FIVE DAYS IN AN IRA TRAINING CAMP .......
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 2 ...
During the ' Safe Handling' aspect of weapons training , we learn how to remove the 'mag' and check that the breech is clear as soon as you handle a weapon , check the 'safe' mechanism is working , apply the 'safe' , finger off the trigger except when firing , never point the weapon at anyone when not in action . Like the field-stripping , we all keep forgetting bits at first (laughter when someone inadvertently swings around with the carbine , everyone ducks melodramatically though knowing it's unloaded) , but gradually the safety procedure beats itself into a routine .
Firing technique comes next : we look at the different postures a Volunteer can adopt when firing from ambush positions - prone , standing and kneeling ; and positions for short-range executions . How to work in pairs , one shooting , the other covering . How to grip the weapon properly to maximise accuracy , how to fire - sight the target steadily , take a breath , breath out taking the first pressure on the trigger with the finger tip , and as the final bit of air 'drifts' from the lungs the weapon should fire almost without your being aware of it , and so without jerking at the last moment .
Later , when we get to 'live' firing , we realise to our cost just how much the slightest tremor or 'flinch' affects accuracy over a range of 100-200 yards , and how much relaxed concentration is needed to get the necessary accuracy . By this time the acquired information is starting to form kaleidoscopic patterns inside my head , and it's just as well we're almost finished for today ; the whole process gets slowed down from time to time when we hear noises outside the farmhouse - then we have to sit rigid and in silence , eyes swivelling only to locate the weapons we've been assigned in case it's a raid .
Invariably , of course , it turns out to be a car passing on the road below , or a grazing cow that has strayed near .......
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 .
(10 of 13).
Michael Stone claims to have passed-up on an opportunity to have shot Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness on the morning of the Milltown funerals - " That was the second time I let McGuinness off . I had tried to murder him before but he had his wee daughter with him ; she was skipping beside him and he kept bending down to kiss her . To shoot him in front of her would have been just too barbaric . "
But what exactly , I ask , was all this killing meant to achieve ? If Stone's plan had come off - and by his own account , it almost did - then what ? " Well , if you want to kill a snake , you cut off its head , " he says cheerfully .
" Eliminating Adams and McGuinness would have brought the fight out on to the streets . The guerrilla war would have been over and we'd have had an open battle , us against them . The whole thing would have been settled once and for all . It would have been great ....... " ('1169...' Comment - Stone's "us... " would have included the British forces , not just the Loyalist paramilitaries and , whatever the outcome would have been , the "whole thing " would not "have been settled once and for all " - the British claim of jurisdiction over six of our counties would have remained . )
FACING REALITIES .......
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper , Aibrean [April] 1957 , page 5.
(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.
Irish Communists accuse us of having no economic policy at all ; they only feel important when talking of Russia or China ' .. producing fifty-six million pairs of boots ... ' or some-such figure beyond the comprehension of ordinary mortals , ' .... in the last eleven months of 1955 .... ' , and would rather like to bring us within the orbit of one of those vast imperialisms .
They forget that the essence of all economy is to transfer the food and other goods necessary to human life from the earth to mankind with the least possible loss , delay and difficulty .
[END of 'FACING REALITIES'].
(Tomorrow - 'COMMENT BY A NEW YORK NEWSPAPER').