Wednesday, August 10, 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 UDA's 'Front' group , the 'Ulster (sic) Defence Force' will be , according to Andy Tyrie ... " ...a reserve army for a possible day of confrontation . We're not going to recruit people to go out and bomb and shoot people or parade or march about . What we want to do is to spend a considerable amount of time and finances training for the defence of their community . "

This , he says , involves plans to.... " ... change people's attitudes on defence plans for the whole community , put into operation semi-military schemes within the law , and make sure we have deep penetration within the community , in most (British) government offices and bodies , so that we have eyes and ears everywhere we can possibly get them . " Ultimately , the British government has more respect for the potential threat posed by the UDA , says Tyrie ... " ...they know rightly that in a crisis we can develop into a military machine very rapidly and they also know we have no qualms about defending this society . "

But he also emphasises that such a force (ie the 'UDF') would be used to stop the British government forcing Northern Loyalists into a united Ireland , and not ... " go out and attack the Catholic community . " ( '1169.... ' Comment - did'nt work , then .... ) He also says he sees the attitudes of Unionist politicians to the UDA changing , with Martin Smyth of the 'Official Unionist Party ' speaking up for them and Ian Paisley of the 'Democratic Unionist Party' sharing platforms with UDA leaders in support of Loyalist prisoners ... "...they see the UDA working very hard to change the image of our organisation and they feel it's not as unrespectable as it was a few years ago to be associating with us , " says Tyrie .

" There's a big realisation that none of the Loyalist or Unionist groups can do anything on their own , and there's always a feeling that there is an impending crisis when we'll all come together ....... " The UDA was forecasting a 'head on' collision - Protestants , they declared , will otherwise not survive as a people on the island .......


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.

The British ' Representation Of The People Act ' was introduced after Bobby Sands won the Fermanagh-South Tyrone seat in 1981 - the 'Act' prohibits prisoners from standing in elections . British sources say that this applies only to prisoners , not to ex-prisoners . The Provos , however , claim that it will be used to hamper them . They point to their attempt to stand ex-prisoner Kieran O' Donnell in a by-election in Dungannon and the British insistence that O' Donnell could not stand for election until five years had elapsed since his conviction !

Since many of the Provo members most active in community politics are ex-prisoners such harassment would hit them hard . In such circumstances , or even prior to the elections if the IRA accept that the gains that are to be made have already been made , the war will be stepped up , using the methods which have by now become traditional . Even in such circumstances , with some newly-won political support draining away , it can be guaranteed that the activities of the security forces will continue to be such as to consolidate a sufficient political base for the Provos to continue their war as long as they consider necessary .

In the South the debate following the death of Sean Downes was not about the relationship between the forces of this State and the RUC - instead the debate quickly collapsed into a farical examination of the fine print of Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act , to see if there are any more 'blinkers' we can put on . In the light of this , of the successes and setbacks which Sinn Fein has had in the establishment of a clear political base , and of the possibility of the stepping up of the war by the IRA , 'MAGILL' interviewed Sinn Fein's Director of Publicity , Danny Morrison .......


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 .

The 'fall out' from the 'Kerry Babies Case' hit the gardai - Commissioner Wren met with the Executive of the Garda Representation Association ; 'GRA' President , Jack Marrinan , told Wren - according to the minutes of this meeting - that the GRA was unhappy with the treatment of one of the four gardai , Garda John Harrington . As the other three men were Sergeants , they were represented by the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors ('AGSI') , the GRA was not representing them .

Jack Marrinan ('GRA' President) , according to the minutes , said that Garda John Harrington was... "....not in the group threatening court action (and) was no way involved in the court threats " . He said that Harrington "...did not appear to be as deeply involved in the errors ... " as the others . Commissioner Wren said he would... "..very much bear in mind .. " this representation . In effect , the 'GRA' was accepting that all four gardai committed "errors" , although no one - not the Garda Commissioner , not the (FS) Minister for Justice , not Judge Lynch , not the media - could point to any such errors .

The 'GRA' was accepting that those 'AGSI' members who had considered court action against what they saw as unfair punishment (and as they no course of appeal) were " threatening" Commissioner Wren rather than using the judicial facilities available to them .

For the 'GRA' , as for everyone else , it was more expedient that individual gardai bear the brunt of the punishment rather than that there be a wholesale re-assessment of what had gone wrong with the garda force .......