Monday, August 08, 2005

Ten years ago this month the ' ULSTER WORKERS COUNCIL' strike brought down the power-sharing executive of BRIAN FAULKNER and GERRY FITT .
ANDY POLLAK talks to UDA leader ANDY TYRIE , one of the men behind the 1974 work stoppage , and GEORGE SEAWRIGHT , one of the new breed of hard-line Loyalist spokesmen , about the outlook for Northern Ireland's (sic) Protestants in the 1980's .
From ' FORTNIGHT ' magazine , May 1984 .

The failure of the 1977 work stoppage was a turning point for the UDA : Andy Tyrie stated : " The British government stopped taking the loyalist community seriously after 1977 because they saw them so divided . What they did learn from 1977 was that people here are more concerned with their jobs , their British status and their respectable image because they're British .

Here more than anywhere else once a Loyalist becomes educated , he moves away and becomes part of a big bloc of people who will not become involved . The (British) government studies this and found that the most it can expect from most loyalists is to march about and protest . But if it means taking on the British establishment in a civil war situation , that is totally different . "

The UDA too learned from the 1977 failure - Andy Tyrie and his UDA 'lieutenants' resolved to turn the UDA into a permanent organisation . At first this involved going into electoral politics on an ' independent Ulster (sic) ' platform , which was less to do with 'territorial independence ' than "...identifying ourselves clearly as being Ulster (sic) people . " But around 1981-1982 it was decided to 'rest the political thing' because there was so much confusion among Unionists and in-fighting among their political leaders .

The UDA decided that if it was going to have to prepare , in the face of the rapidly growing Sinn Fein threat for an eventual 'doomsday situation' , it would need to be friendly with all the Unionist and Loyalist political groupings . A 'Front Group' would be needed .......


The Sinn Fein electoral wagon is slowing down . As a result , the IRA is likely to begin stepping up its war against the Northern State . GENE KERRIGAN reports from Belfast and also interviews Sinn Fein's DANNY MORRISON on the party's recent successes and failures .
From ' MAGILL ' magazine , September 1984.

Belfast city centre is now being advertised as one marvellous big shopping centre - which it is - and some republicans point , for example , to Great Victoria Street : " It used to be a derelict street , you go down there now it's like Los Angeles at night-time ... " This is not just spite on behalf of the Provos ; when the (British) authorities emphasise that there is a return to normality they are making a political point - that the state is governable under British rule despite the best efforts of the IRA . The Provos see a campaign of bombing as a way of undermining such claims and the prestige and credibility of the security (sic) forces .

The successes of Sinn Fein in the electoral field have acted as a political constraint on the IRA (' 1169 ....' Comment - the point that the PIRA organisation was 'stood down' last month , July 2005 ) - most IRA activity is now concentrated on the relentless killing of members of the security (sic) forces , a military tactic which is certainly more acceptable to Sinn Fein supporters than is the bombing tactic . The killing of Sean Downes in front of TV cameras undermined the credibility of those in Belfast , London and Dublin who had claimed that the RUC was a reformed force and necessitated the entering of caveats . In the nationalist ghettos , however , that claim of reform was never accepted . There is awareness that Sean Downes was the fifteenth person to die from a ' baton round ' , some of the previous
being of children clearly not involved in violence .

The RUC shoot-to-kill policy , the resignation of the Armagh coroner , the complaints of lawyers about the 'supergrass' tactic , have all emphasised that the killing of Sean Downes was special only because it was so public . All of this created the circumstances in which Sinn Fein could make electoral gains even though the IRA was regularly killing members of the security (sic) forces in often horrific circumstances . In the short term , however , the Provos' political base is unlikely to spread very much wider . The electoral campaign was never seen by the Provos as being central to their strategy .......


The Evelyn Glenholmes affair not only involved unlawful activity by gardai , it stemmed from the chaotic condition of the force which has resulted from ignoring the warning signs of the past decade .
By Gene Kerrigan.
First published in ' MAGILL ' magazine , April 1986 .

In May 1984 the 'Kerry Babies' saga began ; a public inquiry was launched in January 1985 , supposedly because the Hayes family made allegations against the gardai .

4. Expediency .

Up to the Kerry Babies case , there was a knowledge within the gardai that rules could be bent and stretched ; the courts invariably sided with the garda story and convicted .

There was some 'rowing back' ; some judges were beginning to challenge the abuses of Section 30 , which most remarkably led to the release of Robert Trimbole , and there was an even more important decision on Section 30 last year by Mr. Justice Barr . But there was still no reassessment in political circles , still no acknowledgement that there was within the force a trend towards righteousness , a crusading spirit in which gardai could ' know ' something and could then set about 'proving' it , could take shortcuts .

In the wake of the Kerry Babies report expediency ruled - the Hayes allegations were unsustainable and the family was discredited . Yet there was the question of watertight confessions to a crime they did not commit (' 1169 .... ' Comment - ..shades of the Donegal 'hit-and-run/murder' affair .. ) . Four gardai were chosen for sacrifice .......