<img src=" PADDY COONEY’S ARMY .
Not since the earliest days of the State has the role of the Irish Army (sic) been under such intense scrutiny . And not since the war years has it had such a forceful political master as Patrick Mark Cooney .
From ‘The Phoenix’ magazine , 3 February 1984 .
The present (Free State) Minister for Defence , Paddy Cooney , has very positive views about Irish neutrality and there is a powerful lobby in the (State) Army now working for full Irish (ie in this case , 26 County) participation in NATO . But it is Mr. Cooney’s obsession with ‘subversives’ at home – and how his army is going to deal with them – that warrants a close eye being kept on the activities of Generalissimo Patrick Mark Cooney .
The past year was a seminal one for the Irish (sic) Army for more reasons than one ; it was the first time a (FS) soldier was killed on active service in the State , it was the first time that a group of very senior retired officers publicly opposed any conduct of the State Army – in this case their participation in the British Legion commemoration on Poppy Day . And it was the first time that (State) soldiers on point duty shot at civilians on the public road .
The incoming (FS) Chief of Staff , Brig. Gen. Gerry O’ Sullivan , is taking up his responsibility at a particularly sensitive time for the State defence forces …….
In Donagh , County Fermanagh , Kieran Leonard , a Sinn Fein election worker , was shot and wounded on December 29th , 1982 , near his home , by an undercover British Army unit , and later charged with possession of explosives which were found several hundred yards away .
On February 2nd , 1983 , unarmed INLA Volunteer Neil McMonagle was shot dead , and a friend , Liam Duffy , wounded , by an undercover British soldier in Derry’s Shantallow housing estate . In none of the cases mentioned above was there any evidence that the dead or wounded men had been armed or that they had been engaged in acts of republican resistance .
The response to these cold-blooded killings from the constitutional ‘leaders’ of the nationalist community has been predictable in its bleating ineffectiveness : despite Sinn Fein declaring that the time for calling for ‘independent’ public enquiries was over , and that they had achieved nothing in earlier cases of legalised murder by the British State : the SDLP’s only contribution – expressed by party deputy leader Seamus Mallon – was to call for an “independent enquiry ” …….
After a brief flirtation with the right-wing ‘ Poblacht Chriostuil’ (‘The Christian Republic’) group , Eoghan Harris’ ‘republicanism’ manifested itself in more extrovert ways ; contemporaries recall his habit of strutting around in trenchcoat and black beret and even sporting a green coat , white shirt and gold tie , on one particular Easter week !
Others remember him from the FCA (‘An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiuíl’) , in which he became a fanatical corporal , forcing his troops on long marches through the night to attain FCA awards for endurance and discipline . More significantly , Eoghan O hEarchu , as he then styled himself , struck up an enduring friendship with historian Professor John A Murphy , and the pupil soon became an intimate of the master : Murphy’s pre-eminent role as the sharpest of the revisionist school of Irish historians owes much to his late-night dialectic discourses with Eoghan Harris .
Eoghan Harris met his future wife , Anne O’ Sullivan , then a member of the Wolfe Tone Society , at UCC , and she has since emerged from his shadow to become editor of ‘Image’ magazine and , more recently , an assistant editor of the Sunday Independent ‘newspaper’…….