much greater importance is the need for companies right now to maintain their service levels to the general public and support the economic position of their employees.”

The IoD emphasised further, that it would be entirely inappropriate to allow previously viable companies to go under when the proximate cause of their financial distress are the measures demanded by Government – even if they are imposed for the best of reasons. 

Jonathan Geldart, IoD director-general, said: “During the current crisis, directors are facing unprecedented challenges and need to see urgent temporary measures to avert entirely preventable corporate collapses.

“We’re calling on Government to prioritise jobs and the business survival by relaxing existing insolvency obligations put on directors and thereby providing business leaders greater room for manoeuvre at this critical juncture.

“We should not allow a single viable businesses to go to the wall because of this crisis.”

 It will be interesting to see if the government grants any relief.

The present situation prompted this statement from The Prudential Regulation Authority, as reported by the Times, on 26thMarch.


Banks can relax procedures for booking bad debt caused by coronavirus so that they can keep lending to businesses and individuals, the regulator has said.

In a “Dear CEO . . .” letter today, the Prudential Regulation Authority said that uncertainty about the impact of coronavirus and the possibility that the economy could bounce back sharply when the pandemic subsides meant that banks did not have to follow normal rules about credit losses.

Among the areas that can be relaxed are covenant breaches and missed payments. The guidance comes as companies are beginning to ask for leeway from their banks. The shopping centre owner Intu Properties warned today that it would breach the terms on its debt commitments after a collapse in rents unless it can secure debt waivers from its lenders.

Sam Woods, the PRA’s chief executive, said in the letter to banking bosses: “These measures are aimed at ensuring that banks are able to continue to lend to households and businesses, support the real economy and provide robust and consistent market disclosures.”

The letter is the most detailed intervention yet by regulators to guide banks over how to apply the IFRS9 accounting standard, which was introduced in 2018. The standard, which requires banks to recognise losses as soon as they start to appear, was created in the aftermath of the financial crisis to force lenders to provide an accurate picture about the state of their books more quickly.

Bankers said, however, that Brexit and now the coronavirus were very difficult to deal with under IFRS9 owing to their uncertain impact. Banks should not classify customers as more likely to default on loans just because they took payment holidays on mortgages or other loans, the PRA said. Instead, banks should take “ well-balanced decisions” based on the likely positive impact of the government’s support measures for the economy and long-term economic trends.

When assessing covenant breaches on loans by businesses, banks should differentiate between “normal” breaches and those occurring because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the PRA said.

Paul Lynam, chief executive of specialist lender Secure Trust, said: “The simple fact is, the vast majority of consumers and businesses were creditworthy and viable before the crisis and will be once the storm has passed. Bellyaching about moral hazards made the last crisis worse and longer. The Treasury and the regulators are to be applauded for their decisiveness and pragmatism, which will undoubtedly make Covid-19 less damaging than would otherwise be the case.”

Mr Woods’ letter follows a communication yesterday from Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, with Andrew Bailey, the Bank of England governor, and Chris Woolard, interim chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, urging banks to lend. “This will require a willingness to maintain and extend lending despite the uncertain economic conditions. We must ensure that firms whose business models were viable before the crisis remain viable once it is over,” they said.

The out workings of the financial crash of 2007-08 are still with us. Will Covid-19 add another layer to the present litigation?


So, like Noah, we await that dove with the olive leaf.  [Genesis 8:11]






Who was Willie Frazer?


In Northern Ireland, nothing is ever as it seems.

Frazer was a leading member of Fair, in Markethill, the epicentre of victims’ groups.

Here is the BBC report from November 2012.

“Willie Frazer, the director of a victims’ group whose funding has been frozen, has said he is stepping down from his role.

A European funding body wants £350,000 which it gave to Fair returned.

Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (Fair) has also had funding from the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers stopped.

Mr Frazer said on Friday that he was quitting his post because he did not want members of Fair to suffer.”

The issue disappeared. Frazer continued to be a “victims’ campaigner” sometimes acting the maggot, as some would say.

Then , magically, he attracted new funding from you and me.

Arlene Foster  became his new best friend and visited FRPU, an interesting acronym.

Then the Irish News published this.

“19 June, 2019 01:00

FUNDING for a charity linked to loyalist campaigner Willie Frazer has been withdrawn.

The Victims and Survivors Service pulled the cash from the Family Research and Policy Unit (FRPU) last month.

The service provides funding to community and voluntary organisations which deliver “support and services in a wide range of areas including health and wellbeing and advocacy support”.

Until recently the FRPU was based in Markethill in Co Armagh.”

So , apart from being careless with public money, did Willie have any other vices?

BBC Spotlight was less than convincing about their conversations with him but Pastor Barry has weighed in, more less confirming the story. Willie supplied arms to Protestant terrorists.

In 2004 Willie judicially reviewed the state regarding access to legal arms. The case is reported at 2004 NIQB 68.

The judgment contained the following correspondence:

By letter dated 12 May 2003 from the Firearms and Explosives Branch of the Northern Ireland Office the applicant was informed that the Chief Constable had revoked his Firearms Certificate as the applicant was unfit to be in possession of firearms and that:

“He based his decision on a reliable intelligence report that you associated with loyalist terrorist organisations. He considered that your association with these organisations did not arise from your work with FAIR and could not be described as legitimate.”


In a response dated 20 May 2003 the applicant [Willie Frazer]  disagreed that there was no specific threat to his life and referred to further evidence supporting such a threat as well as indicating that it was incumbent on the Northern Ireland Office to conduct their own enquiries into the matter. In relation to the alleged terrorist associations the applicant stated:

“Contrary to the rather hollow claims of the Chief Constable I have no links whatsoever with any paramilitary movements.” 

[My underlining]

[41] In a letter dated 2 June 2003 the Secretary of State refused the applicant’s appeal stating:

“(1) You did not need a PPW as Special Branch have advised that you are not the subject

of a specific threat.

(2)You are unfit to have firearms and ammunition as the police have intelligence from a reliable source to

indicate that you have recently associated with loyalist terrorist organisations.”

So in the looking glass world of Northern Ireland, the State, which funded Frazer handsomely, said that he was involved with terrorism, though he was never charged with any such offence.

Frazer  [whose friends would now like him to be remembered as a leader of the fight against republican violence] denied on oath that he had any such links.

Perhaps the answer is to be found in his mysterious escape from sanction when the European money went missing.

Was Willie turned? Was he made an offer by the State? Why did he promise so much and deliver so little? Was he a lightning conductor for protest? Did he involve himself in so many protests in order to report to his masters?

Given the statistics from Stevens and others, it’s odds on that Willie was a tout.