IRA : ” Firstly , the majority of people assassinated by loyalists have been totally innocent Catholics . This year they have attempted a certain degree of discrimination , and have also attacked republicans and fellow protestants close to the Irish nationalist tradition in an attempt to provoke the IRA into blind or frustrated retaliation.
We have absolutely no intentions of getting involved in such a war. They distract the IRA from attacks on Crown Forces and help the British to foster the idea of being ‘brokers between two factions’ . That’s not to say that we wouldn’t take retaliatory action against loyalists we knew were specifically in the UVF or UDA, and were in an influential position with regard to these attacks. “
HOPE IN THE SHADOWS.
For some Northern nationalists the Anglo-Irish Agreement (‘Hillsborough Treaty’,1985) only makes their lives more dangerous , for others it offers hope on a road to nowhere. Fionnuala O’Connor visited a (Provisional) Sinn Fein advice centre in the Ardoyne and Seamus Mallon’s office in Newry.
From ‘MAGILL’ magazine, December 1986.
PLEASE NOTE : We are not starting this article until early April as we are taking a short break now for a few weeks – our first decent break since May 2008.)
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 security 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.
There was always a great deal of hostility towards us , but at various stages of our sentence it got worse . It really depended on the situation outside – how many British soldiers were killed or injured , how many bombs had exploded etc . If ten British soldiers were killed over in the North of Ireland it mattered to people far less than one policeman being killed in Britain . After Mountbatten was killed we actually thought they’d finish us off !
One of the worse things the prison Screws did was to tell other prisoners that if they were seen talking to us they’d lose remission or would never get parole so , from time to time, we really had a hard time . We weren’t physically attacked , but the verbal hostility never eased up the whole time we were there .
There was a very small visiting area in ‘H’ Wing , and Category ‘A’ prisoners weren’t allowed visits at the same time as other prisoners . So that when we had visits , no-one else was allowed a visit that day , which caused enormous tension – women would come out of the office having been refused a visit because of us and they were angry . They would head straight for us , and that situation happened almost every day . It was seven years before they changed that ‘rule’ …….
(PLEASE NOTE : this is our last ‘3-in-1’ post until early April , as we are taking a much-needed break. We’ll be in touch later- thanks!)