Monday, March 05, 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 .

MICHAEL KELLY : " It's ok talking about the rest of the world , but what about Ireland in particular , or even Dublin ? What about the young , the unemployed , living in the suburbs ? "

GERRY ADAMS : " Look . I'll just explain what happened in my own area . Ballymurphy is a housing estate which was built for ex-British servicemen . There was no national consciousness - it was a soccer-playing area . They probably knew they were nationalist but they were more Catholic than nationalist . All of a sudden , on the backs of the civil rights struggle, which was about the right to vote , the right to have a house , OK ? All of a sudden this strange group of people came in , took over the GAA pitch and the local church , and built a gigantic fort on the local industrial estate , Whiterock Enterprises . They then proceeded to go around at gunpoint to question people and to raid homes and arrest people .

Now if that happened in Cork tomorrow or even Dublin 4, there would be reprisals . I mean if I exploit you and subdue and repress you , all in the name of a foreign power .... these are the reasons people have the right to use force if they wish . And what happens in some districts is , say a lad goes out for a cup of coffee or a pint , he gets stopped by a British soldier who knows him , a lad about his own age . And say the Brits are out in a one-hundred-strong patrol , he gets stopped on this street by the first member of the patrol , on the next street by the tenth soldier and so on .

And what I'd say is that if anybody from Dublin wants to come to Belfast , all they need is their train fare . We'll find a house to put them up in and they won't have to listen to any republican propaganda , right ? They can go out and have a pint and come back in a month then they will be able to say that they understand what's going on . And if you want to make that the last prize in a competition , you can do so . "

From 'MAGILL' magazine, August 1983 .

John Gilmour , eldest boy in the family , had meanwhile risen to his feet away up near the back of the courtroom : his mouth was wide open , but no sound came from him . His fists were clenched to his side , his whole frame was still and taut and straining , but he said nothing and did not move , because if he moved or spoke - even as the RUC beat his three sisters - he would be removed from the court and there would be no family member present to recall his brother , Raymond , however silently , back to his house . The court was suddenly quiet again , the sisters gone but he was still on his feet , agony in his features . The RUC gathered below him , not touching him .

" What are you looking at ? I'm not doing anything , I'm not saying anything , " he said , trembling visibly from the strain of doing and saying nothing . The RUC looked at him , and took a step towards him , because he was not seated as one should be seated in an 'orderly' courtroom , and then they halted , and we all - magistrate , press , defendants , relatives , Special Branch , prison guards - gazed frozen upon this spectacle : John Gilmour looked like a man at bay , a rabbit in headlights , both these things ; then the door swung open again and the yells and screams of his sisters and 'knockabout' noises came from the passageway beyond . There issued then from the mouth of John Gilmour a sound that bore no resemblance to the spoken word . It was a loud long bellow , and as it came forth he launched himself headlong into the scrum of RUC members below him .

They caught him and 'passed' him over to the aisle , but he regained his feet there and stood bursting against them , resisting their downward pull , and there were seven RUC men draped somehow , anyhow , about his person , two on their knees clasping his legs , two around his waist , two on his arms , and one behind him pulling his neck back in a fore-arm lock . The eight men tumbled , punching each other , down the stairs and out the door . All the Gilmours were then gone.......

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 : " What we've talked about so far is a strategy for building Sinn Fein as a party . But in relation to issues in which other organisations come into play , do you have any guiding strategy in co-operation with these ? How do you decide on your possible involvement in such campaigns as the anti-amendment movement and the Nicky Kelly defence campaign ? "

PADDY BOLGER : " We don't only work with those who agree with us on the North , or who share our views of economic and industrial questions . In the Nicky Kelly campaign , for instance , most of the best activists were our members or very immediate supporters . We are opposed to the constitutional amendment but , as much for organisational reasons as any other , we didn't throw ourselves into the campaign . We're not sure what we might have contributed anyway because of the line-up of forces in that very broad campaign . But we have no objection in principle to taking part in a campaign , say , on divorce or on contraception or on housing in Dublin or on taxation .

We do not have an exclusivist position - we might have been guilty of this in the past . But we do not believe that single-issue campaigns are the basis for building a revolutionary organisation . You must build on your politics . "