Ed Maloney : ” There has been a considerable reduction in IRA activity in 1980 compared with the two previous years . What is the reason for that lull ? “
IRA : ” First of all we’re not at all dismayed by what we have achieved this year . We have to maintain a certain level of armed activity to effect political change within the Six Counties , to make ‘political progress’ impossible . We have effectively done that this year . For example , the Atkins’ proposals are getting nowhere and the SDLP , who have risen to power on the back of our armed struggle , and the Loyalists , have mutually incongruous political manifestos which we have helped to temper on both sides , although saying that the Loyalists are inherently sectarian anyway.
The other aspect of our armed struggle is to affect the morale of the British Army and to create an impact on the British people .
We have not managed to match last year’s performance this year , because circumstances have been forced upon us and there have been some material problems . But we are totally confident that we can overcome these short term problems….. ”
The ‘Casuro Holidays Affair’- in which two Irish couples revealed that they had unwittingly been guests of British Intelligence on expensive ‘prize’ holidays in Spain , in failed bids to recruit them as informers – might well make it appear that there’s more money involved than actual intelligence in the murky world of British covert operations .
Indeed , Jonathan Bloch and Patrick FitzGerald’s comprehensive account of the British government’s covert attempts to give an added impetus to its official diplomacy , particularly in the affairs of the Middle East and post-colonial Africa , is frequently a tale of costly British Foreign Office and MI6 miscalculations and follies that at best delay rather than fundamentally alter the course of political events .
Nevertheless , the centrality of intelligence operations in every aspect of British political affairs , both domestic and foreign , is well argued by Bloch and FitzGerald , particularly in their detailed survey of the links between intelligence and the popular media , and the use of the SAS in ‘unofficial’ and often mercenary wars…….
TEN YEARS IN ENGLISH JAILS.
Anne and Eileen Gillespie were arrested in April 1974 following an explosion in a Manchester house where IRA Volunteers were preparing incendiaries , and were sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for earlier bombing attacks in which they had no part , serving the bulk of their sentence in the maximum securuty wing of Durham Jail. Released at the end of last August , they talked to ‘IRIS’ about their experience , at their home in Gweedore , County Donegal .
From ‘IRIS’ magazine, August 1984.
The Gillespie family emigrated to England from Donegal on August 18th 1962 . We were children (Anne was twelve and Eileen was nine) and our father had gone to England about two years earlier to look for work , so rather than split the family up we all went to live in England together .
After we left school we both worked in a hospital , one of us as a nurse and the other as a receptionist . We were working in that hospital up until our arrest ; when that happened , we were detained at the docks at Hollyhead as we were driving on to the boat and held by the Welsh police before being taken to Manchester where we were held for three days and then charged .
It was a very frightening experience – in Manchester they stripped us , they hardly let us go to the toilet , we weren’t allowed to wash ourselves , and we didn’t get anything to eat or drink until the third day. During those three days we were constantly interviewed . When one interrogator stopped another would take over and at night they played a radio outside our cell doors so that we couldn’t get any sleep…….