FETCH ....... !
By Gene Kerrigan .
Four years ago this month the RUC began trying to put JOHN O' REILLY away . Four 'Supergrasses' failed to do the job . O' REILLY is now in Michael Noonan's custody . The RUC have demanded that Noonan "...bring him forthwith .. " to answer the accusations of HARRY KIRKPATRICK .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , February 1986 .
John O' Reilly was held that evening (October 9 , 1985) in Portlaoise Garda Station . He was questioned , fingerprinted , had a hair sample taken and his hands were swabbed . He was also photographed . He was told the RUC were interested in him ; a Garda Detective read from a pink folder labelled 'Office No. 6' . John O' Reilly , he noted , had failed to appear in a Belfast court on January 28 , nine months earlier .
John O' Reilly is 26 this month (ie February 1986) . He was born in Belfast . He was arrested by the RUC at around six in the morning of February 5 , 1982 , the day after his 22nd birthday - he was taken to Castlereagh Interrogation Centre and held for seven days . Two 'supergrasses' , Robert McAllister and Sean McConkey , had accused him of involvement in possession of firearms and armed robbery on behalf of the INLA . O' Reilly claimed he was in jail when the offences were committed .
That affair lasted seven weeks ; then Robert McAllister and Sean McConkey , who had accused a number of people of various crimes , retracted . The charges against John O' Reilly were withdrawn ; he was immediately re-arrested and again taken to Castlereagh - he had been 'fingered' by two more 'supergrasses' , Jackie Goodman and John Grimley . One of the other people they named was a Harry Kirkpatrick . That was in March 1982 ; O' Reilly remained in jail , awaiting trial . In September , Jackie Goodman retracted the accusations he had made against thirty-six people , including John O' Reilly .
But O' Reilly remained in jail : he still had to answer the accusations of John Grimley , the other 'supergrass.......'
TO WESTMINSTER AND BACK .......
The Life And Times Of Gerry Fitt.
By Nell McCafferty .
First published in ' MAGILL' magazine , July 1983 .
Bernadette Devlin MP arrived at Westminster to help highlight the death of Sammy Devenney : " The publicity was unbelievable ; Gerry Fitt had booked me into the Irish Club , and I sat there in my mini-skirt and the press just drooled ! If I had been older or wiser or just more thoughtful or even courteous or machiavellian , I would have ended every remark with a reference to Gerry Fitt who was sitting , ignored , in the room . "
The 'alliance' , in any case , was doomed from the start , she says - " It was a matter of emphasis . Gerry Fitt would plead for reform , saying the RUC and later the British soldiers were only making martyrs by their handling of what was called 'security' . I would stand there saying - 'you've tried everything down the centuries , from hanging , drawing and quartering , to straight bullets . And the Croppy will never lie down ' " . ('1169...' Comment - "Gerry would plead for reform .... " : sounds familiar !)
There was also the acute difference of the socialist approach : " I appeared on every left-wing platform in England , speaking on gypsies rights , defending the Dagenham strikers against Harold Wilson , and I spoke in Trafalgar Square in defence of the PLO . Paul Rose took the Israeli side and wrote me a letter criticising my stand . I released it to the newspapers and the split with Labour widened . There was them and Gerry Fitt ; and there was me . "
And then there was the Battle of The Bogside in August 1969 , which brought the British Army into the North , with a resultant quagmire of political and armed struggle into which Gerry Fitt was to hopelessly flounder .......
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 September 28 , 1983 , on RTE's current affairs programme ' Today Tonight' , Fr. Denis Faul and Unionist MP Harold McCusker were interviewed at length on the use of paid perjurers in the North of Ireland ; there was no representative of Sinn Fein interviewed , although there were repeated references to Sinn Fein's 'motives' in opposing the use of perjurers .
There was not even a mention that Sinn Fein would deny the charge that they were using the campaign against show trials for "...their own ends .. " . Was this not selective and distorted , as well as untrue (re NUJ 'rules') ? Section 31 of course is not just about the suppression of the views of Sinn Fein ; it is about suppression of the views of the working-class Nationalist community in the North ; it is denying information to people in the South not just about Sinn Fein policies but about the beliefs and aspirations of a significant section of the Irish population .
By contrast , Section 31 has not been used to deny access to RTE by the UDA , despite that organisation's massive involvement in sectarian murders of Catholics in the North - not to mention its bombing of Dublin and Monaghan in 1974 when 31 civilians died . The majority of RTE journalists justify their implementation of Section 31 by saying that they have to abide by the law - but it is surely not for journalists to do the Free State government and RTE Authority's political dirtywork for them when it flagrantly contravenes their own code of conduct .
For instance , why did the 'Today Tonight' production team not interview a Sinn Fein spokesperson on September 28th and leave RTE to cut out the interview , rather than themselves censoring Sinn Fein in the first place ? Why did'nt they do that during the elections ....... ?