Tuesday, May 03, 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 .

... day 4 ..

We are packing-up the camp ; the whole set-up has to be dismantled , carefully covering our tracks so that even aerial reconnaissance would not know we had been there . Then we were ready to move out .

This time there won't be any car to bring us back part of the way , so it's a long , long march across rough country weighed down by packs and rifles . A heavy blanket of cloud has covered the moon so we make slow progress , one uncertain step after another , making it all the more tiring . The T/O's tell us that if at any stage we're confronted by the (Free State) Task Force as we approach the camp , we'll move back the way we've come and try and lose them in the darkness .

But the four of us are so exhausted from this unaccustomed country march , too used to Belfast's tarmac pavements , that I reckon we'd just surrender if anyone mentioned retracing our steps !

At last , the shadow of our farmhouse camp comes into view ; first , a quick reconnaissance , during which a grazing cow momentarily gets mistaken for a Free State raiding party , then we crawl gratefully indoors and collapse . Even the tea tastes good after all that ....... !

[END of 'Day 4']. (Tomorrow - ' Day 5 : military and political discussion' .)


THE ARMALITE AND THE BALLOT BOX ....... " The military struggle will not slow down to relate to Sinn Fein's political activity . "
Michael Farrell interviews two spokespersons authorised to speak on behalf of the leadership of the IRA .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 , pages 7, 9 and 11 .

MICHAEL FARRELL : " In the event of a British withdrawal how do you expect the Protestant population of the North to react ? What will your attitude be towards them ? "

IRA : " Many loyalists have a supremacist mentality like the Afrikaners in South Africa , the Pieds Noirs in Algeria or the Israelis . They may not have as many privileges but the mentality is the same . It is very possible that people with that mentality would try to re-partition the North - as Harold McCusker MP has already suggested .

And they have about 19,000 armed men in the RUC and UDR to help them do it ; we don't know how many of the loyalists would take that line , but anyone who opposes Irish self-determination with force will have to be met with force . On the other hand we are prepared to offer them within a united Ireland what has always been denied to us - equality . "

[END of - " The military struggle will not slow down to relate to Sinn Fein's political activity ."](Tomorrow - " We have now established a sort of Republican veto " : Michael Farrell interviews Gerry Adams MP).

FROM BELFAST PRISON . ...... 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.

Monday , January 28 , 1957 , was a wet and stormy day ; when the internees were going out to exercise in the Belfast Prison yard they had the prospect of being drenched with rain and frozen by the cold in a few minutes . The majority remained in a short corridor between the basement and the yard .

Some time later the Deputy Governor , a Mr. Taylor , came down . He said - " Come on , boys , you know it is against regulations not to be in the yard now . " Half a dozen voices said - " We can't face that rain and get drenched . " Says Mr. Taylor to the Prison Screws : " Give it to 'em , boys ... "

Warders with batons drawn rushed the internees ; one young man of our number was struck by a baton on the throat - he immediately struck the offending warder a blow on the face . A general melee followed , but sheer weight forced the internees into the yard . They took shelter in an open shed exposed to all the winds of Belfast .

When the internees came back to their cells for dinner the Prison Governor , Deputy Governor and the warders were lined along the wire-enclosed passage in front of the cells - intimidation . Since that day the shed in the yard has been covered up half-ways from the bottom with corrigated iron and a stove installed which the internees may light , sticks and coke being provided !

[END of ' FROM BELFAST PRISON '].(Tomorrow - 'Tomas O Criomhtain Commemorative Stamp').