" 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' .
As I felt a hand slowly moving down the calves of my leg , my flesh crawled . They were'nt content to jibe at my naked state , they had to 'search' me - a 'skin-search' . It sounds ridiculous , but it's true. I was ordered to turm around , and I managed to totally ignore that command and the following ones . They could strip me , but no way was I going to assist them . They were forced to move behind me and , as I steeled myself , they searched my hair .
Eventually , they could draw out the search no longer - they told me to re-enter the cubicle and dress quickly , but I remained where I was , silently staring at each one of them in turn , wanting them to look at my face . These were women - women who did this to me . I am 5ft 1inch and weigh 6st 9lbs , and it took eight of these prison screws to be present . I slowly returned to the cubicle and started to dress , feeling drained , and I noticed a tremble in my hands . I felt violated , invaded , victimised . And very , very angry .
Within the next 48 hours I was to be strip-searched five times . I wrote numerous letters of complaint to the Board of Visitors , calling into question their empty excuses that strip-searching is necessary on 'security grounds' . Each time I left the prison I was under joint British military/RUC escort , and was taken to the court (two minutes journey away) in a steel-reinforced van , locked into a steel 'pig-sty' within the van and dragged out of it and hustled into the courtroom for a 30 second appearance in the dock , and returned immediately to the prison .
Both before getting into the van and when leaving it back at the jail I was strip-searched , stripped naked twice within twenty minutes , having had no contact at all with the public .......
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 June 23rd 1981 , as Joe McDonnell was beginning his fifty-seventh day on hunger-strike , the 'Irish Commission for Justice and Peace' met the British Under-Secretary for Prisons in the North , Michael Alison . At that meeting he told them that he saw no problem in the prisoners wearing their own clothes : from that day to July 8th , when Joe McDonnell died , the British government was to engage in yet another exercise in brinkmanship with the prisoners' lives , letting the Commission meet the hunger-strikers , but not their Officer Commanding , Brendan McFarlane , allowing the Commission members to raise the relatives' hopes only to crush them , as on July 3rd , when Michael Alison renaged on the clothes issue .
All along , Garret Fitzgerald , the Fine Gael Free State 'Taoiseach' , was monitoring the situation , and even met the families of the hunger strikers on July 3rd 1981 , impressing on them that they should get their sons to accept the Commission's statement ; but the British government's 'about-turn' on the clothes issue , followed by their stalling , ensured that the Commission was shown as a 'puppet' in the hands of the British . On July 8th 1981 , Joe McDonnell died after sixty-one days on hunger-strike .
Never at any time had the Republican prisoners stated that the Commission's proposals were acceptable to them yet , in spite of a lengthy and crystal-clear statement by the prisoners , on July 14th 1981 , the Commission , a creation of the Irish 'establishment' , had lent itself willingly to the cynical manoeuvres of the British government : the streets of the Occupied Six Counties echoed once more , for the fifth time in less than ten weeks , with the fracas of bin lids and of angry rioting .......
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.
It appears that many of the Official IRA's arms were dumped around 1975 : one of those arms dumps was discovered in Monaghan by the Gardai in September 1980 : among the items found then were six handguns , 10,000 rounds of ammunition , walkie-talkie radios and a quantity of silver coins - left overs from a bank raid . Training manuals and other documents were also found , leading Gardai to conclude that weapons training had been carried out by the Official IRA some short time previously .
Sinn Fein the Workers Party strenuously denies that any of its finance comes from robberies ; in spite of these denials , however , we have identified the following robberies as having been carried out by members of the Official IRA since 1975 . We have been able to identify robberies that amount to only about half a million pounds in all and much of this was recovered afterwards . But we are aware that these represent only the tip of the iceberg - that much more money has been robbed by members of the Official IRA over the last several years . One former member of the OIRA Army Council estimates that the Official IRA robbed a total of about £2 million since the 1972 ceasefire .
We have also been informed that two major robberies were conducted in the run up to the June 1981 general election campaign , one of which took place in Belfast in early 1981 when a bank on the Ormeau Road was raided . The other robbery took place in the South and the takings were very considerable . We are not aware of the precise details of either of these operations and have therefore left them out of this narrative ; however , we wish to point out that there was a major jewellery robbery in McDowells Jewellers in O' Connell Street , Dublin , on April 24 , 1981 , when jewellery valued at £100,000 was taken . We have no evidence that this was stolen by the Official IRA but this is the only robbery of its size undertaken in the run-up to the 1981 election .
Also , as outlined below , the Official IRA was involved in another jewellery robbery in May 1980 and therefore must have the means of disposing of jewellery on the black market .......