Examination of Witness (Quesitons 251-276)|
WEDNESDAY 7 FEBRUARY 2001
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.
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
(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
Belfastthe local demonstration was at 12 noon and I left
Belfast at about 11I 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
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.
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 communityis 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
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
impressionisticevidence is too strong a wordit 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
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
groupswho know the reality on the streetsyou know
their own neighbours, sons, brothers, fathers and other relatives
may have been threatened, intimidated, expelled or whateverand
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 bodiesI hope
I am focusing on the questionin 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 murderlike you I
share your disappointmentthere 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.
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
Mr Thompson: Thank you very much.
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
(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.
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. 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
(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.
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 statementsI do not know about research
as suchby 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
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
(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
(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
See Appendix II, p 102. Back