Monday, February 19, 2007


The recent strike by BBC journalists over the 'REAL LIVES' programme and the dispute at RTE over the interview with NORAID representative MARTIN GALVIN have focused world attention on Sinn Fein once again .MICHAEL KELLY spoke to Sinn Fein president GERRY ADAMS at interviews in Dublin and Belfast , conducted over the course of the past month .

From 'IN DUBLIN' magazine, August 1985 .

Barbara De Brun, Sinn Fein's press officer in Belfast , has an office up the winding stairs from where you can see the derelict sites which make up large tracts of West Belfast . The problems of the young in Belfast are exactly the same as those in Dublin - lack of jobs and money , bad housing and few facilities . She says the big difference is that they have to suffer constant harassment from the British army and 'security forces'.

Anyone in Belfast will tell you that the big difference between growing up in the two cities is that young people rarely go into town - nightclubs and cinemas are unused by the young , who fear to leave their own areas , and this is particularly true of the nationalist areas . The 'Fair Employment Agency' there recently reported that , even after all the controversy over employment at the Short Brothers Plant, only one of the eight apprentices taken on this year was a nationalist .

Social workers in the city tell a story of growing deprivation on all sides in the city , with people falling into a vicious circle of more and more debt : they owe money for electricity and this is automatically debited from their welfare payments , leaving them owing more under the 'Payment of Debt (Emergency Provisions) Act', which is only in force in the Six Counties . In areas like the Divis Flats there is high mortality rate for infants , high incidence of spina bifida, and many people suffer from pulmonary diseasea.......

From 'MAGILL' magazine, August 1983 .

Raymond Gilmour did not look like Raymond Gilmour : as lately as twelve months ago he looked just like the prisoners in the dock , the young men and women from the Bogside and the Creggan among whom he had grown up , with many of whom he had socialised , with one of whom he had been drinking in a bar on the night before the RUC came to his Creggan home and loaded him and his wife and children into an armoured car and their furniture into a removal lorry and took them into 'protective custody' .

Later that morning the RUC returned to the Creggan and took away the man with whom Raymond Gilmour had been drinking , charged him with a great many things and charged a great many other people as well . That man and the others in the dock looked now like they had always looked , as Raymond Gilmour had always used to look - like part of a working-class crowd , in tee-shirts and plain sweaters , with plain haircuts , with pale faces or a ruddy complexion , the odd tattoo on a forearm , and jeans and scuffed shoes , which were occasionally visible when they leaned back in their chairs and rested a foot on the rail of the dock .

Raymond Gilmour , fully visible to the press alone , was beautifully dressed in a tailored slim-line dark blue suit : his shirt was a brand new gleaming white one , the striped silver and dark red tie a little too glittering perhaps . His skin was evenly tanned , the newly grown black beard trimmed neatly to his jawline . His hair was glossy , parted in the middle , but blow-dried so that it rose softly above the parting and fell gently on either side . His finger-nails were manicured . He looked , as they say in Derry , a 'credit....'

Sinn Fein's recent election success in the North of Ireland have focussed attention on the Provisionals' new turn to political activity at local level . There have been parallel developments in the organisation in the 26 counties .
'GRALTON' magazine spoke to Paddy Bolger , Ard Comhairle member and National Organiser for Sinn Fein ,with special responsibility for Dublin , about the changed perspective .
From 'GRALTON' magazine , August/September 1983 .

'GRALTON' magazine : " Do you find in your service work when acting as intermediaries between the consumers and the state or the local bureaucracy , you get a response as Sinn Fein ? "

PADDY BOLGER : " Certainly in Dublin Corporation we haven't experienced any prejudice from the administrative people . A lot of them are very helpful , and even at this low level of servicing they recognise that there is a real concern . The average TD (sic - Leinster House member) will deal with problems by correspondence whereas we have two full time people working with Christy Burke in the No. 6 electoral area who actually go to the Corporation every morning and work through the files with the Corporation people . We certainly have credibility with them , and have been very successful in housing matters , particularly with transfers .

The Labour Party and The Workers Party won't deal with such cases because they are transferring votes out . We have a woman working in the Ballymun area part-time who is likely to be the candadate there , but she is handling transfers out of the constituency . We also involve the community in the work we are doing , and have advisors invited on to tenants' associations in three city centre areas . "