Friday, July 01, 2005

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 .
First published in ' MAGILL' magazine , March 1986 .

Sunday 12th August 1984 ; two days after the killing of Detective Frank Hand . Noel McCabe went to Tommy Eccles's house . Eccles was there with Paul Finnegan - McCabe asked them about the robbery but Finnegan warned him not to talk about it to anyone or he would be shot - " It went wrong , we did'nt mean to shoot anyone , " said Finnegan , " I did'nt intend to involve you in anything like this . " Then he laughed . " It's only another stiff , anyway . "

When Finnegan was gone McCabe and Eccles talked : " It's ironic , " said Eccles , according to McCabe , " but it's a Scotsman who shot him . "

The gardai drew up a questionnaire and began a house-to-house inquiry . On Monday 13th August 1984 both Seamus Lynch and Joe Gargan received routine visits at their homes in Kentstown ; both answered the routine questions , placing themselves well away from Drumree at the time of the killing (which was , in fact , true ) . A Garda Michael Miley interviewed Joe Gargan - he thought that Gargan talked a lot , very freely , but gave short and to-the-point answers to specific questions about his movements . There was space at the bottom of the questionnaire marked - ' Member's Personal Opinion ? ' ; Garda Miley wrote - ' Very talkative , seemed very friendly , but not genuine . '

The Gardai lifted a lot of people , the routine round-up . Among them were Seamus Lynch , Joe Gargan , Tommy Eccles and Paddy Duffy . They all made statements , some bare admissions of their own roles in the robbery , others lengthier and fuller . There would later be allegations of garda beatings , but there was little evidence to sustain them . What seemed to have happened is that , faced with the unexpected enormity of the situation in which they found themselves , the suspects crumbled .

The money and guns were recovered from the shed at Kentstown .......


The Democratic Unionist Party would prefer a Civil War to acquiescence in a role for the Dublin Government in the affairs of the North of Ireland after the Anglo-Irish summit .
FINTAN O'TOOLE spoke to DUP activists about the depth of their opposition to the Anglo-Irish deal and their willingness to resort to violence .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , November 1985 .

One of the 'signs' that the Reverend Ivan Foster sees that 'the End' may be at hand , that it may be necessary to fight on to Armageddon , is that homosexuality has been legalised in the North of Ireland - " As a Protestant , and not a mere political Protestant , but as one who without apology believes the Bible , I come to portions of the scripture like Romans Chapter 1 where it indicates that society and mankind reaches the depths of decline and depravity when men turn from the natural use of women unto men . That's the pits , to use a modern phrase - you can go no lower . Paul at that stage speaks about the judgement of God coming upon a nation that does that . And whether we like it or don't like it , history indicates that when nations decline to those depths , they come to an end .

It may have been their next door neighbour that put an end to them , and you may see no more to it than that , but I as a Christian see the moving of the neighbouring nation against the decadent nation as the judgement of God . Consequently I abhor the legalising of sodomy . I like that term , because if nothing else it annoys those who prefer to use modern euphemisms for what is nothing less than the sin which is associated with a city the doom of which is recorded in scripture . " ('1169...' Comment - .... and that , reader , is the closed and defunct mind-set of those that most Unionists/Loyalists voted-in as their representatives . 'Trouble' was , and is , inevitable ....)

Gregory Campbell shares this 'horror' : " It's an evil , wicked , abhorrent practice . My opposition to that is based on the bible and also based on natural justice and I know many people who do not share my Protestant faith but who would share my opposition to homosexuality because they believe it is something which would corrupt society as a whole , and is something so radically awful as to merit total and utter opposition . You're not even talking about something which is a run-of-the-mill sexual practice but something which is totally and utterly depraved , and to me anyway the AIDS scare which is currently running through America is proof that homosexual practice is something which calls upon the curse of God ....... "


From 'IRIS' magazine , November 1983 .
No 'By-Line' .

Unfortunately , the plan of escape began to go wrong at the first 'tally-hut' due to there being larger numbers of Screws coming on duty than anticipated . While the escapees kept arresting more and more Screws , the situation got out of control and the alarm was raised . At this point the escapees were forced to make a run for it on foot across fields , many of them successfully commandeering local cars . In the final melee several Screws were stabbed and one escapee , Harry Murray , was shot and wounded .

It was inevitable , given the eventual breakdown of the plan , that there would be some re-arrests , some within minutes and some within two days of the break-out . Nonetheless , the massive total of 19 Republican prisoners of war did successfully escape and eventually reach freedom - to the massive embarrassment of the British and the jubilation of Nationalists throughout the 32 Counties !

The 19 H-Block escapees that were then at liberty are - Kevin Barry Artt , (24) North Belfast ; Paul Brennan (30) Ballymurphy ; Seamus Campbell (26) Coalisland , County Tyrone ; James Clarke (27) Letterkenny , County Donegal ; Seamus Clarke (27) Ardoyne ; Gerard Fryer (24) Turf Lodge ; Dermot Finucane (22) Lenadoon ; Kieran Fleming (23) Derry ; Anthony Kelly (22) Derry ; Gerry Kelly (30) Belfast ; Anthony McAllister (25) Belfast ; Gerard McDonnell (32) Belfast ; Seamus McElwair (22) Scotstown , County Monaghan ; Brendan McFarane (31) Ardoyne ; Padraic McKearney (29) Moy , County Tyrone ; Dermot McNally (26) Lurgantarry , North Armagh ; Robert Russell (25) Ballymurphy ; Terence Kirby (27) Andersonstown ; and James Smith (38) Ardoyne .