‘Shadowy Figures’ And Morality For Millennials [Updated]


Paul Williams on The Late Late Show, a week before the 2016 General Election

“…The only people who would vote for Sinn Féin, in regard to that part of their manifesto [abolishing the non-jury Special Criminal Court], are the drug dealers, the killers and the kidnappers and the terrorists. And the only people, no wonder the guys who were walking up Francis Street were smirking because they heard about this legislation ‘thank god, Sinn Féin are going to get rid of that, we’re gonna vote for them’…”

Paul Williams to Ryan Tubridy on the Late Late Show, February 19, 2016


From top: Clare O’Connor Michael O’Regan and Paddy Cullivan; Paul Williams

Last night.

RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live looked at the election results.

The show started off with a panel discussion involving former parliamentary correspondent at The Irish Times Michael O’Regan; musician and satirist Paddy Cullivan; director of Inner City Helping Homelessness Clare O’Connor; Sunday Independent journalist Niamh Horan; Dr Aidan Regan, from the School of Politics and International Relations in UCD; and former leader of Fine Gael Alan Dukes.

Members of the audience were regularly invited to make points during the discussion.

At around the 38-minute mark, host Claire Byrne had this exchange with Irish Independent journalist Paul Williams who was sitting in the audience.

Claire Byrne: “Millennials. You were writing a piece today, you published a piece today in the Irish Independent, ‘millennial voters don’t care about what happened in the past’?”

Paul Williams: “Well I think that, first of all, listening to the debate tonight, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are quite culpable in all this. They have switched off or turned people off to such an extent that they feel that they must compartmentalise their, somebody mentioned the word ’empathy’ there.

“And they have decided, well, they prioritise, clearly, the young electorate have, the 25 per cent have voted for Sinn Féin, that there are issues that Sinn Féin have offered them in their manifesto, that’s most attracted and part of that then is compartmentalise and step away and maybe put a Chinese wall around Stephen and Breege Quinn and Paudie McGahon.

“You know, there are moral issues here.

“For example, we did see what happened to Stephen and Breege Quinn. And this was only 2007. It took until this election before like, Mary Lou McDonald, in fairness to her, did apologise. But Conor Murphy issued a half-hearted apology which wasn’t actually an apology.

“He never withdrew, he demonised young Paul Quinn who had every bone in his body broken by a group of IRA people in South Armagh which was accepted by the PSNI, the Garda Síochána, the International Monitoring Commission, the SDLP, various Irish Government ministers and British Government ministers through the years, so there is no argument about that.

“There’s currently a Garda investigation being renewed with 150 new lines of inquiry.

“The point about it was that the inconvenient truth is that they have now moved on and it’s been very quickly forgotten about.

“Paudie McGahon, we, when I mentioned millennials, we have the #metoo generation and quite rightly so about the sexual harassment and rape and all of that. Paudie McGahon and another man were abused and I remember the Provisional IRA was convicted of that attack.

“Now, currently, there’s a Garda investigation into how allegations that senior figures in the Republican movement set up a kangaroo court, purely with the intent to pervert the course of justice and prevent Paudie McGahon and another man going to the Garda Síochána to report this crime which they eventually did after being dissuaded from doing so.

“These are part of the inconvenient truths that are, exist around Sinn Féin. Also the thing about the Special Criminal Court…”

Claire Byrne: “OK, Paul…”

Williams: “Hang on, just let me finish the point. The Special Criminal Court. I made this point in the Independent today as well. The Special Criminal Court is there, it is the anti-mafia court, we call it. It is the only court and is a very effective weapon in dealing with organised crime.

“I’ve seen this for 30-odd years and I’ve seen how criminals are walking away by intimidating juries and all of that. The point about it is that Sinn Féin still, now they’ve kicked that can down the road, because Sinn Féin voters, in 2016, acted very hostile to Sinn Féin.

“And I believe a number of surveys have show that since, and polls, that Sinn Féin voters themselves do not agree with Sinn Féin’s policy of trying to get rid of the Special Criminal Court which is the only way of taking all the people, for example, who cut up Keane Mulready-Woods and put him into a bag and dumped him on the street for everybody to find…”

Byrne: “They said they’re reviewing their policy in relation to the Special Criminal Court…”

Williams: “Reviewing it. Ideologically it is anathema to the shadowy figures who ran the war in The Troubles because a lot of them were put away but the Special Criminal Court.

“But a lot of people need to remember as well, those same shadowy figures are the people who control the present and perhaps will control the future policies of Sinn Féin…”

After Ms Byrne’s interview with Mr Williams, Ms Byrne spoke to Ann Travers whose sister Mary was murdered by the IRA on April 8, 1984.

She told the show that IRA victims are “forgotten victims” and she feels that those who have voted for Sinn Féin are, in effect, telling her and other IRA victims that they “don’t matter”.



Ms Byrne asked Eoin Ó Murchú for his opinion. He went on to take issue with Mr Williams saying Mr Quinn was murdered by the IRA. He pointed out that the then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told the Dáil this was not the case.

Specifically, Mr Ahern said:

“The official position is that there is no information available to me from the Garda Commissioner to suggest that this attack was authorised or sanctioned by the IRA and this remains the position. As I said when last speaking about criminality, the crime in question does not arise from paramilitary activity, nor was it sanctioned or condoned by the republican movement. This remains the position of the Garda investigating officers and that is the information given to us officially and restated officially in advance of the Ministers’ meetings with the Quinn family yesterday and tomorrow.”

In the same Dáil contribution on December 18, 2007, Mr Ahern said: “I am glad to state what the Minister told the family yesterday, that we have no evidence whatsoever that Paul Quinn was involved in criminal activity” following comments he made about Mr Quinn in the Dáil on November 14, 2007.

They had this exchange:

Eoin Ó Murchú: “First of all, all war is an atrocity. We can see that everywhere it happens. The question is: we have to work to bring these things to an end. It’s 22 years since this particular war ended and it does strike me that some people, not the victims I’m talking about, but some of the politicians, want to keep all this going because it diverts attention from other issues.”

Byrne: “But Ann Travers is not a…”

Ó Murchú: “…Paul [Williams] was…”

Talk over each other

Ó Murchú: “Hold on one moment…”

Byrne: “She’s not a politician.”

Ó Murchú: “Hold on, I make that point the whole way through. There are victims across the board in this situation. Victims of IRA violence, of Loyalist violence, of British Army violence, of RUC violence. The point is that we have to move away from a context of violence and start talking about our politics and our political issues. And when Paul said that the police forces north and south said that Paul Quinn had been murdered by the IRA, that is untrue.

Speaking in the Dáil, Bertie Ahern, the then Taoiseach, went out of his way to say it wasn’t paramilitary-related and the IMC, the International Monitoring Commission, also said that this killing had nothing to do with paramilitary organisations but was an internal conflict of some feud between different things which this unfortunate young man got caught up in.”

Byrne: “Paul, do you want to respond to that?”

Williams [no microphone]: “That is untrue, that is untrue…”

Ó Murchú: “Read the commission, read the commission report, it says it was not connected to illegal activities…”

Williams: “That is insulting. That’s a slur on that young lad and his family again, the same way…Mary Lou McDonald has withdrawn that and you’ve just put it back into the mix…”

Ó Murchú: “I’m saying very clearly the internal…”

Williams: “Bertie Ahern withdrew it later on and corrected the Dáil. He said…”

Ó Murchú: “He never withdrew the information which had been given by the Garda Síochána, that this was not a paramilitary…”

Talk over each other

Ó Murchú: “It means that the line you’re putting out is untrue.”

Williams: “Breege and Stephen Quinn will have something to say about that.”

Watch back in full here

Previously: Passing Stools

Disclosures, Discrepancies And Paul Williams

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94 thoughts on “‘Shadowy Figures’ And Morality For Millennials [Updated]

  1. Treasa

    The people who voted for Sinn Féin don’t care about any of that archaic crap. They are the 18-34 year olds who want a viable future – a chance to own a home, or at least live with independent dignity. They want access to an uncorrupted health system that works for them, they want affordable childcare, clean air, a genuinely green society … just like the one enjoyed by the great and the good telling them that they are wrong for trying to change the system through democratic means. They aren’t wrong. They are tired of being shafted by a toxic establishment … RTE, INM, FFG and the rest of the liars who’ve swindled their future.

    1. Rob_G

      I agree that it’s ‘archaic’ (though ‘barbaric’ might be an even better term). All the more troubling then that a TD from the south-east would shout “Up the ‘RA” to the cheers of SF supporters.

        1. Rob_G

          There are lots of people who would be offended at the prospect of a TD cheering for an organisation that has actually murdered member of the Gardaí and the Oireachtas, ShinnerTron 1000.

          1. kellma

            It made me wonder at the level of intelligence of the man voted into office. And THAT sent a shiver down my spine.

  2. bisted

    …Eoin O’Murchu put Williams in his place by exposing the bare faced lies he was telling…shame on RTE for giving oxygen to the person who led the campaign of vilification against Maurice McCabe…

  3. SB

    Anyone recommending the removal of the Special Criminal Court should be the only people eligible for jury selection for any gangland or IRA trials. See how they stick to their principles when it’s a Kinahan case.

      1. scottsers

        so they can’t collect any real evidence so they simply allow the word of a garda superintendent to be allowed as such?

        1. V


          And we hardly need another Tribunal to establish doubt about the quality of the word of a Garda Superintendent

    1. Barry the Hatchet

      Funny how other countries don’t need to resort to removing the right to a jury trial, in order to deal with gangland crime or terrorists.

      1. The Old Boy

        Removing juries from “gangland” and terrorism trials is quite pointless, largely because it is much easier and more effective to intimidate witnesses than jurors.

  4. frank

    Paul Williams, Alan Dukes, Micheal Martin, Leo Varadkar and all the cats and the dogs on the street know with certainty that Sinn Fein take their orders from a ‘shadowy’ IRA army council in Belfast.
    Furthermore, if indeed ‘shadowy’ members of an illegal terrorist organisation control Sinn Fein why don’t they bring them before this great special criminal court they keep blowing on about. Isn’t that it’s very function.

    If this notion of ‘shadowy’ IRA councils is true then out with the facts of it otherwise it’s a smear peddled by RTE and INM.

    1. Cian

      You answered your own question. The ‘shadowy’ IRA army council is in Belfast. Belfast is outside the jurisdiction of the Irish special criminal court.

      1. frank

        Who are they?

        If they committed ‘shadowy’ crimes in this state then they can be extradited from the UK to face trail here.
        If Paul Williams et al have information about said ‘shadowy’ figures (who remain nameless) who are involved in criminality in our neighbours jurisdiction they should supply the CPS in the UK with details.

        1. frank

          You didn’t answer any question I posed Cian.

          If these IRA men committed crimes in this state let them be extradited from the UK back here to face trial.
          If they committed crimes in the UK. Supply the police in the UK with the details and the names.

          If you can’t do either of those then it’s a slur and a smear campaign that is being peddled by RTE, INM and yourself Cian.

    2. Rob_G

      Ted Howell, for one.

      The SF ministers in the north have emailed this man to ask for sign off on legislation in N. Ireland; I would rather that ministers here would not be asking for permission from shadowy unelected republicans.

      1. Barry the Hatchet

        Rob, do you think any FF/FG minister so much as farts without running it by their special advisors?

      2. frank

        Ted Howell a Sinn Fein advisor. What of it?
        Every minister has self appointed advisors who are not elected by you or I.

        If you can tell us something about Ted Howell that we should know please do. Or give the PSNI a shout with your information 004428 9065 0222

        1. Rob_G

          So, you’ve now revised your claim that SF don’t have a shadowy Army Council calling the shots, to acknowledging that they do, but that it isn’t a problem. Fair enough.

          1. frank

            I’ve revised nothing.
            You have proffered the name Ted Howell as one of the ‘shadowy’ IRA figures commanding Sinn Fein. So tell us why his advice to Sinn fein should be regarded as dangerous or pernicious to the state. What crimes has Ted Howell in your knowledge committed?
            As far as I can see he was an advisor to Gerry Adams, now what of it?

          2. Rob_G

            The decision for decision for SF to withdraw from the Stormont Assembly 3 years’ ago was made by a group of unelected SF party grandees, largely former members of the IRA (and also Ted Howell).

            Now, if you are untroubled by the notion of the legislative agenda of this country being dictated by some former terrorists who live in Belfast, then by all means vote for SF; however if people are alarmed at this prospect, they should not.


          3. Frank

            you’ve made a charge here Rob that Ted Howell is a criminal of some sort. tell us what criminality is he engaged in?

            from that article you posted he and other Republicans seem to be instrumental in brokering the good friday agreement and the peace we all enjoy today. or perhaps you’d prefer to believe it was Bertie Ahern that trashed that out himself.
            also why do you think the actual criminal activity of the DUP in cash for ash is a lesser crime than collapsing their rotten assembly?

            if you’re correct in the assertion that Ted Howell was instrumental in exposing a massive fraud and collapsing the government responsible surely his advisement is a positive thing?

          4. Clampers Outside

            Why did you bring the DUP into it in that manner when there was no prior mentiom of them…

            …ruined the thread man. Ruined I tells ya.

          5. Frank

            Clampers if Rob /FFG are holding up Ted Howell as the shadowy undesirable gunman we should be afraid of and the only example of his shadowy dealings that can be produced is his ‘alleged’ involvement in voting among his peers for Sinn Fein to collapse Stormont because of the huge scam perpetrated by the DUP I think the manner in which they are included here is correct and unavoidable.
            I’m not sure one iota of this concoction by The Irish Times and Robs baseless finger pointing is in any way true or fact.
            but… might I say, has it not occurred to Rob FFG that the very fact that this ‘shadowy army council’ VOTED on the matter at least shows that if indeed they are real, well they at least respect a democratic vote and are not as Rob FFG try to paint them as the barbarians at the gate.

          6. GiggidyGoo

            So, you’re pasting an opinion piece (that’s all it is) from the Irish Times, as gospel? And if the people you say are faceless, how come that there are names there?
            Good job you don’t live in Hameln.

  5. fakelikes

    and they wheeled out some victim from the troubles. Im no shinnerbot but it really was a hatchett job.
    I suspect we will be having another election soon.

    On another note, i see a consistant pattern of older men whove made a nice career outta towing the status que coming out admonishing the “youth” for voting for the provos party.

    Alan Dukes is on how many pensions? pensions me or you will never get. They are completly out of touch.

  6. V

    Jesus t’night
    What kinda trouble are RTÉ really in if they’ve had to resort to re-introduce this cretin back into their lineup

    1. Salmon Eile

      They have form on the tiresome double-jobbing journo front – Brendan O’Connor, Conor Pope ….

  7. A Person

    Social media sites like this highlight why many people have problems with the shinners. You cannot criticise them. IF you do, you have to be a member of Fine Gael, you have to be old, you must forget past atrocities committed by terrorists, and you have to forget any liaisons with Belfast (there are none, although they can’t even stop Ms O’Neill turning up for photo shoots). And they never respond to reasoned arguments. I’ve even seen Michael Collins referenced in relation to Paul Quinn, ffs.

    1. Treasa

      Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re not an FG fan, but … jog on, we’ve seen your form everywhere on this site.

      1. A Person

        And you just proved my point. I disagree with the shinners and am accused of being FG, and told to jog on…… Congrats btw of being the first female shinner commentator on this site. However who is the “we” you refer to in your comment? Go on, answer a question, I dare you to.

        1. Pat Mustard

          You’re a total FGer.

          Nobody bothers to take you seriously because you’re blatantly disingenuous, and biased.

          1. A Person

            And again. Accuse anyone who critics you, but don’t answer any question. I actually feel threatened by some of you and your comrades posts. Why can none of you answer an honest question, without me being FG? Not even close to being FG.

            Was Treasa fired already for using “we”?

          2. Pat Mustard

            You’re a FGer.

            You have recently accused SF of being involved in the people smuggling ring from the incident in Essex.

            You have accused SF of being involved in the intimidation of QIH management.

            You have accused republicans of being behind the violence at the eviction in Strokestown.

            Your a blatant FGer with blatant bias who has never apologised for spouting blatant nonsense.

            That’s why nobody bothers answering your agenda driven “questions”..

          3. GiggidyGoo

            Ah would you ever cop onto yourself A. We know what you are, regardless of what name you’re using.

        2. V

          You can’t have been around here long so APe
          In fairness
          So it’s kinda silly to single out any commenter so uniquely like you just did there

          Nice to have some company all the same Teresa
          Hon’ de Mná

          1. A Person

            @ Mustard Goo, This is why I can’t stand or trust shinners. Just because I don’t agree with you I must be FG. BS, not everyone agrees with you or your ilk. You have this social media campaign to discredit anyone who criticises you. You spread false narratives all the time.

            In direct answer to Mustard – where did you get the resources to track post I supposedly made (go on answer that, with the “we” question posed above?) That is scary, to be honest.

            Everyone knows that shinners or their “partners” were involved in people smuggling (you run entire rings of smuggling – what was your former leader done for in Armagh) and intimidation of former Quinn executives.

            I never accused republicans of being behind the violence at the eviction in Strokestown. In fact it was your colleagues going mad at loyalists being used. I merely said that they everyone should pay their debts – probably not something you are used to. I got personally attacked for this by the likes of you and Man of Fire (where is he – did you sack him too?).

            Anyway get off the effing ditch and form a govt.

          2. Pat Mustard

            So you can’t provide a single iota of evidence to back your waffle…

            This is people think your a FGer.

            Your biased and you can’t prove otherwise.

          3. Pat Mustard

            See, you’ve nothing but smears and evidence free conspiracies.

            A biased Person.

            That’s nobody takes you seriously.

    2. frank

      Paul Williams and Alan Dukes saying that Sinn Fein is controlled by ‘shadowy’ IRA figures in the north is not criticism. It’s an unsubstantiated slur and a smear propagated by RTE.
      If there are facts and names then out with them.

      1. V

        I always find a smirk on my face when I hear or read of Shadow IRA Figures and Army Council set ups up in Andytown

        ’cause no one ever refers to shadow figures and backroom decision makers in the Gardai or in the Taoiseach’s office, or the Dept of Finance, or Defense, or Justice, or any Ministerial office
        Or the Public Procurement crowd
        Or NAMA
        Or NTMA
        Or the State Boards / Appointments office
        Or CAB
        Or our National Broadcaster’s News Rooms

        Or certain Crisis Managers and PR Lobbiests

  8. millie vanilly strikes again

    I found a lot of what he said to come across as unsubstantiated fear-mongering. His language was rather sensational, and I don’t mean that as a compliment.

    It was very sad listening to some of the audience members who have been affected by the IRA, and the concerns that some of them raised were very understandable, and when looked at from their perspective, I can see why the surge in support for SF seems so alarming.

  9. Stan

    Williams’ assets are proceeds of crime almost as much as any notional SF reserves. The man makes a living glamourising criminals.

  10. Madam X

    William’s has no credibility. Why anyone gives him a microphone God and the idiots in RTE are the only ones who know

  11. garrett

    Paul Williams is 100% discredit after his treatment of Maurice McCabe.

    He lives off crime as much as the Drogheda travellers do.

      1. Cian

        In fact the whole justice system “lives off crime” – Gardaí, Courts, Legal system and the prison system.

        1. GiggidyGoo

          And Williams is not part of the justice system (just in case you’re trying to,deflect from the comment)

        1. Clampers Outside

          He made a funny, a good one, in response to an idiot relishing the idea of civil war :) Don’t think.l he was trying to prove anything in fairness

  12. Termagant

    Is it not commonly understood that since disarming the residual IRA is just another organised crime gang
    To even imply Quinn’s death was politically motivated is ludicrous, he somehow got on the wrong side of some violent criminals, that’s all.

  13. Salmon Eile

    Bloody millennials. I might have suspected as much – Avocados are green aren’t they? And we all know who puts flags that are amber, white, and green over coffins? Hint, hint! Then’s there’s those trendy beards. And we all know who else has a beard – Gerry Adams!

    No surprise that the tech trendy crowd would vote for a party whose SAME INITIALS ARE THOSE OF SAN FRANCISCO.

    Besides, if banks won’t give them a mortgage, I feel millennials are as entitled to spend all their money on boatloads of Armalite rifles from Boston as the next guy.

  14. garrett

    AIB have been bankrupt 3 times yet FF and FG decided that they were worth saving….again
    Anglo creditors got 100% of their investment back even though the company had ceased trading
    Siteserv got 100million debt writedown and their shareholders got 1005 of their investment back, even though the company was bankrupt.

    Yes, Sinn Fein are evil

      1. GiggidyGoo

        The usual old lemon. They were presented with a dossier of lies from FF, and initially voted in favour, based on those lies. Within a fortnight, the actual details became clear, and SF voted against it.

        how does that truth sound?

  15. Dr.Fart

    how could anyone listen to williams for a second, let alone debate the fupper. he played a big (unpunished) part in attempting to destroy a whistleblowers life. ALSO, the cheek of him to talk about the gloryfing of violence being offensive to victims of violence when he’s written dozens of books doing just that. he’s a horrible little weasel and im not surprised RTE would have him on, the out-of-touch, outdated morons.

  16. Sham Bob

    Paul ‘Scumbags’ Williams? They already had Alan Dukes and Niamh Horan on the show. Maybe RTE aren’t that serious about taking Sinn Fein to task anymore if they’re leaving it to untrustworthy right wing hacks and supposed elder statesmen.
    Or, they’re hoping for a ‘told you so’ moment, when it turns out we should have believed the Sindo all along.

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