BLIANTÚIL CUIMHNEACHÁIN WOLFE TONE…
..TÉIGH IN AITHNE AR 02.30, SALLINS, CONTAE CHILL DARA, DÉ DOMHNAIGH, 26th MEITHEAMH 2016.
Annual Wolfe Tone Commemoration, assemble at 2.30pm, Sallins Village, Co Kildare, Sunday, June 26th, 2016.
“We have come to the holiest place in Ireland: holier to us than the place where Patrick sleeps in Down. Patrick brought us life, but this man died for us. And though many before him and some since have died in testimony of the truth of Ireland’s claim to nationhood, Wolfe Tone was the greatest of all that have died for Ireland whether in old time or in new. He was the greatest of Irish nationalists. I believe he was the greatest of Irish men. And if I am right in this I am right in saying that we stand in the holiest place in Ireland and that the holiest sod of a Nation’s soil is the sod where the greatest of her dead lies buried…” – that is the first paragraph of the address delivered by Pádraig Pearse at Wolfe Tone’s grave on June 12, 1913.
“From my earliest youth I have regarded the connection between Great Britain and Ireland as the curse of the Irish nation, and felt convinced that, while it lasted, this country could never be free nor happy. My mind has been confirmed in this opinion by the experience of every succeeding year, and the conclusions which I have drawn from every fact before my eyes. In consequence, I was determined to employ all the powers which my individual efforts could move, in order to separate the two countries. That Ireland was not able of herself to throw off the yoke, I knew ; I therefore sought for aid wherever it was to be found. In honourable poverty I rejected offers which, to a man in my circumstances, might be considered highly advantageous. I remained faithful to what I thought the cause of my country, and sought in the French Republic an ally to rescue three millions of my countrymen..” – Theobald Wolfe Tone. During his last speech from the dock, Wolfe Tone stated – “I mention this for the sake of others, for me I am indifferent to it. I am aware of the fate which awaits me, and scorn equally the tone of complaint and that of supplication. Whatever be the sentence of this court, I am prepared for it. Its members will surely discharge their duty ; I shall take care not to be wanting in mine…” and, finally, to quote just a line or two from his last letters to his wife : “..be assured I will die as I have lived, and that you will have no cause to blush for me. Adieu, dearest love, keep your courage as I have kept mine. My mind is as tranquil this moment as at any period of my life…”
One only has to read his last speech from the dock at his trial to see and understand the character of the man – just to quote a few lines is enough to convince any fair mind of the impossibility of Wolfe Tone committing any crime against the Cause he served : “Mr.President and gentlemen of the Court Martial : I mean not to give you the trouble of bringing judicial proof to convict me legally to having acted in hostility to the government of his Britannic Majesty in Ireland. I admit the fact from my earliest youth, I have regarded the connection between Ireland and Great Britain as the curse of the Irish nation and felt convinced that, whilst it lasted, this country could never be free nor happy…” and, regarding the French, Wolfe Tone said – “Attached to no party in the French Republic, without interest, without money, without intrigue, the openness and integrity of my views raised me to a high and confidential rank in its armies ; under the flag of the French Republic I originally engaged with a view to save and liberate my own country. For that purpose, I have encountered the chances of war, amongst strangers. For that purpose, I have repeatedly braved the terrors of the ocean, covered as I knew it to be, with the triumphant fleets of that power, which it was my glory and my duty to oppose. I have sacrificed all my views in life ; I have courted poverty, I have left a beloved wife, unprotected children I adored, fatherless. After such sacrifices, in a cause which I have always conscientiously considered as the cause of justice and freedom – it is no great effort, at this day, to add the sacrifice of my life. To the eternal disgrace of those who gave the order, I was brought hither in irons, like a felon..”
This proud Irish ‘felon’ will be commemorated by fellow republicans in Bodenstown Churchyard, Sallins, County Kildare, on Sunday June 26th 2016, at 2.30pm. All genuine republicans welcome!
PROSE AND CONS.
By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.
Grateful thanks to the following for their help, support, assistance and encouragement, and all those who helped with the typing and word processing over the past few months. Many thanks to Cian Sharkhin, the editor of the book, Mr Bill Donoghue, Governor, Portlaoise, Mr Seán Wynne, supervising teacher, the education unit in Portlaoise Prison and the education staff, especially Zack, Helena and Jane. Education officers Bill Carroll and Dave McDonald, Rita Kelly, writer, print unit, Arbour Hill.
First Print : November 1999, reprinted March 2000, illustrations by D O’Hare, Zack and Natasha. Photograph selection : Eamonn Kelly and Harry Melia.
THE BIG HOUSE. (By Rita Kelly.)
The moon rides high
in a clear sky above Portlaoise.
The sun is a huge burning orb
and spills red unto the windows of Portlaoise.
The Slieve Blooms lose their substance
and are miraged on the outer rim.
The town is burnished and bright
despite the incarceration.
The gantries swing high above this scene
and this condition.
In the fields the cattle graze and glow,
the people prosper having the sun and the moon
it waxes full.
The walls ride high and grey and hard,
hard as hell,
they hem in and overwhelm-
a place which feels itself strange and dangerous
a place of vaulted anger.
You can not hear the activity of the living
you can not hear life driving its articulated truck
you can not see the bright smile of the lads
heading into the snooker hall close to the Coliseum
or the women with the cranky little pomeranian.
You cannot smell that oil and salt sharpness
of the vinegar in its immediacy, as the young fellow
leaves the chipper, and rushes back to his thin wheeled tractor,
his hand diving into the fried-hot chips, bringing bits of pleasure to his mouth, watering…
knowing that he will spray more and more acres of corn
for hours, until bone-weary of a long day, the vistas
and the smell of the herbicide…
There is a grey in the faces of those you can see.
It is a grey which is reflected in the heaped, high up
texture of the local limestone, dug out of some
dank and dark hiding place to suppress the day.
We are tired and nervous for no apparent reason
and the air hangs heavy with the lives we have squandered
and the futures we have fucked up and funnelled into
this narrow place, this hole, this hell, this hindermost
position of all that is stagant.
(The rest of ‘The Big House’ will be posted here next week.)
AIRBNB – ‘ACQUIRING’ NEW PROPERTY EVEN BEFORE THE LAND IS AVAILABLE.
‘Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodation around the world..’ (from here) – and what could be more “unique” than a new-build house or apartment that has been built on land ‘acquired’ from those that were born and bred on it but were ‘encouraged’ to vacate it by a savage ‘neighbour’?
‘Airbnb’ is listing properties for rent in Israeli settlements that violate international law and occupy Palestinian land illegally and, by listing these homes, the listings company is directly helping legitimise the occupation of stolen land, contributing to a key piece of the Israeli government’s decades-long policies of occupation, discrimination and dispossession. The ‘new-builds’ on offer to holidaymakers are literally built on the rubble of stolen homes, orchards and fields, and have resulted in the displacement of communities and families. At least 48,000 Palestinian buildings have been demolished to build homes where only Jewish Israelis are allowed to live – and now dozens are listed on ‘Airbnb’.
‘Airbnb’ is a private, unlimited company and its Irish office is located at the Watermarque Building, South Lotts Road in Ringsend, Dublin 4. Its company directors are Aisling Hassell, Dermot Patrick Clarke and Eoin Michael Hession : contact details for same are firstname.lastname@example.org and https://www.airbnb.ie/help/contact_us.
Palestinians are evicted from their homes, ‘Airbnb’ profits off stolen homes. ‘Google’ the company for other ways to contact them and/or use the above-mentioned contact details but, however you do it, please do do it. Register your disgust at that particular business practice and, hopefully, if enough of us do so, they will stop doing it. And maybe they’ll even apologise to those most affected by it – the Palestinians.
‘Magill’ magazine has unearthed new information which raises a grim but important question : were explosives from within this Republic used in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings? It is a question which, bizarrely, also encompasses the controversial Dónal de Róiste case. By Don Mullan, author of the book ‘The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings’.
From ‘Magill’ magazine, February 2003.
THE CLONAGH AFFAIR.
A Detective Ted Jones of the Garda Ballistic Squad did manage, however, to deliver small quantities of debris from Parnell Street, the first of the four bomb targets, to Dr James Donovan, then at the State Laboratory, on the 20th and 23rd May 1974 and, in his analysis of the debris, Dr Donovan detected “…the presence of two blackened prills of ammonium nitrate..”
On the 24th March 1999 I interviewed Dr Donovan, who made the following statement which, in the light of Captain Walshe’s revelations, may have a profound significance. He said – “I feel that the ovide prills of ammonium nitrate, blackened as they were, must have had some significance or else somebody would have come and talked to me. But when my own authorities did not do so, I find that strange.”
When asked if the apparent disappearance of the forensics related to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings for 11 days may be linked to the fact that someone in authority may have known that the source of the explosives was actually within the State, Garrett Fitzgerald responded – “I see the possible relationship between the two events, which is news to me. I was always thinking in terms of the explosives being used in the North. I hadn’t related it back down here.” Fitzgerald agreed it was right that these matters should be raised and expressed satisfaction that ex-Commandant Walshe had met with Mr Justice Barron, the man in charge of the long-running ‘Independent Commission of Inquiry’ into the bombings.
“It is a thesis to be explored,” Fitzgerald told ‘Magill’, “and it is right that these matters be thoroughly explored. There is no case for covering matters up.” (MORE LATER.)
GROWING UP IN LONG KESH…
SIN SCÉAL EILE.
By Jim McCann (Jean’s son). For Alex Crowe, RIP – “No Probablum”. Glandore Publishing, 1999.
Biographical Note : Jim McCann is a community worker from the Upper Springfield area in West Belfast. Although born in the Short Strand, he was reared in the Loney area of the Falls Road. He comes from a large family (average weight about 22 stone!). He works with Tús Nua (a support group for republican ex-prisoners in the Upper Springfield), part of the Upper Springfield Development Trust. He is also a committee member of the ‘Frank Cahill Resource Centre’, one of the founders of ‘Bunscoil an tSléibhe Dhuibh’, the local Irish language primary school and Naiscoil Bharr A’Chluanaí, one of the local Irish language nursery schools.
His first publication last year by Glandore was ‘And the Gates Flew Open : the Burning of Long Kesh’. He hopes to retire on the profits of his books. Fat chance!
“THANK YOU, BOYS, THANK YOU…” (PART TWO.)
A few months after Damien’s release there had been a total physical change in the camp : Cage 17 along with a few inmates from old Cage 13 had become Cage 11. One of the inmates was one Timmy Johnson from the New Lodge Road – Lasher Beirne had been thinking about Timmy for about two months. In fact, Lasher had been thinking more about Timmy’s impending release.
Just before Timmy’s release the necessary gear to transform Lasher into Timmy had been secreted into Long Kesh and was placed in a secret dump. We don’t know who dumped it because that was a secret,too! Timmy readied himself for his big day unaware that in smoke-filled cubicles in Cage 11 desperate men were making desperate decisions that could have desperate repercussions on Timmy’s planned holiday a few days hence in Carnlough.
For those two months before his release Timmy thought that it was very good of Lasher to take such an interest in him. After all, Lasher had barely acknowledged Timmy’s existence in the four or five months since the ‘Fire of Long Kesh’ had put them together in the same cage. They were inseparable. “That’s what I like about Lasher,” Timmy declared one day to ‘another’ friend, “Lasher’s always there for me with a sympathetic ear. He’s genuinely interested in everything about me…” If Timmy had taken a closer look he would have noticed that Lasher was starting to walk, talk and act like Timmy. On the day Timmy was getting released, Lasher was Timmy… (MORE LATER.)
ON THIS DATE (1ST JUNE) 94 YEARS AGO : BRITISH PARAMILITARY GROUP IN IRELAND RE-NAMED.
In every country it occupied (and in every country it continues to either occupy or take an ‘interest’ in) Britain, like other imperialist forces, recruits a native ‘workforce’ which it uses to serve its interests (!) : in the mid-to-late 19th century in Ireland, for instance, Westminster decreed that the then Irish police force be re-named the ‘Royal Irish Constabulary’, a move which the then British ‘queen’, Victoria, was strongly in favour of, as a ‘reward’ to them in payment for the cruel manner in which they dealt with the Fenian rising : on the 1st June 1922 – 94 years ago on this date – (after Britain had partitioned Ireland) the paramilitary RIC outfit in the Six Counties was re-classified as the ‘RUC’ (‘U’ for ‘Ulster’ : sic – Ulster has nine counties , not six) and Britain’s reign of ‘official’ terror in that part of Ireland continued, albeit by a ‘different’ paramilitary gang.
For instance, in June of 1982, the 60th anniversary of the formation of the RUC was marked by a series of commemorative events ; articles filled newspapers, editorials and letters from loyal correspondents heaped praise and glory on that force, church services, some attended by well-known catholic clergy, prayed for its members, and local councils passed motions of support and congratulations in their ‘honour’. In short, ‘respectable unionist society’ paid its tribute to its ‘police force’, formed in its image – and 60 years of brutality, torture, murder and lies were brushed aside as the unionist establishment congratulated itself for the continuing existence of a paramilitary force which had maintained and safe-guarded its rule over the turbulence of those years. There were of course no prayers for young Michael McCartan, gunned down in cold blood in July 1980 by a plainclothes RUC man while painting ‘Up The Provos’ on a gable wall near his south Belfast home. Nor, doubtless, did any clergyman pause a moment in memory of 9-year-old Danny Rooney, shot dead by RUC men in August 1969 in his Divis Flats home ; or in memory of 42-year-old Samuel Devenney, beaten to death in his own home by those same ‘guardians of peace’ in April 1969.
There were no newspaper editorials recalling the hideous murder of trade union activist Brian Maguire at the hands of his RUC interrogators in Castlereagh in 1978. Or the ‘disappearance’ of Jackie McMahon on January 18th, 1978, after his arrest by the RUC, and the finding of his drowned body in the River Lagan months later.
The columns of ‘The Belfast Telegraph’ establishment newspaper were empty of condemnations of the RUC killers of young Julie Livingstone in May 1981, and of those other nationalists murdered by the plastic bullet weapon which British rulers have equipped their RUC ‘peace-keepers’ with. And the local councils omitted to mention the torture centres such as Castlereagh and Gough barracks, or the Bennett Report, or the Amnesty International Report, or the European Court of Human Rights condemnation of torture techniques in 1971. The ‘conveyor belt’ from the nationalist ghettos to the H-Blocks and Armagh, in which the RUC play an integral role with their trade in torture , blackmail and perjury, was totally ignored.
The black history of the RUC is shrouded in a cloak of lies and false platitudes : although it was founded in June 1922, its roots, nonetheless, and its political nature, can be firmly traced back to the force which was established to maintain British rule in Ireland before partition. The ‘Constabulary (Ireland) Act 1836’, passed by the British government, created a constabulary of some 8,500 men but, by 1846, this was extended to 13,500 with, in addition, a large number of auxiliaries, specifically to protect the property of absentee landlords and to squeeze rent from impoverished peasants in the ‘Great Hunger’ period, or to seize the property they attempted to ‘live’ on. The ‘Royal Irish Constabulary'(RIC) as it was known, effectively acted as the strong-arm of the landlords and the mill and factory owners, carrying out evictions against tenants who defaulted on ‘rent’ payments – if those who had been evicted decided to squat on the land (as they often did, because they had nowhere else to go) the RIC and/or the Auxiliaries would attack them again for doing so. If a ‘street’ or village attempted to defend their neighbour from eviction, the same State thugs would move-in to break-up what they considered the ‘strike action’.
The Northern RIC was almost entirely composed of protestants : a British ‘royal commission’ reporting on the 1857 pogroms against Belfast catholics found that this overwhelmingly protestant para-military ‘police’ force had behaved in a sectarian fashion, and had actually led attacks on catholic homes and businesses – just as at Burntollet in January 1969, and in the lower Falls in August, when out-of-uniform and uniformed RUC men and ‘B’ Specials co-ordinated the attacks on catholics. That ‘royal commission’ recommended that ‘a total change should be made in the mode of appointment and the management of the local police.”. 112 years later, the Hunt Report commissioned by the British Government was still tinkering along the same lines of ‘reform’. But just as in 1857, so in 1969 – nothing changed in the essential sectarianism of the ‘police’, and throughout the 19th century, attacks on nationalist homes and property continued unabated. On December 6th, 1921, the so-called ‘Treaty’ was initialed, soon to be ratified by the dominant Free State faction in the South of Ireland, and Ireland was partitioned. In the twenty-six counties the implementation of the new status was undertaken by Free State forces using British arms and equipment, and employing brutally repressive measures. In the Six Counties, the job of ‘pacifying’ nationalist opposition fell largely to the RUC.
A departmental committee established under the Stormont administration to enquire into the organisation of a force to replace the RIC, recommended (on March 31st 1922) that a ‘new’ force, the ‘RUC’, be set up comprising 3,000 men. Nominally, this force was to include one-third catholics in its number, but because of loyalist sectarianism and the force’s political role in defending partition, it was from the outset an almost exclusively protestant and loyalist force.
The first priority of the newly-formed RUC was to eliminate the republican forces who still enjoyed popular support in the nationalist areas of the Occupied Six Counties. To achieve this, the ‘Constabulary Act (Northern Ireland) 1922’, incorporated the already established ‘Special Constabulary’ fully into the RUC. This ‘Special Constabulary’ had been set up in 1920 by the British administration to combat the increasingly effective IRA forces in the north-east of the island. The unionist leader, ‘Lord’ Edward Carson, had organised it, and it was composed almost entirely of former units of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) from the gun-running era. Within a year of its formation the ‘Specials’ – ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ classes (although only the ‘B’ Specials lasted long) numbered more than 30,000 men, and at the end of 1921 the Stormont administration assumed control over them from the British government. By the end of 1922 when they were incorporated into the RUC, the ‘Specials’ numbered 50,000 well-armed men.
Both the ‘Specials’ and the RUC proceeded to wage a terror campaign against the nationalist people, indulging in widespread pogroms : reports of atrocities were common place between 1922 and 1925 and the ‘Murder Gang’ (a 1920’s version of the ‘Shankill Butchers’) was composed of ex-British soldiers, UVF men and RUC/’B’ Specials, and typical of their atrocities was the McMahon Murders on March 24th 1922, which was organised and carried-out by RUC Detectives and District Inspectors J.W. Nixon and Harrison, in which all the male members of the McMahon family and a man employed by them were killed. In another incident around this time, two elderly sisters were killed when ‘B’ Specials threw a hand-grenade into the bedroom of their Thompson Street home in east Belfast’s isolated nationalist ghetto of Short Strand. Perhaps the most sadistic killings took place in Tyrone in 1924 – four IRA Volunteers were captured by a large platoon of ‘B’ Specials and shot on the spot. Their genitals were cut off and placed in their mouths and obscenities about the Pope were written on the road with blood from their entrails. At the inquest, the ‘B’ Specials’ Commander defended their actions by stating that his men “..had seen action in Palestine..”. No action was taken against the perpetrators.
In the intervening years, the RUC came to reinforce its position as the institutional guardian of Orange sectarian privilege in the Occupied Six Counties, periodically (as in 1932 during the ‘Outdoor Relief’ strikes) repressing nationalists by extreme brutal force. Its importance in that institutional repression can be gauged by the fact that the RUC, through its advice and intelligence reports, were instrumental in operating the internment of nationalist opponents of the state, not just in 1971 but in every decade since the foundation of the state in 1920. The late 1960’s saw this repressive role emphasised again, as RUC thugs continued to ‘keep the peace’ with their batons.
The late 1960’s saw this repressive role emphasised again, as RUC thugs batoned civil rights marchers to the ground, first on October 5th 1968 in Derry, in full view of the television cameras. Despite the outcry no investigation took place. When on August 14th 1969 the RUC finally admitted defeat, faced with the undaunted nationalist resistance of the Battle of the Bogside, and British troops entered Derry and then Belfast to safeguard the status quo, the ‘B’ Specials gave full vent to their anti-nationalist spleen, shooting dead a bystander in Armagh and Francis McCloskey in Dungiven, while in Belfast ‘B’ Specials and RUC men led loyalist mobs on attacks into nationalist streets.
When the first flames died down and the nationalists counted the cost in terms of human tragedy, the British summoned ‘Lord’ Hunt to prepare a report on the RUC – like subsequent reports it was essentially a whitewash.
August 1969 had revealed to the watching world that the RUC was a sectarian paramilitary force, and the British felt pressurised to act. Typically they summoned an academic, ‘Lord’ Hunt, to prepare a report which essentially would salvage the ‘credibility’ of the force : Hunt’s report was issued on October 3rd 1969 and was announced as the ‘reform’ of the RUC. The ‘reforms’, however, were not real but apparent. The ‘B’ Specials were disbanded but were replaced by the ‘Ulster (sic) Defence Regiment’ (UDR), which were attached to the British Army rather than to the RUC. But 90% of all ‘B’ Specials in 1969 joined the UDR at its formation in 1970, meaning that 80% of the UDR was composed of former ‘B’ Specials.
Most of the few nationalists who joined the UDR, in an initial belief in the reality of the ‘reform’ (about 12% of the UDR in all) resigned when it soon became clear that the UDR was no more than a ‘Special Constabulary’ in khaki uniform. As a further concession to the ‘pride’ of the ‘B’ Specials, former members were allowed to keep their weapons! One other Hunt Report ‘recommendation’ was that the RUC be disarmed : this was implemented initially but, under loyalist pressure, the RUC soon resumed its traditional role as the armed paramilitary wing of loyalism. In fact, to suppress the militant nationalist population, the British administration actually strengthened the RUC in numbers and weaponry. In the history of nationalist and republican resistance to the Orange state, this better-armed, better-trained and numerically stronger RUC paramilitary force played a central and conscious role in the attempted repression of that struggle. Their ‘contribution’ in particular to the post-internment H-Block/Armagh ‘conveyor belt’, through the use of RUC-trained interrogators in Castlereagh and other torture centres across the North was a major factor in the torture, by physical or psychological methods, of the estimated 20,000 nationalists who have passed through these centres since the ending of political status in 1976. Over 80% of those subsequently convicted by non-jury Diplock courts were jailed solely on the basis of ‘confessions’ obtained while under interrogation in those centres.
The RUC’s immunity from criticism in employing these methods is well illustrated by the Rafferty Case : James Joseph Rafferty, from Dungannon in County Tyrone, was arrested in November 1976 and held for three days in Omagh RUC Barracks where he was brutally beaten by RUC detectives from the ‘Regional Crime Squad’, which had only recently been established by the then RUC assistant chief constable Kenneth Newman, for just such purposes. Eventually, James Joseph Rafferty was released without charge and taken to hospital where he remained for several days. The evidence of the brutality used against him was clear-cut : he had multiple bruising, his scalp was covered with blood-red pin-pricks, and his backside was gashed. Doctors testified that these injuries could not have been self-inflicted. Nevertheless, after years of a stonewall conspiracy of RUC silence, which caused one member of the ‘RUC Police Authority’, Jack Hassard, to resign in disgusted frustration, James Joseph Rafferty’s torturers were acquitted in ‘court’ and his claim for compensation was dismissed. As the ex-RUC ‘Police Authority’ member, Jack Hassard, said – “The bastards who beat up James Joseph Rafferty would stop at nothing, even killing…” And they didn’t stop for Brian Maguire –
‘In Castlereagh from day to day
The tortured know no rest,
And men don’t sleep and men must weep
Until they have confessed,
Confessed to ‘crime’ for sentenced time
Though guilt they may not know,
But that is law, however raw,
So bear your cross of woe.’ (Bobby Sands: ‘The Crime of Castlereagh’.)
– On May 12th 1978 there were two funerals of particular relevance for the nationalist people : one was Jackie McMahon’s, his body having been dragged from the River Lagan, the first time he had been seen since being taken into RUC custody four months earlier. The other was the funeral of 27-year-old Brian Maguire who, two days earlier on May 10th 1978, had been found hanging by a sheet from his cell ceiling, in Castlereagh Barracks. Brian Maguire was an electronics engineer at the Strathearn Audio factory in West Belfast, a branch secretary of his trade union , the AUEW(TASS), and a militant in the ‘Trade Union Campaign Against Repression’. In November 1977 he had helped organise a march in West Belfast against repression, at which one of the speakers warned that unless Castlereagh were closed then somebody would be tortured to death. Brian Maguire was that somebody. His murder was, typically, ‘offically’ dismissed as suicide, physically an impossibility in the regime of constant supervision in Castlereagh . A key to what did actually happen to him, however, is given by the case of Phelim Hamill from West Belfast who was being held for questioning about the same matters as Brian Maguire. Phelim was 20 years of age when he was taken from his home on April 23rd 1978 : over the next two days he experienced the most severe physical and mental torture in Castlereagh, suffering ear damage, abdominal bruising and bruising to the kidneys and testicles. While being beaten by ‘teams’ of up to eight RUC men, he was made to stand against the wall spread-eagled for long periods. His RUC torturers also engaged in a specific type of mock strangulation which induced a drowning sensation : this is the last torture that is believed to have gone too far in Brian Maguire’s case and led to his death.
In a statement taken before Brian Maguire’s death, Phelim Hamill detailed this aspect of the torture : “My arms and legs were pinned down and a light-coloured towel was put over my head, obstructing my vision. The RUC tied the towel around my neck and choked me. While the towel was tied around my face a cup of water was poured down my throat and nose, giving me a drowning feeling.” After surviving this terrifying experience, Phelim Hamill spent eleven months on remand before being released. Brian Maguire was not so lucky.
‘Like withered leaf or side of beef
They hang you by the heels,
Then kidneys crunch with heavy punch
To tortured jiggling squeals.
Bones are bruised ‘cos boots are used
To loosen up your tongue,
So men admit a little bit
When nothing they have done.’ (Bobby Sands : ‘The Crime of Castlereagh’)
The RUC are* a bigoted and sectarian force, existing to perform the function they were set up to perform – the defence of the Orange state. The child-killers of 1969 are the torturers of Castlereagh and the plastic bullet assassins, and any number of years on the RUC are an unchanged and unchangeable paramilitary force. Their name spells repression and death to the nationalist community. That is why, for all the newspaper articles and editorials, and for all the middle-class prayers and council motions and, above all, for all the ambivalence and collaboration of the establishment towards them, there are not and never will be any birthday greetings to the RUC from the nationalist people. *On the 4th November 2001 , the RUC was renamed and rebranded as the ‘PSNI’ – another name change – but they remain the same : an armed wing of an unjust bastard ‘State’.
(The above post is a re-edited version of an article we first published here in 2008.)
FOREIGN NATIONAL ASSAULTS IRISHMAN.
The foreign national, pictured left (with handgun), is known to have recently met-up with like-minded pro-British elements in Dublin and was caught in the act of assaulting an Irishman in a cemetery in Grangegorman, on the northside of Dublin.
The photograph in our link, above, clearly shows that the foreign national perpetrator , who is a guest in this part of Ireland, has meddled in the (political) affairs of this State despite his position being traditionally best served by staying out of domestic politics. He was not requested to attend that gathering in the cemetery to operate as ‘security’ but, by his own actions, he has now involved himself in Irish politics and has shown his support for the anti-republican elements who, like him, seek to silence the republican narrative in this State.
In our opinion, the man is not fit for purpose (or office) and should be recalled to his own country, where he can assault those he disagrees with to his hearts content ; we agree that he had no business in “…attacking an Irish Citizen who had every right to protest the fact that his relatives who died in the 1916 uprising were being remembered alongside those that did the butchering..” and we request our readers to support the ‘phone-in-protest’ that is taking place on Friday, 3rd June 2016 – details here. Bad enough that those of us who speak out against injustices are silenced by ‘our own’, without letting outsiders do the same to us. Make that call on Friday 3rd – let’s ‘get our man’.
KINCORA – BRITISH ‘DIRTY TRICKS’ TO BE EXPOSED?
‘..it has long been claimed a high ranking paedophile ring preyed on vulnerable young boys in Kincora during the 1970s (and) it is further alleged the UK security services knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it, instead using the information to blackmail and extract intelligence from the influential men, including senior politicians and establishment figures, who were the perpetrators..’ (from here.)
The following piece was first published in ‘FORTNIGHT’ Magazine in May 1984, and was posted on this blog in 2005. It was apparently penned by a gay supporter of McGrath/TARA/Kincora Boys Home and we re-post it here to give you a taste of the ‘spin’ which some people attempted to put on that issue ; please read it with that in mind.
This is a link to the ‘objectives’ of the TARA loyalist paramilitary organisation with which William McGrath and Roy Garland were associated.
‘Gay people have watched the growth of the Kincora industry with fascinated horror : a number of sordid and petty crimes perpetrated against teenage adults have been presented as atrocities on a par with Bloody Sunday, Bloody Friday and every other bloody day of the Ulster week. Prejudices long dormant in the intelligent public have been gentled back into life ; homosexual people are underhand, sexually voracious and unusually interested in young people as sex partners, whether those young people are willing or not. This is how the crazed notion that a boy brothel could exist in a city the size of Belfast got off the ground. It could be taken for granted that gay men in particular would find such a set-up congenial and that we would close ranks to protect the people who would try to organise such a venture. William McGrath is the central figure in the Kincora ‘stew’ – he had ideas which were lunatic enough to pass for fascist, he was also homosexual and subjected his charges to distressing and unwanted sexual attentions. This, it is implied, is the crux of the matter so far as McGrath is concerned. Such an attitude is nonsensical ; William McGrath and his fellow defendants spent whole lifetimes building up images of familial rectitude. They never once said anything about their homosexual orientation. It is worth questioning whether they were entirely homosexual at all. No hint of their being gay ever seeped out into the gay community, much less the general community.
William McGrath’s ‘paramilitary’ organisation, ‘TARA’, appears to have consisted of a smallish number of ‘chiefs’ and no ‘indians’ at all ; even Roy Garland, once his deputy, admits that all its invitations to other Unionist ‘chieftains’ to ‘pow-wow’ were always refused. This fits in with the image of a psychologically dislocated dreamer. Such people are often attractive to young people. Unionists in the early 1970’s appeared to be ‘girt’ (ie ‘be’ and ‘mix with’) with cruel foes – and successful ones. The Unionist leadership did not have an idea between them. William McGrath had lots of ideas – all utterly impracticable – and the ability to put them across. Young Ulster (sic) protestants who had not caved in to self-hatred probably momentarily enjoyed the thought that they were the Vanguard of the Chosen Race : McGrath was a British Israelite.
British Intelligence probably did know about McGrath and ‘TARA’ ; they probably also knew about his employment and they may have known that he was homosexual. So also did Ian Paisley, who told his informant, Valerie Shaw, that she should give thanks to God she “was not born a pervert”. But it required journalists working for Ireland’s leading quality newspaper to turn this into something sinister. We are asked to be outraged by the fact that Ian Paisley did not instantly assume that a homosexual must be sexually molesting his charges.
Sir George Terry, in his report into the affair, slates the press for their handling of it but does not mention the never-ending quality of the whole thing. For more than two years every single day every single medium regaled us with another Kincora fable – we very rarely got a fact. Public figures tumbled over themselves to prove that they were cleaner than clean. Meanwhile, the Social Services Department were in the grip of paranoia ; gay women and men went in fear of their livelihoods – some had their private lives insultingly closely scrutinised. A number were made to assent to humiliatingly intimate physical examination. Non-gay people were just as deeply affected as the suspicion was all-pervasive. Sir George Terry lays most of the blame for the actual events at the Kincora Home on the Eastern Health and Social Services Board, unjustly, one feels. This body could only be expected to work with the material to hand. This included that inherited from the Belfast Welfare Committee ; both bodies, like all such bodies, had to depend on the good will and the good faith of their employees.
‘Welfare on the cheap’ was what Belfast wanted – and that’s what it got : in William McGrath’s day you got a job in Welfare because you ‘knew someone at City Hall’, not because you were qualified for the job or even had an interest in the work. Sir George Terry is very lenient with the RUC ; he uses the excuse that in the mid-seventies the RUC were in the midst of a campaign of terror. However, they were not so busy that they could not resist arresting twenty gay people over a period of some months in 1976 and asking them questions about practically everything except Kincora. The ‘Northern Ireland (sic) Gay Rights Association’ will have no truck with a judicial inquiry, for a number of reasons – as there was no traffic in boys there is nothing to investigate . The consequences for gays would be dire – they would be driven out of any employment involving young people and they would be kept out of such employment for decades. This would lead to endless complications. Sexuality is not easily pinned down and codified ; instability would be endemic in teaching, welfare and many other fields. Gay people would be faced with repressing their sexuality or going through life lying and prevaricating at every turn. This would set up destabilising suspicions, and so on ad infinitum, until we had reached the pinnacle of Victorian rectitude, where nobody was honest about their sexuality.’
The main trust of this article was to attempt to dismiss all fears about Kincora, McGrath and others as ‘nonsensical’ and it was maintained throughout the piece that any investigation into said fears should be seen as an attack on the gay community as a whole. A truly sickening position to have held on that sordid episode in the history of this country and, even at this late stage, this issue needs to be properly resolved.
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Thanks for reading, Sharon.