P. 1
Dick Spring briefing, Wednesday, 10 July 1996

Dick Spring briefing, Wednesday, 10 July 1996

|Views: 1,062|Likes:
Published by Nevin
Excerpt from Briefing given by the Tánaiste to Media.

This briefing shows that the RUC Chief Constable, Hugh Annesley, did not make the decision to reroute the contentious parade. The proposal was made by the Irish government and was more or less rubberstamped by the British Government.

House of Commons debate, July 11 1996:

"Mr. Hume: Given the Secretary of State's correct support and the Prime Minister's correct support for the decision of the Chief Constable on Sunday about the march at Drumcree, and given the events of the past four days--widespread intimidation, attacks on people's homes, businesses and churches, and blockages of airports, harbours, towns and roads--how can the Secretary of State explain today's disgraceful decision to surrender to the people who have been engaged in such activities over the past four days? Can he tell me whether he himself or the Government had any role in that surrender and change of opinion?

Sir Patrick Mayhew: First, I reject the notion of surrender. Secondly, as the hon. Gentleman will perhaps have heard from what the Chief Constable has said publicly this afternoon, no political pressure of any kind was put on the Chief Constable which might have led to his decision today--any more than there was for the

11 Jul 1996 : Column 557

decision, which the hon. Gentleman has just applauded, on 6 July. Those are operational matters for the Chief Constable and must remain so.

As for the character of the decision taken today, I urge the hon. Gentleman to reflect that the Public Order (Northern Ireland) Order 1987, which is the legislation for Northern Ireland as approved by Parliament, requires that, whenever the Chief Constable considers whether to exercise his powers to direct the conduct of a march, he should balance one risk against another. There is no doubt that in some circumstances the risk of serious public disorder if a march goes ahead must be balanced against the risk of serious public disorder if it does not. The balance has to be examined and struck in the light of changing circumstances. That balance shifts. In the judgment of the Chief Constable the balance had shifted today and it led to his rescinding the order that he originally made."

This briefing can't be found in the BBC or the CAIN archives. The BBC dropped the Spring briefing like a hot potato, presumably under pressure from the Government,
Excerpt from Briefing given by the Tánaiste to Media.

This briefing shows that the RUC Chief Constable, Hugh Annesley, did not make the decision to reroute the contentious parade. The proposal was made by the Irish government and was more or less rubberstamped by the British Government.

House of Commons debate, July 11 1996:

"Mr. Hume: Given the Secretary of State's correct support and the Prime Minister's correct support for the decision of the Chief Constable on Sunday about the march at Drumcree, and given the events of the past four days--widespread intimidation, attacks on people's homes, businesses and churches, and blockages of airports, harbours, towns and roads--how can the Secretary of State explain today's disgraceful decision to surrender to the people who have been engaged in such activities over the past four days? Can he tell me whether he himself or the Government had any role in that surrender and change of opinion?

Sir Patrick Mayhew: First, I reject the notion of surrender. Secondly, as the hon. Gentleman will perhaps have heard from what the Chief Constable has said publicly this afternoon, no political pressure of any kind was put on the Chief Constable which might have led to his decision today--any more than there was for the

11 Jul 1996 : Column 557

decision, which the hon. Gentleman has just applauded, on 6 July. Those are operational matters for the Chief Constable and must remain so.

As for the character of the decision taken today, I urge the hon. Gentleman to reflect that the Public Order (Northern Ireland) Order 1987, which is the legislation for Northern Ireland as approved by Parliament, requires that, whenever the Chief Constable considers whether to exercise his powers to direct the conduct of a march, he should balance one risk against another. There is no doubt that in some circumstances the risk of serious public disorder if a march goes ahead must be balanced against the risk of serious public disorder if it does not. The balance has to be examined and struck in the light of changing circumstances. That balance shifts. In the judgment of the Chief Constable the balance had shifted today and it led to his rescinding the order that he originally made."

This briefing can't be found in the BBC or the CAIN archives. The BBC dropped the Spring briefing like a hot potato, presumably under pressure from the Government,

More info:

Published by: Nevin on Mar 18, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOC, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

08/13/2013

pdf

text

original

Excerpt from Briefing given by the Tánaiste to Media, Wednesday 10 July 1996 Enright: I have to ask you about

Northern Ireland and the current situation there obviously is a matter that preoccupies peoples minds during trouble. What's your view of the current situation and just how dangerous is it? Tánaiste: The current situation is very serious. I think we have all seen over the last number of days the inherent risks in what is happening in Northern Ireland. My request would be the same as has been made by the British Government and indeed by the Chief of Police in Northern Ireland - a call for restraint, a call for I think recognition that if people proceed down this line certainly the future is very bleak. We were a very short time ago quite optimistic about the opening of discussions and negotiations. We have seen a possible return to Northern Ireland at its worst in the last number of days. Coming up to 12th July it would be I think very important that leadership is shown, that restraint is shown and that we avoid plunging back into the abyss. Enright: Are you satisfied that Unionist leaders have done everything they can to calm the situation? Tánaiste: I think it beholds leadership on all sides to ensure that nothing is said or that nothing is done that creates any further difficulties. The police and the security forces in Northern Ireland are working under extreme difficulties, have been for the last number of days and nights, and I think it beholds leadership now to ensure that the situation is not compounded or exasperated and restraint should be called. Enright: Do you regret that the Government here have taken such a strong view on the routing of marches, do you think perhaps it was a mistake to reroute this march? Tánaiste: No. I have to say to you that the view that we have taken and the view that is now supported by the British Government is that you have to have - the test is reasonableness. We respect the right of people to engage in marches. They also have to respect the right of people who do not wish marches going through their areas and the balance was the British Government advised by the security forces set out to achieve a balance and obviously balance involves compromise. And there was a compromise sought and my view is that that compromise should be respected. There is tension, there are serious risks but one would hope that people would show the restraint that is necessary. And if there is leadership I think the ultimate comprises can be worked out. Enright: Do you support the Chief Constable's view that this march should have been rerouted? Tánaiste: Yes we do support that, yes.

Costigan (104FM): Tánaiste you have alluded to the grim scenario that might occur if the march was allowed to go down the Garvaghy Road and of course the converse is equally grim and it does seem as if the Unionists and loyalists perhaps have drawn a line in the sand of this particular issue and all of their anger and all of their aggression

is coming out as a result of this particular issue. Also it seems if the unionists leaders are still talking about how the Prime Minister in Britain should find some way of reversing the position. Are you concerned at how this particular Garvaghy Road situation is becoming the absolute centre for civil unrest? Tánaiste: Well one has to be concerned and we have expressed that over the last number of days in a situation where there are serious risks to public order to safety of persons. I think it behoves everybody to bring about rational calm to a situation and to see if they can through discussion resolve the differences. I also think the actions taken by the British Government, by the security forces were reasonable in the circumstances. The test ultimately is reasonableness and everybody has been trying for months to avoid a situation which we are now confronted with. Costigan (104FM): Was there any discussion on the situation at the Cabinet meeting last night and was there any decisions made? Tánaiste: No there were no decisions necessary by the Cabinet in relation to it.

Any further European questions please? Interviewer: Tánaiste can I ask you one more question in relation to Northern Ireland on the Forum and the All-Party talks when are they planned? Tánaiste: Well the All-Party talks had been in the process for the last number of weeks. We are ready and willing to engage in discussion with the parties. That is our position. Ultimately we have to get back to the negotiating table. There is no future in the type of confrontation that is happening at the present time in Northern Ireland and the reality is that hopefully it will not be as I said will not plunge into greater difficulty. But the reality is that the two Governments will have to pick up the pieces and start talking and try and bring the parties back to the table as soon as possible. Interviewer: Are there any moves for Governments to meet? Tánaiste: Ends Transcript from Press. Sect' Dept. of Foreign Affairs > 0801265731230 @ 11:04 ; 19/07/96 Not at the present time no.

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->