UUP raid: an anti-agreement agenda?

It’s a bit early to be be spinning theories about today’s raid on Ulster Unionist offices, but it’s impossible to avoid comparisons with the raid on Sinn Fein’s offices in October 2002.

That raid "Operation Torsion," was led by Bill Lowry, who was later removed from his post amid concern about leaks to journalists.

From the Police Ombudsman’s report

Before the Police Ombudsman’s investigation started there had been concerns about ‘high quality’ leaks of information regarding the Castlereagh investigation and the Stormont investigation. One senior officer is quoted as saying such information ‘could only have come from police sources’ while another believed the leaks were timed to coincide with political events. It is not known who was responsible for those leaks.

Mr Lowry was removed from his post amid concerns he had divulged some sensitive intelligence information to a journalist. A PSNI investigation into the matter was established.

Mr Lowry was subsequently seen to be close the DUP. He was a guest speaker at the same meeting last December here Ian Paisley made his ‘sackloth and ashes’ speech, widely seen as key moment in the breakdown of negotiations over power-sharing with Sinn Fein.

Former Sinn Fein spokesman Danny Morrison claimed in February that: "there are many other Lowrys who hold sway within the PSNI."

Mr Lowry is not the only prominent ex-policeman to support the party. The party’s candidate in South Belfast, Jimmy Spratt, is a former head of the Police Federation in Northern Ireland.

The DUP’s general and local election campaign may well be boosted as a result of the embarassment caused to the Ulster Unionists by today’s events.

Ironically, the Ulster Unionists themselves supported the suspension of power-sharing with Sinn Fein in 2002 after the raid on the republican party’s offices.

Could they now have fallen victim to the same anti-agreement agenda which they condoned then?






4 responses to “UUP raid: an anti-agreement agenda?”

  1. David Vance avatar

    Then again, I suppose it is possible that even an Ulster Unionist could, in theory, be guilty of committing a crime, not that I’m suggesting this of Mr. Copeland, let me be clear on that. Looking for conspiracy theories is not always the best way to confront unpalatable realities!

  2. Tom Griffin avatar

    There may or may not be something substantive behind this raid, and the same applies to the Stormont raid in 2002.
    However, the latter occasion was clearly exploited politically, by being leaked to the media at a crucial moment in the peace process.
    I think that justifies a question-mark at the very least over the timing of the latest events.

  3. Michael Shilliday avatar
    Michael Shilliday

    There may or may not be something substantive behind this raid
    There wasn’t.

  4. Tom Griffin avatar

    A fair point Michael, the onus was on the PSNI to produce something to justify the raid, and with the closure of the investigation, they have failed to do that.
    Of course, that only strengthens the concerns that the raid was politically motivated.

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