Wednesday, March 07, 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 : " Leaving aside the morality of killing people , do you think the IRA campaign against the 'Crown forces of occupation' , as An Phoblacht calls them , will be effective ? Within the limits of your main aims - will it make the British leave ? "

GERRY ADAMS : " Well , not on its own . I mean first of all under the heading of tactic . The British have cut their regular force from about twenty-two thousand to about eight thousand but replaced them with the RUC and the UDR, and the reason there are more RUC men and UDR men being killed is because they are being pushed into the front line . If the IRA wasn't there , it wouldn't even be an issue . The IRA are the cutting edge, in that they are the people who make the whole business go , there wouldn't have been a Forum Report, for what it was worth , without the IRA . Having said that , not on its own : the IRA is only a small force which is facing a very powerful force in terms of military strength , and also a very powerful government .

The IRA does what it does as discriminately and intelligently as possible . I think it can bring about a situation where British withdrawal becomes inevitable . The British are here for a number of strategic reasons and we keep getting back to what Birkenhead said when he justified the British withdrawal from the twenty-six counties , by saying it was to defend British interests with an economy of British lives . The proof of that is in the existence of the twenty-six-county State . But I don't think that the bloody struggle for the past fifteen (sic) years would be worth it if the new united Ireland had a twenty-six-county ethos or economic philosophy . "

From 'MAGILL' magazine, August 1983 .

Proud Derry memories of civil rights resistance to the RUC left the British courtroom with the Gilmours : a few involuntary shouts from the public gallery and the docks , a few bodies jerked inexorably to their feet , a few faces streaming with silent tears , had marked the removal of the Gilmours by the RUC , but no one had gone to their help .

If the court had been emptied , Raymond Gilmour would have been under no pressure at all while giving evidence - the Republican prisoners and their relatives have been instructed for months now to hold themselves in check , to suffer any and all indignity in order that they might remain in court to pressurise the informer Raymond Gilmour . The press , too , is trained to go against human nature and stand aside in the interests of maintaining the written record thus , denatured , the court resumed amid the silence . The door in the wall opened and the two Special Branch minders and Raymond Gilmour entered and resumed their positions : he did not look up into the gallery and took up at once , without prompting , where he had left off , and the typewriter went '...clack...clack...' and the sun shone in through the windows . It was as though the waters had heaved and erupted and then closed calmly again over some monstrous thing .

Raymond Gilmour was in the High Flats , in Derry's Bogside now , trying , with his IRA unit , he said , to plant a bomb beside the British Army lookout post on the roof of the flats: he pretended to court a female member of the IRA unit , in the stairwell of the flats, while keeping an eye out for British troops : the rest of the unit came back to report that the trapdoor onto the roof was beyond their reach , so they despatched a man to the nearby 'Rocking Chair Bar', run co-operatively by ex-prisoners , for a tall stool . The stool arrived , was mounted , and the bomb was planted . They returned the stool and retired from the eight floor to a flat in the fifth floor and waited for it to go off . They waited for hours . It did not go off . Back up to the bar for the stool , back up onto the roof for the bomb , recover the bomb , return the stool , and away home , to their various homes . It was almost funny listening to Gilmour , if it wasn't so serious .

That part of the 'evidence' was now concluded , the British prosecuter said , and he must now ask Raymond Gilmour to identify the people he had named , if they were present in court . All eyes fixed on the informer.......

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 believe that it will be necessary to establish more clearly in the minds of members that part of the price of a higher political profile is having to accept criticisms from people with whom you are also co-operating ? "

PADDY BOLGER : " People will have to realise that hitting the opposition , or even the slightly friendly middle ground , over the head with a hammer is not on : only by convincing people that our policies are thoughtful will we advance . Stridency is no replacement for sound argument - a lot of us are turned off by pub republicanism , which is generally not indulged in by our own activists but by people who become patriots in drink . We're quite determined that we're not going to go hammer-headed at people . What we're concerned to do is on the one hand , build a general attitude in the 26 Counties that the British have to withdraw and , on the other , work with other progressive forces , without immersing ourselves, to build up an alternative socialist ideology among the people . "
(NEXT - 'GLOSSARY OF THE LEFT IN IRELAND- 1960 to 1983' : from 1983)