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 : ” Why did the IRA kill Sir Richard Sykes, the British ambassador to the Hague ? “

IRA : ” We have carried out bombings and shootings in Germany over the last two years as well. Last Spring we executed Sir Richard Sykes . He was involved in intelligence gathering against our organisation but he was also a leading propagandist in the same way as Peter Jay was in America . Sykes was also the man who conducted the investigation into our attack on the British ambassador to Dublin , Ewart Biggs.

Richard Sykes was a very important person and what that attack , and others , have shown, is the IRA’s capability to operate abroad and against the enemy, not the host country , and gained our struggle attention there. ”

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.

Tom Fleming says he first got involved in republicanism as a vigilante when Ardoyne streets were burned out and people were evacuated into the local school in 1969 : ” You had to get those people their welfare benefits . I learned to do it by picking up the phone …”

When things quietened down he went back to his job in the Electricity Service but left for good rather than go to work half a mile away on the loyalist Shankill. ” And after the street burnings , those of us living in non-loyalist areas were marked men. If you move out you’re surrounded by loyalists on all sides and they can see anybody coming in and out on a regular basis. They know you’re a nationalist . “

It’s a subject that nationalist Ardoyne can go on about all day – the safest ways in , the best ways out at night … ” Up at the top , people living in Mountainview (on the other side of the Crumlin from Ardoyne proper) feel very unsafe when they’re walking out of the Star , the local pub . “ The UVF’s killing of a local man in the grounds of Holy Cross Monastery is only the most striking recent incident – over the years a string of Ardoyne nationalists have been picked off . And , most notably , between 1974 and 1976 the Ardoyne Provos notch up their own tally of killings…….

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 one Palestinian girl who didn’t speak English very well and we learned some Arabic from her . She was arrested for so-called ‘terrorist’ offences and was only 17-years-old when she came to ‘H’ Wing . She’s still there , but her worst problems will begin when she’s released , because she was from Lebanon and her family is scattered all over the world now . She was very isolated and rarely received visits .

We were moved to Styal Open Prison a few months before our release . They let us go at 4.30am on the day of our release , because they wanted us out before the press arrived.

The first thing we did was to ring home – our parents had returned to Donegal soon after we had been sentenced . Then we went to the park and played on the swings ! It was such a strange feeling : it was as though you had seen these events happening in your mind’s eye . We had these new clothes on us , and it was really nice , and these high heels that we couldn’t really walk in ! And make-up and perfume . We kept looking at ourselves . It was as if you were outside your own bdy…….

About 11sixtynine

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