Pictures by Andrew McGlynn. From ‘MAGILL’ magazine September 1980.

It started three years ago . A 14-year-old brought a great new idea up from Limerick . It can be picked up on just about any building site , in a lot of factories , or in any hardware store .

The parents may have problems of their own . Some kids stay at home some nights , but mostly they sleep rough – they can be found along the quays or around the O’Connell Street area , maybe on the Bridge , most times of the day or into the small hours of the morning , glue bags in hand . At around 4.30pm they head off to a large city centre house run by the Dublin Committee for Travelling People , where they pay 51 pence for a meal of potatoes , sausages and peas . They can play snooker or lie on the floor or hold gentle mock fights or mess around with the members of the Committee who run the place .

Altogether , the Committee deals with about seventy children . In one room there’s a large , delapidated juke box , complete with ‘Bee Gee’ hits and Elvis singing ‘ In The Ghetto’ . Come October , the house will become a night shelter , and winter is now coming . The kids won’t stay in doss houses or mix with dropout kids from the settled community – they have their own ‘code’ . The kids they don’t mix with group together in gangs of approximately the same age , ranging from eight to twenty-one…….

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.

Tommy McGrath said : ” We see this Agreement as giving equality to Catholics in state bodies and private employment where (*) , unless you ‘kicked with the right foot’ you wouldn’t get through the employment door . Now changing that won’t happen overnight.”

They talked of the machinery for getting things done , the Dublin civil servants whose presence in Belfast was so important as a symbol of that machinery , the dangers involved – changes of government in Dublin and London , uncertainty about a Haughey government line , Britain hesitating because of loyalist anger ; ” Now that would be a very dangerous policy . That would be the road to nowhere , it would destroy the (Anglo-Irish) Agreement (Hillsborough Treaty) , “ said Frank Feely. Was it already happening ? No-one seemed to know.

What was known is that this ‘equalisation programme’ will take time , there was a lot to do . ” It wasn’t even new at the time of partition , after all , ” said Tommy McGrath, ” the loyalist prople always got jobs and we got the sour milk .” Now people knew there was someone there ” in the form of Peter Barry, ** someone they can appeal to , some sort of redress . ” This meant hope , and cause for hope , said Tommy McGrath…….

(‘1169…’ Comment –* “Equality” being the key word in that statement – whereas nationalists see the ‘problem’ as being one of ‘equality’ issues , republicans see the problem as being the actual British military and political presence in Ireland. ** God Bless that man’s innocence ! Or is it political ignorance ? Or perhaps hoping to ‘pull a quick one’ on those of us that know better ? Peter Barry , purely through an accident of birth [ie he was born in the 26-County State!] might very well have been considered by some to be a ‘nationalist’ but apart from that ‘accident’ it was an extremely naive person who would consider Barry an ‘ally’ when it came to arguing with you against Westminster!)

A look at issues raised by Liz Curtis’ recent book.
From ‘IRIS’ magazine, August 1984.
Review by Trisha Fox.

In a recent paper produced for a GLCsponsored conference on the media and imperialism , Liz Curtis wrote – ” It is scarcely surprising that , contrary to the widespread view that the media in Britain are the bastions of free speech , the national media reflect with rare exceptions the view of the world held by the ‘establishment’ . The bulk of national papers are owned by a handful of millionaires – Rupert Murdoch alone owns The Sun, The News Of The World, The Times and The Sunday Times. Most media workers are by comparison with the bulk of the population , highly paid . Many of the staff in key positions in the broadcast media are university-educated white males .”

The censorship debate is not only about what does or does not reach our screens , but about the context within which the republican perspective is presented . In documentaries , sparse interviews with Irish republicans are cut , distorted and overlaid with particular music which creates an effect of something sinister or clandestine . All these elements are part of a method , often received unconsciously by the viewer , of creating a specific and highly adverse reaction . One programme in particular ,transmitted in December 1983, is a classic example of this manipulation…….

About 11sixtynine

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