Wednesday, January 18, 2012


From 'MAGILL' magazine , March 1998.

Mr John O' Donoghue :
" In November 1988 , three-and-a-half years after the murder, a person surrendered to the police in England and made certain statements about his involvement in murder and other serious offences committed in Northern Ireland (sic) and in the State. This included the murder of the person concerned in Cork in 1985.

As a result of those statements , a garda investigation file was forwarded to the director of public prosecutions with a view to prosecuting the person involved in Northern Ireland
(sic) under the provisions of the Criminal Law Jurisdiction Act 1976. However, this aspect was subsequently overtaken by events when the person was convicted on a charge of murder in Northern Ireland (sic) and received two life sentences there.

The garda investigation into the murder in 1985 is continuing. I am satisfied from a report I recently received from the garda that they are pursuing the investigations as far as they can......."


THE PETER BERRY PAPERS....... The Top Secret Memoirs of Ireland's Most Powerful Civil Servant : Dirty Tricks, Election '69/ Spying on a Unionist Politician/ Keeping the (State) Taoiseach informed/ The Garda Fallon Murder/ Advice to Jack Lynch- 'Fire the pair of them...'/ Vivion De Valera's advice to O'Malley/ Rumours of a Coup D'Etat/ The Internment Plot, November 1970/ Secret Meeting with William Craig.
From 'MAGILL' magazine , June 1980.

" It happened as had been anticipated - Captain Kelly sought to see Mr Gibbons privately and when the Minister had instructed him to make a full statement the Minister proceeded to settle himself comfortably to listen-in but it was indicated to him that he should leave.

The Chief Superintendent reported that there was a rapport between the Minister and the Army Officer which was very evident : he strongly suspected from all his enquiries that Mr Gibbons had pre-knowledge of the attempts to import arms. He also reported that , having begun a statement, Captain Kelly desisted, saying that he would name names if he saw the Taoiseach. I so informed the Taoiseach who agreed to see him.

In the evening I had a phone call from the President who referred to the arrest of Captain Kelly and the many rumours about arms importations. He asked as to the dependability of the Garda Force and I said that it was 100% behind the Government. I said , also, that there was no fear of disaffection in the Army, that only a very small number were involved. The President thanked me and , as I had no Minister at the time, I did not think it necessary to inform the Taoiseach......."


On this day 90 years ago (18th January 1922) a group of unemployed Dublin workers seized the concert hall of the Rotunda ; this group , led by Liam Ó Flaithearta (Liam O Flaherty , author of , amongst other works, 'The Informer') , had constituted itself as 'the Council of the Unemployed' and this action was reported on by 'The Irish Times' of the day in the following manner - "The unemployed in Dublin have seized the concert room at the Rotunda, and they declare that they will hold that part of the building until they are removed, as a protest against the apathy of the authorities.....a 'garrison', divided into 'companies', each with its 'officers' , has been formed, and from one of the windows the red flag flies...."
(More here , and here.)

And now , it seems , we have come 'full circle' in relation to this same issue : "apathy of the authorities..." to the 'old' and 'new' unemployed ie State promises to establish 'task forces' (where overpaid career politicians wring their hands in 'solidarity' with the jobless) and the biggest trade union in the State has been 'outed' , along with other such bodies , in regards to just how 'cosy' they are with employers and Leinster House politicians - for a price, of course: not only are the Trade Union leadership reluctant to challenge their 'slush-fund suppliers' in Leinster House , they also shy away from fully supporting their membership least , in doing so, they come into conflict with those 'suppliers'. Now , having sold out what remained of our sovereignty to the IMF and a Brussels bank, those same overpaid career politicians can only stand back and make empty , worthless promises and excuses as the dole queue grows and the 'Departure Lounge' in airports in the State fill-up to capacity. It must now be obvious to all that this State is , to coin a phrase, 'a failed political entity' : equally , it should be obvious to all that we need a new beginning and a new outlook on how Ireland should be governed. The alternative now is either the dole queue or the 'Departure Lounge'.

40 years ago yesterday (17th January 1972),seven IRA prisoners escaped from an "escape proof" British prison ship , which was anchored in Irish waters : the ship had three decks , the top one of which was sometimes used as an 'exercise yard' for a few hours each day by the Republican POW's , with the other two 'converted' into living quarters. Approximately 850 people were present on the ship at any one time , consisting of around 700 British military personnel and 150 prisoners , including Provisional and Official IRA members and some others that were not involved with either group.

James Emerson Bryson , Tommy Tolan , Thomas Kane , Tommy Gorman , Peter Rodgers , Martin Taylor and Sean Convery , a group of Irish Republicans that became known as 'The Magnificent Seven' because of the nature of their escape from the Maidstone prison ship on January 17th , 1972 , were determined that their 'stay' on the ship would be a short one.
Of the 226 men detained following the introduction of internment in August 1971,124 were initially held in Crumlin Road Jail while the remainder were held on the Maidstone , a prison ship moored at the coalwharf in Belfast docks. The prison ship ,used as an emergency billet for British troops who arrived in 1969 , was totally unsuitable as a prison - it was cramped , stuffy and overcrowded , with the 'lock-up' section located at the stern below the deck , which was used twice a day for exercise. On January 16th , 1972 , fifty men were transferred from the ship to the new camp at Magilligan : this sudden move spurred on some of the internees who were planning to escape.

One of the group had spotted a seal slip through a gap in the barbed-wire draped around the ship and it was decided that if the seal could come in , then they could go out! The men used black boot polish to camouflag themselves and smeared each other in butter , to keep out the cold. They had already cut through a bar in a porthole which they now slipped through , and clambered down the Maidstone's steel hauser and entered the water . Several of them were badly cut by the barbed-wire , but they all managed to get through it. In single file , they swam the 400 yards through the ice-cold floodlit water to the shore : it took them twenty minutes , as some of the men could not swim and had to be helped by the others. On the bank, Volunteers of the Andersonstown unit of the IRA's Belfast Brigade were waiting with four cars to transport the escapees to safety , but the escapees landed at the wrong spot ; approximately 500 yards away. The men realised their mistake and made their way to Queen's Road bus terminus where they commandeered a bus and drove across the city to the Markets area. During the journey , the bus was spotted by a British Army Land Rover which attempted to stop the vehicle ; however , the Brits backed-off when the bus entered the staunchly republican Markets district , which was then surrounded by British reinforcements. A search of the area was carried out by the British Army and RUC , but none of the escapees were found - the 'Magnificent Seven' were long gone to a different part of Belfast !

Thanks for reading,