" DON'T LET THEM BREAK YOU , LOVE " .
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .
This is the first time I have put pen to paper to try and document some of the crimes I have been subjected to .
You'll forgive me if I don't feel the need to ask you to understand just what is happening here in the occupied Six Counties . Rather I demand your realisation of what is being done in your name , to me , and to countless hundreds of my sisters . You have read of us , some of you have even met us , but you have never 'lived' us . Maybe this will help. Think of it as 'A Day In The Life ...' :
I am the eldest daughter of four children , born to working-class parents in a Catholic ghetto in Belfast . In August 1971 the British Government introduced internment . My father evaded arrest until December 1971 , then was taken by British troops to Castlereagh Interrogation Centre and held there incommunicado : witnesses to his arrest testified to the savage and brutal beating he received . We were denied access , and were denied a writ of habeus corpus . At this stage we just wanted his body , as we believed him to be dead .
Our home became a regular haunt of the British occupation forces - early morning raids , dawn arrests , these were our examples of 'British impartiality' . I was first arrested on the morning of my birthday in June 1974 , forced to stand 'spread-eagle' against a brick wall for four hours , subjected to a continual barrage of insults , rubber batons run up the inside of my leg , enquiries as to my sexual preferences , physically searched again and again by British troops , insulted , degraded , humiliated . I was sixteen that day .......
THE HEROIC PRISON STRUGGLE .......
1981 was dominated by the grim and heroic struggle of Republican prisoners for political recognition - which they undoubtedly received from millions all over the world , yet which few governments , least of all London or Dublin , would grant them .
From 'AP/RN' , 31st December 1981 .
By Teresa Kelly .
On Sunday 26th April 1981 , twenty thousand marchers demonstrated on the Falls Road in Belfast . The size of the crowd , the many speakers who addressed the rally - US Attorney-General Ramsey Clark , Massachusetts State Representative Marie Howe , American Jesuit pacifist Fr. Daniel Berrigan , Kerry GAA football celebrity Joe Keohane , Bernadette McAliskey (who was making her first public appearance since the UDA's attempt on her life and on that of her husband on January 16th 1981) and , finally , the dozens of telegrams from all over Europe , the USA and Britain , that were read to the demonstrators : all these elements pointed to an unprecedented support for the prisoners' cause , a hitherto unequalled world interest in the plight of the Irish people .
Yet the British were to remain unmoved ; as the H-Block prisoners pointed out much later , in their October 3rd 1981 statement drawing the lessons of the hunger strike they had just ended - " The nationalist community is politically inconsequential and impotent in the context of the six-county statelet . "
Bobby Sands died at 1.17AM on Tuesday 5th May 1981 : as an angry nationalist community took to the dark streets , some women with bin lids , others with rosary beads , youths with stones and petrol bombs , the British Army and the RUC indulged in an orgy of attacks on by-standers , driving armoured cars at groups of women who were praying , shooting on small children with plastic bullets . On April 19th 1981 , in Derry , two youths had been savagely run over and killed by British Army vehicles - Gary English , aged nineteen , and Jimmy Brown , aged eighteen . Tensions were already high in the North over this incident .
The unadulterated violence displayed by British troops and the RUC would cause many more deaths and permanent injuries , causing even 'moderate' politicians and churchmen to condemn the use of plastic bullets , concerned as they were by the rising popular indignation and wishing that the British troops would 'behave' in a more 'acceptable' manner....... ('1169...' Comment - there is no 'acceptable' manner to Republicans for any British soldier to behave in on this island .)
IN THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN .......
The aspirations of SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY towards socialist respectability are undermined by the continued military operations of the OFFICIAL IRA and that Party's own ideoligical contortions .
From ' MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .
By Vincent Browne.
The Official IRA was always used to control Sinn Fein the Workers Party and this did not end certainly until well after 1978 , if even then . The OIRA Convention used to be held regularly prior to the SFWP Ard Fheis and at those Conventions it would be decided how the OIRA should vote en bloc at the Ard Fheis . Therefore military discipline was effectively deployed at the party level to influence decisions .
The level of robberies stepped up considerably after the OIRA ceasefire , especially when the ceasefire became effective . The robberies took place across the North and in the South : a gang formed in Belfast especially for robberies , which became known as ' The Dirty Dozen' (initially comprised of 12 men and later of 13 ) , it reputedly stole £200,000 in one 4-month period : targets were mainly post offices , post office vans and security vans .
The Official IRA became primarily a fund-raising organisation but it served other purposes too - it kept order in the vast drinking clubs that the Officials own in the North and in Dublin ; it maintained internal discipline through intimidation and beatings , and provided the means of 'self-defence' for the party which got into feuds from time to time with the Provos . The Official IRA has also been responsible for running rackets in Belfast particularly . This involved primarily the operation of tax exemption fraud , which the Provos have also perfected .
On many building sites 'lump labour' is employed on a contractual basis - a 'weakness' in the method of collection of income tax from these workers was spotted .......