Monday, May 30, 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 .

Eddie Gallagher is currently spending twenty-three hours a day in his cell - he does a lot of physical exercise . He stands on the bed -end and he can see prison life through the bars on the windows . He says that prison life has made him more patient and circumspect .

Some years ago , he used do a lot of study and some reading in his cell . Now most of the sight is gone from one eye and the other one is weak . He does'nt bother any more .

[END of 'A ROUGH DEAL'].(Tomorrow : ' FETCH ! ' - John O'Reilly and four 'Supergrasses' )

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

The British Labour Government had commissioned Lord Cameron to report on the events and marches preceeding and following October 5 , and assign reasons . This Report , which Harold Wilson and the entire British Commons accepted , stated that Gerry Fitt " ...must clearly have envisaged the possibility of a violent clash with the police as providing the publicity he so ardently sought . His conduct , in our judgement , was reckless and wholly irresponsible in a person occupying his public position . "

From that moment on Gerry Fitt was effectively rendered impotent at Westminster . Back in the North of Ireland the high terrain of anti-unionism was about to be occupied by a whole new batch of articulate , pragmatic political operators who swept into Stormont in the spring of 1969 , on a civil rights wave which had drowned out the old Nationalist Party ; Hume , Cooper , O'Hanlon and Paddy Devlin waved no flags and did not gaze hopelessly into the Celtic mist : Austin Currie had long abandoned green fields for street smarts .
('1169... ' Comment - those are the words of Nell McCafferty , and are not shared by the writers of this blog . Currie proved himself to be a useful 'native employee' for the Brits .)
Gerry Fitt abandoned his own party ; he had been campaigning for a republican Labour councillor from Belfast who wanted a run at a seat - any seat - and Fitt had sent him off to fight in mid-Ulster . They addressed a small crowd after the ten o' clock mass , and hung around to see how their opponent Ivan Cooper would do after the eleven o' clock mass : Cooper attracted a massive crowd to his ' Independent Civil Rights' tag - Gerry Fitt got up on the truck and spoke in support of Cooper !

These Civil Rights guys wanted to slug it out toe to toe with the Unionists and they were men after Fitts' involved 'gurrier' heart ; he was no longer alone . He was in fact surrounded and obscured as they marched people all over the areas west of the Bann - in Newry , Armagh , Mid-Ulster , Fermanagh and Derry . Besides which , Bernadette Devlin had arrived at Westminster : together they should have made a colourful picture - the sailor home from the sea and the maiden in from the hills .......

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 .

The song ' The Men Behind The Wire' topped the music charts in the Free State for weeks during the 1970's but was never played on RTE ! More recently , Christy Moore's song ' On The Blanket ' was banned , as was his song about Nicky Kelly , ' The Wicklow Boy ' . Even traditional rebel songs are no longer played .

Most of the banned songs are never specifically banned by 'directive' or 'guidelines ' , but RTE presenters - in the atmosphere of fear that pervades RTE - do the censoring themselves .

During the last Westminster elections , in June 1983 , the Free State coalition government refused a request from RTE to lift the ban on Sinn Fein members for the purposes of election coverage . Charles Haughey , Fianna Fail leader and Free State 'Taoiseach' , opportunistically issued a statement saying that he "...had always taken the view that elected representatives should have the fullest possible access to the public media .. " - although it had earlier been Fianna Fail who refused Owen Carron MP and Sinn Fein's five Assembly elected representatives access to RTE ! (' 1169... ' Comment - typical Fianna Fail and Free State obfuscation : Republicans know , from experience , to 'watch what they do , not what they say ' . Those that leave the Movement not only forget that maxim , but become part of the group that has to be watched , not listened to . )
In protest at the refusal by Jim Mitchell (Fine Gael) , the Free State Minister for Posts and Telegraphs , to lift the ban , RTE journalists covering the election in the North of Ireland said they would refuse to interview any of the other candidates . They kept this stand for one week only ....... !