Tuesday, May 24, 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 October 18 , 1976 , the Gardai had arrested and re-arrested Brian McGowan , the man who had 'cased ' the job for Eddie Gallagher and Marion Coyle ; McGowan , according to the Garda evidence , accepted a lift to Tullamore , County Offaly from the garda station - he had been released again after questioning - from Detective Inspector John Courtney and Detective Inspector Myles Hawkshaw . On the way to Tullamore he suddenly announced that he wanted to tell the truth ; the car stopped in a lay-by and Brian McGowan made a written statement in which he admitted his part in the kidnap .
On the basis of his evidence the gardai were able to find the location of Marion Coyle , Eddie Gallagher and Dr. Tiede Herrema - there followed a siege of the house at Monasterevan , County Kildare , which lasted from October 21 1976 until November 7 1976 . Garda Chief Superintendent Larry Wren was the man who talked to Gallagher and Herrema , every day of the eighteen-day siege . The demands were modified as the siege wore on - they wanted a plane to take all three to Tanzania . Food was hoisted up to the room - just enough to keep them alive . Bright lights were set up and panned over the window of the bedroom in an effort to keep everyone inside awake .
Garda Detective Sergeant Michael Egan was shot by Eddie Gallagher as he attempted to remove a pane of glass from the bathroom ; the index finger of his left hand had to be amputated . The gardai claimed that they were trying to create a flow of air in the house which would freeze the two out . On October 29 1976 , Seamus Sorohan , barrister , and Stanley Siev , solicitor , went in and talked for three and a half hours with the kidnappers . At 8pm on November 7 1976 , Marion Coyle asked for medication for Herrema saying that he had pains in his neck ; Eddie Gallagher thought the man was dying . The guns were thrown out the window and they surrendered .......


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

Journalist Mary Holland agreed to meet Gerry Fitt to discuss his claim that Catholics in the North of Ireland were being discriminated against -
- " I named a restaurant in Soho - Wheeler's - and then there was something about his accent and his way of talking that made me add by way of caution ' it's very fashionable and it only serves fish dinners . ' " Ah Jaysus , Mary , " he said , " I want a real dinner . We'll go to the Irish Club and eat meat . "
When she arrived there , Gerry Fitt ordered drinks and opened a suitcase of documents and cuttings from the Irish News newspaper , gospel of Belfast Catholics , and The Skibbereen Eagle newspaper , of everything Unionists had ever done anywhere in the North against the Nationalist population . He held her spellbound for several hours : " I could'nt believe it , " she says simply of the things she heard that afternoon . Fitt cajoled and charmed and bullied and lured her across the Irish Sea .
Three days later , on Tuesday October 1 , 1968 , the reluctant would-be arts columnist found herself in the Fitt home on the Antrim Road - it was a complete shock to her .......

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 .

On November 19th , 1972 , RTE broadcast an interview with Sean MacStiofain , the alleged IRA Chief of Staff ; MacStiofain got six months in jail and the RTE man in charge , Kevin O'Kelly , got three months in jail . But equally important was the RTE sequel to the interview ; the Free State government immediately demanded that RTE take disciplinary action against O'Kelly , but RTE instead defended the editor and denied that the broadcasting of the summary was in breach of Gerry Collins' 1971 Directive . The Free State government responded by sacking the nine-member RTE Authority .
The new RTE Authority was predictably quick to demonstrate its willingness to uphold Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act , by issuing a set of 'guidelines' to RTE broadcasters ; these are interpreted , however , by RTE journalists , as strictly-enforceable rules which result in dismissal if broken .
The 'guidelines' stated - " In view of the consequences which can be anticipated if RTE is again judged to have contravened the directive , it will be clear to all concerned that the strictest care must be taken in all these matters and that action will be called for where the individuals are deemed to have disregarded the instructions or to have been careless in observing them . "
It was Fianna Fail who had used and strengthened Section 31 to suppress the voice of Republicanism , but the situation did not change under the Fine Gael/Labour coalition government which came to power in 1973 .......
(Apologises for the occasional (!) mistake in the spacing between threads etc : our 'Junior' has set-up a new Operating System for us . Trouble is , he's out chasing girls when he should be here showing us how to use it ... !).