THE IRA / HOPE IN THE SHADOWS / TEN YEARS IN ENGLISH JAILS (and a Fine Gael-disliked ballad session…)


….see the paragraph at the end of this post…

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.

ED MALONEY : ” What is the present attitude of the IRA Army Council to Eire Nua and Federalism ? ”

IRA : ” The position of the IRA on Federalism is that for a long time we promoted it as the best way of solving the problem by marrying the Unionist tradition to the Irish tradition in a transitional situation.

However , within these last number of years and especially since the loyalists started to promote Six-County independence – which they had anyway for 50 years – we began to examine Federalism again and the dangers involved . It wouldn’t break the back of loyalism in Ireland and get rid of the bar to solving the national question and opening the possibilities of establishing a democratic socialist republic *.

What we now advocate is a single national government but with as much decentralisation as possible . On the question of Eire Nua we totally support the way Sinn Fein is progressing and the way it has handled these problems because certain people do cherish certain ideas and even though there are only minor differences between us , on the majority of points we are agreed. “

(‘1169…’ Comment * – the ‘Eire Nua’ policy was later called a “sop to Unionists” by the Adams leadership and their supporters , who now assist in administering British mis-rule in the Six Counties . And they call those of us who continue to struggle against the British presence “traitors…”!)

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.

The Provos’ advice centre half-way up the street is a terrace house with plyboard partitions inside and a security grille outside . All day young people tramp up and down the stairs – occasionally they lean in through a door that’s never properly closed against the cold to ask if Gerry Adams is around but they don’t stop to chat.

(P) Sinn Fein councillor Gerry McGuigan is at home with the ‘flu and local republican Tom Fleming takes his messages and minds the shop alone in the chilly front room , chain-smoking beside the phone . A notebook , a biro , a small heater , a plywood counter between him and the draughty door . A frail man in his sixties with a smoker’s cough , Tom used to be an electricity worker and a school caretaker but “the movement” became his life in the early days of ‘the Troubles’ .

This is a routine Monday morning ; several women brought in unsold copies of ‘An Phoblacht’ and counted over the takings , a neighbour used the phone to complain about the state of the sewers his building work had turned up , a thin woman in an inadequate coat asked Tom to get her an instalments book from the electricity people . He phoned immediately , efficiently – ” I’m phoning for Mrs — of — Street , that’s in the Ardoyne . Could she have a budget book , she’s a separated woman and she can’t manage without one…” No mention of (P) Sinn Fein , more like the call of a kindly neighbour . The woman was told that she’d have to come down to the electricity office , and Tom made the appointment for her .

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.

‘H’ Wing is in the centre of Durham Jail, so that you never see anything other than prison walls . The men are kept all around the area where the women are housed , but what we saw mainly were guard dogs , which kept us awake at night with their howling . This jail is used as a ‘cooling off’ prison where prisoners from other jails would be brought for 28-day stretches .

It was also used for Irish male POW’s – the administration had these awful cages where we used to watch the male POW’s exercising . The cages were just like you would find in a zoo , and there was very little communication possible between the men and us , but occasionally we would be able to write to one another . Whenever we managed to speak to each other , we always spoke in Irish ; the prison screws didn’t like that at all , and tried to stop us , saying that foreign languages weren’t allowed , but we continued anyway , telling them that for us , English was a foreign language .

Lots of the other prisoners picked up odd words , and we would always say the Rosary , so a lot of girls learned how to say their prayers in Irish…….

The above two photographs show three of the prizes that will be won in the raffle on the night of Saturday 18th April next , at a fund-raising Irish Republican ballad session which will be held in the 79’r pub in Ballyfermot , Dublin. There are six raffle prizes in total – the above-pictured two T-Shirts and the framed 1916 Proclamation ,two bodhrons and a bottle of vodka! Doors open at 9pm , admission is just €5 per person and the ballad group on stage are the well-known rebel-rousers ‘The Sons Of Erin’. Fine Gael and other self-serving Free Staters can’t bear to hear this group singing Irish historical songs , but we Irish Republicans can’t get enough of them ! Please come along on the night if you can – thanks for reading!

About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
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4 Responses to THE IRA / HOPE IN THE SHADOWS / TEN YEARS IN ENGLISH JAILS (and a Fine Gael-disliked ballad session…)

  1. Guillem says:

    I created the event for the ballad session at, so you can invite people if you know that they’ve got a profile there.

    The URL is:

  2. Martin says:

    great site , great post .
    I live not far from Ballyfermot and will definitely make it my business to get to the ballad session , and I’ll be bringing a few friends with me.
    See you on the night.

  3. Hi Martin !
    Thank you very much for visiting and for leaving such a welcoming comment – much appreciated!
    I think it will be a right lively night – we’re expecting a good crowd , if ticket sales are any yardstick to go by, six great raffle prizes and a well-travelled group on the stage. It all adds-up to a wasted Sunday ;-)!
    Thanks again,

  4. Hi Guillem!
    Thank you for dropping by and for the helpful ‘plug’ on Last FM – very good of you to do so.
    I have now registered with that site and have left you a comment there .
    Thanks again!

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