Other items in the ‘PIRA financial account’ which British General Jim Glover put together , like money spent on pay , are confirmed by IRA sources but yet other such ‘guesstimates’ are impossible to check . The amount of money gained from so-called ‘racketeering’ for instance is an example : there’s no doubt that numerous businesses such as pubs , clubs , taxis etc in republican districts do pay money to the PIRA , which is collected by the (Republican) Civil and Military Administration Department and can vary from £15,000 to £20,000 per annum from a large club to £2 per week from a corner shop . No one will say whether it’s ‘protection money’ or ‘voluntary donations’ .
An incidental factor resulting from the re-organisation of the PIRA is that now less money ‘strays’ into private pockets , or so it is claimed : in the past it was not unknown , and there are PIRA men in jail to prove it , for PIRA Commanding Officers and Adjutants in some areas of Belfast to send their men out , unknowing , on unauthorised robberies for their own enrichment and , equally , it was not unknown for those volunteers themselves to take a cut . (‘1169..’ Comment : as stated before in relation to the author [Ed Moloney] , he may have had his connections within the Movement but he himself was not a known or active republican.)
Up until 1978 the Provisional IRA had operated exclusively in Ireland and in Britain , but in that year there were bomb attacks at BAOR bases in Germany followed by more bombs the next year . In early 1979 the British ambassador to the Hague , ‘Sir’ Richard Sykes , was shot dead and a Belgian bank official also killed in mistake for the British ambassador to NATO . This year (1980) three British soldiers in Germany have been shot , one, a Colonel , was killed by the same 9mm pistol used to kill ‘Sir’ Richard Sykes . The bombings and shootings were the work of two separate PIRA Cells who had travelled to the Continent in the guise of Irish building workers . Both have since returned to Ireland…….
IRIS : ” The activities of petty criminals and organised gangsters pose a substantial problem within the nationalist community , particularly within Belfast . In recent months the IRA seems to have taken a strong line , through punishment shootings , the attempted execution of Danny ‘Boy’ Valliday and the execution of ‘Gangster’ Devlin . Do you intend to take a similar line in future , and does the IRA regard these activities as an irritating but largely insoluble problem ? ”
IRA : ” The type of criminal you refer to is one who organises crime , who is terrorising the local nationalist population who already have far too much to put up with for us to allow this to continue . Where we find that sort of organised criminal we will execute them .
Our efforts to find other means of dealing with this problem , and our pursuance of these efforts , are well documented over the past twelve years . We believe that the solution to the petty criminal problem lies with involvement by the community as a whole . ”
THE UNDAUNTED WOMEN IN ARMAGH…….
The full story of the republican prisoners in Armagh Jail has yet to be told. It has yet to be sung , and properly described , other than as an after-thought in public speeches – “…and of course the women in Armagh..” Republicans have a right to be proud of those women who, from the Divis Flats grandmother doing six months for what an Orange judge called “riotous behaviour” to the young IRA Volunteer inside for the second time and not yet 25-years-old , have managed, whether they numbered 12 or 120 , to maintain their resistance to the most vicious prison system in Europe. The words that follow , says writer Patricia Collins , were written to encourage more of those women to come forward and tell their story , and are based on conversations with several
ex-prisoners , and on visits and letters from those women presently imprisoned. They were written in the hope of jogging the memory of all those women who wrongly think their contribution to Ireland’s future peace is not worth mentioning.
From ‘IRIS’ magazine , August 1984.
A few months after the March 4th 1973 attempted prison break from Armagh Jail the four women internees – Liz McKee , Cathy Robinson , Marie Maguire and Evelyn Brady – secured from the then Prison Governor , Hugh Cunningham a transfer upstairs to ‘A2’ Landing with the sentenced POW’s . This Prison Wing was at the time totally isolated from the rest and , whilst sentenced prisoners only got one visit a week , internees got three , and the women felt they could help their sentenced comrades to communicate with the outside world .
The women knew , too, that if they stayed downstairs the remand prisoners there would soon get sentenced and moved to ‘A2’ , leaving them isolated : from early on , the women POW’s were aware of the need to build a strong position by keeping the maximum number of women together .
With British military swoops all over the North , numbers in the prison grew quickly and , in March 1974 , ‘B’ Wing was cleared for the POW’s , who soon occupied ‘A2’ , ‘B1’ and ‘B2’ – most of the women internees came in from March 1974 onwards . One of the women stated – ” It seemed that the Brits had suddenly realised that the women were active .” Inside Armagh Jail , republican POW’s had worked to establish a military structure since the beginning of 1973 . After selecting an Officer Commanding and a full Staff , including an adjutant , PRO , and Wing O/C’s , the women worked out their own routine , avoiding all contact with the prison staff . The O/C had a meeting with the prison governor every morning and would pass on her comrades’ requests and , in time , the prison system was effectively ‘railroaded’ into working along with the structure set-up by the women prisoners…….