THE DEATH OF FRANK HAND .......
On February 10 , 1986 , the courts turned down the appeals of three men sentenced to hang . The men now face , on commutation of sentence by the (Free State) government , 40 years in prison without remission , for their involvement in the Drumree robbery and killing .
By GENE KERRIGAN.
First published in ' MAGILL' magazine , March 1986 .
Joe Gargan had a yellow Ford Escort car ; he was a Provo sympathiser , aged 34 , a lorry driver who lived at Kentstown , County Meath . Noel McCabe , aged 44 , from Dundalk , County Louth , was a Provo sympathiser : he was handy with cars and , around July , he began repairs to a car belonging to another Dundalk man - it was a blue Ford Cortina , and when McCabe fixed it he did'nt return it to its owner immediately , but began driving it himself .
A stolen beige Open Ascona , a stolen red Mercedes , Joe Gargan's yellow Escort , Noel McCabe's 'borrowed' blue Cortina : two cars brought within reach , two local cars 'on tap' . Noel McCabe was an alcoholic who was beating his problem ; by August 1984 he was eight months off drink . To fill his time and keep his mind off drink he fixed television sets in a shed at the back of his house in Oliver Plunkett Park , Dundalk , County Louth : his odd-jobs extended to various kinds of electrical work and car repairs .
Some time in 1983 a man arrived at Noel McCabe's house with a TV that needed fixing ; the man was a Northerner , a hardened Provo now living in the South . As legal proceedings may yet ensue against this man we will for the purposes of this narrative call him Paul Finnegan , though that is not his name . McCabe fixed the TV and Finnegan asked him to fix the TV again in February 1984 ; on this occasion McCbe went to Finnegan's house to do the job . The two chatted for a long time about politics , about the Provos .
Finnegan said his family had been harassed by the RUC and the British Army and he was forced to go ' on the run ' and come to live in Dundalk . McCabe expressed sympathy with Finnegan's republican sentiments - the two became friendly and McCabe sometimes dropped into Finnegan's house for tea . Finnegan sometimes dropped around to McCabe's with some little repair job on a car or radio .
Eventually , Finnegan asked Noel McCabe if he would "... do a bit of work for the republican movement ......... "
TO WESTMINSTER AND BACK .......
The Life And Times Of Gerry Fitt.
By Nell McCafferty .
First published in ' MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 .
Gerry Fitt operated almost exclusively from Westminster ; he could have forged links with groups like the Socialist International to which the SDLP was affiliated , but he did'nt . His entire temperament went against formal relationships of any kind - " I hate being in parties , they keep trying to tell you what to do , passing resolutions on every little thing .. "
It was his proud boast that the SDLP never had a branch in his West Belfast constituency ! He was a saloon man , and his saloon was Westminster , and he liked wandering in and out of hotels and bars , seeing people when he came home . Since the fall of the Executive , he spent more and more time in the Europa Hotel in Belfast ; the bars were dangerous places now for him and his very home was unsafe . He was under attack from his own constituents .
When the Executive collapsed they were left with internment , punitive repayment of the rent they had withheld during the years of protest against it , replacement of internment in 1975 by non-jury courts , and British Army camps and RUC stations all over West Belfast . Their sole representative upheld British rule as an alternative , he said , to civil war and they turned on him . ('1169...' Comment - in later years , this was refined to read - " If it was'nt for ye lot taking pot shots at them , the Brits would have gone home years ago .. " . Expect much the same now from Adams and Co. in reference to those they call 'dissidents' . )
In 1976 , on the eve of the anniversary of internment , Gerry Fitts' constituents went looking for him .......
UPS AND DOWNS FOR RUC's PERJURER STRATEGY .......
SEAN DELANEY looks at recent developments in the use of perjurers in the North .
From ' IRIS ' magazine , November 1983 .
The Catholic Church have maintained a low profile on the issue of paid perjurers , with the exception of Dr. Edward Daly , Bishop of Derry , and a handful of priests , who have condemned the use of perjurers . Bishop Cahal Daly , previously so vocal on political issues , has adopted a studious silence .
For his part , Dungannon priest , Fr. Denis Faul , having failed to limit the opposition to perjurers to relatives (whose emotions , his experience during the hunger-strikes leads him to believe , can, at critical points , be exploited against republicans ) has concentrated much of his efforts on vitriolic attacks on Sinn Fein - on one occasion going as far as to allege that Sinn Fein were 'using' the perjurer campaign to finance their involvement in the EEC elections !
Also ranged against the use of perjurers have been the SDLP-controlled Derry Council , the Belfast and District Trades Council and a number of British MP's and British and American legal figures . British Labour MP , Martin Flannery , has said that the use of perjurers is bringing "...the whole of the British system of justice into disrepute . It is the kind of thing that Hitler and company engaged in .. " .
The use of paid perjurers by Westminster was welcomed by some Unionists but condemned by others - sometimes both 'pro' and 'anti' camps were in the same political party .......