Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Quesitons 251-276)




  251. We were most grateful for the memorandum and very appreciative of you for coming to answer our questions today. If you have seen the transcript of any of the other examinations we have done, I habitually start by first giving whoever is coming before us a chance of making any introductory statement they want. I am putting you under no obligation to do so. Secondly, we will try and make sure our questions follow a logical order, although they may come from different corners of the room. Finally, if at any stage you want to gloss any answer you give, either orally now or in writing afterwards, or if, on reflection, you think it requires clarification please do not hesitate to do that. Equally if we spot there is something that we should have asked you which we failed to, then we will not hesitate to send you a supplementary question in writing afterwards. Is there anything would you like to say beyond the memorandum you have already sent us?

  (Professor Kennedy) First of all, I am delighted to be able to help the Committee to any degree that I can. I think the work that it is doing is enormously important. I am delighted you are here. I have prepared a second submission, I have copies for everyone. I am not sure whether you want that. [1]

  252. The Committee would find it helpful to have them now. It is good of you to have gone to that trouble. Those who are not specifically engaged in asking you a question will have a chance of looking at it and that may prompt further questions.
  (Professor Kennedy) Perhaps, just to mention, in the second submission essentially I made two points which pick up and develop some themes in the original submission. The first point I want to emphasise in the second submission is what I see as the creation of a distorted or unbalanced human rights agenda in Northern Ireland. Secondly, what I would call the creation of a canon of martyrdom, which is highly selective, which adds violence to the realities of Northern Ireland in terms of the debates we really should be having. This may seem somewhat at a tangent to your particular enquiries, but I really think the whole issue of paramilitaries driving people into exile is obviously one aspect of paramilitary repression in different neighbourhoods within Northern Ireland. That, in turn, links to wider concerns about human rights and debates about human rights.

  253. Thank you very much indeed. We are as grateful for the second submission as we were for the first. It might be helpful to put both subjects in a degree of framework if you tell us a bit about how you, yourself, got involved in the issue, if that is not an inappropriate question.
  (Professor Kennedy) Through the 1980s I was involved in a small way with peace and reconciliation groups, but it was really in the beginning of the 1990s and, indeed, almost by accident, as a member of a peace and anti-violence group called New Consensus, when we went to Newry to join local people who were protesting against the expulsion at that point of five young men from the Drumlane Estate on the outskirts of Newry. When I was leaving Belfast—the local demonstration was at 12 noon and I left Belfast at about 11—I remember saying to somebody, "I will be back about 4.00, I would guess". In fact there was a demonstration. It was later addressed by Seamus Mallon, an MP for the area, and two of the families decided to resist the IRA order that their two sons should leave the estate. They took refuge in Newry Cathedral. That rolled on for about ten days and I did not get back to Belfast for some time after the 4pm I had originally planned. Eventually it became untenable for the families, their friends and support groups, I was a member of one, to maintain the stay in the Cathedral and they then went into hiding in Northern Ireland. It is a very unusual case because at no point did the two families that were involved agree to the IRA or give the right to the IRA, if you like, to expel their sons. The allegations against the young men were that they had beaten up a Sinn Fe«in sympathiser. Sinn Fe«in locally admitted within a day or two that that was not the case, that was mistaken identity. Nonetheless, the IRA could not be seen to back down and it persisted in maintaining its threat of direct military action against the two young men. They went into hiding in Northern Ireland, supported by various peace groups. About four months into that campaign the IRA relented, in the sense that they said the two young men could return to their community one year after the original expulsion order. In fact they returned about a week after that. I suppose I would emphasise that it is a very unusual case. It is very unusual for families to stand up against the degree of intimidation that both Loyalist and Republican paramilitaries can exert in working class communities. I do not want to draw any general conclusion from that whatsoever.

  254. Thank you very much, indeed. Do have you a view of any comparative differential between the two sides of the paramilitary divide, as to where the exiling problem is worse?
  (Professor Kennedy) I do not, really. If one was to talk about last summer, I think there is little doubt it has been worse on the Loyalist side, when one thinks of the mass expulsions in the Lower Shankill. If you take a longer time perspective I just would not know, I would not have that information. My guess would be that, taking the longer view, it has been more pronounced in Republican controlled communities. That is a guess.

  255. One last question on my part. I notice that, on the two sides of the bar charts, there was a massive diminution in the number of punishment shootings during the ceasefire of 1995-96, but a massive increase in the number of assaults in the same period, which has not been matched in the same differential way during the ceasefires prior to and subsequent to the Belfast Agreement. Do have you any observations about that, if not a discrepancy, that particular difference?
  (Professor Kennedy) After the first ceasefire, which was at the end of August 1994, and then the Loyalist one later in the autumn of 1994 there was, perhaps, a degree of uncertainty in the minds of paramilitaries as to how far they could go. There is little doubt that the gun was taken out of the "punishment system" at that stage. However later on, as one can see from the statistics, the gun has crept gradually back into the system. I should also say, you actually make the point very clearly, that there is an inverse relationship between the incidence of paramilitary punishment shootings and the use of the gun in 1995 on to 1996, but an explosion in paramilitary punishments, beatings and assault of various kinds. One form of repression is being substituted for another. The second part of your question, why in the later period has gun play become increasingly popular or fashionable, both in Republican and Loyalist paramilitary dominated areas? I suspect, we can only speculate here, there is a learning process going on. Paramilitaries are constantly testing the water. If they can get away with particular activities then they do so. If you look at the incidence of shootings since 1994, I mean it is a pretty steep incline upwards, you know, frighteningly so. Perhaps another way of putting this is to say that paramilitaries do not take exhortation very seriously and, as I said earlier, if they feel they can get way with particular acts of violence then they have no difficulty in doing so.

Mr Grogan

  256. Perhaps a naive question following on from that, you make the point very clearly that punishment violence when it is meted out within the community—is there any difference in the scope for the force of law and order to deal with that, to try and stamp it out? You would imagine that on the Loyalist side it would be rather easier than on the Nationalist side. What are the constraints on the police in trying to deal with this sort of violence? Do they have any effect at all?
  (Professor Kennedy) Yes, I think it is important to state that it is very difficult for the police to deal with these kinds of issue. I have talked to the Chief Constable and others about this. He basically said it is very difficult to apprehend individuals and groups engaged in so-called punishment beatings, shootings, whatever, and, of course, it is very difficult to apprehend them en route. He mentioned to me that in a number of instances, vigilante groups, when approached by police, threw cudgels and hurley sticks, and so on, over fences, so there is a difficulty connecting those involved. At the other end, the victims in virtually all cases are not going to give evidence. In that sense it was very difficult for the police to police these kinds of activities. Nonetheless, I agree with you, in Loyalist areas there is clearly a higher degree of cooperation between police and local people, and also less of a fear of co-operating with police, which is a huge problem in Nationalist areas. I do not, for instance, believe that alienation from the RUC in Nationalist areas is nearly as extensive as it is painted in much of the political rhetoric. It is incredibly difficult. I suspect the more important levers of power are at a political level. Paramilitaries and paramilitary political parties do respond. They are, particularly in the case of Sinn Fe«in, extremely sophisticated. They have enormous intellectual and material resources for their campaigns. As we saw when President Clinton came to Belfast, the punishment shootings were switched off. There are other instances going back in time when one can identify sensitive political periods where amazingly these just disappear. I would be concerned, I suppose, about what some see as a lack of political will in terms of pushing these kinds of issues right up the political agenda. We have debates about policing, demilitarisation and decommissioning, this strikes me as essential to those debates and should be on par with those. I think Dublin politicians, Belfast politicians and London politicians should strive to bring home the realities to Sinn Fe«in, to the PUP, to the UDP and make credible threats in terms of the political process.

  257. What will be the impact of the policing reforms if they are successful and get imbedded, and so on, will that help the situation or not?
  (Professor Kennedy) Yes, I think it will. I do not think there will be a magical change overnight. If we have a police force which is seen as more acceptable in, broadly speaking, the two communities, I do, incidentally, think that the criticisms of the RUC are highly politically motivated. It is certainly the case that there is hostility and alienation from the RUC in some sections of some Nationalist working class areas and, indeed, in Loyalist areas as well. That picture, it seems to me, has been grossly exaggerated. There is room for reform and that seems to me to be going through. Here there is a lot of responsibility for the churches, trade unions, community groups and so on, in a sense, to take the courageous lead that the Reverend Denis Faul has taken, Nationalists and others should join the Police Board and Police Authority. If all of that happens, then gradually I think there are some grounds for optimism. However, let me qualify that quite heavily. It strikes me that paramilitary structures are so deeply embedded in many communities here, and there is impressionistic—evidence is too strong a word—it is the opinion of a number of quite well-informed people that the spheres of paramilitary influence are actually extending since the late 1990s, since the original ceasefires and, indeed, since the Good Friday Agreement. The problem is enormous. We need to bear in mind we have had three decades of sustained conflict. All kinds of structures have been developed here. Paramilitaries have enormous financial resources and political and cultural resources. Not only have they not gone away, to quote a leading politician, in this Province, it is unlikely they are going to go away very quickly. In the long-term, I remain an optimist, but I am deeply concerned about the position we are in now and, indeed, the years ahead.

Mr Beggs

  258. To what extent is the problem of paramilitary intimidation likely to require non-law enforcement inputs to help alleviate it, such as greater educational and employment opportunities?
  (Professor Kennedy) Clearly there is some relationship between economic deprivation and participation in alternative careers, ie as paramilitaries. I do not think it is a simple relationship, and I not think that the bulk of paramilitary activity can be explained in terms of economic and social deprivation. Any measures to improve the social and economic well-being of communities in Northern Ireland would be a positive step. In relation to community groups, I think the trade unions have a very fine reputation here in terms of opposing sectarianism and opposing paramilitaries. All of those institutions in civil society, it seems to me, could be more effectively mobilised to confront the nightmare of paramilitary control and repression. Perhaps this is where (linking in to my second submission) I think the debate on human rights in Northern Ireland is absolutely crucial. Unfortunately there are community groups—who know the reality on the streets—you know their own neighbours, sons, brothers, fathers and other relatives may have been threatened, intimidated, expelled or whatever—and they do not speak out. In many cases this is understandable, they are subject to intimidation as well. If others could exercise a greater degree of leadership, and I would be particularly critical of non-governmental organisations, like the Committee on the Administration of Justice, which concerns itself with kinds of human rights issues here. I have looked at the various reports from that body and it has done very good work in relation to State violation of human rights. I am in favour of investigating those thoroughly and ruthlessly, if necessary, but the astonishing thing is that they have all had major reports on plastic bullets, on civil policing, on the Irish language but they say absolutely nothing about the most pervasive and most serious human rights abuses in this society, and that is those carried out by paramilitary organisations. Many of the victims, particularly on the Republican side, are legally children. I suppose I should be self-critical of my own community of academics. We have not, on the whole, either researched adequately or contributed effectively to a debate which might condition what is going on here. There are a whole range of bodies—I hope I am focusing on the question—in civil society which could be doing more and should do so. I think they have to be channelled into action and challenged on these issues.

  259. Your memorandum usefully summarises the various types of displacement that has occurred; is it possible to quantify the number of people who may fall into each category in a particular year?
  (Professor Kennedy) I suspect it is possible to do it in a very rough fashion. I am not able to do it, but I imagine others who gave evidence to you might well be able to do that. I am not in a position to.

  260. If I can refer at this point to the second memorandum, and forgive my cursory glance through, it has not done it credit as yet, but, within the Unionist community there would certainly be criticism of the composition of many bodies in Northern Ireland that have been addressing human rights. In outlining the number of tragedies, cases that you deem would need further examination, Unionists, at a glance, might feel that it is a bit one-sided. Would you not agree with me that, as a result of every murder that has occurred, there is huge disappointment that over all of the years of the troubles, so few murders of policemen and of people deemed to be within the Unionist community have actually been successfully prosecuted, and that any future investigations should clearly be seen to be absolutely even-handed?
  (Professor Kennedy) Yes, thank you. It is my fault you did not have the submission sooner. I think you have read it remarkably quickly. I do not think the submission is unbalanced but, by all means, come back to me on that. On your wider point of the horrific murders of members of the RUC and of the Unionist community, I would agree absolutely. I quote directly from the submission, "There should be no second class deaths, all are equally deserving of investigation." One of the points I am making is that I am not disturbed by investigations into the Pat Finucane case or the Rosemary Nelson case, I am very much in favour of those investigations, but what I am concerned about is the selective creation of a canon of killings that are somehow more important, more significant, more deserving of police resources than others. It seems to me that every murder—like you I share your disappointment—there are so many IRA, UVF, UFF, UDA murderers who have not been brought to justice, and this is particularly the case in the west of the Province. There are an incredible number of unsolved murders, and all of the trauma that goes with that for the families of the victims. I think it is important that we, yes, in a sense, have parity of esteem for all of the victims.

Mr Thompson

  261. Good morning, Mr Kennedy, you are very kind to provide us with statistics about punishment shootings and beatings. In the statistics which you demonstrate how many have been apprehended, how many have gone to the court and how many convictions have there been for this type of activity?
  (Professor Kennedy) I think you would have to ask the Chief Constable, but I do know in broad outline, very, very few cases have been successfully prosecuted. Engaging in this type of paramilitary repression is virtually risk free.

  262. What risk is there that local and regional displacements may have the effect of exacerbating the problem, by creating more homogeneous blocks of population which the relevant paramilitaries might find easier to control?
  (Professor Kennedy) That is a real problem. It seems to me that what paramilitary repression boils down to is control of neighbourhoods. They are very much in that business, on the Loyalist and the Nationalist side. That is the business they are engaged in. That is also a stepping stone towards all kinds of related criminal activity, in terms of drug dealing, so it is a mixture of criminality, criminality sometimes directed towards a political end. The balance between those is shifting all of the time.

  Mr Thompson: Thank you very much.

Mr Clarke

  263. Good morning, Mr Kennedy, within my own community the only way of securing council accommodation, it seems to me, is to be homeless in the first place to become a priority. Along similar lines, with the huge differences you find within the Northern Ireland's Housing Executive, does it give priority for rehousing to those people who are forced out of their homes because of the type of intimidation you are talking about? I just wondered if you have an opinion that with the Housing Executive acting in such a manner, is there not a risk that they are being used by paramilitaries to almost legitimise their expulsions, because they know that the Northern Ireland Housing Executive will rehouse them in other areas.
  (Professor Kennedy) That is a real problem I think. It is a problem, I would think, for organisations like Base Two, which does excellent work. I suppose I have to agree with you that, in a sense, paramilitary organisations are using state bodies or voluntarily financed-bodies, which I believe Base Two is, of using them as part of their grand strategy of control, as an exercise of power and legitimation of their activities.

  264. My second question is in respect of those who volunteer for punishment shootings, they almost seem to have no other alternative. This is when people present themselves to a punishment shooting, as so clearly outlined in the submission you gave, rather than be exiled from their natural community. In those circumstances, are there any services offered by the authorities or, indeed, by voluntary groups which would present an alternative to somebody that they could go to to escape having that choice of either presenting themselves for shooting or disappearing?
  (Professor Kennedy) That is a very good question. In principle there are bodies there, the social services. I know a social worker who counselled, helped somebody to get out of a very difficult situation. She was dealing with the family for other reasons when this suddenly came up and she was on hand to help. They thought of her as a source of help. My impression is that by and large these people, very often young people, and their families do not think of statutory and non-statutory bodies as being immediately accessible to them and potentially able to help them. Again, this goes back to the climate of opinion, the debate about rights in this Province and, I suppose, the fragmented nature of the response to these kinds of issues. We do not have a developed human rights culture here where all kinds of people, statutory agencies, community groups, in all walks of life will immediately respond in a helpful way to other people. Could I also add, since many of the victims come from heavily disadvantaged backgrounds, their ability to negotiate what are really quite complex contacts with other organisations, and so on, is limited. This is not something we are born with, it is something that you become trained in. If you have gone through the formal education system and higher education we would expect it to be second nature, of course. It would not have been second nature when I was 14 or 15. One of the appalling things about all of this is that we are talking about the most powerless in society.

  265. What you are saying is there is a huge deficit inasmuch as those with the least power have little trust and they have had little contact with the proper authorities over a period of time and that, perhaps, needs to be addressed, not only through the Assembly but through the reorganisation of local government and taking the decision-making process closer to those communities.
  (Professor Kennedy) Yes. I think we need to use that over-used buzz word. We need a greater degree of coordination between agencies, not just statutory agencies but the voluntary sector, about which so much is said here. A lot of good work goes on in the voluntary sector and some dreadful work goes on in the voluntary sector. There is a dreadful abdication of responsibility by some in the voluntary sector. Let us not have this heroic image of civil society here. We need co-ordination right across the board, but underpinning that must be a real commitment to people's rights and welfare. It is not simply a bureaucratic memo coming down, you must have greater co-ordination between the Health and Social Services Board, NIACRO and joined-up government, to use that other term. It really needs a shift in mind sets, almost a new idealogy of human rights. An effective human rights culture, not a selective one, which goes back to some of the points that were made earlier. Unfortunately we have been following the selective approach to human rights issues in this society.

Mr Barnes

  266. Before questioning Mr Kennedy I think need to declare one or two interests. He mentioned his early involvement came through work with the New Consensus or the United Kingdom section of the New Consensus. I was a joint President of that organisation, now called New Dialogue, and I continue to be President of that body. I believe that Professor Kennedy has had involvement in bodies such as the Peace Train, I have also been associated with it, and probably has had links in terms of the number of human rights organisations, like Families Against Intimidation and Terror, which I have certainly been connected with in the past. The very incident which he referred to in Newry was a matter that at the same time I was pursuing in the House of Commons. I declare those interests, which I see Professor Kennedy indicates the points were relevant to his position. I want to ask questions on the Newry incident you referred to, which is contained in your memorandum. This is a case in which publicity has played a key part in lifting paramilitary threat. It is clear this is the exception rather than the rule, many people might not wish to be involved in that kind publicity. If they had publicity, they might feel worse. Are there other incidents you are aware of where publicity has operated, either publicity about an individual case, or could you produce an argument about what was taking place within a particular community and focus on it without referring to it? You might be able to build up an attitude in the community in order to press away paramilitary involvement and intimidation in the area.
  (Professor Kennedy) I would say, more privately, I am incredibly appreciative of the work you have done in aiding peace and reconciliation groups in Northern Ireland. I do think the Newry case was an exception and you require very brave families. There are other instances, the name escapes me, a former IRA man, Maurice, who used the media fairly effectively in this instance, not only to highlight the barbarism of some of these paramilitary activities, but also in terms of protecting himself. He became sufficiently high profile as to make it unproductive for paramilitaries to carry out threats against him. We cannot generalise from those, there are not many people in that position. However, the second part of what you were saying, focusing on areas, neighbourhoods and communities and directing publicity in that direction, I think that is important. It is the case that paramilitaries are sensitive to public opinion, that has been demonstrated over and over again. Indeed, when Amnesty International began to take an interest in some of the strange happenings in Northern Ireland in the 1990s, paramilitary organisations were concerned about that, particularly the IRA, is my impression. To the extent that we can mobilise the media gaze, if you like, and the gaze of international human rights bodies, like the Helsinki Human Rights, and hopefully some locally-based groups, that is all the better, to the extent that the climate of opinion does actually matter.

  267. In your initial submission and earlier in your evidence you are critical of the attitude of community groups and civil liberty groups, such as the Committee on the Administration of Justice, in not taking these matters up and pursuing them as far as the community groups are concerned. Do you feel that focusing publicity on particular communities within the community by different groups would be likely to change the attitude of those bodies themselves so that they came forward a bit more vigorously on those levels?
  (Professor Kennedy) Yes, I think that is possible. I should, in fairness, say I have spoken to people within Sinn Fe«in about this and there are people within Sinn Fe«in who are outraged by some of these activities. How representative they are I do not know. Others clearly speak with a forked tongue on these issues. Some will tell you, "I am very much in favour of punishment beatings and shootings". Just to give you an example, I was at a conference in West Belfast and it was mainly on policing issues. There was a workshop on policing in the community and one Sinn Fe«in member prefaced his remarks with, "Do not get me wrong now, I am in favour of punishment beatings". Of course, in the audience he probably did not have to reassure very many people on this point. I think it is partly fear and intimidation, of course, that community groups will not speak out against these kinds of abuses. It is also that the debate has not been really opened up. There is potential there for challenging and engaging in dialogue activists in community groups, who in turn could help to change the climate of public opinion, as it were. I should also say there are community activists who have taken brave stands on this. I do not want to present an over-simplified picture. The bottom line is that much, much more needs to be done. Many more of these groups need to face up to their responsibilities in relation to these kind of abuses.

  268. In another section of your original submission you say, "In the nature of things, the victims have been young, working-class and male. This was true until recently". Is that an indication that the pattern has changed or is it merely saying that you can only comment on it up to recently and it is not the current situation?
  (Professor Kennedy) I think it was influenced by the Loyalist feuding, particularly in West Belfast and the mass expulsions, two-way transfers of population between UVF controlled areas and UFF controlled areas. So, yes, I think it was a reference to that. I do have age statistics, I do not have them with me, but I could send them later, age profiles of the victims. [2]My recollection is that Republicans are rather more into paramilitary child abuse than Loyalists.

  269. The material you said you could supply to us would be helpful for the work of the Committee and we would appreciate that very much. Could you tell us the source of the statistics?
  (Professor Kennedy) I should have mentioned that, those come from the Statistics Division of the RUC. They are by no means perfect and all kinds of factors go into the shaping and the production of those statistics; they are a minimal estimate. There is no question that they are exaggerated, they are very clearly a minimised estimate of the indicators and the degree of paramilitary repression.

  270. Is this because people will not report the incidents themselves or would they, perhaps, be picked up by hospitals in rural areas where they would have the information, or otherwise people are cowered by the whole situation and they keep away from official sources?
  (Professor Kennedy) Yes. In addition, you see, there are many serious incidents involving threats, which can be quite traumatic, and confrontations with paramilitaries, invasion of your home, you pick this up casually all of the time. To give one other example which relates to expulsions. We have a job skills trainee in our department and before Christmas he just mentioned casually that about a year earlier he lived in Antrim town. He and his brother got into a minor scrap in a pub with a few other people. Unfortunately for them one of the others was connected to one of the Loyalist paramilitary organisations and the following day a gang of men came round, threatened him in his flat, giving him 24 hours to leave. That would never appear on any statistics anywhere. He immediately moved to Belfast. It is a bit like rape statistics, they are minimised.

  271. In the submission that you have just issued you refer to the possibility of a Truth Commission. It strikes me that this is drawn from the South African experience, yet there are clear differences in the situations between South Africa and Northern Ireland. You had the military, the ANC, which itself was involved in combating activity against the State and which was itself using oppressive measures. Then the situation changed and apartheid was removed and, therefore, there was an opportunity for something legatory through the Commission, in which many who had been involved in crime could state what they were at and, with the agreement of the people who had suffered, that was the end of the public admonition of what had occurred. Is it not difficult to imagine that occurring in Northern Ireland unless you have some different ideas about the Truth Commission, because there might be a greater reluctance to admit to crimes of this type on the grounds that people felt a sort of type of justification for what it was they were involved with or an excuse that, certainly on the State side in South Africa, was to some extent removed. Do you think it is a runner as far as Northern Ireland is concerned?
  (Professor Kennedy) I agree there are huge differences between the South African case and the Northern Ireland case; most of the parallels are beside the point. What I had in mind, and this is simply an idea that you might consider, is a rather more limited exercise. Not very many paramilitary figures are going to appear publicly and renounce what they have done, although a small number have specifically done so in relation to punishment beatings and shootings, a small number. What I had mind more so was something which was friendly to the victims. We are not going to get justice in virtually all cases. They have not got justice in all cases, going back to a point earlier. The perpetrators are not going to be apprehended by the law at this stage and, indeed, those who committed punishment attacks at the weekend just gone by, it is unlikely any of those will be apprehended. On top of all of the misery that is piled on the victim is the condemnation to silence. What would be helpful is if there was an arena where they could give testimony, where they could recount in a normal, almost therapeutic way, the horrific things that have happened to them and their families. Much of this would probably be anonymous. I think that would be, nonetheless, helpful to the victims as one part of their experience, giving expression to it, unlike, say, stating the abuse of human rights, which looks at whether the victim immediately has access to the media, they could talk about their case openly in public. The victims of paramilitary repression cannot speak. I suspect you have not had many people giving evidence to this Committee, for very obvious reasons. This would have to be a very different kind of Truth Commission, much more a social work model or a therapeutic one. It would give an outlet for all kinds of feelings of anger, hurt, hopelessness and powerlessness. It could have quite an extensive support staff, social workers and outreach workers. It could also build a body of testimony, albeit much of it, perhaps most of it, anonymous, which would be a monument to where we have come from in this society. All of us have been brutalised and decivilised by 30 years of political violence. That needs to handled some way.

Mr Thompson

  272. Are you aware of any research into the physical and psychological damage that has been done to people who have been beaten up? Has any research been done dealing with permanent handicap or disability as a result of it?
  (Professor Kennedy) There is some research by physiologists. I know there are public statements—I do not know about research as such—by surgeons in the Royal Victoria Hospital. Let us not forget, as well, they have experienced the trauma of dealing with these awful cases. More generally, the point I would make is the limited nature of research into all of these kinds of activities. That, in a sense, is a reflection on the academic and particularly, of course, a reflection on that section of the community engaged with law and with human rights, of which there are considerable numbers in this province.


  273. Let me just verify before I wind up whether there are any other questions anybody wants to ask, I think not, in terms of the way the matters have gone. Let me start by thanking you for your kind words about our own involvement in this issue. I will not disguise that we had quite a long debate within our own ranks in private before we embarked on it in order to test whether we could produce meaningful work on it. We are extremely glad we took the decision to go ahead. It has been helpful, even at the level of pulling together such data as there is on what is going on. Of course, we acknowledge the point you make about the statistics being minimal. A question I should have asked you when I asked my original question at the beginning about how you became involved yourself, to what extent, if any, is there a read across from your own academic discipline in economic history?
  (Professor Kennedy) That is nice question. I could not see very much in the beginning. Indeed, I saw the two sets of activities as antagonistic. It is the case that my research has recovered greatly since the paramilitary ceasefires. In recent years, I have devoted more time to my academic work. There is, you are right, a connection in terms of an understanding of Irish history, not specifically economic history but social and political history, yes there is. This might be helpful to the Committee, I have been reading IRA autobiographies from the 1920s, particularly those of Ernie Obe O'Malley and Dan Breen. I suppose I grew up on Dan Breen's on the Fight for Irish Freedom. Revisiting those texts is interesting: the impulse in the 1920s in IRA thinking was to drive out those who did not agree with them. Expulsions are not something new. It is on a much greater scale nowadays than was the case earlier this century. That same totalitarian impulse was there to purify the community and to exert monopoly control over it. There is a tradition. If anyone has time, if you go back to Ernie Obe O'Malley, his is one of the best IRA memoirs, Another Man's Wound, you will find that he says in about 1920, quite bluntly, "Loyalists and others who do not agree with us can pack their bags and get the hell out of Ireland". I am not saying that all Republicans would subscribe to that view, but certainly that impulse is there in the culture of Republicanism.

  274. I should add as a footnote we have, in fact, taken evidence in South Africa. We went out to South Africa, because of the analogous circumstances, as a Committee, in particular to see the townships, both in East Rand and on the outskirts of Durban and Pretoria. Mr Barnes declared a number of interests, I did not think there was any particular need for me to indicate that the episode in Newry, to which you referred, overlapped slightly with the time that I was here myself. There was one other thing that occurred when I was here myself which, in a sense, has been resuscitated, on which I would like to ask a question. You mentioned the considerable financial backing to paramilitaries on each side. During the time I was here, there was a concentrated drive, particularly in areas like the Inland Revenue, to undermine the financial resources of the paramilitaries, based, amongst other things, on the likelihood that in a world which was not much interfered with, their books might not stand scrutiny, in the same as Al Capone was sent down for income tax offences rather than any larger crime. Do you believe that, in an area where there are only a limited number of ways in which what we have been talking about can be attacked by the forces of law and order, that, in fact, the Organised Crime Task Force represents a possibility in terms of literally reducing the financial resources that they have.
  (Professor Kennedy) I think that is enormously important. My understanding is that in the Irish Republic in relation to organised crime, which is a serious issue in the Irish Republic, that legal changes have facilitated and made more effective the Gardai«'s drive against organised crime. I would whole-heartedly be in support of that. I think some legislation is going through at the moment in relation to increasing the powers of the State in that area. That is to be very much welcomed. Perhaps in the spirit of your question, it is a case of identifying these areas. As you say, it is very difficult to deal with paramilitary-controlled communities which have been built up over a long period of time, we should not forget that. It is important to identify the lines of attack that a liberal democratic society can take and which ultimately protects people within society from the depradations of the paramilitary groups.

  275. My last question has a personal motivation. I have spent my life quoting a particular line of Burke, allegedly of Burke, which you may be able to predict before I utter it. It is relevant to what we have been talking about today, in Burke's observation he said, "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is that good men should do nothing". My problem is that I have never been able to find where in Burke this line occurs. Since we the advantage of having an academic giving evidence to us if do you know or you know anybody else who knows I would be much in your debt knowing what the actual source of the remark is.
  (Professor Kennedy) I will have to ask.

  276. I was not going to press you on this occasion. Let me, on behalf of the Committee, thank you most warmly, not only for the submissions you made but also your kindness in giving evidence today.
  (Professor Kennedy) Thank you very, very much. I think the work you are doing is enormously important, as I said at the beginning. I wish you every success and I will try and help in any way subsequent to this that I can in terms of further information.

1   Printed at Ev p 57-58. Back

2   See Appendix II, p 102. Back

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