THE COALISLAND STORY : British Torture In Ireland…….
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, January 1958 .

A father and son arrested in Fermanagh within the past month were both brutally treated by the RUC : the father is now in the Omagh Mental Hospital . A youth arrested in Kilkeel , County Down , had to be shifted to a mental hospital after his release from the RUC . A noted brain specialist has testified to his condition .

James Donnelly , Leo McGarry , James Hackett , Paddy Timony and Denis Cassin , of Armagh City , who were arrested on December 7 , 1957 , were kept in tubs of cold water for four hours , were then taken out and , while still naked , had their feet stamped on and their bodies punched . Later they were beaten with rubber truncheons . These things are happening in Occupied Ireland . The Coalisland youths may be put in the dock any day now on capital charges but , as yet , they are held uncharged and untried .

In Fermanagh , youths arrested during the last ’round-up’ are also uncharged and untried , but this has not prevented Stormont declaring that four of them will be charged and will receive stiff sentences . British ‘justice’ in Ireland now follows the rule – ‘…announce the sentence first and then charge and try them.. ‘ Willing stooges rejoicing in the name of ‘judges’ are ready to dispense the required sentence whenever called upon…….

Dessie O’Malley would expect to draw his support almost exclusively from middle-class areas , but if he is to succeed in getting the twenty seats he hopes for that support base would also have to include working-class areas , especially in Dublin . On the evidence of one day spent with PD leader O’Malley ,that working-class support is unlikely to be forthcoming.
By Derek Dunne.

In the South Inner City of Dublin , about half-a-dozen anti- Section 31 protestors emerge as if from the woodwork : Dessie’s handlers are panicked . One young protestor stands in the doorway in front of O’ Malley demanding to know his view of Section 31 . The entire world and his wife knows Dessie’s view on Section 31 . The handlers push Dessie forward , and another handler bursts his trousers when he tries to kick the young protestor who , eventually , is hoisted backwards to disappear from view . Dessie is shook by the affair . It is claimed on the news that he got his suit torn , even though there is no evidence of this . Not one protestor laid a hand on him – he was pushed only by his own people .

He goes on with the canvass : he enters a workshop where there are kids doing all sorts of ‘wurk’ , but none of them are old enough to vote . Still , it’s a great photo opportunity . He moves on to the Winstanley Shoe Co-Op , where he declares that he is very much in favour of self help . He and his team go on what is known as a ‘walkabout’ in the factory – this is another opportunity for him to meet the people and impress them .

By now , the gardai are on the scene . Here and there people avoid Dessie . Women run into a shop away from him . The reception he gets is anything but friendly and the image of him going to meet the people with a garda escort hardly conforms to the image that the PD’s would like to project . One of his handlers remarks ruefully – ” People are turning their backs and walking away…” Dessie then goes off to lunch with a priest from the locality , never one to forget the power of prayer . When he emerges , it’s with hairbrush in hand , which he sneaks to a handler before anyone can get a photo of it . Another photo opportunity missed ! One woman wishes him the best of luck . The handlers are constantly pushing the other PD candidates into the picture line-up so that they will get their faces across . Most of them are completely unknown…….

Eamon Byrne , a 19-year-old Dubliner , was shot dead by a garda detective during an attempted robbery at the B+I terminal in November 1982 . For his family , obtaining justice , or simply the truth , could be a long and expensive process.
From ‘The Phoenix’ magazine , July 1983 .

The outcome of the inquest on Eamon Byrne hardly came as a surprise . Five years ago , an inquest on 16-year-old Aidan White , who died of meningitis after being illegally detained in garda custody for nearly a week , absolved the garda officers concerned of any responsibility for his death : the jury on that occasion rejected riders from counsel representing the dead boy’s mother and the ICCL calling for clearer guidelines on the arrest and detention of juveniles in custody .

In Eamon Byrne’s case , the jury also rejected riders from counsel for the dead man’s wife and the ICCL , calling for an examination of the procedures for equipping and training garda in the use of firearms . For Elizabeth Byrne , obtaining justice , or simply the truth about her husband’s death , could be a long and expensive process .

(Next : ‘Republican Mourners Defeat RUC’ – from 1987)


About 11sixtynine

A mother of three and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
This entry was posted in History/Politics.. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Very interesting site. I have bookmarked you.

  2. Thank You , ‘San Francisco’ , for your kind comments : our ‘proper’ site is located at the following URL –
    – it contains the same posts as are published here on ‘Blogsome’ but also shows links etc which may be of interest to you .
    Thanks again !

    Slan go foill anois ,


  3. mozilla says:

    In which country do you live? 🙂

  4. Hi Mozilla !

    Ireland . It’s on Planet Earth .
    Drop by , next time you’re passing …


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