The Belfast Telegraph has published a gushing article about Alan Mains. What it does not mention is his controversial evidence at the Smithwick Inquiry. This investigated the murders of Breen and Buchanan by PIRA.
It has never been clear why Mains did not accompany his friend and boss , Breen to Dundalk.
Three possibilities immediately present themselves:
- He was never tasked to go.
- He asked Breen might he have time off to play rugby.
- He wanted to go to the gym.
Readers need to study the report to decide which, if any of these is the truth. The rugby one is repeated in the Belfast Telegraph article.
Jamie Bryson wrote about Mains in his book , Three Headed Dog. He alleged that Mains worked for MI5. He was Kevin Fulton’s handler, inter alia.
Mains never sued.
Most RUC officers I have spoken to regard Mains as a fantasist, claiming to have been here and there, without cause.
He went so far to tell me that he had been at the scene of my parents’ murders, yet nobody I have spoken to recalls him being there or why he would have had any need to be there. There is no evidence in the papers I have seen , of his presence.
His rise to stardom was connected to his friendship with Ronnie Flanagan, that bibulous womaniser, who did the bidding of the British state in rebranding the RUC.
Anyway, don’t take my word for it, read Smithwick.
So Dear Belfast Telegraph, next time you want to eulogise someone like Mains, do you homework.
Here is the extract.
“6.1.16 Mr Mains gave evidence over the course of two days and was robustly cross – examined by both counsel for the Garda Commissioner and counsel for Mr Owen Corrigan. It is fair to say that one of the central points of their cross – examination is that Mr Mains’ original statement of 22nd March 1989 appears inconsistent with his evidence about:
(i) Chief Superintendent Breen asking Mr Mains him to accompany him to Dundalk;
(ii) his being asked to phone Bob Buchanan to see if Superintendent Buchanan was available to go to Dundalk; and
(iii) his making a telephone call to the Dundalk Garda Station on Chief Superintendent Breen’s behalf to arrange the meeting.
It was, in essence, suggested that Mr Mains’ written statement of 22nd March 1989 does not support his evidence in relation to these three aspects and therefore affects his overall credibility as a witness.
6.1.17 It is the case that the following part of Mr Mains’s statement does not sit easily with his evidence in relation to his role in setting up the meeting in Dundalk:
“He [Chief Superintendent Breen] informed me that he had to attend a meeting in Dundalk that afternoon with the Border Superintendent, Superintendent Buchanan, along with Chief Superintendent Nolan, Garda.”
6.1.24 “I would add that it appears from all of the evidence before me that neither the statement which Mr Mains did provide in 1989 – which refers to Harry Breen’s concerns about unnamed members of An Garda Síochána – nor the further specific information in relation to Owen Corrigan which I find as a fact Mr Mains did share with the senior officers, was communicated to An Garda Síochána. I find this extremely surprising. In the immediate aftermath of the killings of two of the most senior RUC officers to be murdered in the Troubles, the RUC was informed that one of them, only hours before is death, had expressed concerns about a Garda officer being in the pay of ‘Slab’ Murphy. It seems incomprehensible to me why the RUC did not immediately raise that matter with An Garda Síochána. The likeliest explanation that one can find on the evidence is Mr Mains’ account of what Sir John Hermon said to him in Newry on 21st March 1989, namely that Owen Corrigan had already been investigated and had been cleared. Yet both the Police Service of Northern Ireland and An Garda Síochána have indicated to the Tribunal that there is no documentation to support the suggestion that such an investigation in relation to Detective Sergeant Corrigan was carried out. I am therefore compelled to the view that the information ought to have been, but was not, shared with the Gardaí, and no reasonable explanation for this failure can be discerned.”
It should also be pointed out that no RUC officer , called to give evidence at Smithwick, remembered Mains’s alleged meeting with the Chief Constable.
Irish Times article
I set out below an article written by Ed Moloney, who needs no introduction to scholars of the history of the Troubles.
Whether or not the letter is genuine, it raises, again, the question of the participation of State forces in the activities of PIRA.
Supporters of the Republican cause, including many lawyers, describe this as “collusion”.
It has been noticeable, in the articles written for the Newsletter , that not one participant has touched on this issue.
Instead it rolled out the usual State actors , like Collins and Matchett.
Equally, I am not aware of any “victims’” organisation exploring this issue at all.
The explanation, partly, may be the placing of ex State actors within these organisations. Take SEFF, it employs Peter Murtagh, ex State Spook. I’ve listened to SEFF’s pitch for victims and nowhere in it does it even acknowledge the possibility that State actors were involved with PIRA. The focus is mainly on PIRA killings of the security forces.
As always, Dear Reader, I urge you to judge for yourself.
Following on from my last blog on this, I have test driven the new model, that Jeffrey recommends.
This is the one that the populace are asked to buy, by way of a “consultation”.
The draft Bill is 68 clauses long, and it has 19 schedules. It runs to 120 pages. The section on the HIU has 38 clauses and 16 schedules.
Jeffrey, is the DUP’s spokesman on victims’ issues, so we might assume that he knows what he is talking about.
Lets look at some of the things he has said in Parliament about the establishment of the HIU.
“At present, in fairness to the victims and families who have waited a long time, the proposal is that the historical investigations unit would pick up where the historical inquiries team left off in chronological order. It would be wrong to go back to the beginning and start again, leaving the people who have already waited many years having to wait even longer.”
What does the draft legislation say? Clause 8; deaths must be investigated in chronological order [unless there are exceptional circumstances] . So nul points for that statement.
“It is important that the Government now proceed with the Stormont House agreement and get on with publishing the draft legislation to give innocent victims and others the opportunity to comment on the proposals, so that at last we can begin the process of implementing what has been agreed and the focus will no longer be solely on what the state did.”
This is a consultation, not an opportunity to comment on proposals. Here is a brief summary of what that means:
(1) consultation must be at a time when proposals are still at a formative stage (2) the proposer must give sufficient reasons for any proposal to permit of intelligent consideration and response, and (3) adequate time must be given for consideration and response and (4) that the product of consultation must be conscientiously taken into account in finalising any statutory proposals.
So its not just as simple as Jeffrey would like it to be. What if citizens reject the proposal? Jeffrey asserts that it has been agreed. So is this consultation a sham and a waste of time?
“We endorse the institutions proposed under the agreement, including a new historical investigations unit that would have full police powers, and would take over the work of the PSNI’s legacy investigation branch and the responsibility for reinvestigating the unsolved murders linked to the troubles in Northern Ireland.”
“Two years ago, we reached an agreement in Stormont about the legacy issues and several new institutions were proposed, including an historical investigations unit that would have full police powers to revisit the unsolved murders. The main impact of the establishment of that unit would be that the murders committed by the terrorists would finally be subjected to proper scrutiny and reinvestigation, and the innocent victims that the hon. Member for South Down referred to would have the opportunity to have their cases re-examined to see whether there was the prospect of prosecution and people being brought to justice.”
It’s important to couple these statements, representing a bright shining JeffreyLand and compare them against reality. Here is what the Bill proposes:
Not all troubles related deaths are to be investigated. A time frame has been specified.
Only those which are currently on the books of the PSNI or the PONI will be considered. So if you relative’s case is not with either of these bodies, generally speaking you will not qualify.
Each of these bodies must certify to the HIU that the death requires further investigation. Many will not be so certified and will therefore not be investigated.
HIU is only to investigate any of these deaths it takes on if there is “new evidence”
This means evidence that PSNI/RUC or PONI or HIU did not know of or knew of but was not aware of the relationship between the evidence and the death.
But. The new evidence is to be assessed for credibility and the evidence is to be taken into account with all other relevant information.
So if the HIU thinks the evidence is weak or it is leaned upon by the Spooks , you case will also fall by the wayside.
The Shawcross test is certainly present in Clause 7, where the HIU must not do anything which might prejudice the national security interests of the UK, put at risk the life or safety of any person. This is the get-out to protect informers, who were present or participated in many of the murders.
The suggested presence of informers is a feature of many troubles murders. Some also may involve participating informants. To date these cases have not been solved because of the State’s activity in hiding these persons. The State will continue to hide them.
There seems to be no mechanism for a relative or interested person to make a fresh complaint to the HIU.
The HIU is forbidden from duplicating work. So the HIU could read the papers from the PSNI or the PONI, decide that it will not duplicate the work, that there is no new evidence and bin the case.
Let’s assume that the HIU considers that maybe there is an agent or informer or some State actor. It has no access to the Spooks’ warehouses. It has to ask for information. If you don’t know what the Spooks have got then it’s hard to ask for it. On the other hand the Spooks are under no obligation to hand over information, no matter how relevant it might be.
This could have been [partially] resolved by giving HIU unlimited access to the warehouses. How likely is that?
Worse, the Secretary of State and the Department of Justice can both make regulations limiting the use of secrets.
As a general weapon, the HIU director can bin cases under clause 9 if he feels that they will hinder the completion of his task in five years.
So, how more effective will the HIU be, compared to PSNI/LIB or PONI?
The answer is , not a lot. The Bill is State sponsored sleight of hand. All the faults of the HET , the LIB and the PONI HID are present here. Worse, the State has tightened up the control of State secrets, so informers and agents are better protected than ever. How many cases will be investigated? Nobody knows but it certainly will not be Jeffrey’s assertion that:
“the innocent victims that the hon. Member for South Down referred to would have the opportunity to have their cases re-examined to see whether there was the prospect of prosecution and people being brought to justice.”
If I were guessing the number would be in the hundreds, not thousands.
Jeffrey, as the DUP victims’ expert, is knowingly selling the same old model of car [HET/LIB/HID] , with a new paint job, a radio and go-faster stripes. It still handles badly, takes ages to get anywhere and lets you down at the vital moment.
Don’t buy it!
On 6th June 1990 there were, on conservative estimates ,100 RUC informers among the PIRA in Belfast.
Each had a team of handlers, probably four in number, to cover sickness, leave etc. Four hundred so far.
The handlers had bosses; sergeants, inspectors, chief inspectors, superintendents etc. Let’s estimate a further fifty senior officers.
Four hundred and fifty so far.
Then the meetings had to be covered by E4A and others, each one, day by day. Maybe another 100 officers , who would have seen the likes of Scappaticci, Sean Maguire, Brian Gillen etc “singing like canaries” in car parks in Hillsborough, Holywood , Helens Bay etc.
Five hundred and fifty.
The there was the “Hen House” where women, in serried ranks typed up the transcripts of the recordings of the meetings. Another fifty, at least.
Six hundred now.
Move to the civil servants in the NIO and others who read the ‘product’.
Then the Director of Public Prosecutions and his staff…
I’m rounding it up at seven hundred.
Maybe a third are dead.
But out there , today are several hundred people who could help the victims. They could tell the awful story of state involvement in supposedly terrorist murders.
Only a few have spoken out.
Why? Like the Cosa Nostra , the silent ones are motivated by money. Patten payments. Big pensions.
Before turning attention and criticism on the republicans, victims should ask themselves-why the silence? The answer is that the relevant RUC officers and civil servants are corrupt. Like the Mafia.
Who? Think of Flanagan, White, McQuillan , Matchett and Mains, all still earning from the misfortunes of the victims and failing to tell the truth.
This is the real tragedy of the Troubles.
In any other jurisdiction, there are cold case reviews on a regular basis. Even the PSNI is embracing this idea , with the recent activity over the death of Inga Maria Hauser, found dead in April 1988.
As someone said , recently, sad as it is, why her?
The answer of course is that the huge lump of Troubles deaths involve the state and the vast store of documents, implicating it. There are stores in Sprucefield, Seapark and Thiepval, where the army sits on a million copies. The state, in the form of Hamilton, Harris and the faceless people of MI5 will keep the lid on, as best they can.
All the citizen can do is keep probing.
What is additionally disappointing is that the new leaders appear to have gone to Spooks Academy.
Consider the letter written by the deputy director of the PPS in the case of Seamus Ludlow. His understanding of hearsay would shame a first year law student. How did he become deputy director and regurgitate all the lines of the state? Can you guess? Let’s hope he gets well spanked in the High Court.
As part of the week to mark twenty eight years since the murders of my parents, I am posting a secret document, giving an insight into how the state worked.
There will be other posts in this anniversary week.