Thursday, May 19, 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 .

Rose Dugdale was given prison sentences ranging from three to nine years for her part in the hijacking of a helicopter on January 24 , 1974 , and also for the theft of the Beit paintings , valued at £8 million , in County Wicklow . She gave birth to a son - Ruairi - in Limerick Prison . Marion Coyle and Martin McGuinness were the godparents .

By mid-'74 , the Provos knew that Eddie Gallagher was anxious to get Rose Dugdale out of prison ; in August , he got himself arrested with another famous escapee - Richard Behal - and having spent one day in Portlaoise Prison , helped eighteen others to blast their way to freedom . Kevin Mallon was amongst those who got away . As 1974 drew to a close , it was dawning on the Provos that the struggle in the North was going to be a long drawn out affair .

In January 1975 , Kevin Mallon was again arrested in a raid on a house in Foxrock ; the 37-year-old native of Coalisland , County Tyrone , was sentenced to ten years . Rose Dugdale was having her own problems in Limerick Prison - visiting conditions were stringent , and in April , she went on hunger strike . A cease-fire was called in the North early in 1975 ; Eddie Gallagher was opposed to the IRA leadership because of this . To him , they seemed incapable of organising anything but " ... pompous press handouts and their own appearances at Republican dinner dances .. " .

Eddie Gallagher continued to do military operations without the authority of the IRA leadership .......


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

Gerry Fitt blithely welcomed the defeat of Glasgow Rangers , heroes of the Shankill , by Glasgow Celtic , heroes of the Falls , shortly after his own Westminster defeat of the sitting Unionist MP for West Belfast - " We beat them in politics , now we've beaten them in football , " he told the Catholics who had come onto the Falls Road after the match . ' The Belfast Telegraph ' newspaper ran an editorial criticising him for being sectarian - " The editorial was a joke to us , " Paddy Kennedy recalled , " we'd never heard of sectarianism or ecumenism in those days . There were bigoted Protestants in Belfast as top dogs , and poor wee Catholics as under dogs . The only time the Catholics won anything was when Gerry (Fitt) was elected and the night Celtic beat Rangers .

I rang Gerry down at the pub to tell him and it did'nt mean a thing to him , because he backed horses , not football teams , but I said they were out celebrating on the Falls and he'd better come up . He was up like a flash and they carried him along the street since they could'nt carry the football team . Fans meant votes , and if football teams kept their spirits up , Gerry identified with the football team . It was just another way to keep the fight going against the Unionists . "

In Westminster , Gerry Fitt dispensed with football teams and flags ; he thought the facts would suffice . The (British) Queens speech , outlining the priorities for Harold Wilson's incoming government , had lain heavy emphasis on the Rhodesian problem , where Ian Smith's white government had just declared independence from a Britain that had been considering reforms for Rhodesia's black majority . There was an exact parallel to Ireland , Gerry Fitt argued , where a minority had used guns in 1912 to subjugate the majority and Northern Ireland (sic) had resulted .

As with so many of his subsequent speeches , he did not tease out the difficult abstract problem any further , but relapsed into telling stories .......


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.

The foregoing incidents are typical but by no means comprehensive ; much worse has been reported , but verification is difficult because of censorship and because the people fear reprisals . These things are happening in Ireland , not Cyprus , Algeria or even Hungary . If we have sympathy for export perhaps we can spare a little for our kith and kin at home .

A good beginning would be to aid the families or dependents of the men in jail - you can do that through the Republican Aid Committee , care of this newspaper . There are now 112 men in Crumlin Road Jail , Belfast , 7 men jailed in England and 55 men in Mountjoy Prison , Dublin .
Their Cause is your Cause : the Cause of Irish Freedom .


(Tomorrow - ' A DECADE OF CENSORSHIP ' - from 1983 ).