Tuesday, November 29, 2005

First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

I was arrested under the infamous 'Section 12 of the PTA' and then 'stitched-up' by the British 'Paid Perjurer' System . I maintained my silence , knowing that within the week I would join those women whose very existence denies every atrocity inflicted by their oppressors . I was charged , and taken from the court to Armagh .

I remember a tremendous feeling of unreality about my arrival in Armagh Jail ; detached , I entered the prison , thinking wryly of my next forthcoming encounter with British rule : photographed , weighed , then brought into the 'reception room' where eight screws were present , standing silently , waiting , hoping to see another one 'break' . Then the dreaded words - " RIGHT ! STRIP ! "

I was hustled into a small cubicle and slowly began to undo the buttons of my shirt .... " This can't be happening to me ..it can't...." - but of course it could . Item by item , I removed my clothes , each article taken from me and scrutinised . I knew there was no need to search me - I had been in custody for over a week , I had'nt seen one friendly face or heard one word of kindness since 'leaving' the house : dragged out , shoeless and coatless , by a mixed force of British troops and RUC men .

As I stood there naked , I grasped my ideals to my heart . They were'nt going to succeed . I would NOT break .......


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 .

Over forty thousand copies of 'The Writings Of Bobby Sands' and 'The Diary Of Bobby Sands' were sold through the campaign : extracts were quoted in the world press . Sentences appeared on the walls of Belfast and Derry , and the lark has now become the symbol of the jailed freedom fighters . Bobby Sands gave the prisoners a voice .

Francis Hughes died on May 12th 1981 after fifty-nine days on hunger-strike : Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O'Hara died on May 21st 1981 after sixty-one days on hunger-strike . huge crowds of mourners attended their funerals , pickets were organised all over Ireland , mock coffins were carried by thousands of protestors to British embassies or consulates all over Europe , in America , Australia , New Zealand ; vigils and pickets were organised in Britain .

On May 23rd 1981 , local elections took place in the Six Counties and , although Sinn Fein did not field any candidates , in Belfast , two IRSP and two 'People's Democracy' candidates , standing on anti-H-Block manifestos , were elected to the city council . Gerry Fitt , who had despicably sided with Margaret Thatcher on the prison issue , lost the seat which he had held for twenty-three years . Paddy Devlin scraped through on the last count .

The 'Irish Independence Party' , which had publicly supported the prisoners demands , gained twenty-one seats , an increase of eleven .......



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 is still very visible in Belfast as the incident in Ardmonagh Gardens on January 29 this year (1982) shows : this incident occurred in the Turf Lodge area of Belfast , when about 20 members of the Official IRA took part in an eviction of a family from a house : the OIRA members carried rifles and short arms openly on the street in broad daylight and they pursued a man in a manner that suggested that they intended to cause him serious injury at least .

The incident started when members of Provisional Sinn Fein (actually probably PIRA members) went around to families living in flats in Ardmonagh Gardens , asking if any of them would like to move into a house which was about to become vacant . A Seamus Smith said that he would like to move his wife and three young children in , and this was agreed . A few days later he started cleaning the vacant house and began some re-decoration , and moved some of the furniture from his flat into the house . A knock came to the door of the house on the evening of Thursday , January 28 1982 and , when he answered it , there were two men standing on the doorstep with their hands inside their coats , suggesting that they were armed .

They said to him - " You had better be out of here tomorrow at six o' clock or you're going to be shot . " They said they were from the Official IRA but he did'nt recognise either of them . Naturally frightened by the visit , he approached the local PIRA and was told later that night that they (the Provos) had been in touch with the Official IRA and that the matter had been sorted out - that he could continue moving into the house . The following evening at around six o' clock (Friday , January 29 , 1982 : the second day of the recent general election campaign) , Seamus Smith left the house to go across the road for his tea to his mother-in-law's home ; immediately after he did so he was informed by a neighbour that armed men had broken into the house . Two Ford vans had driven into Ardmonagh Gardens and about twenty men had got out ; about six of them held rifles and several others were carrying short arms .

These men effectively took over the street , manning corners , standing in the centre of the road and even taking up positions in the fields at the back of the street : three of them dashed into the flats where Seamus Smith and his family had lived and smashed down the front door and then kicked in the sitting-room sliding door . Neither Smith nor any of his family were there , so the men left .......