THE IRA : the new IRA is younger , more radical and has seen little of life other than violence…….
By Ed Moloney.
From ‘Magill’ magazine, September 1980.

At the same time there are indications that the IRA could be conserving its resources for the ‘long war’ ; to hit when and where it hurts . ” We could bomb all round us for three months and cause millions of commercial damage but we’d lose 40 or 50 men and maybe kill 9 or 10 civilians in the process . What would be the point of that ? ” , asks one Northern IRA leader .

Despite temporary or long term setbacks the IRA remains essentially a product of an abnormal society in the North of Ireland , what Tim Pat Coogan calls a ‘faecal society’ . The IRA is not the problem in the North , it is only a reflection of the problem . And as long as the problem remains unsolved the IRA and its bloody campaign will persist . In that context it is worth quoting British General James M. Glover’s conclusion to his 1978 assessment of the IRA : ” The Provisional IRA’s campaign of violence is likely to continue while the British remain in Northern Ireland (sic) .” (‘1169…’ Comment : not only was the Brit General wrong in his forecast , but he also failed to predict that the Provos would one day be assisting his type in enforcing their administrative ‘controls’ in the Six Counties!)


British Army Captain John Colin Wallace.
First it was the Maguire family – claiming they had been wrongly convicted of bombings in London on faulty forensic tests and circumstantial evidence . Then the Birmingham Six were shown to have been the victims of another miscarriage of British ‘justice’ . Now , in the most bizarre case of all , a former British Intelligence officer , who served in the North of Ireland , has claimed that he was framed for a killing he didn’t commit .
British Captain John Wallace , now serving ten years for manslaughter , claims that his conviction was part of a plan to destroy his credibility because he knew too much about covert operations in Ireland – on both sides of the border . Frank Doherty talked to Wallace and to another former British Intelligence officer , Captain Fred Holroyd , who is lobbying politicians to re-open a case which is as potentially embarrassing for the British Secret Service as the Wright case in Australia has proved to be.
From ‘MAGILL’ magazine , December 1986 .

Ten years ago John Colin Wallace was on top of the world : he was head of production services at British Army HQ in the North of Ireland in Lisburn , he had just married an attractive English colleague , Eileen , the confidential secretary to the Chief of the Secret Service (MI6) in Belfast and was proud to be considered an expert parachutist – he had trained as same with the SAS.

He had also been a member of the inquiry set up under British ‘Lord Justice’ Widgery to ‘investigate’ the Bloody Sunday killings in Derry in 1972. And he was still only thirty-two years of age . Today , he has a different job – in the library at Lewes Prison in Sussex , England. And his ambitions have changed : now he looks forward to getting parole in time for Christmas 1986 – and to his new task in life , clearing his name after being convicted for a crime he claims he did not commit .

Ballymena-born Colin Wallace’s troubles began in 1976 , after a fierce dispute between MI6 and their rivals in the ‘Security Service’ (MI5), over tactics in Ireland . ” It was a bitter row , ” says Wallace , interviewed at Lewes Prison , ” there were many casualties . I was one of them…….”


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.

March 1st 1976 was the beginning of the battle of wills between republican POW’s incarcerated in six-county jails and the British government : the first women to be charged under the ‘new system’ was Mairead Farrell from Andersonstown in West Belfast – arrested on April 5th 1976 , she was sentenced to 14 years after several months on remand , most of it spent on her own . However , Mairead was not the first to experience criminalisation .

In December 1976 , an 18-year-old girl from the Short Strand in Belfast , Brenda Murray , was sentenced to 15 years for her alleged part in the bombing of the Babalu Boutique : the ‘evidence’ against Brenda was so unsatisfactory that she eventually obtained a retrial and , after over two years spent in Armagh Jail , a British judge finally admitted that she could not possibly have done what another British judge sent her to prison for 15 years for !

Brenda Murray was one of many innocent young women who were put through the infamous conveyor belt of criminalisation and , like the many young men who were to fill the H-Blocks of Long Kesh, Brenda was brought to Castlereagh Interrogation Centre, threatened with further beatings and forced to sign a prepared ‘confession’ , imprisoned for months on remand and finally processed through a Diplock Court, where a British judge found her guilty , not because of the ‘evidence’ put forward but because she was from a nationalist ghetto…….


About 11sixtynine

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