The following statement was issued subsequent to a meeting of the Caretaker Executive of Sinn Fein on January 17th 1970 .

We are unanimous in that there can be no question of rapprochement or of meetings with those who are opposed to us ; for their part , their attitude before and during the Ard Fheis was as could be expected . On Saturday morning , January 10th (1970) , the opening day of the Ard Fheis , a Dublin morning paper carried an alleged ‘ Northern Command’ statement which said , in reference to those against (State) recognition – … ” the divisive tactivs of those few malcontents .. ” and “…it is being openly suggested that Fianna Fail has already succeeded in planting one of its agents in this group .. ” .

The smear tactic was early in use : on Saturday night , before the Sinn Fein Commission recommendations could be considered by the Ard Fheis delegates , a statement was read from the already compromised ‘Army Council’ which urged the delegates to accept the proposals – it spoke in typically hard-line terms of the Provisional Army Council and its supporters , saying that “…if they persisted in error , then all sentiment must be put aside in dealing with them .. ” : this dogmatist attitude is surely worthy of the Inquisition of many years ago in its dealings with ‘heretics’ .

The same source said later regarding ‘recognition’ that “…as long as they advanced one step in revolutionary theory , it did not matter if they slipped back two in ‘organisation’ .. ” . Again , on that Saturday night , “…minorities..” which could not carry out whatever policies were adopted were told that they would have to ‘get out’ . So much for the attitude of the ‘new parliamentarians’ before Sunday , January 11th (1970) : sice then they have found our support to be nation-wide and decisive . They talk of “…healing the split.. ” now that they are on the defensive : we reject their overtures for the reasons given in this statement and we believe that which divides us is fundamental and runs very deep . We call on them to cease describing themselves as Sinn Fein . That honoured name has never belonged in Westminster , Stormont or Leinster House . Let them join with their new-found ‘friends’ in their
‘National Liberation Front’ or whatever they wish to call it and leave the Republican Movement alone …….


On 30 January 1972 , 14 civilians were shot dead by the British Army . They had been taking part in a civil rights march in Derry , protesting against internment without trial .
British ‘Lord’ Widgery was highly selective in the ‘evidence’ he used in his ‘official’ report on the matter – and some of the accounts he chose to include were highly suspect. The victims’ families have campaigned for justice ever since . Their case is too strong to ignore any longer .
First published in ‘MAGILL’ magazine , February 1998 .
By Eamonn McCann .
(Note – on Saturday 28th January next , a Commemoration to mark the 34th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday will be held at the GPO in Dublin between 1PM and 3PM . All Welcome.)

Unionists were not impressed by the performance of the British ‘security forces’ regarding anti-internment marches – so they issued a threat of Orange Order marches in ‘defiance’ of the ban if a stop was’nt put to the anti-internment protests – ” In the absence of a clear demonstration of the ban’s effectiveness , the (British) government can hardly expect our people to observe it . ” At Stormont the following Tuesday , 25 January (1972) , Ulster Unionists MP’s Robert Mitchell and John Laird defied the party whip and voted for a motion jointly proposed by Mr. Craig and Dr. Paisley condemning the application of the ban to parades by “…the loyal orders.. ” ; on the same evening , the Derry branch of the DUP called for ‘action’ against the Bogside-Creggan : “…the Queen’s writ must run in all parts of our city .. ” and announced a ‘prayer-meeting’ in Guildhall Square at 3PM the following Sunday to coincide with the scheduled arrival of the anti-internment march .

The DUP statement ended with a ‘plea’ – ” Where are the men at the top ? Why are they so silent ? What are they waiting for ? ” The following evening , Mr. Craig enthused a packed rally at the Apprentice Boys Hall in Derry , contemptuously contrasting the fumbling of Brian Faulkner with the ‘tough leadership’ that would have been forthcoming from ‘true men’ like Edward Carson – loyalists , he declared , “…must find new leaders and go into action . ” He announced a series of demonstrations to begin the following week , to culminate in a ‘monster rally’ in Belfast on 18 March 1972 : “(Nineteen-seventy-two) would be loyal Ulster’s (sic) year of decision . ” At 8.30 AM the following morning , the first two RUC men to lose their lives in Derry in ‘the Troubles’ , Peter Gilgun , 26 , married with an 18-month-old son , and David Montgomery , 20 , were killed in a Provo ambush as their car travelled along Creggan Road at the edge of the ‘no-go area’ .

There was now , naturally , even more intense outrage in the calls for harsher ‘security action’ . As those two RUC men drove into the ambush , Mr. Faulkner was en route to London , possibly ruminating on the meeting of the Stormont Joint Security Committee , which he had chaired the previous night – and at which the Derry anti-internment march would have been discussed …….


By Comdt. General Tomas Maguidhir (Thomas Maguire) , October 1986.

Comdt. General Thomas Maguire’s Statement of 1969 :
” The majority of the delegates at the December 1969 IRA Convention , having passed the resolution referred to above , proceeded to elect an Executive which in turn appointed a new Army Council , committed to implement the resolution . That Convention had neither the right nor the authority to pass such a resolution . Accordingly , I , as the sole surviving member of the Executive of Dail Eireann and the sole surviving signatory of the 1938 Proclamation , hereby declare that the resolution is illegal and that the alleged Executive and Army Council are illegal , and have no right to claim the allegiance of either soldiers or citizens of the Irish Republic .

The delegates who opposed the resolution , together with delegates from units which were not represented at the Convention , met subsequently in Convention and repudiated the resolution . They re-affirmed their allegiance to the Irish Republic and elected a Provisional Executive which , in turn , appointed a Provisional Army Council . I hereby further declare that the Provisional Executive and the Provisional Army Council are the lawful Executive and Army Council respectively of the IRA* and that the governmental authority delegated in the Proclamation of 1938 now resides in the Provisional Army Council and its lawful successors . I fully endorse their call for support from Irish people everywhere towards the realisation of the full freedom of Ireland .

Dated the 31st day of December , 1969 .
Signed : THOMAS MAGUIRE , (Tomas Mac Uidhir) Comdt. General. “
(‘1169…’ Comment – * Following the 1986 division , Comdt. General Thomas Maguire nominated the Continuity IRA as the legitimate IRA . Tom Maguire died in 1993 , aged 101 .)
(Tomorrow – ‘ INFORMERS : The RUC’s Psychological War’ – from March 1983.)

About 11sixtynine

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