Wednesday, February 21, 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 .

Do young people of one religion ever meet those of another socially ? People on all sides looked at me with polite disdain : they all know that they only ever meet in very formal school situations and none believe that contact of this type will solve the 'Troubles' . One nationalist woman told me - " It's like saying 'if you got the children of the contras and the Sandinistas together that the problems of Nicaragua would be solved' " .

When you leave the Sinn Fein offices the reality of Belfast becomes apparent - an eight-man patrol of young , nervous British soldiers weaved their way from side to side up the street , now and then crouching in doorways , their FN rifles at the ready . The few local people about - mostly old , for it's an old area - hurried about their business oblivious to everything that was happening .

If Dublin has been described by some commentators as resembling London in the Blitz, then Belfast , both in the Falls and the Shankill Road , is more like Dresden. Large tracts of land resemble the most tumbledown areas of Dublin's North Quays - old men and women hurry along the streets of terraced houses left standing and small groups of youths gather at the street corners.......

From 'MAGILL' magazine, August 1983 .

Raymond Gilmour shunned looks and he sat concealed , and he did not look up into the public gallery , where his mother sat , and his three sisters and his brother . His father was not there - he was taken into custody (link here - see near end of page) by the Provisional IRA after Raymond Gilmour turned informer , and no one but the IRA knows where he is , and they have said they will kill him if Raymond Gilmour does not retract his evidence .

On Monday morning , July 25 , at twenty minutes past eleven , after the British crown prosecution had outlined the bones of the case , Raymond Gilmour started to give evidence : for one hour he spoke , but not in a rush , and not in an unbroken flow . First the prosecution , taking his cue from a very thick dossier that looked like an unbound novel - Gilmour's statements to the RUC - asked a question - " On the afternoon of ... were you.... " and as he spoke a woman seated below the magistrate typed out the question .

If she did not get the full question she asked the prosecutor to repeat it and he did , and then she read it back to him to be sure . Then Raymond Gilmour answered the question and the woman typed as he spoke , and sometimes she'd ask him to repeat a phrase.......

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 : " How do you choose issues at local or regional or national level for your involvement ? The issues volunteer themselves in the service work but how do you decide to commit resources to an industrial issue or a political issue ? "

PADDY BOLGER : " We have a general policy mapped out by the Ard Comhairle (National Executive) . So , in the industrial sphere , we are opposed to closures and in favour of occupations to prevent them . We have always been opposed to centralised wage bargaining . Strike action is spontaneous and specific - often not very different in structure from the kind of problem we get in the clientelist work - and our members have directions to support that kind of action . They do it not as a political intervention , but in support of the workers' own demands . "