THURSDAY , 28 JULY 2005.

Great to be back …. !! Bhi an saoire caite inne (‘the holiday was over yesterday’) and we hope that this post will signify a return to ‘normal service’ on ‘1169 And Counting….. ‘ . But we are not quite sure that we have shaken-off the holiday ‘cobwebs…..’ : so check back tomorrow , as well , and see how we are doing ……. đŸ˜‰ . Sharon .

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 .

Ask Unionists , either political or paramilitary , or anywhere on the spectrum in between , to explain the ‘Ulster’ Clubs and they talk first of Carson’s legacy , the ‘Ulster’ Clubs of 1912 , and next of how remarkably naive but sincere Alan Wright is . He resents the pointed queries about the UDA’s position in his organisation , and is tired fending off suggestions that he might be easy to manipulate : ” No one’s behind Alan Wright except the Lord . ”

It’s an odd habit , referring to yourself in the third person . On the same theme , his independence , he told ‘ Fortnight’ magazine … ” …Alan Wright’s a thirty-one year old man from Portadown … ” , with no political axe to grind . But he does have a religious axe and he keeps it sharp . He’s a Salvationist , a Salvation Army man ” At the end of the day my politics are not divisible from my faith . It’s Protestantism versus Rome . ”

Like all convinced evangelists he speaks of matters spiritual and in his case matters politico-spiritual with complete unselfconsciousness . Basically , it’s a harsh message all the more startling for being delivered in an ‘unpolished’ way . You feel as if you’ve stumbled on someome completely untried , rehearsing their lines . Smashing the Hillsborough ‘Agreement’ is his first and prime aim but the Clubs will not go out of existence once that ‘Agreement’ is scrapped . There can only be peace when a new environment is created : ” Militant Nationalism must be addressed . You can’t kill the dream but you can remove the dreamer . The Ulster (sic) Clubs are not anti-Roman Catholic for the sake of being anti- Roman Catholic and anyone who smashes a Roman Catholic’s windows , say , will have us to deal with , let me tell you . But we are anti-Nationalist…”…….


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 .

Gregory Campbell , DUP , stated (re Fianna Fail) ” What they are beginning is a process . John Hume calls it a healing process ; well , as far as we are concerned it is to open a wound , to fester the wound and to rub salt in the wound . We will find ourselves at the very end of the constitutional road and we will find ourselves in the very same position as Carson found himself in at Balmoral in 1912 , where we will have to get every able-bodied man in Ulster (sic) armed as best we can , whether it is with guns or sticks . Once the ink is dry and the unionists acquiesce in any way to Dublin involvement , then we are finished . ”

Sammy Wilson , DUP , stated – ” You don’t give a consultative role if it does’nt mean anything . Once that role is conceded , nationalists on both sides of the border would want to work on it and develop it , and what might seem innocuous initially could be the embryo for a huge monster which would eventually gobble us up . Our case is this : that when it comes to the internal arrangements in this province (sic) , to the devolving of powers , the (British) government requires that there be widespread acceptance of any changes . Yet when it comes to a much more major constitutional change , that is giving an outside government (by which he meant Dublin) a role in Northern Ireland (sic) , the (British) government is not prepared to concede that it requires the measurable widespread acceptance of this community . ”

According to Jim Allister , the DUP Chief Whip at the Assembly , Unionists have a carefully planned strategy of opposition to the Anglo-Irish package : ” If it gives a role to the Dublin government it is unacceptable , no matter how innocuous it may seem . Assuming that that is the case , then we set ourselves on a course of seeking to undo that process . Our first bounded duty is to exhaust each and every constitutional and democratic facility we have ……. ”


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 .

In prison in Amsterdam , Brendan ‘Bic’ McFarlane has no association with any of the other prisoners ; he cannot attend Mass with the other men and he is only allowed one hour’s fresh air a day , taken separately . In relation to the appeal , he says that he’s ” …prepared for the worst , so that when it happens , you’re better prepared to deal with it . ”

He has a colour TV in his cell , which costs nine guilders – seventy cents a week . But he gets ‘paid’ three guilders ( eighty cents) a day – just to be in prison . He is very critical of the ” …misinformation ..” that is being “..put about.. ” regarding the North of Ireland – ” People here are educated and they think that there’s two religions fighting it out and the poor Brits are stuck in the middle . The BBC version of events always comes across . When an eleven-year-old schoolgirl gets blown away by a plastic bullet , the British Army version comes across . ”

When asked if he ever thought of stopping his activity through pressure , he says ” …you have to soldier on . If you sit down you’d collapse under that pressure . You have to fight . ” (‘1169….. ‘ Comment : But , of course – that was ‘then’ , this is ‘now’ ; no more fighting for ‘Bic’ and his colleagues [not against the Brits , anyway…] . Instead , ‘concerns’ will be raised in Stormont and Leinster House . And Westminster to follow , no doubt . And those same ‘concerns’ will also , no doubt , be raised on the so-called ‘Policing Boards’ in the Six Counties when the Provisionals eventually take their seats on same . “Soldering on … ” , Brendan ….. ?)

(Tomorrow – ‘ CHAOS IN THE GARDAI ‘ – from 1986 . )

About 11sixtynine

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