Examination of Witnesses (20-39)|
WEDNESDAY 22 NOVEMBER 2000
20. Are the destinations similar for those from
the two communities who are expelled, or do a greater proportion
of Unionists choose to come to Great Britain?
(Mr Robinson) In terms of final destination, whether
you are from a Unionist community or whether you are from a Nationalist
community, the majority would come across to England or Scotland.
Obviously, for cultural reasons you would find those from a Unionist
community would make England, Scotland or Wales their final destination.
The majority coming from a Nationalist community would be inclined
to come across to this side of the water as opposed to even going
into the Republic of Ireland.
(Mr Wrigley) I think there is an interesting point
here because I have dealt with a number of cases of expulsion
where the person is told to get out of the country and they have
actually gone south of the border. When it has been a short, sharp
retribution it has been possible to negotiate their return, and
I have been involved in such negotiations. I would suggest that
there is a gradation of seriousness in terms of expulsions. Some
are short, sharp raps "clear out for a year or two years",
but the ones we are dealing with are life time. We do know that
some of those who have been told to clear out for good, when they
have come back two or three years later have been assaulted and
have had to run for their lives. There is a slight nuance there
between the motivation. Nearly all the expulsions which are related
to strengthening the grip of the paramilitaries are long-term
and, they hope, for life.
21. Good morning, gentlemen. Is it reasonable
to assume that most expulsions arise as a result of problems within
a community, for example Nationalist problems in Nationalist areas,
rather than on a cross-community basis, in other words Unionists
(Mr Wrigley) I would say yes now, but over past years,
and when I was involved 17 years ago, it was the reverse. Quite
a lot of the expulsions were expulsions of people from the other
side but they were sharply to do with threats of violence and
what I would call the sharp end of the confrontation. More recently
the pendulum has swung in the other direction.
(Mr Robinson) At this particular point in time the
majority of individuals or families with whom I would be involved,
or have had involvement, have come from within their own community.
The expulsions are for perhaps a variety of reasons and not always
the reasons that are necessarily given. By that I mean that very
often the common phrase is "anti-social behaviour",
and whilst there are those who would involve themselves in that
type of activity or behaviour, nonetheless there is a large section
of those expelled for other reasons.
(Mr Wrigley) Could I say that there is also a grey
area between, because sometimes the press is told "these
are drug dealers and we want them out of our midst" and there
is a sort of hero role being played, but very frequently beneath
the surface the issue is not that at all, it is under-cutting
in terms of drug prices. So they get rid of the person who is
a threat to them under the guise of doing this when they themselves
are involved. This is something we have come across quite a lot.
If I may say so, this just highlights the interface between those
who appear to be politically motivated primarily and those who
appear to be criminally motivated primarily. Far be it from me,
as an Englishman, to explain the nuance of this, but at least
when we are facing that situation we have got to recognise that
the expulsions can have a primarily criminal intent or a primarily
political intent, or a mixture of the two.
22. You have covered this to some extent, but
what information do you have on the reasons given by people for
their expulsions? Do you seek to check these out and, if so, what
proportion of people who contact the Community actually prove
to have genuine reasons for leaving their homes?
(Mr Wrigley) Firstly, can I say that because we have
been involved in most parts of Northern Ireland over many years
we have got the facility to verify. We are certainly not a soft
option. Indeed, we have been approached by some and have not responded
for the very reason that you are suggesting. We find that perhaps
the best way of responding is to receive from the person who is
about to be expelled, or who has been expelled, their statement,
their side of the story, and then to verify particularly with
people who do not know them at all, who can perhaps see the situation
in perspective. Quite remarkably we have been able to do that.
I think it is probably the nature of Northern Ireland that we
have found that basic information is available.
(Mr Robinson) If I could just elaborate there. In
real terms of people or families being expelled, I have dealt
with a high proportion of those who have not had any involvement
with paramilitary organisations or activity and who have been
law abiding citizens, who have been upstanding citizens within
their own community, and as a result of their not being willing
to bow down to the intimidation of the paramilitary groups, or
speaking out against the activities of the paramilitaries, or
where sometimes representatives of an organisation have imposed
a threat on an individual or family where they have reported that
matter to the statutory forces of law or order, the result is
that they have then had to come out. The concept of people having
to come out purely and simply because it is their own fault or
they must have been engaged in anti-social or "criminal"
behaviour has been used as a cloak or a cover for the activities
of the various organisations.
(Mr Wrigley) I think there is no doubt that some are
troublemakers, it would be foolish to deny that. One then questions
why has the role of the RUC been circumnavigated, as it were.
We know that this is a very sensitive area. Suffice it to say
that quite often it is the RUC who advise people to move for their
own safety. I think we need to recognise that that has happened
over the years. I think you would agree?
(Mr Robinson) Yes.
(Mr Wrigley) I think there is a great difficulty in
the minds of people who have never been subjected to this fear.
I have been into houses where people have been beaten up within
ten minutes of the event and grown men are cowering in the corner,
terribly cut and bruised. They are traumatised so that when they
are told to get out within a week, they get out within an hour.
It is when you see people who are totally innocent in that situation
that you realise that here are people who have been grievously
deprived of basic human rights. There is a lot of debate about
human rights currently but the infringement of human rights which
is taking place, for a variety of reasons, is monumental. I would
make the point that we do understand that there is a difficulty
in terms of the RUC in both communities, that people will feel
hesitant in being seen to approach the RUC, in being recognised
as having given evidence to the RUC. This is a very complex area.
We, in our Community, are not involved in politics at all, as
you will appreciate, we merely respond to the cry for help, but
we do make sure that it is a legitimate cry.
23. Do you find that the geographical areas
are gradually increasing and spreading out more into rural areas?
(Mr Robinson) Yes, in a nutshell. The reality is that
where at one time expulsions could have been identified as appertaining
to a specific geographical area, ie the estates within specific
towns or cities, the reality now is that the activity has spread
into rural areas and into areas where you would never even contemplate
that. Obviously, as you are aware, I come from Northern Ireland
and there are small areas where one would not expect threats or
intimidation to actually be engaged in but it is spreading throughout
the rural areas in addition to urban areas.
Mr Thompson: Thank you very much.
24. Are there any areas that have been reclaimed
so that the writ of the paramilitaries engaging in beatings and
exiles is not taking place any longer?
(Mr Wrigley) There are a few, but very, very few.
Notably where the outrage among the public is so great the paramilitaries
have to hold back, but they are very, very few and far between.
We have had instances where, for example, it has got to be known
in a group of houses or a neighbourhood prior to the expulsion
that the father has been beaten up in front of his children and
there is a sense of outrage which goes beyond just the outrage
of the assault, and maybe that is an instanceI have come
across three cases nowof the way in which pressure is brought
to bear on the paramilitaries. This is why they do not like a
lot of publicity for some of the beatings.
25. I am concerned about your opinion as to
how perhaps the level of expulsion and intimidation, if in fact
that is what it is, can be reduced. In most of your evidence you
make a passing reference to the police involvement. I am asking
you for your opinion. Do you feel that there could be greater
police penetration in these areas which are obviously to some
degree under the control of the paramilitaries, to forestall these
expulsions, or do you think that these particular communities,
which are in a sense sometimes ghetto-ised, have a perception
of the police, that they are not confident in them or that the
police are not acceptable to them?
(Mr Wrigley) Ideally we would like to see the RUC
enter every area and be respected. I have to say that among our
membership in Northern Ireland we have very committed Unionists
and very committed Nationalists and we hear the differing responses,
which you will be all the more familiar with than me, but at the
end of the day we have got to face up to the reality of the fact
that there are areas, Protestant and Catholic, where people do
not feel able to openly approach the RUC. We deliberately do not
walk along this road, if I may say so, because there are so many
different views and we are not a political movement. We collaborate
with the RUC and with any other grouping that has statutory responsibility.
It is a very worrying thing that there does not appear to be a
policing and, indeed, there does not appear to be a rule of law
in many of these areas. Over and over again when we go to Northern
Ireland, and we will be there tonight again, people who have really
gone through the threats have repeatedly said "we have not
got our rights". We are aware that there are swathes of territory
in Northern Ireland where this does not apply and we are aware
that normal relationships exist. We are talking about the key
areas where there is trouble or where there are expulsions and,
sadly, those are the areas where people do not have the confidence
often to approach the RUC. That is not to criticise the RUC, it
is to state a fact.
26. Thank you for that answer. Can I just extrapolate
from what Mr Robinson said about the outward extension of intimidation
from what are normally known as paramilitary controlled areas.
I find that quite surprising in view of the fact that the controlled
areas do not exist usually in rural communities because they are
scattered. Therefore, would the intervention of the police in
those cases not be much more effective than in the so-called territorial
areas of the paramilitaries?
(Mr Robinson) In terms of this extension, the reality
is that individuals and families are put into a state of fear.
There is a recognition that their safety cannot be safeguarded
24 hours a day by statutory bodies or by the RUC and consequently
people recognise that by and large at any given time and at any
given point they can become a victim, either through beating,
shooting or any other form of attack. In this particular situation,
people feel very much on their own and feel that they have got
to deal with the situation in whatever way is possible. I am thinking
of one particular case in a small seaside town where even I was
slightly taken aback at the family that had been put under particular
threat as the paramilitary organisations began to extend their
tentacles of control. This family had lived in the house for some
30 years and as regards members of the family, the organisation
had all the details, every single detail, even down to very private
details. When confronted with that type of evidence then people
feel disempowered whenever they are aware that there are those
in organisations who know and have very, very detailed information
about them. If I could just come back to your initial question.
In terms of people's responses and the response of communities
and whether or not, for example, effective policing can take place,
communities feel very much disempowered. If communities could
be empowered to take responsibility for their areas again then
perhaps you would see what we would understand as effective policing,
effective administration of law and order taking place. That is
a feeling that people have, that they do not have the ability
to take back control of their own communities. This is across
the board. I have been in Loyalist areas, I have been in Republican
areas where individuals feel disempowered and are accepting, or
have had to become accepting, of the principle that if anything
happens you do not go to a statutory body but you have to go to
those who are representative of the paramilitary groups. I hope
that answers your question.
(Mr Wrigley) I wonder, Mr McGrady, whether I could
just reiterate one thing which was implied in your question. The
number of controlled areas has undoubtedly grown during the period
of the so-called peace process. This is one thing which we can
say categorically from our own experience. The number of areas
which are really under tighter control of the paramilitaries is
greater now than it was.
27. That slightly surprises me, but I take your
experience. What you are telling me now is that the no-go areas
in terms of policing have expanded rapidly since the ceasefire.
I will just note that. May I ask you a question regarding the
first initial contact, Mr Robinson's remarks regarding empowering
the local communities. I do not want to draw you into any political
comment. You do not want to go there, I appreciate that. There
is a firm proposal now, under the new policing regime, for the
creation of district police partnerships, involving the community,
the police and presumably local representatives. Do you feel,
speaking non politically, of course, that would be a weapon whereby
we could challenge the control of paramilitaries and the activities
of paramilitaries within our communities?
(Mr Robinson) From my own perspective that would come
down to whether or not the community had confidence in those appointed
to such bodies. At the end of the day I do not know if that would
enable or facilitate communities to feel a greater sense of empowerment.
One interesting situation which I have come across in terms of
addressing the issue we touched on earlier regarding the publicity
given to activity, and very often where publicity is given to
it there is a reduction or a turning off the tap, as it were.
I can think of one specific area where there were 30 to 40 names
on a list for expulsion and whenever this was highlighted and
addressed, all that activity was curtailed. This is what I mean
by empowerment of a community. Once it was highlighted and dealt
with and indicated that it would go into a greater public arena
if this happened, the organisation stepped back.
(Mr Wrigley) Could I make a very emphatic point, Chairman.
The weapon is not just the act of expulsion, the greatest
weapon is the threat of expulsion and the threat of expulsion
silences people, people who are the very folk who could be pillars
of the local community, who could collaborate with goodwill. This
is what worries me every time I go to the Province and meet people.
I meet people who are saying "I would dearly like to speak
out but they have told me `Once again and you are out'".
It is the way in which you tackle this which is the big question
mark for us as a non political grouping. There are areas, I would
have thought, where pressure could be brought to bear and, whereas
there is much debate about decommissioning and all the political
things which we have no views and do not express any on, it seems
to us that the poor folk we are dealing with in their day to day
lives are faced with problems which they believe are not being
28. Just a final tidy up question if I may,
in terms of relationships which you have with policing and enforcement
of law and order. You did indicate in your earlier answer that
your first point of contact could be either pre-exile or post-exile.
Post-exile is a fact, a fait accompli, but in the cases
where you are informed or appealed to where expulsion is about
to take place, would you automatically include the police in your
endeavours to prevent the enforcement of that expulsion threat?
(Mr Wrigley) We have no doubt at all, as a Christian
community, it is our responsibility to collaborate with the police
and the courts. It is as simple as that. We do understand historically
a lot of the difficulties in Nationalist areas but this is where
we are. We cannot move. We believe that sooner or later the rule
of law must be a day to day experience in the lives of ordinary
people, as opposed to a theoretical exercise or statement. I hope
that does not sound too critical, Chairman, we are talking about
folk who want to get on with their ordinary lives, a lot of the
political debate is two or three steps removed from it.
Mr McGrady: Thank you very much, gentlemen.
29. Welcome to the Committee, gentlemen. Good
morning to you. I have found your evidence very valuable and,
indeed, I think you do yourselves considerable credit with demonstrating,
as you have, the in-depth knowledge of the subject. I have to
say you have somewhat depressed me, mind you, it seems to be a
problem which is getting worse if anything rather than better.
I am following on from Mr McGrady's questions, I do not detect
you can see any remedy to the situation or any way of reversing
(Mr Wrigley) I would dearly like to respond to that
but it may appear that I am going off at a tangent. Can I say
there is a hope in the sense that in our Community we are very
pleased with having quite a number of people who have been involved
in the meting out of pain and suffering and have found their Christian
faith. We find that there is hope if we can take into these communities
people who have travelled that road, Catholics and Protestants,
preferably walking together. I would wish, Mr Robinson, to say
that we are hopeful, in spite of the doom and gloom. In almost
every community we are now in touch with people who are committed
Protestants and committed Catholics, who in fact have been drawn,
to some extent, into the confrontation but who are now walking
together. I think there lies the hope. It is more personal than
political, I accept, but there is hope.
30. I am glad I gave you an opportunity to do
some outreach work. I wonder if I could ask you about what I might
describe as your aftercare, after-contact service. I presume that
in cases of expulsion there is some on-going contact. I think
some reference was made at an earlier stage about an attempt to
negotiate people back in again. Could you give us maybe some background
information as to what you do after you have got somebody out
of the country and based elsewhere?
(Mr Wrigley) Before Andrew answers the question in
general terms I would just like to be quite specific. On some
occasions people have been expelled and in one instance the father
was dying of cancer and we had to negotiate for a visit back on
the condition that he was out again the same day. There is that
kind of follow on. There are other people who have gone through
misery at this end. I can give instances of a man who was beaten
up and expelled a number of years ago whose wife and three children
followed him. There was immense difficulty. The three children,
having been brought up on an estate where there was a lot of violence,
were in need of constant attention and the man was then followed
by the paramilitaries and beaten up in this country. His wife,
in the face of the stress of it, committed suicide. We, as a Community,
had to help to pick up the pieces. There we have a tragedy. We
had more recently a man who came over, perhaps you may care to
refer to his case, who had the road accident. It gives an instance
of how the need for support in this country when they have not
got an extended family around is very great.
(Mr Robinson) Yes. There are a number of cases which
perhaps I could use to exemplify the situation in terms of continued
support. First of all I would say that as a Community we have
no desire to be intrusive into other people's lives or, having
helped people, to be seen to be exercising any degree of control
over their life pattern in terms of how they get on with their
lives. I say that simply because we, as a Community, are here
to serve and to help and we are available as and when people need
us. I am thinking of this particular case where, for example,
this family had come outit will soon be two yearsand
members of the Community put them up in a house. They have beautiful
rented accommodation. The husband in the household was involved
in a very serious road traffic accident, so serious in fact that
he has lost one of his limbs. There was grave concern for other
injuries to him. In that particular instance, since their arrival
but in particular to this instance, in this road traffic accident,
support has continued to be given to the family, emotional support,
physical support, and relationships have been maintained with
that particular family. If I may say so, the gentleman is making
an excellent recovery and even he has indicated that it is down
to the prayers of the Community in terms of his recovery. That
is a very important fact in terms of his perception of life and
of things. Some families will get on with their own lives and
we will not hear from them again once they are relocated.
(Mr Wrigley) I wonder whether I could just interrupt.
That family to which Andrew referred I met just three weeks before
the accident. They were just burnt up with bitterness that, as
ordinary law abiding people, they had been thrown out. He had
lost his job, she had lost her job, the children had friends over
there, were coming to and fro from this country to there. There
was a complete sense of fluidity and lack of stability but they
did have the knowledge that they were loved and cared for in the
community where we settled them. I want to make it very clear,
that strange to say, good has come out of evil. As a result of
that crisis they now are more integrated as a family and more
at peace. They are still an uprooted family, they are still, if
you like, refugees.
31. What proportion of those who are expelled
are seeking to get back to Northern Ireland?
(Mr Robinson) It is difficult to put an actual percentage
on it but a high proportion of those
(Mr Wrigley) Very high.
(Mr Robinson) would desire to be back amongst
family, back within a culture that they are familiar with. All
I can say is that the majority with whom I have been involved
would be desirous to get back home.
32. Of that percentage how many have managed
to get back?
(Mr Wrigley) Very few.
(Mr Robinson) I am thinking over a period of time
now, just bear with me, be patient. I am thinking of one specific
family which was able to get backI beg your pardon, two
specific families who ultimately were able to get back. We are
talking over a period of maybe one to two years. Other individuals,
and I am thinking of one particular case of a 13 year old boy,
we were able to negotiate to get him back into an area, not back
into his own area but certainly back into the country.
(Mr Wrigley) Could I say that in a number of instances
quite young people are excluded, not for misbehaviour, they are
excluded because they are wanting to put pressure on the parents.
When the parents place money on the table then the youngsters
are allowed back. I have come across this on three occasions in
the last two years.
(Mr Robinson) In terms of the ongoing care, again
thinking of a particular situation where a young man had lost
his job in Northern Ireland and the reason for the loss of his
job was because of intimidation. He went through tremendous trauma
and ultimately, because it was a national company, he reapplied
over here and they refused to accept him because his employers
had given a very poor reference. That was down to the fact that
his illness had kept him off work. We were able to work very hard
there in terms of proving that in actual fact he was a good worker
and in actual fact he would be an asset to the company. We were
able to get that company's decision turned on its head. That also
involved some of his local political representatives being supportive
as well in that particular instance. That illustrates how, againa
family who had absolutely no connection with any paramilitary
organisationtheir local representatives felt they were
able to give support to that particular case. I am thinking of
a family that we have been working withanother familyfor
three or four years, in terms of the difficulties. When we talk
about difficulties, it is not just the difficulty of relocating
and settling, it is ongoing emotional support, it is ongoing dealing
with, for example, particular claims and helping them to get medical
evidence to support claims. It is alsoand this is one of
the great tragedieswhere, for example, offences have been
committed against people and there are court hearings going on
in Northern Ireland, in certain cases sometimes they have to get
back to Northern Ireland, in and back out on the same day. I am
talking about working class people, I am talking about people
on Unemployment Benefit, they then have to fund their own passage
back to Northern Ireland. I think of one particular caseand
I hope I am not going off at a tangent, Chairmanto illustrate
some of the difficulties. This family had saved up to enable their
family member to return for this hearing and it was a case of
getting in that day, slipping back out that night. The flight
had just taken off and they received a telephone call to say that
the court hearing had been cancelled, it had been deferred to
another date. These are some of the harsh realities. Last year
we were involved in working with a man who had come out 20 years
ago and had encountered severe difficulties. I do not know if
that helps to illustrate.
(Mr Wrigley) I wonder whether I could add also to
the fact that when someone leaves, the human need is very often
still there at home, in greater measure indeed. Very often we
work with local churches and voluntary bodies and agencies to
give them support in Northern Ireland. Sometimes, for example,
three members out of a family of four will leave and the remaining
member feels isolated and dejected and in need of support. The
advantage we have is having people on either side of the water
so we can give some measure of encouragement and support of a
(Mr Robinson) If I perhaps could illustrate some of
the ironies in this type of situation. I can think of one family
I am currently working with in Northern Ireland, giving support
to, who again needed medical support in Northern Ireland and could
not get to their GP. Yet from where we were based, we ended up
getting them the appointment to see their GP in Northern Ireland.
(Mr Wrigley) I think it is important to look at nuts
and bolts. If someone leaves their home in entirety, what happens
to that home in terms of safety and security? This is a huge problem.
Very often we have had to arrange for vans to come and we have
had to negotiate safe entry and exit of those vans. Even then
the drivers of the vans have themselves been threatened. It is
not just a clear running away from a home in which one family
had been living for 32 years, it is a question of trying to sort
out all the mess of the mortgage, of the property, of the furnishings
and being able to put them in the place where they should be.
I feel, Chairman, it is tremendously important for people to realise
the nature of the problem is extremely complex in terms of the
human need. There are so many facets to the cries for help.
(Mr Robinson) In terms of the complexity, Chairman,
again to illustrate so that perhaps we can get a real feel. It
is not just a case of saying "We will move you to such and
such a city or such and such a town", we really do endeavour
to look at the real needs which are presented within that family.
Now, for example, if I move them into a particular city, I have
then got to think of which school their children will go to because
if there is already a family from Northern Ireland in that area,
possibly attending that school, people are absolutely terrified
that someone else will identify them. I think of a lady who had
tremendous emotional problems and was being cared for and, again,
we had to look at where we would place her so she would get the
support from the statutory bodies that she needed. It is not just
a case of saying "We will move you to here" or "We
will move you to there", we also have to think of areas in
this country where there would be support given to organisations
by communities in this country as well.
(Mr Wrigley) There is just one final point I would
add to that and that is the confidentiality has got to be of a
very high order. People who have been thrown out feel extremely
vulnerable and want to change their identity and get lost in the
crowd. They are very, very sensitive to being identified and yet
when we go to the local authorities or housing associations they
have to be identified. There are very, very delicate issues to
be concerned with there. A very high proportion of the people
I have met, especially the men, do feel they are being followed
when often they are not, in most cases they are not, but because
of the nature of the situation they are hyper-sensitive to this.
For example, some are very hyper-sensitive to the police, others
will be hyper-sensitive to anyone with any political role at all,
irrespective of the party. We have to encourage them to recognise
that there is goodwill towards them and there are people who are
prepared to stand with them.
Chairman: I think we had better put slightly
more structure in. We pride ourselves that we try and ask about
everything that we need to know about, I think there will be further
opportunity for illustrations.
33. Just one very quick question, which comes
from a comment you have made. I am getting more and more the impression
that expulsion is not a final act as far as paramilitaries, that
there seems to be at least a fear that they are coming after them,
that they are in hiding as opposed to having been expelled and
that is the punishment in itself.
(Mr Wrigley) I think it is a minority but it is a
very serious minority. If one person has been followed it gets
around. We had one case of a manI must not give the areawho
moved into a community and was taken away, 20 miles away, and
was roughed up. The purpose for that roughing up was to remind
him that he must never ever return to Northern Ireland. The very
clear purpose was not to get information from him or to punish
him again, it was to reinforce "We do not want you back".
34. Good morning, gentlemen. You will have touched
upon the first question which I raise but it will probably set
the scene for the other questions I want to pursue. A justification
or excuse often given for the punishment beatings and people being
placed into exile is this is rough justice. It is a substitute
for policing and maybe prosecuting and executing as well at the
same time. Can you elaborate on your response?
(Mr Wrigley) Yes. I think it is seen as being substitutionary
both in the minds of the people inflicting the punishment and
those who are receiving it. I want to reiterate again it is a
minority. Where there is the concept of this being another de
facto exercise of law and order, it is accepted because there
is no other de facto exercise of authority in some of these
areas. I find it extremely difficult to put into words but when
you go into some of the hard line estates, the question of who
really rules on a day to day basis is not there. Your house is
broken into, you will inform the local paramilitary leader, first
port of call. You will not inform the RUC. You would accept that
would you not, Andrew?
(Mr Robinson) Yes.
35. Earlier you made a distinction between two
types of paramilitary action involved in this.
(Mr Wrigley) Yes.
36. There was the old guard who had a political
agenda and it might be very much tied in with that type of activity,
yet it might spill over to what they saw as their crude form of
policing. Then there was what might be described as IRA plc, people
in this in order to engage in rackets and to extend their authority
for their own commercial reasons.
(Mr Wrigley) I understand the question. I think there
is a grey area between the two and it is, with regard to individuals,
whether for criminal or political reasons, they have got to build
up their own power base and their own street credibility. This
is how it works. The individual who exercises the power to expel,
or to threaten to expel, perceives of himself being built up in
his power base on that estate.
37. To pursue the matter in what might be claimed
as being responses to criminal activities, do you have any estimates
of the proportions of those who, say, are forced into exile with
some argument behind it that this is a criminal activity and those
who are being pushed out for reasons that do not have that veneer
of excuse behind it?
(Mr Wrigley) I think we are talking about a prima
facie accusation, are we not, here? The statement is being
made whether the people had any legitimate right to throw them
out, and they did have a motive for punishing the criminal. We
have not discussed this before this meeting but my understanding
would be that it is a very small minority and in any case there
is an overlap between the criminal act and the family. There are
quite a number of families where there are young boys who misbehave
and ostensibly the boys are punished for misbehaving but the real
target is the family and very often the man who is politically
getting in the way. I would like Andrew to answer that question
in terms of proportion. As far as I am concerned it is a minority.
(Mr Robinson) Again, in terms of hard figures, as
I was saying earlier, the majority of folk I have dealt with have
not had involvement. Some of those with whom I have had involvement
who have been put out on the basis of criminal activity have actually
already served a judicial sentence for their crime and consequently
are expelled from their area upon release from prison. That is
to send a statement to a community, it is not necessarily true
to say that a community does not want the individual back but
what it is to say is that those in control of that area are using
the situation to reinforce their control, their authority and
to make a statement as to who enforces the law in that area.
38. How large would that group be, the people
who have criminal sentences and then they are given the extra
punishment of being forced out by paramilitaries? You describe
the grouping that you are talking about as being a small minority
of people, is this a small minority of the small minority?
(Mr Robinson) Yes, a minority of the minority.
(Mr Wrigley) Yes, I would say that.
39. Are there particular claimed offences that
are more prominent than others being given as justifications for
the people being placed into exile, not just the criminal argument
but maybe other grounds on which it is being done which are given
to you time and time again as reasons for why people are being
(Mr Wrigley) Drugs is a very emotive word so that
is used, sometimes it is used unfairly and inaccurately of people
in order to gain public support for exclusion. At the end of the
day a lot of the expulsions are not appended to a reason. There
is not a reason given, it is part of the strategy of control.
In my judgment there are a number of areas where it is purely
geographical. There will be a great area where it is important
that everybody on that estate in that area is aware of the control
of the paramilitaries. They will reach into part of that quite
deliberately so the neighbours and friends in that district are
aware. It is an extremely complex strategy which is followed but
it is all to do with asserting control.