Irish Member of the European Parliament, Eoin Ryan --
Thirty-odd million [pounds] was stolen [in the Northern Bank robbery] and practically none of it has been recouped and practically nobody has been charged with it - and it's gone ...
It does seem extraordinary that 30 million can be robbed out of a bank in Northern Ireland and nobody knows where it has gone - and the IRA doesn't know where it has gone ... The idea that it can suddenly disappear... where is it going? Where is that 30 million. Is it going to be put into use in electoral purposes for political parties or where is it gone?
First, if he thinks Sinn Fein have benefitted from the proceeds of the robbery, he should say so. But second, this Eoin Ryan who is puzzled about how about 45 million euro might disappear into a 200 billion euro economy (combined NI & Republic) is the same Eoin Ryan who thinks there's nothing odd about nearly 150 CIA flights having stopped at Shannon Airport.
UPDATE: It turns out, as reported in Monday's Irish Times, that Eoin Ryan's attitude to the CIA flights at Shannon is to pretend that they don't exist --
The Government is seeking to delete key parts of a European Parliament report that criticises Ireland for allowing its airports to be used by CIA aircraft linked to rendition. In a series of amendments to be submitted to the parliamentary committee set up to investigate the illegal transfer of terrorist suspects today, Fianna Fáil MEP Eoin Ryan will try to delete references to the 147 CIA flights that stopped over at Irish airports.
He will also table an amendment that applauds Ireland for its "proactive policy in relation to extraordinary rendition, in particular its early engagement with the US authorities on the subject" and "congratulates the Government of Ireland for the timely measures it took directly after the first allegations were made" about rendition.
At some point the European Parliament needs to ask itself how its credibility is affected by letting operatives for national spin machines work within its confines.