Friday, January 06, 2006

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.)

Consider the alternatives to the two methods of fighting : two young-fellow's sit in a car or hang about a car-park in a quiet Loyalist town , such as Portrush or Newcastle , wait for an RUC member or two to walk down the street , shoot him/them and make their escape .

There is little planning needed (RUC members have to walk down most streets in the North every day ) , handguns are by far the easiest weapons to transport - certainly more convenient than half a ton of explosives - and there are no local contacts who can be picked up by the RUC afterwards to find out the structure of the operation . The effect is quite devastating and its psychological impact on the community is enormous .

The secret of success is simple ; there are 'two' RUC's in the North of Ireland - there is the RUC of the Falls Road , the Bogside , Newry and Crossmaglen and there is the RUC of Newtownards , Comber , Portrush , Newcastle , Ballynahinch and Ballymoney : the RUC in Bangor does not expect to be hit - the RUC in Strabane does . So you hit them where they do not expect it - hardly an original guerilla war idea , and you hit them in a way that they neither expect nor can counter . The only way to stop a two-person RUC patrol being shot in the back of the head is for one of them to walk backwards down the street at all times .

Quite simply there is no effective counter-measure that the RUC can adopt .......


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

What had emerged over a two-day period was the involvement in varying degrees and roles of Fr. Denis Faul , Fr. Oliver Crilly and Cardinal O' Fiaich in an attempt to bring an immediate and unconditional end to the hunger-strike ; Fr. Crilly was tasked with providing a completely implausible and incredible 'way out' for the hunger-strikers in which was inherent all of Faul's reasoning the previous week at his meeting with Sinn Fein's Eamonn McCrory - ' the prisoners to help themselves..' etc .

Faul provided the pressure on the prisoners supporters through subterfuge and exploitation of the emotions of the hunger-strikers families . And Cardinal O' Fiaich , to whom Faul was conceivably 'reporting-in' to on the morning of Wednesday July 29th 1981 , when Gerry Adams was attempting to contact Faul , was on hand to arrange any necessary facilities with regard to prison visits which might arise .

The following morning , Thursday July 30th 1981 , Gerry Adams rang Fr. Faul who expressed his satisfaction that Adams had done everything possible in appraising the hunger-strikers of the grim reality of their situation . But at another meeting he held with the families , again in Toomebridge , later that day , he cast aspersions on the credibility of Adams' account of what took place inside the prison ; to his 'arsenal' of lies and emotional exploitation , Fr. Faul had now added the undermining of the prisoners' supporters as a weapon towards his ends .

From this point onward Faul ignored the 'bulldozer' tactics he had employed on the evening of Tuesday July 28th 1981 , opting for a more sedate pace involving moral exploitation , undermining the prisoners and vilification of the prisoners' supporters on the outside while all the time maintaining his public image by reiterating his 'support' of the prisoners' five demands .......


From 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .

There are countless stories in Belfast of these incidents involving members of the Official IRA , and they are certainly a weekly , if not daily , occurrance .

Only earlier this month the Official IRA were involved in kneecappings of two brothers in the Moyard housing estate . During the hunger-strike protest last year the OIRA intimidated several pub owners into either refusing to close during hunger-strike funerals or , as in one case , forcing a publican to remain closed for one week in retaliation for closing during a funeral .

Members of Sinn Fein The Workers Party also carried out a vendetta against members of the IRSP .......