The Town That Loves the IRA So Well
It is no surprise in 2019 that Derry City nurtures the nascent IRA, as it nurtured the nascent IRA in 1969.
In the late 1960s there was a certain novelty about the Civil Rights’ Movement in Derry because the Civil Rights’ movement had to be imported into Derry City from outside.
There was a palpable feeling abroad in middle-class Derry that the Civil Rights’ movement and People’s Democracy were infiltrated or led by communists – and dreaded university students were widely held to be the foolish bearers of revolutionary communism and Trotskyism.
There was zero historical interest in Derry in pacifist protest or pacifism in general and even less in communism’s various visages.
I well remember Catholic Nationalist homes discussing the potential communist threat provided by Eamonn McCann, Bernadette Devlin and their hangers-on.
This was the era of The Cold War and spies and The Berlin Wall.
Tales of a Soviet Russian submarine that landed weapons in Lough Swilly were around in 1970 and 1971. I heard both republicans in Donegal and British Army persons in Derry discussing this at the time.
I met Donegal businessmen in Letterkenny and Falcarragh who had earlier been requested to collect monies to pay for the weapons – they later gave me a left-over £500 to be brought into Derry to pay for IRA activities – Pat Dawson of Letterkenny and Paddy Kelly of Falcarragh, ever aided by Neil Blaney’s brother Harry.
Derry had only ever given rise to the lumpen and paralysed Nationalist Party led by Eddie McAteer, whose Belfast-based brother, Hugh, had been Chief of Staff of the IRA.
The elderly Nationalist Party was going nowhere even if it had been offered somewhere to go. It was devoid of strategy.
Derry City warmly embraced the transfer of protest from the Civil Rights’ movement to the IRA when the youthful face of Derry Brigade IRA Adjutant Martin McGuinness was televised.
Having been given a taste of IRA actions in 1970 and 1971, Derry’s sleeping underbelly was willing to embrace a daily televised IRA campaign (which it had decidedly rejected 15 years earlier when the IRA’s ‘Border Campaign’ failed to garner support) in preference to a relatively boring Civil Rights’ campaign.
The IRA movement could not tolerate a situation where its would-be teenage volunteers – whom it required to fight its cause – would be brainwashed and diverted from the true IRA struggle by foreign notions of pacifism…
The IRA attack 72 hours before Bloody Sunday on policemen on Creggan Hill – which killed two police officers, one Catholic and one Protestant, and led by Martin McGuinness firing his favourite weapon at the time, a Thompson machine gun – was the IRA’s definite marker that the upcoming Civil Rights’ March was not going to be allowed to be the cutting edge of anything.
As for Derry City’s years of protests seeking the truth of what paratroopers did on Bloody Sunday – this search for truth was never applied to the IRA.
Derry people weren’t interested in Truth, but only in piecemeal truth insofar as it niggled The Brits.
Martin McGuinness and a well-known Stanley’s Walk IRA volunteer were never hounded for the truth of what they were doing after they broke into the rear of Duffy’s Bookies armed with a Thompson machine gun and explosives during the march.
Many people witnessed this activity, including other ‘off duty’ IRA volunteers – friends of mine – who were shocked at the breach of the generally understood IRA promise not to engage in actions during Civil Rights’ marches.
Since the IRA occupation of the Bogside, Brandywell and Creggan, Derry’s streets have been paved with IRA lies.
After Bloody Sunday, it might be imagined that Derry would have forever become a monument to Civil Rights’ pacifism in honour of the marchers murdered that day, but in fact that was never going to happen.
Derry had a taste of the IRA way and preferred it.
The real antagonism between the IRA leadership and the Civil Rights’ movement is captured in a ‘Guardian’ press report from Belfast when IRA members forcefully crashed a Civil Rights’ platform and took over the meeting.
The IRA later did everything it could to stamp out the movement of women and mothers that became known as The Peace People – anybody remember Mairead Corrigan-Maguire and Betty Williams and their ill-fated Nobel Peace Prize cash? The IRA intimidated the Derry Peace People leader – Margaret Doherty – out of her home in the Bogside…
The IRA even discussed murdering another Bogside resident, local Member of Parliament and SDLP leader John Hume…
Derry people gave the impression for many years of believing in John Hume’s creed that no political aim was worth a single drop of blood or a single human life, but that was just another lie.
As soon as it became possible to vote for those virile IRA persons who had made their contribution to the IRA’s campaign of mass murder of civilians – without even counting the number of police or soldiers murdered – Derry people gave a handsome electoral reward to the men and women of murder, largely dumping the impotent and pacifist SDLP party that had operated without guns, bombs or murder – “Thanks for everything, John, but no thanks.”
If Martin McGuinness and comrades HAD murdered John Hume for alleged ‘collaboration’ with the British government, it would not have affected the numbers of worshippers who pressed around McGuinness’ funeral in Derry to touch the Mafira leader’s coffin.
Derry – IRA All The Way…
Having had the opportunity to speak to thousands of students around Europe in recent years, I find many that many of them can recall Derry/Londonderry as the site of one of the IRA’s most infamous attacks – the Human Bomb attack involving Patsy Gillespie who was chained to a car bomb and ordered to drive it to an army checkpoint where Derry IRA volunteers – including a member of a well-known republican family – set off the bomb by remote control, blowing Patsy Gillespie and a number of British soldiers to fragments.
The IRA members involved in Patsy’s murder and mass murder generally have settled into bourgeois businesses and landlordship in Derry warmly supported and admired by locals.
There is no campaign by conscientious Derry citizens to boycott the businesses of IRA members who engaged in mass murder of their fellow civilians over 30 years.
Not even a boycott on social media…
None of the foreign students recalls the IRA’s deliberate murder of 29-year-old Joanne Mathers in the Waterside as she was making some extra money for her young family collecting census forms.
The IRA Volunteer involved deliberately shot her through the neck at close range in full view of witnesses and then ran away in service of the IRA and Martin McGuinness.
He was recognised by local people in the Waterside who could not publicly identify him for fear of being murdered themselves by the IRA as informers.
No-one recalls the IRA’s sectarian murder of unarmed Protestant Jeffrey Agate, MD of Du Pont, whose company gave some of the best paid jobs to Derry.
The IRA murdered Jeffrey in a short-lived ‘anti-capitalist’ strategy which was dumped as quickly as Martin McGuinness had adopted it following a national outcry.
If the IRA volunteers who murdered unarmed civilians Joanne Mathers and Jeffrey Agate were ‘outed’ in Derry today, it would not harm their popularity at all – Derry people will lap at the IRA trough in perpetuity.
There is a bedrock of sullen, dour and unshakeable support for IRA actions that infects many and it is this stored energy that feeds new young IRA volunteers in 2019.
People have regularly expressed to me that the Patsy Gillespie Human Bomb horror must have been the final nail in the IRA’s coffin in Derry – surely locals would never again offer support to the IRA movement after such a terrible Human Rights’ atrocity carried out by IRA volunteers well-known in the republican community and authorised by Martin McGuinness?
I’m afraid that History has shown that Derry people will always vote for IRA murderers over Victims, regardless of how many Human Rights’ atrocities perpetrated by the IRA.
For a city marked by Bloody Sunday, it is extraordinary that Derry loves the IRA so well which, in total, committed the equivalent of 121 Bloody Sundays worth of murders in its campaign of needless gunning and bombing to achieve – an abstentionist Stormont…
Bishop Edward Daly used to be beloved of Derry people – he who was famously photographed going to the aid of a victim on Bloody Sunday and waving a white handkerchief at paratroopers still firing their rifles.
Bishop Edward was a fearless opponent of any form of IRA paramilitary display in a catholic church and famously took a stand against Martin McGuinness and the IRA on this matter and banned all IRA paramilitary displays from churches in his diocese.
Two years after Bloody Sunday, Bishop Edward Daly officiated at the funeral of his former St. Columb’s College friend, Derryman and Catholic Judge Rory Conaghan, murdered by the IRA in Belfast on the same morning that the IRA murdered Protestant Resident Magistrate Robert McBirney also in Belfast.
In his homily at the funeral Mass, Bishop Daly said the following:
‘The death we mourn today is not just the act of an individual but of an organisation. Before it took place, there was in all probability a meeting, a discussion, a decision taken and a man designated to do the deed. Can any member of such an organisation feel free from the guilt of this crime?
Surely the murders of Judge Conaghan and Mr. McBirney must bring home to us the fact that our country has now reached a state where it can afford only one division, the distinction between those who believe in such deeds and those who do not.
Too many people who call themselves Christians offer passive support to organisations that, in their inner hearts, they know are directly opposed to the mind and teaching of Christ.
Perhaps these deaths may help to unite all people in our community who are prepared to take a public stand for Christian values.
They cannot kill us all.
The difference between Unionist and Nationalist pales into insignificance when one is faced with this kind of savagery where a man is sent to his death at breakfast by a teenage gunman. It would be better to die confronting evil than to live and condone it.’
Bishop Edward Daly repeatedly told me over the years that he would never believe Martin McGuinness over Rose Hegarty in relation to McGuinness’ false promises that alleged informer Frankie Hegarty would not be harmed by the IRA if he returned to Derry.
McGuinness got Frankie back to Derry, then to Buncrana in Donegal, then to interrogation and torture leading to his murder on the border.
McGuinness was so incensed against Frankie that I would not be surprised if he had made arrangements to personally shoot Frankie in the back of the head.
Bishop Edward Daly said Martin McGuinness had lied through his teeth about this matter and he would never believe otherwise.
After his many years of beloved service, Bishop Edward Daly’s creed – that murder for political reasons was not only entirely unnecessary but also mortally sinful – was dumped by the Derry people he too had served so well.
[A subsequent toadying Bishop of Derry, Antrim-born Donal McKeown, disgracefully reversed Bishop Edward Daly’s prohibition on paramilitary displays in Derry churches when he granted State Funeral Honours to the very unrepentant leader of the IRA, Martin McGuinness – whose headstone proudly proclaimed that he lived and died as an IRA Volunteer, contrary to his years of lies.]
It would appear that Bishop McKeown never challenged Martin McGuinness to offer the restitution of Truth to the relatives of his many, many victims before he passed from this life.
[Donal, you can’t practice the glorification of the most senior IRA leader in Derry one day and then wring your hands when young IRA volunteers emulate his murders the next day. You’ve done your bit to make murder respectable.]
Years ago in Los Angeles when he wasn’t watching his words very carefully, Derry’s own Undertones lead singer Feargal Sharkey infamously commented that he had been brought up in a “slum” – in other words, in Derry.
For someone who had been raised in Rosemount in Derry, he earned a lot of local antagonism for his comment.
Derry was not a “slum”, but it has become a political slum since the populace has embraced the unrepentant murderers, bombers and torturers of yesteryear as their political representatives in preference to the unbloody and pacifist politicians of the SDLP and other groupings.
So, don’t be surprised that Derry is the incubator of the IRA that murdered a female journalist recently.
Derry City loves the IRA movement, including its Sinn Fein front and all of its many lies, to death.
It loves the unrepentant and boastful IRA murderers and bombers and their political front way more than it ever loved a single innocent IRA murder victim.