Friday, May 20, 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 .

By 1975 , Eddie Gallagher was carrying-out military operations without the authority of the IRA leadership ; he refused to tell the leaders anything until the operation was complete , and considered that he should be just let get on with it . At that time , he was particularly active in the Donegal area , and had recruited a number of individuals of like mind . At the time Brendan Hughes was IRA Director Of Operations in the twenty-six counties , Eddie Gallagher was his Adjutant and Marion Coyle acted as Courier ; they were not attached to any particular IRA Unit .

Following the cease-fire , there was a botch up of a certain Provo operation in the twenty-six counties , and the IRA Army Council attempted to re-organise the entire membership . In mid-April , Marion Coyle was summoned to Dublin and told that she was being moved to another area ; the people who informed her of this decision were in favour of a truce and she associated the change with their attitude . In mid-May , the Provo Officer in charge of the area she had been sent to informed his superiors that she had'nt turned up . Moves were made to suspend her from membership .

Eddie Gallagher was at this time involved in a major operation but was refusing to give any money to the Provo leadership ; the IRA Army Council became worried when they did not hear from Brendan Hughes or Eddie Gallagher . Marion Coyle was afterwards cleared of doing anything untoward with these funds . The fact that Gallagher's was a maverick group did little to distinguish them from the Provos in the minds of most people ; a kidnapping would bring the Gardai and the (Free State) Army down hard all over the country (sic) - there would be searches in places there had never been . And , in fact, these searches turned up firearms in several places .

The Provos were displeased with Brendan Hughes , Eddie Gallagher and Marion Coyle - but the main bone of contention about any kidnapping would be that it would not be sanctioned by the IRA Army Council or any local IRA Unit .......


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

Gerry Fitts' stories were wonderful ; about the 2,000 couples he knew in Dungannon who could'nt get a house , the intricate saga of why Derry did'nt get the University and Coleraine did , and the " ... 468 telegrams , 700 letters and 1,000 phone calls .. " from people who opposed him in religion but supported him in his new approach to politics . Unionists , he finished , " ... cannot believe that 3,000 Protestants voted for me .. " .

Sir Douglas Glover , Conservative member from Ormskirk , followed him : " Whatever we may think about the arguments put forward , we like people who speak with sincerity and fire in their bellies . " He praised Gerry Fitts' " ... descriptive turn of phrase .. " and smoothly dismissed the complaints about Stormont - " In any parliament that is always the view of the minority about the actions of the majority . " Why , he too was about to spend five years watching the majority Labour Party members go through the lobbies like fodder , " ... used by whips in carrying through legislation in which they do not believe .. " .

British Captain L.S. Orr , Unionist member at Westminster for South Down said , smoothly , that Mr. Fitt had made no complaints to the RUC upon his election , that the University had been sited in Coleraine following recommendations by an independent board that included many prominent and eminent British academics , that the Northern Ireland (sic) Labour Party should confirm that religion was never mentioned when the NILP fought elections , and he finished with a quotation from the 'Irish Independent' newspaper Editorial - ' Captain O'Neill has a new respect from the Catholics of Belfast who cannot remember a time when the police were more fair or more efficient than they were last Sunday , when two rival parades were taking place in the city . '

But still Gerry Fitt had faith that when Harold Wilson's government knew the facts , they would take corrective action in Northern Ireland (sic) - one hundred Labour MP's had come together in a caucus called ' Campaign For Democracy in Ulster ' (sic) and in the North itself a dossier of irrefutable information was being painstakingly compiled to convince Westminster of the wrongs which existed .......


A DECADE OF CENSORSHIP .Bernadette Quinn looks at the development of SECTION 31 of the Broadcasting Act , used by the Free State government to suppress the Republican viewpoint on state radio and television - and extended by Radio Telefis Eireann itself into a regime of self-censorship . From ' IRIS ' magazine , November 1983 .

Section 31 was first proposed as part of the Broadcasting Act of 1960 by the then Minister for Posts and Telegraphs in the Free State , Patrick Hilliard . It was intended to provide the Free State government with a veto which would make broadcasting an instrument of government policy and was supposedly intended to ensure that ' foreign governents were not embarrassed . '

Paragraph 1 of the section stated : ' The Minister may direct the (RTE) Authority in writing to refrain from broadcasting any particular matter or matter of any particular class , and the Authority shall comply with the direction . ' Admitting that the provision of the veto was "... restrictive.. " , Patrick Hilliard said : " It is the Government's wish that the Authority should act as its own censor , recognising the absolute importance of safeguarding truth and preserving intact the moral integrity of our people . "

Exactly ten years later , the Fianna Fail government's lack of action in response to the Northern crisis was becoming an embarrassment to it , as events there increasingly showed up the hollowness of the party's claim to 'republicanism' . In July 1970 , the then (Free State) Minister for Justice , Des O' Malley , wrote to his counterpart at Posts and Telegraphs , Gerry Collins , protesting bitterly about the " ... irresponsible behaviour of RTE in glamourising persons who are well known to have engaged in subversive or criminal activities . "

RTE had been warned ; a little over a year later , Gerry Collins went further .......