Monday, July 04, 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 .

Most of the IRA team had been lifted ; admissions were made . The money and guns had been recovered . Noel McCabe , never publicly linked with the Provos , was'nt lifted . He was still shocked and full of remorse about the killing of Frank Hand , worried about what would happen to him . Some time in the week after the killing he went to confession in Dundalk , to a Fr. McAuley ; he told about his part in the robbery and said he wanted to tell someone else . The priest told him he should .

On Friday 24 August 1984 , two weeks after the robbery , his name still unknown to the gardai , McCabe began ringing Brendan McGahon , the Fine Gael TD (Leinster House member) from Dundalk . He could'nt reach the TD . McGahon had known Noel McCabe for years and knew of his trouble with the drink . That night McCabe went to McGahon's house and told him of his involvement in the crime ; they talked for three hours . McGahon said he would contact someone in authority . That night he got in touch with the gardai in Dundalk .

McCabe was to return to McGahon two days later , but he was attending an 'Alcoholics Anonymous' meeting that Sunday night ; he went to McGahon's home on Monday but the man was'nt there . On Tuesday night he again approached his house , this time just as McGahon's car drove away . The gardai , meanwhile , had been in touch with McGahon at Leinster House . At 6.45am on Wednesday 29 August 1984 McCabe was arrested ; Brian McShane and Pat McPhillips were arrested twenty minutes earlier .

Within ten minutes of being taken to Navan Garda Station , Noel McCabe began making a lengthy statement . It told everything he knew about the robbery ; it was not the kind of confession sweated out of a suspect over a long period . It was detailed and convincing , and it corroborated and gave credence to statements made earlier by others of the group . McCabe was in over his head and now he just wanted to tell all .

He had'nt intended to get involved in the killing of a garda .......


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 .

Gregory Campbell , DUP , stated - " I would see homosexuality as something which merited the curse of God . There are others who are not homosexuals , and I'm not saying that everyone who has AIDS has got the curse of God on them , but the basis of the thing is that AIDS came about because of sexual contact between homosexuals . Now that to me is something which shows in a small way that there is more than just human opposition to homosexuality .

In the bible there is only one sin which called down literal fire and brimstone from God and that was'nt murder . It was'nt theft , it was homosexuality . " ('1169....' Comment : a 'flavour' , reader , of the intolerance of the British imposed 'Ruling Class' in our six north-eastern counties . May your God have mercy on your soul should you be a gay Catholic/Republican/Nationalist !)

Fire and brimstone , the 'Last Days' , Armageddon : the images are deeply ingrained in the collective mind of the Democratic Unionist Party . Politically , Ivan Foster has a certain sympathy with the embattled whites of South Africa - " I have never studied the reasons for apartheid , but I have to say this : it must be a rather frightening thing when you have watched other African States given into the hands of races that to say the least have been catapulted into the twentieth century over the last few years , and if I were a white there I certainly would be very concerned about giving power into the hands of a majority and then to find that all that I had done , and my forefathers had done , would just be destroyed in tribal warfare and general , unsophisticated unintelligent attempts at governing the country . " ('1169 ... ' Comment : racialism can be added to the DUP list of 'credits' .....)

Jim Wells is young and smooth : a Queen's University graduate from the rich farming lands of South Down , which he represents for the DUP in the (Six County) 'Assembly ' . Now twenty-eight , he was in his last year at Queens University when he was elected to Lisburn Council for his home district of Moira , where the large family farm is situated .......


Last month , BRENDAN McFARLANE was ordered by a Dutch court to be extradited back to the North to serve out a sentence of 25 years . He is appealing the decision . His companion GERARD KELLY had his plea accepted that his offences were political . BRENDAN McFARLANE has been on the run since he led thirty-seven men in an escape out of the MAZE PRISON in September 1983 . In an exclusive interview with MAGILL at Bylmerbages Prison in Amsterdam , McFARLANE talks about his life , his youth and upbringing , and his involvement with the ARMED STRUGGLE in the North .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1986 .

Brendan McFarlane is as committed to the armed struggle in the North as he was when he first took up arms fifteen years ago ; he totally subscribes to the Armalite/Ballot Box approach of the Provisionals , referring to it as - " ...the classic revolutionary strategy . " The word he uses for that policy is - " Super . "

From the confines of the Amsterdam prison , from which , if he is extradited , he faces the remainder of his twenty-five year sentence , he articulates the justification for the use of force in the North of Ireland - " There's no other way out of it . There's no corner to get around it . There's no other way except that match with the British on the ground . " In relation to killing people , he says that "'s messy . It's regrettable that people have to die but there's no other way out of it . The fact that civilians , the RUC , and the army - the army with a working class background - the fact that they have to die to maintain the status quo is deeply regrettable . "

He would also claim that he has been affected by the violence , including that carried out by himself - " I am affected personally . Nobody likes violence . I do it as an absolute necessity . But it's not inherent in my being , in my nature . It takes a lot to push yourself to that line - to be part of , and to witness , death . It takes a lot of consideration . The use of violence has hardened my attitude in general to those types of situations . I have learned to have a much harder outlook . "

He would say that "...a day has'nt gone by .. " without thinking of those who have died , especially close friends killed in action , and particularly the hunger strikers , of whom he says that he "...never experienced anything like it . " Their dedication was total . He is not uncomfortable answering questions about those that have been killed , but is serious and articulate . He has spent the last two months totally isolated in Bylmerbages Prison in Amsterdam . As yet , he is not receiving any papers . Despite the fact that his extradition has been ordered , and that he will almost certainly remain in jail well into the next century , he is not depressed .

He talks very easily and remains good humoured .......