Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A ROUGH DEAL .......

Ten years ago EDDIE GALLAGHER went to prison for his part in the kidnapping of TIEDE HERREMA . He is still there , even though he did a deal which promised him only four years in jail . His accomplice , MARION COYLE , has been released . DEREK DUNNE reports on GALLAGHER's maverick relationship with the IRA , on the negotiations which led to the release of TIEDE HERREMA and on the roots of GALLAGHER's involvement .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , January 1986 , pages 6 , 7 , 8, and 9 .

At first , Marion Coyle was not directly involved in military operations ; she acted as a 'lookout' and ran errands . She was known within the Republican Movement as a woman with a lot of nerve who did not fold under pressure . In August 1972 , when the British Army tore down the barricades separating ' Free Derry' from the rest of the world , she led six men safely across the border into Donegal , one at a time , by pretending to be their girlfriend .

In January of the following year , she was acquitted on a charge of possession of a rifle ; Leo Martin admitted full responsibility for the weapon and was given three years . The Provos sent her first to Buncrana and then to Leitrim . She was'nt attached to any particular Active Service Unit of the IRA . Eddie Gallagher , meanwhile , was jailed for twelve months in the Curragh for IRA activity .

It was around this time that Marion Coyle met Kevin Mallon - increasingly , she looked to him for guidance and a close platonic friendship grew up between the two . She admired his political clarity . Coyle moved to Dublin and returned to Derry at weekends . The raids on her home in Derry became more frequent , so the visits had to be curtailed . Increasingly , she was spending her time with the same people she worked with . In September of 1973 , Kevin Mallon was arrested in Monaghan and given twelve months for membership .......


The Life And Times Of Gerry Fitt.
By Nell McCafferty .
First published in ' MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 .

Gerry Fitt's 'trust' in the Brits to do the 'right' thing in Ireland earned him the sobriquet ' Fitt The Brit' , applied with such bitterness to him now by Northern nationalists who have suffered under direct rule from England since 1972 , could have been applied with equal accuracy but a lot more affection in 1966 and more before that .

For many of Gerry Fitt's generation and background , religious and political , England offered an escape and refuge from the direct rule of the Unionist Party in Northern Ireland . Back in the North , Fitt told his Westminster audience on that first day , Catholics could'nt get homes , could'nt get jobs , could'nt even get the vote . They could'nt even get a hearing in the Stormont parliament , where a contrived Unionist majority turned a deaf ear to such as him , the democratically elected Stormont representative for Dock . " No matter what pleas I made to the Unionists , I would'nt get anywhere . "

Born in Belfast in 1926 , Gerry Fitt got out quick : his father died when he was eight and his mother was left to bring up the children in the depressed 1930's ; he ran away from home to become a fifteen-year-old cabin boy , in the British merchant navy , in 1941 , and sailed in wartime convoys to Russia . After the war , during a port call to London , he met his future wife Anne Doherty , from County Tyrone , who was then working as a clerk in the Conservatives Ladies' Club : " I used shout 'Vote Labour' during elections and they were annoyed ," she remembers .......


IT HAPPENED IN IRELAND . From 'The United Irishman' newspaper , Aibrean [April] 1957 , page 8.(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.

If we had a national Press worthy of the name our people would be aware by now of the conditions in occupied Ireland ; the Americans and the English are much better informed because their Press coverage of events in the North is so much more extensive . Most of it - coming as it does from British sources - is biased of course but unlike the 26 County population they get a view of things even if that view is slanted .

We are not aware of the terrorism by British military , police and armed B-Specials ; we are not informed of the treatment handed out to captured men by these forces . We should make it our business to get the facts for the victims involved are young Irishmen fighting for our freedom . Tony Cooney and his two comrades taken at Torr Head , County Antrim , were fired on by police while they held their hands in the air and later were threatened with murder .

Seamus Heuston was beaten into insensibility by B-Specials near Armagh ; they smashed his head and broke his arm . Shots were fired at John Kelly and his comrades after they were taken in County Tyrone ; a Belfast Det-Sgt held a grenade from which the pin had been withdrawn and threatened them as they stood facing a wall with their hands up .......