FRIDAY , 15th JULY 2005.

Fionnuala O’Connor on the struggle for the Loyalist leadership as the politicians and their paramilitary allies gear up for a strike .
From ‘MAGILL’ magazine , March 1986 .

James Molyneaux watches the intense and emotional Harold McCusker , once a contender for his ‘throne’ , and he watches the coldly ambitious MEP John Taylor , who wheeled out the remains of the Official Unionist Party ‘fur-coat’ establishment brigade to take the European selection off McCusker , the ‘working-class boy ‘ . And when there is time , no doubt , Jim Molyneaux also watches the perpetually ambitious Orange Order leader the Reverend Martin Smyth . The Official Unionist Party leader could not be said to take a vital part in the joint working-party .

No more , in fact , than his co-leader , who has his own ‘boys’ to keep an eye on , and none ‘hungrier’ than Peter Robinson , and the Ballymena barrister Jim Allister . Ian Paisley’s remarkable preoccupation with Unionist unity in this campaign has left Robinson free to cultivate the ‘Ulster’ Clubs , to make the noises on the ultimate place for the violence that Paisley usually specialises in .

Ian Paisley has ‘toned down’ the rhetoric , veterans of his campaigns think , because the failure of the 1977 strike still haunts him . As one of his men put it ” He thought he could do it on his own (but) the Official Unionist Party swung in against him and the power-workers did’nt pull the plug . He’s not going to make that mistake again . We can only ask the people to do this after everything else . Morally we had to have the elections , the council thing , the Assembly had to be put at risk – because then we can say , as the politicians have done everything , now it’s the turn of the Clubs … ” Often Unionist political figures do not finish that sentence , but this was a frank DUP man .

Even he was’nt specific about what happens next , but there was no mistaking his relish for the imminent exhaustion of constitutional means , nor his approval of the ‘Ulster’ Clubs …….


The Democratic Unionist Party would prefer a Civil War to acquiescence in a role for the Dublin Government in the affairs of the North of Ireland after the Anglo-Irish summit .
FINTAN O’TOOLE spoke to DUP activists about the depth of their opposition to the Anglo-Irish deal and their willingness to resort to violence .
From ‘MAGILL’ magazine , November 1985 .

The DUP is implacably opposed to any role whatsoever for the Irish government (sic) in the running of Northern Ireland , (sic) even if that role is minor , ‘consultative’ and cosmetic – they see it as the beginning of the end , the road to Armageddon : ” While we are interested in the fine print of an agreement , and we will study it carefully , the fact that for the first time the Dublin government are going to be given an input in any way , that will be enough to trigger off all of our opposition , whatever the fine print , ” says the DUP’s Gregory Campbell .

” If Tom King were to say to us – ‘Look , we’re only consulting Dublin about the colour of the lamp-posts ‘ , that is sufficient for us to say that for the first time Dublin has a toe in the door . It’s only a few months or a few years from advising us on the colour of the lamp-posts , to telling us what way we will conduct the traffic , to what way we will dress the police , to what way we will arm them . If Dublin is to have a say in any respect , if they are to have a say in that the ‘ Flags and Emblems Act ‘ is to be repealed , because Peter Barry and Garret Fitzgerald have said it is offensive to nationalists and must be repealed , something that is regarded as small beer , then the British government will be sitting down and listening to the views of the Dublin government .

Sovereignty is sovereignty . You either are sovereign over a part of a country (sic) or you are not . You either have absolute control or you do not . If Dublin has a consultative role , that is the beginning of the end . I would see the final day had arrived whereby Ulster (sic) had finally been sold , and we would have no other option but to exhaust the constitutional process and then proceed as quickly as possible to arming ourselves and to fighting .

Lets not forget that Charles Haughey is waiting in the wings and if Garret Fitzgerald were to put his toe in the door , Haughey will be coming through the door . Fianna Fail are’nt going to be content with the colour of the lamp-posts or of the police uniforms or with the ‘Flags and Emblems Act’ . They are going to demand a more meaningful role and subsequent summits will increase that role ……. ” (‘1169… ‘ Comment – Fianna Fail continues to ‘comment’ on how Westminster ‘governs’ the Six Counties ; however , Fianna Fail never queries Westminster’s jurisdictional control over those Six Counties . The Unionists and their ‘paymasters’ in Westminster have nothing to fear from Fianna Fail – or any other group of Free Staters .)


Last month , BRENDAN McFARLANE was ordered by a Dutch court to be extradited back to the North to serve out a sentence of 25 years . He is appealing the decision . His companion GERARD KELLY had his plea accepted that his offences were political . BRENDAN McFARLANE has been on the run since he led thirty-seven men in an escape out of the MAZE PRISON in September 1983 . In an exclusive interview with MAGILL at Bylmerbages Prison in Amsterdam , McFARLANE talks about his life , his youth and upbringing , and his involvement with the ARMED STRUGGLE in the North .
First published in ‘MAGILL’ magazine , April 1986 .

Brendan McFarlane is not very optimistic about his own future ; he believes that he will be extradited back to the North of Ireland – ” When they lock me up , they’ll throw away the key . I don’t want to go back to H-Blocks , or any prison for that matter . But if they do send me back it’s a small price to pay for the political victory we have scored in Holland . I think it’s very significant – they recognise that the struggle is political . It was an achievement beyond all expectations . It was also unprecedented in so far as there were two IRA Volunteers in front of cameras for the first time in quite a number of years . ”

He was amused at the last court hearing when he was told that he could make a claim for various items that were taken from him when he was arrested , such as jewellery and cassettes : ” I was also told that I could claim for the ‘equipment’ found nearby ! I told them if they were so disposed regarding the found ‘equipment’ , they could forward it to the Republican Movement … ” It should be noted that Brendan McFarlane has not been charged with any offence in Holland .

He is totally isolated in the Amsterdam prison – he has no association with any of the other prisoners …….

(Please Note – the ‘1169…’ crew will be ‘shutting up shop’ today , Friday 15th July for at least/about/hopefully (!) one week [maybe two – if the cash stretches… !] we are off to the ‘Sometimes Sunny Southeast’ ; Waterford , for a bit of a break . Leave your e-mail address (on the back of a €50 note !) in the ‘Guestbook’ and we might send you a postcard . And you might also get spammed … – Sharon 🙂

About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
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