Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The '1169...' crew will be 'closing up shop' later on this week for our Christmas break ; we will probably be absent for about one week , but it could be less : depends on when the funds run dry !

The Easter Commemoration Parades took place this year in the North as usual . At the regular venues - Belfast , Derry , Crossmaglen , Newry - the same Proclamation was read , the usual speeches were made and the routine Army Council message was delivered to the faithful .
The only difference this year was that by Good Friday the North's death toll since 1969 had reached 2,500 and Ireland's longest period of civil disturbance appeared no nearer an end .
Behind much of the violence stands the Provisional IRA , organisers of most Easter Parades and , by their own claims , direct lineal descendants* of the men of 1916 . But how strong are they and for how long can they continue the military and political struggle ?
PATRICK MURPHY reports from Belfast .
First published in 'NEW HIBERNIA' magazine , May 1987 .
(* In 1986 the Provisional IRA abandoned that lineage and offered their support to what was to become a Leinster House-registered political party.)

As the North of Ireland heads towards yet another long hot summer and political solutions appear as remote as ever the one constant factor in 'the province' is the level of violence ; already this year's death toll looks like being twice that of 1986 and , apart from the INLA feud , most of the 'violence' has stemmed from the Provisional IRA .

Now in its 17th year * since its origins as yet another Republican splinter group , the Provisional IRA have in 1987 stepped-up their military campaign and if success can be measured in terms of casualties , this year (ie 1987) so far has been one of their most successful since the mid-1970's . (* SIC : 1987 was , in fact , the first year of operations carried out by the PIRA after they had left the Republican Movement the previous year .)

The success has been brought about by a new military strategy and by an increasing political urgency to deliver the military 'goods' at a time when some elements within the organisation have feared its drift towards conventional politics . The new military strategy is simple - dead bodies represent military progress and the greater the number of dead bodies which can be achieved with the minimum risk of apprehension then the better the success rate . In Provo terms , dead bodies fall into two categories - British Army personnel and UDR/RUC personnel .......


First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

Present at a meeting in the Sinn Fein Office in Belfast on July 28th 1981 were Fathers Denis Faul , Murray and McIldowney (from Dungiven) , a group of people who accompanied Fr. Faul but who had no apparent role , relatives of most of the hunger-strikers , Gerry Adams , Eamonn McGrory and Jim Gibney of Sinn Fein and two representatives from the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) .

Not only was Fr. Faul's assertion about Gerry Adams proved to be untrue but the circumstances in which he alleged it had been made to him by Brendan McFarlane were equally proved to be entirely bogus . Firstly , the conversation that Faul had had with McFarlane had taken place weeks previously and not , as he (Faul) had been inferring to the relatives , within the few days prior to the Toombridge meeting .

Secondly , the conversation was only in the context of the role prescribed by Bobby Sands for Gerry Adams and Danny Morrison (Sinn Fein) during the Charles Haughey-inspired intervention by the European Commission on Human Rights in April 1981 . At that time Bobby Sands had stated that he was not prepared to meet members of the Commission unless two external nominees , Adams and Morrison , and the prisoners representative , McFarlane , were present .

All of this was proved to the mutual satisfaction of all present , and strangely with no obvious embarrassment to Fr. Denis Faul , by a communication from Brendan McFarlane which was in the files of the H-Block Information Centre and which detailed the contents and timing of that conversation weeks earlier . Fr. Faul himself assented to the correctness of those details when they were read out .......


From 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .

The person who is believed to have been directly responsible for the shooting of Seamus Costello held no personal animosity towards Costello and the belief is that he was specifically ordered to kill the IRSP leader by a very senior person in the Official organisation .

There was an earlier attempt made on Seamus Costello's life in Waterford on May 7th , 1975 : Costello had spoken at a meeting in the city that night and on his way to the home of one of the organisers , the car in which they were travelling was raked with machine gun fire by a passenger on a motorbike . The motorbike keeled over and it was this which saved Costello's life at the time .

We have been informed that both men on the motorbike were senior members of the Official IRA in Dublin , who were attached to the GHQ Staff of that organisation . It is believed that the gun used in the attempted murder was later found by Gardai but not identified by them as such .

There is no question but that that attempt on Seamus Costello's life was a fully authorised Official IRA operation .
(Next - 'The Murder of Hugh Halloran' , September 8th , 1979 .)

29th Christmas Morning Swim : 1976-2005.


Venue : Grand Canal (opposite Kellys Pub/Blackhorse Inn) Inchicore , Dublin 8 .

15 swimmers , turf fire , Rebel music , lemonade for the kids , 'soup' for the adults...


Organised by CABHAIR (Irish Republican Prisoners Dependants Fund) , 223 Parnell Street , Dublin 1 .