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.

An Economic and Resistance Campaign was re-emphasised in the updated ‘Eire Nua’ document and a committee headed by Post Office Engineering trade unionist Paddy Bolger was set up to devise a policy for the next Ard Fheis . The Economic Resistance Campaign forsees the involvement of Sinn Fein in trade union struggles like the PAYE marches and opposition to the ‘National(sic) Wage Agreement’, and to push Republican issues at grass roots trade union level . It also intends to encourage housing , unemployment and social agitation by the Republican Movement .

Those two developments reflect a political change in Republican thinking that is part and parcel of the IRA’s ‘long war’ scenario : if the IRA must stay around to fight that war , say the ‘radicals’ , then Sinn Fein must have something other than the initially intoxicating but in the long term irrelevant slogan of ‘Brits Out!’ . (‘1169…’ Comment : the ‘Brits Out!’ slogan , when aimed at Westminster as is the case when used by Irish republicans , is not “irrelevant” – far from it : until that political and military ‘connection’ is broke there will be no political improvement in the Six County situation . And Sinn Fein has “something other” than mere ‘slogans’ to offer.)

But those two developments and in particular the Economic Resistance Campaign are at the root of conservative unease with the move leftwards : not only is the term ‘Economic Resistance’ uncomfortably reminiscent of the ‘communist’ Officials and their concept of a ‘National Liberation Front’ but it also smacks of the same politics that led to the 1970 split over recognition of the ‘two States’ in Ireland……..

(MORE IN 2009).

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 .

British military spy John Colin Wallace decided to contact his colleague Fred Holroyd, after seeing him on television , to look for help : ” We were introduced by our Chief , Craig Smellie. I recognised Holroyd right away , even though in those days he wore a beard and dressed like a tramp as part of his undercover mission which took him south of the border . ”

Holroyd revealed on the TV programme some details of the dispute between MI5 and MI6 to which Wallace traces his problems . Like him , Holroyd had been forced to quit his spy job , moving to Rhodesia where he became a Major in command of an Army battalion fighting black guerrillas .

Wallace says – ” I wrote to Captain Holroyd that night , reminding him of the time when we met in the MI6 office in Ulster (sic) and asked for help in clearing my name .” Holroyd responded right away and , within weeks , he had turned up ‘new evidence’ to prove that Wallace could not have killed Jonathan Lewis . A vital witness , Amanda Metcalf , was interviewed by Holroyd who discovered that Metcalf had served Jonathan Lewis at her parents hotel , ‘The Golden Goose’ , on the A27 motorway close to the sea-side town of Arundel , long after police said Lewis must have been lying unconscious in the boot of Wallace’s BBC car . Amanda Metcalf said Lewis looked grim and worried , and was with another man . Wallace believes that that man was the real killer – a business friend of Lewis who has a criminal record…….

(MORE IN 2009).

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.

On February 7th , 1980 , 32 women prisoners in Armagh Jail began a ‘no-wash’ protest : in an old jail like that , dirt accumulates far more quickly than in modern prisons . The women’s periods were a particularly dangerous time for infection and several women did develop skin diseases and bowel troubles , yet their morale was higher than it had ever been .

While people on the outside were watching horrified , the women prisoners managed to remain completely united , supportive of each other , and determined to carry the protest through to the bitter end . And this they did , inflicting a defeat on prison governor George Scott’s regime in the process .

The women’s participation in the first hunger-strike further showed their determination : on December 1st 1980, Mairead Farrell , Mary Doyle and Mairead Nugent joined the fast . They remained on the Prison Wing , confined in an excreta-covered cell for almost two weeks , before they were transferred to the Hospital Wing of the jail . Their condition was deteriorating rapidly . The women ended their protest on December 19th 1980 , one day after the H-Block hunger-strikers , only after they had received official confirmation from the Republican Movement that the strike had in fact ended . The three women remained in the Hospital Wing until December 23rd 1980 , and were then removed and thrown back into their cells and immediately put back on lock-up , with no parcels allowed and complete loss of privileges . Subsequently the ‘no-wash’ protest ended in all the jails on March 1st 1981 , as Bobby Sands embarked on his hunger-strike . The women POW’s were moved to clean cells where they maintained their ‘no-work’ protest…….

(MORE IN 2009).
(PLEASE NOTE : this is our last ‘3-in-1’ post for 2008 – we are not quite finished yet for the year , as we will be posting CABHAIR Swim updates and other pieces , but we will not be posting any more ‘3-in-1’ articles untill the New Year. We will , however , be back before Christmas Day and between then and the New Year with other comments etc – Thanks!)

About 11sixtynine

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