Monday, February 26, 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 .

The medium doesn't match the message at Sinn Fein's offices in Dublin but , having survived the rough and tumble of republican politics in Belfast , this is no bespectacled revolutionary in front of you .

Thirty-three year-old Gerry Adams was born in Leeson Street in the Falls but grew up in Ballymurphy - " That's a large housing estate on the outskirts which would roughly correspond to Tallaght in Dublin, with even fewer facilities , if that's possible " , he says with a wry smile . Aside from politics , his main interests are music and sport : " I'm still waiting for Antrim to win a football All-Ireland, " he says .

Gerry Adams was involved in the civil rights campaign ('1169...' Comment .........and obviously believed that that was what it was all about!) and was interned during the early 1970's. Now President of Sinn Fein ('1169...' Comment .....up until 1986 , when he helped to lead a group of dissident nationalists out of the Movement and in to Leinster House..) , he gave the following interview to 'IN DUBLIN' magazine last month . His growing up in his early years in the West Belfast area are chronicled along with local history in his book 'Falls Memories' (Brandon 1983).

The Sinn Fein vote hovers at around ten per cent in the Six Counties but was under five per cent in Dublin in the local elections in June this year (1985), one of the issues we discussed in the following interview.......

From 'MAGILL' magazine, August 1983 .

A defence solicitor comes to his feet and says that he cannot hear the witness . He can't see him either ! The same solicitor had made the same point two weeks previously about Michael Quigley , another Derryman , who had also informed on Derrymen , many of whom were now in the dock once more , accused by Raymond Gilmour . On that past occasion , British Magistrate John Petrie had disallowed the plea , and Quigley had remained hidden behind his Special Branch 'minders', for " ...reasons of security.." .

Michael Quigley , fully visible only to the press , had given evidence from eleven in the morning until five in the afternoon , and he had kept his eyes trained on a spot below the magistrate , never deviating , and had kept his arms folded , sitting well back in his chair , only unfolding his arms four times during those six hours . The informer Michael Quigley had been under fierce taunting during cross examination and his face had been as immobile as an identikit picture . Raymond Gilmour , though not now under cross examination , sat forward when the solicitor protested and looked at him , and one of his 'minders' moved back into the aisle whilst the other stepped slightly aside so that everybody in the court could see him clearly , if only in profile .

Gilmour did not look beyond or around the protesting solicitor : he said something , his face turned back to the magistrate , so it is certain that he did not see his mother stand up from her seat.......

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 : " Were you influenced at all by the fact that Ranks is a multi-national and that there was an implicit issue of sovereignty in the dispute ? Would your response have been the same if it had been a local company ? "

PADDY BOLGER : " Local companies don't exist on the same scale , at least not with the same relationship to distribution and to imports and exports . I think our response would have been the same if it had been an Irish-owned company . Ranks symbolises what is wrong with the economic strategy in the 26 Counties and there are political lessons to be learned from the dispute . What's happening there is an indication of the insecurity of the current economic structures , with foreign companies being invited in with bigger concessions than they would get over in Sri Lanka or Mexicio and without any concept of state planning in relatuion to them . We're opposed to multi-nationals in principle as a pattern of development , because of their threat to sovereignty .

Even in a purely capitalist sense they have nothing to offer in terms of economic development . But we should be careful not to exaggerate our role in this area - we have a lot of militants who are republican in their political work and republican in their trade union work . They're not 'zany' , but are as thoughtful as any decent trade unionist . They introduce the republican questions when it's appropriate and when the opposition doesn't block it . They're now getting some general direction from the organisation . But our work as Sinn Fein is still largely limited to individual , specific actions , for instance in support of strikes . We believe that industrial work is not of itself enough to change working class consciousness . We have to carry out the local work as well . "