Thursday, April 14, 2005

From the moment a new recruit enters the Irish Republican Army he or she undergoes a rigorous and intensive training to assess the individual Volunteer's level of commitment , general ability and particular aptitudes . After the initial recruitment lectures , this period includes training in personal security and anti-interrogation , basic intelligence work , political education - and of course training in the use of weapons . In this supplied article , a Volunteer in the IRA's Belfast Brigade describes his experience of taking part in an IRA training camp .
From 'IRIS' magazine , November 1983 , pages 39 , 40 , 41 , 42, 43 , 44 and 45 .

..... day 1 ...
In a room on the IRA Camp ; a collection of books on a table - the one surprise in the pile is a copy of Frederick Forsythe's 'The Day Of The Jackel' , but on reflection even that does'nt seem to be out of place here . Finally , the black plastic sheeting tacked up across the window re-inforces our awareness that the semi-derelict farmhouse we have just arrived in is thought locally to be uninhabited , and that despite its relative isolation the next few days will be spent on the alert against the possibility of Garda raids . None of us is keen on spending the next few years in Portlaoise Prison !

We had left Belfast about twelve hours earlier , travelling separately to avoid the risk of being arrested together if anything went wrong . We reached our first pick-up point in the Free State without incident , however , and made the pre-arranged contact with the local IRA ; we then found ourselves waiting silently in a draughty bedroom until after dark , the four of us spending hours trying to find a game we all knew , with the 51-card pack which was all we could find in the room .

Night fell at last , thankfully , and we were smuggled out of the house and into a car , on our way now to the IRA Camp itself . Two changes of car later , several delays while other cars scouted ahead or while we doubled back , and an endless succession of winding country lanes behind us , we were just beginning to appreciate how the IRA is able to organise a regular flow of training camps for Volunteers across the North , despite the best efforts of the Garda Task Force .

Just then , the car glided to a halt , two figures stepped forward from the shadows towards us , and the driver said : " Okay . We're here . "

The same sense of security and anticipation that we had experienced on the way is echoed again now , the moment the IRA Training Officers enter the room .......


STONE COLD .......
Michael Stone is infamous for his attack on a republican funeral at Belfast's Milltown cemetery . By his own count , he has murdered four men and had a hand in the deaths of six others . He says his war is over - but he still expects to meet a violent end .
By Andrew Lynch .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , July 2003 , pages 34, 36 , and 38 .
Re-published here in 13 parts .
(6 of 13).

These days , Michael Stone's work is sold through galleries in Belfast and London and he can command up to £6,000 for a painting ; he is , however , still a very long way from respectability . Despite his support for the peace process he remains something of a 'folk hero' to the Loyalist movement - a status which he claims (not altogether convincingly) makes him deeply uncomfortable .

" I've had songs and poems written about me , " he says , " and I've met plenty of kids who think I'm some kind of hero . I'm like Rambo to them . But I always say that there's nothing romantic about taking a life . People bleed , and there's no Hollywood director to say 'cut' . You get to hear their dying words , see the final seconds of their life . I was trained to block out the human aspect ....... "


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper , Aibrean [April] 1957 , page 4.
(IML. IX. UIMHIR 4 - price Tri Pingin [Three Pennies].
Thanks to my late friends Christy and Theresa L. for giving me this 48-year-old newspaper ; this thread published in memory of those two old Fenians ! - John.

The Sinn Fein T.D. for South Kerry , John J. Rice , received a big ovation at a victory meeting held in College Square , Killarney , on Saturday 9 . It was one of the biggest meetings held in Killarney for many years . In the course of his address , J.J. Rice said that since his election he had received shoals of telegrams and messages of congratulations on his success , but he believed that those should have been addressed to the gallant band of workers who strived night and day in Killarney and throughout the constituency to make his campaign a success .

His next thanks should go to the 5,500 voters in South Kerry who gave him their No. 1 votes : " I am not suffering from any swelled head and I know that I did not get those votes as John Joe Rice , but as the standard bearer of Sinn Fein in South Kerry .

I believe that the heart of the people of South Kerry is as good today as it was 40 years ago . I believe that the people of South Kerry are staunchly Republican . "

Continuing , he said that he did not want the people to sit back because they had elected a T.D. , but to carry on the Movement , because they did not know when another election would be sprung on them .......