Monday, April 25, 2005

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 . 3..

We pin up a 'Faceless Man' target and fire some air pistol shots at it ; the 'enemy' survives with only a few flesh wounds . We're beginning to think we can't hit the proverbial barn door when one of the IRA Training Officers (perhaps only to boost morale !) says that the pistol is'nt very accurate . A break for tea , and then back to look at a card on which about 20 rounds of ammo of assorted calibres have been pasted . We are told to memorise these calibres and the specific weapon or weapons they fit : 7.92 (Gewher) , 7.62 Short (AK47) , 7.62 NATO (SLR , FN-FAL) , .30 Carbine (M1) , .223 (AR15) , .45 , 9mm , .38 , .22 , 22.250 , .45 Colt and so on .
If we're sent to an ammo dump one day to collect rounds of a specific calibre , this will come in useful . Right now , our heads are spinning with the effort of it . With all this talk of guns and ammunition , it would be wrong to give the impression that an IRA training camp is purely a military experience - practical limitations make it largely so , as time is short , with a lot of weapons training that can't easily be done elsewhere .

There is not much point having formal political lectures surrounded by IRA guns , with all the risk of a raid , but there is a political element to the camp nonetheless , mostly informal (at meals and tea-breaks) but quite informative at times . On one occasion , somehow, we get talking about Ronald Reagan and American politics , and that develops into a discussion about the Tories and the Labour 'Left' , and then about Irish Republican electoral strategy .
It all ends up pretty intense and animated , with camp democracy meaning that even the T/O's have to shout to get their point of view heard . A very republican style of discussion ....... !

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 . [13 of 13].

I ask Michael Stone if his war is over -
- " It is ," he says , sounding just a little doubtful . " But I'm not optimistic about the future . I support the principles of the Good Friday agreement but many things are not working out in practice . I think the situation could easy blow up again soon and if it does , there are plenty of dangerous men waiting to step back into the breach .

I'm just trying to get on with my life . I'd like to stay alive for a wee while longer . But when my time comes , I won't be surprised . You should'nt be , either . "
[END of 'STONE COLD'].(Tomorrow - 'THE ARMALITE AND THE BALLOT BOX' ; "The military struggle will not slow down to relate to Sinn Fein's political activity " - PIRA .)

STATEMENT RELEASED BY J. McGarrity , IRISH REPUBLICAN PUBLICITY BUREAU , February 1957 ....... From 'The United Irishman' newspaper , Aibrean [April] 1957 , page 6.(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.

It is well to remember that ever since they were betrayed in 1922 , and thrown to the wolves , the Nationalist people of Occupied Ireland had tried to gain some measure of justice by constitutional processes . Year after year they had elected 'Nationalists' to the Stormont parliament or county councils , for the declared purpose of "... ending partition .. " .
Lulled into a false sense of hope by the specious promises of the party politicians , the people of Ireland on one Sunday morning contributed approximately £54,000 in answer to the hope held out to them that in this way the terrible wrongs of occupation and exploitation could be righted . But like snow of May , the money disappeared and with it the illusion that Ireland's freedom and unity could be gained by propaganda .

A stronger , more virile , spirit of resistance was awakened in the people of the North and in the elections to Westminster , they returned once more to their old allegiance , and voted 152,000 for the old principles and policy of Sinn Fein .
Subsequent to this election , they were told by the politicians of all parties that they had been deceived and that Sinn Fein had betrayed them .......