In 1971, there was a stand-off or virtual split for a very short time in the Derry Brigade of the IRA. Creggan and other units wanted a particular IRA man to be the new O.C. – Roddy – while the Bogside and Brandywell units wanted a different IRA man – Robby – to be the O.C. It wasn’t a stand-off that was likely to be … Continue reading Gerry Adams and GOD – Why the IRA hasn’t Repented
It is a strange quirk of history that the IRA’s early practice of extreme torture on its abducted and soon-to-be murdered prisoners occurred just as its political wing and proxies were protesting about the treatment of the very first internees back in 1971 who were later termed ‘the hooded men’. The IRA quickly developed its own hooded men and women who were not merely to … Continue reading The IRA’s Use of Torture
Gerry Adams’ Cult mantra of late has been: “the IRA has left the scene”. Not so, Gerry – virtually all IRA members and prominent leaders have been absorbed into Sinn Féin and there they remain under the new disguise of democratic politics without a shred of remorse, repentance, truth or integrity. Look around you, Gerry, at the many self-confessed IRA shooters and bombers known to … Continue reading The IRA’s Legacy of Lies
Was the recently disbanded and self-styled ‘Irish Republican Army’ entitled to claim the term ‘Prisoners of War’ for its captured combatants? To qualify under the Third Geneva Convention, a combatant must be part of a chain of command, wear a “fixed distinctive marking, visible from a distance”, bear arms openly, and have conducted military operations according to the laws and customs of war. Since the … Continue reading IRA Prisoners – POWs or Terrorists?
I passed the dreaded 11-Plus examination in 1966 and was sent to St. Columb’s College ‘grammar school’ in Derry as a day-boy where students of the calibre of poet Seamus Heaney, singer Paul Brady, playwright Brian Friel and politician John Hume had lately preceded me. Two ‘dead’ languages were obligatory at St. Columb’s College in those years, Latin and Irish. By ‘dead’ I mean that … Continue reading The Irish Language in Derry in the late 1960s/70s
Much of the international reportage of 29-year-old Lyra McKee’s murder centred on descriptions of her as a ‘ceasefire baby’, a woman whose early years were brightened by what was promised to be peace during the post-Belfast Agreement period when the IRA movement was supposed to end all hostilities. Much of the international reportage of 42-year-old Thomas Ashe Mellon has centred on his leadership of the … Continue reading Thomas Ashe Mellon III – the new Martin McGuinness
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 … Continue reading The Town That Loves the IRA So Well
Witness ‘O’ gave what purported to be ‘evidence’ to the Birmingham Pub Bombings’ Inquest recently. There were some rather obvious inconsistencies in his strange tale. Firstly, he said he was on remand in Winson Green prison at the time of the Birmingham Pub Bombings awaiting trial on what must have been prior IRA bombing charges. He was billed as a convicted IRA bomber – so … Continue reading The Strange Case of Witness ‘O’ at the Birmingham Pub Bombings’ Inquest
Kieran Conway was billed as a former IRA GHQ Director of Intelligence who was willing to participate in the Birmingham Pub Bombings’ Inquest on various conditions: He would only speak via video link from an unidentified location (presumably in Dublin) hiding behind the Irish border he fought so hard to remove. He would not identify any living IRA volunteer related to the Birmingham Pub bombings. … Continue reading Kieran Conway – Credible Witness at the Birmingham Pub Bombings’ Inquest?
Having cheerfully murdered members of the RUC, of An Garda Síochána and of the Metropolitan Police for some thirty years, it does not sit easily with the IRA movement to support police forces in general and its lumpen rank and file has never actually been converted to love for ‘peelers’. On January 29, 2007, at an extraordinary Ardfheis (party meeting) at the Royal Dublin Show, … Continue reading IRA vs PSNI
Martina Fitzgerald, RTE’s recently-axed political correspondent, published an analysis piece in July 2018 stating that Mary Lou McDonald was “a strong media performer and has no links to the IRA”. Is it credible to declare that Mary Lou McDonald has “no links to the IRA”? Forget all about embittered former SDLP commentator Brian Feeney writing in “The Irish Times” in August, 2015 that the IRA … Continue reading Mary Lou McDonald – No Links to the IRA?
The IRA movement’s Sinn Féin political front is built on a vast foundation of lies, really big lies. There are so many lies associated with the IRA/Sinn Féin movement that I wrote an entire Blog post about the most blatant ones – it may be read here. Derry/Londonderry [forgotten Londonderry already, Mary Lou?] is a locus of some of the grander lies at the heart … Continue reading Sinn Féin’s new Ethel Lynch Cumann in Derry and the Cult of Lies
Introduction The Provisional IRA breakaway movement was sprung from the largely Marxist-leaning IRA in 1969 which had reassessed Northern Ireland after the failed 1956-62 IRA “Border Campaign” and decided that class war and non-sectarian agitation might work better than armed activities which had so recently failed. [The Official IRA’s position dramatically changed when it had to compete with the Provisional IRA for young volunteers and … Continue reading Paradoxes of the IRA’s ‘Armed Struggle’
It’s one thing for SF/IRA apparatchiks to live in deliberate denial and cover-up about IRA Human Rights’ atrocities – they choose to serve an iniquitous Sinn Féin/IRA party policy – but quite another thing for such calculated deception to brazenly work its way into the general population and into the realm of professionals such as doctors, solicitors, barristers, priests, etc. – citizens who are certainly better educated, better rewarded and who should therefore possibly live according to higher standards than the rest of us.
A typical Web introduction to the Relatives for Justice organisation might be the profile offered by the ICTJ website, The International Center for Transitional Justice in New York.
There, written by Sam McCann, RFJ CEO Mark Thompson’s story and motivation for his involvement with Human Rights are described and – we are told – it all began with the murder of Pat Finucane in 1989:
After mentioning also that Thompson’s own brother had been one of three men shot dead by soldiers subsequent to robbing a bookmakers in Belfast and while two were holding replica guns – which Thompson referred to as a “shoot to kill” British army policy – the profile continues:
As an introduction to Human Rights’ violations in the Northern Ireland troubles, I would say that this “narrative” lacks something – in fact, it lacks so much that in my opinion it ranks as DECEPTION.
If I – as someone of a catholic/nationalist background – and a former teenage IRA volunteer and Sinn Féin member – were introducing a foreign audience to Human Rights’ violations in Northern Ireland – even if only by referencing attacks on the legal fraternity – I would have to start by demonstrating the universality and indivisibility of Human Rights and my narrative could absolutely never begin with the Pat Finucane murder in 1989:
The IRA introduced into Northern Ireland the murders of members of the legal fraternity by shooting dead Resident Magistrate William Staunton, a Catholic, on the 11thof October 1972 as he dropped his daughter to St. Dominic’s convent grammar school on the Falls Road. The IRA shot him in front of his daughter and her school friends in his car and he died of his injuries three months later.
On the same day, and at the time, the IRA also murdered Resident Magistrate Martin McBirney, a Protestant, at his home in his kitchen in front of his family. Martin McBirney was a prominent member of the Northern Ireland Labour Party, had married a Catholic and, while a barrister, had acted for the defence in civil rights’ cases and had represented Eamon McCann.
[Here was all the template the loyalist paramilitaries needed later for the Pat Finucane murder at home in his kitchen in front of his family, but much more than this was provided by the IRA.]
On the 16thof January, 1983, Judge William Doyle was murdered by the IRA as he came out of Mass in St. Brigid’s Catholic church on Derryvolgie Avenue in Belfast. Judge Doyle had offered a 72-year-old lady a lift home in his car and, as they both exited the church, two IRA gunmen fired at him. He was hit by six bullets in the chest and stomach. The 72-year-old lady with him was shot in the stomach and seriously injured.
Sixteen months later, an IRA gunman again used the same Catholic church to attack Judge Tom Travers. One gunman shot his daughter, Mary, in the spine. She fell to the ground taking her mother with her. A second gunman shot him in the shoulder, knocking him to the ground. The gunman then stood over him and fired five more bullets into him – miraculously, he survived. The second gunman then put his gun to Travers’ wife’s head and pulled the trigger twice – the gun misfired both times. Mary Travers, however, died in her mother’s arms. The IRA’s intent was clear – to murder the judge and his entire family as well.
On the 7thof December, 1983, the IRA shot barrister and law lecturer Edgar Graham in Queen’s University and, as the 29-year-old lay dying outside the campus library, cheering erupted in the students’ union as witnessed by Sylvia Hermon.
On the 28thof April, 1987, the IRA murdered Appeal Justice Maurice Gibson and his wife Cecily by bombing their car at the border, with claims of collusion between the IRA and senior member of the Irish police, An Garda Siochana.
Fifteen months later on the 23rdof July, 1988, the IRA attempted to repeat the border bomb tactic, this time intending to murder Catholic Justice Eoin Higgins, but instead murdered AN ENTIRE HILLSBOROUGH FAMILY returning from Disneyland in Florida, Robin and Maureen Hanna and their 6-year-old son, David. Again, there were allegations of collusion between the IRA and elements of An Garda Siochana.
How is it possible to introduce a Human Rights’ perspective concerning attacks on servants of the law in Northern Ireland without mentioning THE TEN MURDERS BY THE IRA before 1989 and by only recounting A SINGLE MURDER BY LOYALISTS in 1989? What absolute hypocrisy is this?
How, then, in the light of all of these IRA murders of members of the legal fraternity in Northern Ireland, and given the universality and indivisibility of Human Rights, does Thompson narrate only that “he knew about Finucane’s death and contacted the murdered activist’s family and longtime legal partner, Peter Madden” – is Thompson kidding?
He didn’t know about all these other murders of legal practitioners – and civilians – and was somehow unmoved by the atrocities in which they were murdered by the IRA?
He then followed this ignorance by completely erasing these TEN VICTIMS from such an important narrative?
It appears abundantly clear to me that Thompson offers a wholly partial and sectarian Human Rights’ story to an international audience, one that never refers to the IRA and to its 1,700 dead victims and to its many many thousands of injured victims and associated Human Rights’ violations.
Looking to the RFJ website, I note that it recounts that on March 22nd, 2012, Mark Thompson got an opportunity to make a submission to The Helsinki Commission US Congressional Hearing – here at last, I thought, he will have rendered a full and balanced narrative on Human Rights’ violations in Northern Ireland, starting with the single greatest violator of Human Rights in the troubles, the IRA.
Unaccountably, Thompson only submitted evidence on three incidents: Loughlinisland, Sean Graham’s Bookmakers and Clonoe.
Most extraordinarily, neither the IRA nor any of its many thousands of Human Rights’ violations are mentioned anywhere in the submission – how is this even possible?
No reference to The Claudy bombings of civilians by the IRA, Mark?
No reference to The Bloody Friday bombings of civilians by the IRA, Mark?
No reference to the La Mon napalm bombing of civilians by the IRA, Mark?
No reference to The Birmingham Pub bombings of civilians by the IRA, Mark?
No reference to The Warrington bombings of children and civilians by the IRA, Mark?
No reference to The Enniskillen Remembrance Day bombing of civilians by the IRA, Mark?
No reference to the Kingsmill slaughter of Protestant civilians by the IRA, Mark?
No reference to the IRA’s practice of sectarian murders of innocent Protestants across Northern Ireland, Mark?
No reference to the IRA’s institutional practice of torture on abducted civilians before their extra-judicial murders and disappearances of their corpses, Mark?
No reference to the IRA’s practice of deliberate murders of civilians, Mark?
No reference to the IRA’s enlistment of children into the IRA, Mark?
No reference to the IRA’s refusal to return the corpse of a fallen soldier, Captain Robert Nairac, Mark, making it the only terrorist organisation in Europe to withhold from burial a corpse of a captured, tortured and then murdered soldier?
No reference to the 120 women, girls and female infants murdered by the IRA, Mark, in the course of its ‘armed struggle’?
And – in such a prestigious setting as the US Congress, and duty-bound to offer precision of language – you refer three times to a location only specified as “the north” – without any further qualification? You’re in America and you make reference in a legal submission to a location only as “the north”?
Is this more of the calculated Sinn Féin slight to the people of Northern Ireland that pro-Sinn Féin republicans cannot now ever use the official name of the province, ‘Northern Ireland’?
It would stretch to breaking point the bounds of credulity to imagine that Thompson FORGOT about all of these most infamous IRA Human Rights’ atrocities – and therefore one can only assume that Thompson and his organisation are deliberately excusing from their shoddy Human Rights’ “narrative” the single greatest Human Rights’ violator in the Northern Ireland troubles – namely the IRA.
And looking at RFJ’s various reports, in its 27 years of operation it has not managed to produce a SINGLE report on ANY of the IRA’s atrocities/Human Rights’ violations.
With regard to the “Time for Truth” march scheduled for February 25th, even The Irish News newspaper recorded as early as January 30th that:
“The majority of victims that have come together in the new group were bereaved through loyalist paramilitary or state violence.”
No surprise there!
The ‘Relatives for Justice’ organisation is narrating a deceptive Human Rights’ story of Northern Ireland [‘the north’] that entirely erases the IRA from the record.
Sinn Féin – the biggest apologists for and deniers of the IRA’s Human Rights’ violations and now a hybrid party containing all of the IRA’s victim-making leadership and membership and current IRA Army Council members – was all over the so-called ‘Time for Truth’ march.
Sinn Féin MLA Emma Rogan announced plans for the march.
Sinn Féin victims’ spokersperson [that would be, “non-IRA victims’ spokesperson”, obviously] Linda Dillon expressed in the Sinn Féin/IRA newspaper, An Phoblacht, that the march was largely aimed at getting legacy funding released.
An Phoblacht couldn’t have been clearer:
“Relatives of people killed by the British state and their allies in unionist death squads are calling on people across the country to join with them on Sunday 25 February for the Time for Truth march and support their campaigns for truth and justice.”
So, the ‘Time for Truth’ march was a lie in the sense that it was certainly not ‘Time for Truth’ from the IRA about its many thousands of Human Rights violations, but merely time for truth for “relatives of people killed by the British state and their allies in unionist death squads”.
How much more EXCLUSIVE could you get within the Human Rights field?
How much further away from support for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights could you travel toward a pitifully partial and sectarian view of Human Rights by RFJ and its pro-Sinn Féin allies?
Even the aforementioned New York ICTJ on its website later admitted that:
“Organisers of the march had urged victims from across the community to attend, however, many of those represented were mainly from the nationalist community and their loved ones killed by security forces or loyalist terrorists.”
It would be unthinkable in any other country that unapologetic, unrepentant victim-makers – persons who participated in massive Human Rights’ violations – could ever join most comfortably and unchallenged in a Human Rights’ protest.
However, at the so-called ‘Time for Truth’ march, unashamed and boastful convicted IRA members such as Gerry ‘The Bolt’ Kelly and Caroline Cullen/Caral ni Chuilin were able to walk proudly alongside Sinn Féin apologists for IRA Human Rights’ violations such as Michelle O’Neill, John Finucane, Alex Maskey, Deirdre Hargey and many others.
What kind of pro-Human Rights, pro-victims’ protest makes victim-makers and anti-Human Rights convicts feel comfortable and unchallenged?
At the absolute least, it would have to be noted that this particular march was a TOTAL CORRUPTION of the universality and indivisibility of Human Rights and a pro-IRA demonstration in full knowledge of the IRA’s victim-making history.
One victim, Colin Worton, whose 24 year old brother Kenneth was murdered by the IRA at Kingsmill, commented in The Belfast Telegraph that he ‘wouldn’t have felt comfortable’ attending the march because it was ‘hi-jacked by Sinn Féin and the republican agenda’:
“Anybody that has been a terrorist and a victim-maker, to say they are representing victims is odd, it’s strange. How can they say they are representing victims when they have made victims?”
Well, Colin, it doesn’t take even a low pass grade in a legal degree to work that out, which brings us on to one of the more bizarrely hypocritical aspects of this wholly sectarian march – namely, the letter penned by 50 so-called “human rights lawyers” and published in The Irish News newspaper.
In December of 2017, a letter appeared in The Irish News signed by 200 ‘influential figures’ and ‘northern nationalists’ calling upon Republic of Ireland Fine Gael Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, ‘not to abandon the north’.
In February of 2018, another letter appeared in The Irish News this time signed by only 100 members of nationalist ‘civic society’ – the numbers were dropping – calling on Varadkar to support a bill of rights in Northern Ireland – on this occasion, Sinn Féin was ‘outed’ as chainmailing around Ireland to garner support for the letter.
So by the time the 50 ‘human rights lawyers’ [yawn, the term is so abused it is failing to carry any meaning anymore] had signed a letter supporting the so-called ‘Time for Truth’ march, numbers, interest and the efficacy of such letters had all dropped off.
I have to admit that I was shocked that 50 legal professionals would publicly support a march whose organisers can so easily and clearly be shown to ignore the IRA’s thousands of Human Rights’ abuses and violations – and effectively to exonerate the IRA by refusal ever to document and investigate its Human Rights atrocities or to seek the prosecution of its Army Council leaders.
I have to admit surprise that the said legal professionals would publicly highlight their support for a sectarian march – one that could easily be shown to have full Sinn Féin and IRA support.
Well of course because trumpeting support for a march that exonerated the IRA’s victim-makers and associated Sinn Féin apologists for IRA Human Rights’ atrocities calls into question the integrity, honesty and neutrality of such lawyers and they seem entirely unconcerned about even the possibility of being regarded as supporters of past IRA violence and victim-makers.
Having descended from Mount Olympus and parked their Bentley, BMW and Mercedes motor vehicles in safe city centre parking, these scions of Druidic Ireland would have rubbed shoulders with the rude plebeians of Sinn Féin and the IRA as they clutched their nosegays ever closer to their nostrils.
In this descent into crude party politics, these letter signatories open themselves to the same slings and arrows that affect those of us who live in lowly places – but, when they are subsequently subjected to fairly ordinary scrutiny on Twitter – what is the reaction?
Why – having sought to know for a short time how ordinary folk live and breathe and debate and get trolled on social media – one or more of them pen(s) a legal letter of complaint, this time a legal letter or letters to Twitter complaining that s/he/they have been subject to unfair scrutiny with regard to Human Rights and support for the IRA.
Winters, Madden, Finucane and all these other self-proclaimed ‘human rights lawyers’ SELF-PUBLISHED their names in public, in a newspaper, in online editions of that newspaper and effectively in hundreds of social media outlets that then referenced their published letter.
One or more of them – so puffed up with bristling pride that s/he/they find it unacceptable and unconscionable that a mere citizen should ever have the temerity to reference them on Twitter and question their integrity on grounds that are so blatantly obvious that a mere victim, untutored in the law – or a mere citizen such as myself – only a little tutored in law – should question their integrity, which they have themselves opened for scrutiny by supporting a partial march solely for the rights of – to quote once more An Phoblacht – “relatives of people killed by the British state and their allies in unionist death squads”.
In my opinion, all 50 of you have brought discredit upon yourselves and any resulting scrutiny of your behaviour you have also brought upon yourselves by publishing your names in a newspaper without once referencing the single greatest Human Rights’ violator in all of Northern Ireland’s troubles – the IRA.
You do not even recognise the irony that your threatening letter(s) to Twitter contradict the very freedom of expression you yourselves exercised in supporting the pro-Sinn Féin, pro-IRA march.
[If you are a trainee solicitor, solicitor, trainee barrister, barrister or a lawyer or ‘human rights lawyer’ or new Sinn Féin activist and are affected by the revelation that the IRA has committed many thousands of Human Rights’ violations and that these have been covered up by RFJ and Sinn Féin, don’t hesitate to contact The Samaritans and to read one or more of the following:
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.
Since its foundation in 1970, the Provisional IRA’s ‘Army Council’ has authorised five types of War Crimes (in the case of an armed conflict not of an international character, serious violations of Article 3 common to the Four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949).
Previously, in Part 1, I examined the IRA’s use of child soldiers.
Here I examine the IRA’s policy of deliberately murdering non-combatant civilians.
IRA Shoot to Kill Murders
There were a number of different reasons why the IRA decided to deliberately murder civilians, but a primary purpose was to achieve terror, shock and publicity. While the optics of these murders clearly showed a bias toward murdering Protestant Unionist civilians, murders of Catholic Nationalist civilians also occurred in order to similarly terrorise and to stem opposition in areas the IRA wished to control.
On 02.02.77, in Martin McGuinness’ home town, the IRA decided to carry out the spectacular murder of a totally innocent civilian and businessperson, Jeffrey Agate, prominent MD of the American Du Pont chemical plant, which was one of the biggest and best employers of both Protestants and Catholics in the North West. To murder him, the IRA had to change its rules of engagement temporarily to suddenly make business persons targets in order to inflict more damage on the economy of Northern Ireland. Two IRA gunmen shot unarmed Agate when he arrived home from work in the evening, after which the brave patriots ran away.
The people of Derry were horrified and a mass protest against the murder occurred in Guildhall Square . Dr Raymond McClean, former Mayor of Derry and civil rights’ activist, noted in his book ‘The Road to Bloody Sunday’ that “Jeff Agate was an honest and just human being of the highest calibre. His assassination by the IRA left me in total disbelief and disgust.” Once more, Martin McGuinness pretended ignorance of a War Crime he and his Army Council colleagues had authorised.
On 07.04.81, the IRA decided on another shocking civilian murder, this time of 29 year old unarmed Protestant mother, Joanne Mathers, who was supplementing her family’s income by collecting census forms.
As she was chatting to a householder in Anderson Crescent, Gobnascale, in the Waterside area, a masked IRA gunman ran up to her, grabbed at her census forms and shot her through the neck. Wounded, she ran into the hallway of the house and the householder slammed the door shut to try to defend her.
The IRA gunman smashed through the glass door, grabbed at more census forms and ran off brandishing his weapon to deter people from approaching him.
Joanne died from her wound. Initially, the IRA and INLA denied her murder, but the IRA was forced to admit it shortly afterwards.
McGuinness pretended in a most cowardly fashion that he had left the IRA before this war crime and knew nothing about it, although he had in fact authorised it.
He was once more telling huge lies ‘for the cause’.
On 07.12.83, 29 year old human rights’ lawyer, law lecturer and Ulster Unionist member of Stormont for South Belfast, Edgar Graham, was chatting in Queen’s University to colleague Dermot Nesbitt when, without any warning, an IRA gunman approached and shot him a number of times in the back of the head, killing him instantly.
Graham’s War Crime murder was intended to terrorise and intimidate Unionism and Protestants in general. The IRA’s Army Council ordered his murder because his opinions were deemed to be mortal to its armed struggle, a murder since defended by Sinn Fein.
The IRA also murdered a total of six members of the judiciary and almost murdered a seventh – but neither the IRA nor Sinn Fein sees any hypocrisy in the creation of a wholly biased Pat Finucane Human Rights centre.
IRA Murders of Family Members
The IRA had decided long before on a terrorist tactic which involved exceeding the murder of the main target – who was usually a male – by deliberately murdering his wife or other family members.
On 21.09.72, a six-man IRA team arrived at the isolated home of Thomas Bullock, a member of the UDR, in Aghalane, Derrylin, County Fermanagh.
When his wife Emily answered the front door, she was blasted to death and the gang climbed over her body and entered the living room where they shot Thomas in the head and killed him.
Neighbours reported that as the gang left the area they sounded their car horns and cheered at the job well done.
On 04.02.79, the IRA murdered Catholic civilian and retired prison officer, Patrick Mackin, as he sat in his chair at home in Ardoyne; to increase the shock and terror factor to prison officers, they also murdered his Protestant wife, Violet, as she sat in her chair.
On 27.08.79, the IRA exploded a remote control bomb on a boat at Mullaghmore in County Sligo to murder Lord Louis Mountbatten who was in his 79th year. The IRA was aware that a party of civilians was aboard the boat, including women and children, but the bomber – Thomas MacMahon – had been authorised by the IRA Army Council to proceed with the bombing without regard for civilian casualties.
As a result, 83 year old Doreen Lady Brabourne was murdered, as were Mountbatten’s grandson, 14 year old Nicholas Knatchbull and 15 year old crew member Paul Maxwell from Fermanagh.
In response to this War Crime, Gerry Adams stated, “The IRA gave clear reasons for the execution… What the IRA did to him is what Mountbatten had been doing all his life to other people and with his war record I don’t think he could have objected to dying in what was clearly a war situation. In my opinion, the IRA achieved its objective.” Adams entirely disregarded the civilian casualties.
On 21.01.81, an eight-man IRA gang murdered former leading Ulster Unionist MP and member of the RUC Reserve, James Stronge of Tynan Abbey allegedly in response to various loyalist attacks on nationalists. For good measure, they also murdered his 86 year old father, Sir Norman, former Speaker of the Stormont parliament who had fought at the Somme and had been awarded the Military Cross and the Belgian Croix de Guerre for bravery.
Unlike his cowardly murderers, Sir Norman Stronge had worn a uniform, had fought according to the laws and customs of war and had abided by Geneva conventions. By any stretch of the imagination, the deliberate murder of an 86 year old pensioner constituted a War Crime. For full effect, the IRA also burned down Tynan Abbey.
The Republic of Ireland Supreme Court later rejected an appeal by Seamus Shannon against his extradition to Northern Ireland to face charges of involvement in the Stronge double murder. The Court rejected the defence that these were political offences, saying that they were “so brutal, cowardly and callous that it would be a distortion of language if they were to be accorded the status of a political offence”. Shannon was extradited but later acquitted.
Regarding Sir Norman Stronge’s murder, Gerry Adams said: “The only complaint I have heard from nationalists or anti-unionists is that he was not shot 40 years ago.” Adams evidently had no problem with the War Crime murders of civilians.
On 08.04.84, two IRA gunmen attacked Catholic magistrate Tom Travers and his family as they were coming out of Mass. One gunman shot his daughter, Mary, in the spine and she and her mother fell to the ground.
The second gunman shot Tom Travers first in the shoulder, which caused him to fall, and then shot him five more times as he lay on the ground. The gunman who had shot Mary Travers then put his gun to her mother’s head and pulled the trigger twice – the gun misfired both times.
Mary Travers, twenty-two years old, died in her mother’s arms. Tom Travers miraculously survived. The IRA claimed afterwards that Mary Travers had been accidentally hit by a bullet that passed through Tom Travers.
Forensics and witness accounts disproved the IRA lies. A woman member of the IRA, Mary McArdle, was arrested nearby after the shooting and was found to be carrying two guns, a wig and a black sock attached to her thighs. She was sentenced to life in prison and served fourteen years.
Tom Travers identified a well-known Belfast republican, Joseph Haughey from Unity Flats, as the gunman who stood over him and shot him, but Haughey was acquitted. [Haughey was later accused of being a Special Branch informer.]
Travers believed that Gerry Adams personally ordered the attack on his family.
The details of the Travers’ attack proved that the IRA had deliberately intended to kill all of the Travers’ family as a ‘shock and awe’ message to other judges.
On 25.04.87, the IRA murdered Chief Justice Maurice Gibson, 74 years of age, and for good measure murdered his Protestant wife, Cecily, who was 67 years old.
By authorising the deliberate murder of these innocent family members, the IRA Army Council had made itself liable to prosecution – even now – for crimes against humanity.
IRA Volunteer and Civilian Bomb Casualties
Within months of its creation, the Provisional IRA discovered that it was unable to plant bombs in a manner safe for either the bomb makers or the civilian population.
On 26.02.70, a powerful incendiary bomb exploded prematurely at Dunree Gardens in the Creggan estate in Derry killing three senior IRA men, Tommy McCool, Tommy Carlin and Joseph Coyle, but also two innocent children, Carol Ann McCool (4) and Bernadette McCool (9).
The following is a list of the dead caused by IRA bombs in just eighteen months from February 71 until August 72 with some surprising conclusions.
On 02.11.71, the IRA exploded two bombs on the Ormeau Road in Belfast, one at a drapery shop and the other at the Red Lion bar, and murdered three Protestant civilians, John Cochrane (67), Mary Gemmell (55) and William Jordan (31).
On 22.11.71, IRA man Michael Crossey, was killed in a premature bomb explosion in Lurgan, County Armagh.
On 11.12.71, The IRA bombed a furniture shop on the Shankill Road in Belfast, murdering four Protestant civilians, two of whom were children: Hugh Bruce (70), Harold King (29), Tracey Munn (2) and Colin Nicholl (1).
On 18.12.71, three IRA men, James Sheridan, John Bateson and Martin Lee were killed by a premature explosion on King Street, Magherafelt, County Derry.
On 30.12.71, IRA GHQ Quartermaster Jack McCabe was killed in Dublin while mixing black powder explosives for use in Belfast.
On 26.01.72, IRA man Peter McNulty was killed in a premature bomb explosion at Castlewellan RUC base, County Down.
On 05.02.72, two IRA men, Phelim Grant and Charles McCann, were killed in a premature bomb explosion on a barge in Lough Neagh.
On 21.02.72, four IRA men, Joseph Magee, Robert Dorrian, Gerard Steele and Gerard Bell were killed in a premature bomb explosion while driving on the Knockbreda Road in Belfast.
On 09.03.72, four IRA men, Anthony Lewis, Gerard Crossen, Sean Johnson and Thomas McCann, were killed in a premature bomb explosion in Clonard Street, Belfast.
On 20.03.72, the IRA exploded a car bomb in Lr Donegall Street, Belfast, killing seven people, two RUC officers, a UDR soldier and four Protestant civilians, James Macklin (30), Ernest Dougan (39), Sydney Bell (65) and Henry Miller (79). Hundreds of people were injured.
On 07.04.72, three 17 year old IRA volunteers, Charles McCrystal, Samuel Hughes and John McErlain, were killed in a premature explosion in Bawnmore Park, Greencastle, Belfast.
On 28.05.72, four IRA volunteers and four civilians were killed in a premature bomb explosion in a house in Anderson Street, Short Strand, Belfast. The IRA members included two seventeen year olds, Joseph Fitzsimmons and John McIlhone, a nineteen year old, Martin Engelen, and Edward McDonnell. The four civilians included a seventeen year old, Geraldine McMahon, and Mary Clarke, Henry Crawford and John Nugent.
On 21.07.72, which became known as ‘Bloody Friday’, the IRA exploded twenty bombs in Belfast and, entirely predictably, murdered nine persons, injured seventy-seven women and girls and fifty-five men and boys.
The dead were Protestants Stephen Parker (14), William Crothers (15), William Irvine (18), Thomas Killops (39) and Jackie Gibson (45) and Catholics Margaret O’Hare (34) and Brigid Murray (65) and two British soldiers, Stephen Cooper (19) and Philip Price (27).
On 31.07.72, the IRA exploded three car bombs in Claudy, nine miles from Derry, to coincide with Operation Motorman when the British Army ended republican ‘no go’ areas by smashing barricades and occupying them with high troop concentrations.
The IRA’s bombs in Claudy murdered nine civilians – four Protestants, Kathryn Eakin (8), William Temple (16), David Miller (60) and James McClelland (65), and five Catholics, Joseph Connolly (15), Joseph McCloskey (38), Arthur Hone (38), Rose McLaughlin (52) and Elizabeth McElhinney (59).
On 26.08.72, two IRA volunteers, James Carlin and Martin Curran, were killed in a premature bomb explosion at Downpatrick racecourse grandstand.
In just eighteen months, the Provisional IRA – using ordinary time bombs intended to attack commercial targets – killed at least at least 33 civilians, at least 28 of its own volunteers and 2 RUC officers, 1 UDR soldier and 2 British soldiers.
These statistics alone proved beyond any doubt that the IRA’s bomb technology and protocols could never safeguard either civilians or its own volunteers.
The IRA Army Council’s decision to cynically continue this type of bombing campaign was taken in the full knowledge that it would continue to attack and murder innocent civilians – and kill a large number of its own cannon fodder ‘volunteers’ – which is exactly what happened for many years.
The IRA later graduated to such War Crimes as:
the Birmingham Pub bombings (21.11.74) which murdered 21 civilians and injured 182
the La Mon bombing (17.02.78) which murdered 12 civilians and injured 30
the Harrods bombing (17.12.83) which murdered 3 civilians, journalist Philip Geddes (24), a U.S. citizen, Kenneth Salvesen (28) and Jasmine Cochrane-Patrick (25) and 3 police officers, and injured over 100 others.
the Enniskillen Remembrance Day bombing (08.11.87), which murdered 12 civilians and injured 63
the Teebane bombing (17.01.92) which murdered 8 civilians and injured 6
the Warrington bombing, (20.03.93) which murdered two children, Johnathan Ball (3) and Tim Parry (12) and injured 56 other civilians.
the Shankill Road bombing (23.10.93) at Frizzells fish and chip shop which killed the IRA bomber and 9 Protestant civilians
The IRA’s Army Council had evidently decided in the early 1970s that it needed the regular civilian death toll produced by its bombing campaign to pressurize democratically elected British governments to surrender to its terrorist demands.
It does not appear to have ever considered the likelihood that it would face trial for crimes against humanity, unlike its cousin, ETA, whose leaders are now arraigned on these very charges.
In a later post, I will examine the IRA Army Council’s policy of ordering the specifically sectarian murders of innocent Protestant civilians.
Arthur Rafferty Sr was shot at Newington Street in north Belfast, close to its junction with the Limestone Road, on August 15th 1974 and died in hospital several weeks later. The IRA claimed responsibility.
The Arthur Raferty Murder of 1974 How the British security forces are helping a killer spy to rebuild his life. Rogue Irish police officers colluded with the IRA during the Troubles and even stopped senior members being arrested, former republican intelligence chief claims Irish police tipped-off the IRA about planned arrests, a new book claims Former IRA intelligence officer Kieran Conway makes the claims in a book Mr Conway alleges top Irish politicians and bankers also supported the IRA A separate probe found no evidence of collusion between IRA and RUC Members of Arthur Rafferty’s family claimed the RUC covered-up his death Mr Rafferty was murdered by the IRA in Belfast in 1974 in a gun attack His family claims the killers worked as informants for the RUC in Belfast The Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland found no evidence of collusion.
A north Belfast man whose father was murdered 37 years ago by the IRA is asking the Chief Constable and the Police Ombudsman to reopen the case. Arthur Rafferty was shot on September 8, 1974 in Newington Street. The 56 year old Catholic civilian died three weeks later.
His son, also called Arthur Rafferty, believes he knows exactly who his father’s murderer is and is calling for him to stand trial, even though he believes the man was working for the British Government and is being protected by them. He told the Community Telegraph: “My father was murdered 37 years ago — I know who the people who murdered him are, for 37 years I have been fighting for justice for him. “I have contacted Nigel Dodds, and Robin Newton about this, and phoned the Historical Enquiries Team and phoned the Policing Board. “I want to speak to the PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott but he says he can’t find the time.” Arthur says the Police Ombudsman’s office had been investigating the incident but ran out of funding. “But I’ve told them all they have to do is go to England and arrest him and bring him back to stand trial. “I was at the Policing Board meeting in the Grove [Leisure Centre] and I told the PSNI Area Commander Andy Freeburn that I want this man brought back for the murder of my father — and 20 to 30 other people. “He put that to Mr Baggott but there has still been no answer. “Mr Dodds wrote to him twice too, and he is still refusing to meet with me. “I want my father’s case heard, it has been 37 years and there is still no justice,” added Arthur Rafferty. North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said he has contacted chief constable Matt Baggott on Mr Rafferty’s behalf. “Arthur’s concern is why this man is not being investigated. “Other people have been brought back and arrested and tried, why is this man not being investigated?” he adked. “I have asked the Chief Constable to meet Arthur but so far he has said no. The Superintendent wrote back on his behalf recently and said no, he couldn’t add anything and there is nothing to be gained by a meeting. I’ll be continuing to press for a meeting,” he added. Robin Newton, a Policing Board Member said he was motivated to support Mr Rafferty because of his work on behalf of people from all sides of the community who are suffering from the killer disease Asbestosis. “I have been lobbying through the official channels of the Policing Board to bring this person or persons back to Northern Ireland. All official avenues of inquiry must be used and I am currently seeking advice on this matter,” he continued. A PSNI spokesperson said: “The Chief Constable’s office has responded directly in relation to this matter on three separate occasions within the last year and addressed the questions raised in these responses.”