The former mayor of Derry, Sinn Fein councillor Kevin Campbell, has labelled the Boston College oral history archive a 'touting programme.' The former H Block blanket man has remained an enthusiastic supporter of MI5 determined British policing methods in the North despite the force having conducted a Twelfth of July raid on his home in a blatant act of political/sectarian vindictiveness. All the while he tries to wax curiously oblivious to the fact that the PSNI whom he supports is carrying on the work of the RUC in seeking to jail republicans who he fought alongside during the IRA’s failed war against the British state.
In a Twitter exchange with Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney, another
blanket protest stalwart, the former mayor is emphatic is his use of the
In his attempt to label as informers those who participated in the Boston College oral history project Kevin Campbell conveniently overlooks that his own robust support for the British state body seeking the information is based on an arrangement acquiesced in by his party which allows the PSNI to politically police the past in pursuit of republicans for alleged actions during the same war he was actively engaged in as an armed combatant.
It seems disastrous that the British police, very much a part of the violent past, are allowed courtesy of a Sinn Fein endorsed arrangement to selectively mine the past for its own political ends. But this is where things are at. Kevin seems happy with it. While I readily profess a total hostility towards making information available to the British police with which they can pursue republican activists, and with no discomfort stand over my position, Kevin Campbell just might find that type of stance difficult.
As Derry’s former first citizen, exactly what advice does Mr Campbell have for people who may be in possession of information pertaining to the circumstances surrounding the death of Jean McConville or other IRA activity carried out prior to the Good Friday Agreement? His comments on Twitter would suggest he is adamantly opposed to it and that as a means of dissuading anyone who might consider pursuing such a course of action he will seek to label them a ‘tout’.
Yet how does he square this with the welcome given by his party vice president, Mary Lou McDonald, to the arrest of Ivor Bell? It is a given that his ‘touting’ comment will be interpreted by the DUP and others as an attempt by this supposedly responsible and upstanding former mayor to obstruct the very PSNI investigation that his party vice president has welcomed.
Perhaps the real reason for Kevin Campbell bandying the ‘tout’ smear is not because of any fidelity to remaining stum per se. He is a member of a party that openly advocates providing information on republicans at odds with the Sinn Fein strategy. He is not opposed in the slightest to information becoming available to the British police, merely that it not be information about his party leader.
Ivor Bell, who Kevin Campbell sought to abuse in his tweet, is strenuously denying any allegations against him and has since been granted bail on charges which relate to an action that numerous people believe was ordered by Kevin Campbell’s own party leader, Gerry Adams. Councillor Campbell it seems is eager to assist his boss in applying the old maxim ‘if at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.’