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.

In 1974 , Dáithi Ó Conaill praised the UWC Loyalist strikers ; they showed “…tremendous power and acted in a responsible way..” , he said . On several occasions since he has described moves by Loyalist paramilitary groups towards the idea of Northern independence as ‘encouraging’ .

Although Federalism remains the official policy of Sinn Fein it has now being rejected by the radical and Northern-dominated IRA Army Council – one Army Council member explained why : ” We are opposed to it because of the historic abuse of power by the Loyalists in the North of Ireland . Federalism wouldn’t unite the Irish people but perpetuate sectarian division.” (‘1169…’ Comment : in other words , ‘a sop to Loyalists’: and that from the ‘rebels’ that went on to administer British ‘rule’ in the Six Counties!)

Dáithi Ó Conaill’s thinking as represented by his public statements between 1972 and 1975 led directly to the Feakle and post-Feakle Talks but is now light years away from the Northern ‘radicals’ . Provisional members in the North are said to be ‘more sectarian’ than their Southern counterparts not least of all because of the bloody carnage in Belfast and elsewhere in the Six Counties ; their view of Northern Unionists is said to be influenced by left-wing groups like the People’s Democracy ie that the Northern State is irreformable and so are most Northern Unionists . (‘1169…’ Comment : the ‘Northern State’ is “irreformable” as long as it continues to be reared on the poisoned milk from Westminster .)


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 spy Fred Holroyd stated : ” This is another of those strange cases with Irish links , where forensic evidence is of crucial importance . I have no doubt that Colin Wallace is innocent . I have never seen a more clear-cut case in my life .”

Fred Holroyd has spent more than a year probing the affair , visiting Wallace every month in Lewes Jail to report progress . Holroyd states – ” I have got some MP’s interested in it , but I believe I’m fighting for more than the reputation of an innocent man . I’m fighting against the shadowy people with whom Colin and I both worked with when we were in British Intelligence in Ireland , and they are very powerful people . In December (1985) they are going to give Colin parole – maybe they think that will keep him quiet . But he is determined to clear his name . I don’t think he will ever give up his fight for justice.”

(Next : ‘The Kitson Experiment’ – from 1983)

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.

One of the women POW’s stated – ” In February 1982 we ended the protest and moved into the ‘system’ ; immediately on telling Prison Governor Thomas Murtagh that we were available for work he told his staff that each and every one of us was to be given cleaning chores until such time as other work was allocated to us . On his assessment we were within a few days designated to orderly duties , laundry and work-room (stitching) – all unproductive and menial tasks . Having placed us in the positions he considered suitable , Murtagh then embarked on a campaign of harassment and intimidation . Our ending the protest , rather than satisfying , had in fact increased Murtagh’s hunger to bring republicans not merely to their knees but to grovel on their bellies .

His first tactical move was to integrate us with loyalists and ordinary prisoners throughout the jail . During the protest we had been segregated from other prisoners . Our numbers by now had been greatly reduced , many having been released , and this enabled him to maintain us in small compact groups . This ‘Unit-network-of-prisoners’ is derived from the fact that smaller groups are more easily controlled and constant vigilance of each prisoner is possible . Every movement , word , spoken or gesture, is noted and recorded in the prison journals and daily scrutinised by Governor Murtagh himself .

That ‘Unit’ theory failed to produce the results presupposed by Murtagh – he had hoped that division would cause disunity and eventually lead to the collapse of the internal prisoner-company structure . His failure caused him once again to resort to intimidation : threats to forfeit remission , punishments , solitary confinement . All have proved equally unproductive . In November 1982 , Murtagh implemented the strip-search and , since his appointment as Governor , almost two years ago , he has sought to discourage , degrade and demoralise republican prisoners . His controlling reign has been spent organising and maintaining a campaign of psychological torture against us…….”


About 11sixtynine

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