South Armagh fiasco: Survey group led by ex-IRA killer Harry Maguire is funded almost totally by taxpayers

The group Community Restorative Justice Ireland – which had an especially controversial role in this week’s south Armagh policing report – receives almost all its funding from the public purse, the News Letter can reveal.

Saturday, 4th September 2021, 8:45 am
Updated Saturday, 4th September 2021, 9:25 am
WALL MURAL IN EAST BELFAST IN MEMORY OF DEREK WOOD AND DAVID HOWES, KILLED AT AN IRA FUNERAL IN WEST BELFAST

The organisation (CRJ for short) is both a registered charity and a non-profit company, and is headed by Harry Maguire – a former IRA killer.

Mr Maguire was found guilty of involvement in the 1988 murders of Derek Wood and David Howes, two British corporals who had accidentally encountered a group of IRA funeral mourners in Belfast, and who were lynched, stripped, and shot.

CRJ did a survey of just over 500 people which the PSNI relied on as part of its South Armagh Policing Review report.

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CRJ’s findings painted a negative picture of policing in the south Armagh area, with results such as “89% surveyed do not think the PSNI treat people with respect”.

Here’s how CRJ’s public funding for 2019 breaks down:

>> Department of Justice: £123,694

>> Dept of Communities: £188,823

>> NI Housing Executive: £40,000

>> Belfast City Council: £10,163

>> Belfast Health Trust: £102,258

>> PSNI: £20,000

This represents £485,000 out of the charity’s total funding of £599,000 for that year.

CRJ says it exists “for the rehabilitation of offenders and the relief of victims of crime by using and providing for the use and understanding of the concept of restorative justice”.

Though listed as CRJ’s director on its website, Mr Maguire is not reigstered as a director in the company’s official government listing, nor is he listed as a charity trustee.

In 1998, Mr Maguire was reported as telling Sinn Fein media outlet An Phoblacht (which described him as a former POW): “For us the peace process has not been about releases; it is about the struggle. We remain committed to the struggle and we are unapologetic about what we did during the struggle.”

And in 2004, it quoted him as saying: “We need to analyse, organise and act if we are to succeed in building a party capable of carrying this struggle forward. We need to develop new thinking, create new methods and crucially we need to advance, particularly in the present political climate, our all-Ireland agenda.”’

The PSNI said: “CRJ is an accredited criminal justice organisation.

“Our officers will continue to engage with organisations from all sections of the community who represent the needs of victims of crime.”

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