(Legacy, the IRA and Victims – Part I is here.)
There is another aspect of so-called ‘legacy’ in Northern Ireland that all the ‘agreed legacy institutions’ will never address and that is the widespread help given to IRA murderers and bombers by the ordinary members of the nationalist/Catholic community – and for which there hasn’t been any admission or act of repentance, real or symbolic.
The IRA relied upon the support of a large number of sympathisers in the Catholic/Nationalist community:
- to hide weapons and explosives
- to provide ‘safe houses’ where on-the-run volunteers might eat meals, sleep overnight and even plan future attacks
- to provide transport of personnel and sometimes of explosives and weapons
- to provide finance to keep the local IRA activity going
- to allow the use of clean, false I.D.s to be used by IRA volunteers
- to provide information on alleged informers who were later abducted, tortured and then murdered
- to provide information about Catholics working in any entities related to the RUC or British Army to murder them
- to keep silent about murders and burials of ‘disappeared’ persons in their locality, and to withhold information about persons known to be involved in those murders and disappearances
- to provide information about the movements of members of the UDR, RUC Reserve or RUC (often their Protestant neighbours for many years) and information about British Army or RUC patrols in order to ambush and murder them
Be under no illusion, members of the Nationalist Party, of the SDLP, prominent members of the Catholic business and professional sectors, including solicitors, priests, teachers, university lecturers – all of these helped the IRA’s murder campaign in Northern Ireland.
While many of these people are dead, many others remain alive and are extremely unlikely to proffer themselves to any kind of ‘truth commission’ to tell all when they have hidden their collusion with the IRA for decades now. Many have built successful reputations, businesses or careers which they would not wish to taint now with admissions of participation in murders.
Catholic religious orders, such as the Redemptorists in Clonard and the Cistercians at Portglenone, offered varying degrees of support to the IRA’s 1970s murder campaign before any 1990s participation in peace efforts and will never admit the facts of such collusion. (See here.)
No amount of money released by the British Government will bring about the truth and admissions required from all of these collaborators in murder, not least since Gerry still can’t bring himself to admit his role in the highest leadership of the IRA’s murder campaign and Human Rights’ atrocities. Once again leading by atrocious example, Gerry?
In the Republic of Ireland, the collusion of the Catholic/Nationalist community with the IRA murder campaign in Northern Ireland and Britain was equally important.
Sympathisers, often member of Fianna Fáil and even Fine Gael, agreed to the location of secret arms’ bunkers on their farmlands to hide Libyan Dictator Gadaffi’s gifts of Semtex and assorted weaponry to the IRA.
They helped to provide transport, finance, secret houses and training camps, information about alleged informers in border areas and also about unwary members of the Northern Ireland security forces who visited relatives or friends south of the border and were murdered.
Senior politicians also aided and abetted the IRA, Haughey, Blaney and others and Captain James Kelly of the Irish Army, but also very prominent members of society, supermarket millionaires, business people, horsey folk, solicitors and clergy.
Members of the Republic of Ireland’s police force, An Garda Síochána, also colluded with the IRA whether by supplying information, communicating tip-offs about planned Special Branch raids on houses or meetings (e.g. ‘the Feakle talks’), warning of possible raids on suspected training camps and generally turning a blind eye to various activities in border areas. I recall IRA training camps in Donegal that were quickly dismantled in advance of joint Special Branch/Irish Army raids after tip-offs from friendly Gardai.
Whether the collusion was voluntary and might have been rewarded by payments or whether it was brought about by intimidation and threats, the least protected members of An Garda Síochána were those who were living in somewhat isolated border areas along with their families. These individuals might see a car parked outside or near their house for hours or days at a time containing a number of men and the clear message was that they should turn a blind eye to IRA activities. I recall this happening around Buncrana in County Donegal.
In the early 1970s, some young members of the IRA were advised to join the Irish Army to avail of weapons’ training and to supply information later about movements of Irish Army units in border areas that were supporting An Garda Síochána raids or VCPs. They were either to desert later or else remain in position to serve out their time.
Living all over the 26 counties of the Irish Republic, what is the likelihood that the surviving remnant of these collaborators in murders, bombings, kidnappings and disappearances will somehow change their position of silence and denial and suddenly agree to participate in any form of truth commission in Northern Ireland?
There is actually more chance that Gerry Adams will turn himself into Castlereagh tomorrow morning and confess to ordering hundreds of murders, including the abduction, torture and murder of Jean McConville!
What has the release of hundreds of millions of pounds Sterling got to do with any of these Human Rights’ offenders hardened in denial?
Apart from generating substantial monetary rewards for the SFIRA’s Cadre of One-eyed Lawyers, and perhaps at last triggering Gerry’s venal conscience into recalling David Blevins for another craven interview about non-Legacy, what are the realistic chances that the IRA’s Army Council membership – that changed many times over the years – will suddenly get together for one last joint RepentanceFest or AdmissionFest?
Can I have fries with that one, please?
Finally and with regard to so-called ‘legacy’, human memory appears to be subject to total failure whether owing to wilful obstruction (Gerry!) or alleged physical and mental decline (Ivor Malachy – do you know who you are?!) and no amount of British Sterling will have any effect on the latter, although the Republican Movement appears to be claiming that the release of hundreds of millions of pounds Sterling will bring about the moral redemption of the IRA’s Army Council membership who will immediately upon receipt of the readies order the remnant of those who still follow them to suddenly march into some Stormont chamber and tell all to Bradley or Eames! Seriously!
Whether you’re a former soldier, airman, IRA/UDA/UVF/Stickie/INLA/Human Rights’ Lawyer[wassah?]/RUC/UDR/Special Branch/MRF/Journo/historian and fancy yourself as capable of participating in some multi-million-pound legacy romper room Do-Bee scenario, here’s a simple quiz where you can test your memory for the mid-1970s.
Legacy Quiz 1970s
What’s the name of the British soldier who deserted from the Irish Guards and became the first ever suspected IRA bomber whose name and photograph were released to the press by Scotland Yard to try to encourage his capture?
Didn’t get it yet? More info:
Same army deserter was the first person ever identified on early CCTV images planting a bomb outside a high-tech London firm that had cameras outside?
Still didn’t get it? More info:
Was later named as wanted in connection with the M62 coach bomb that murdered 12 people, a mother and her two young children and 9 young soldiers, also maiming 38 others?
Still didn’t get it? More info:
The name and photograph of a young woman were also released by Scotland Yard – one Marlene Coyle from Derry/Londonderry – also wanted in connection with the M62 coach bomb – don’t fret if you don’t remember Marlene Coyle – the press constantly mixed her up with her cousin, Marion Coyle from Derry/Londonderry, who was also wanted but for different IRA jobs.
Still didn’t get it? More info:
He was later captured by Irish police in the Sligo area of the Republic of Ireland and later still beat extradition attempts.
Still didn’t get it?
And you think the release of millions of pounds Sterling will bring Truth from the period of the early 1970s when the names of Marlene and this guy have long faded from the news and general memory and when they long ago escaped whatever justice they deserved?
Kieran McMorrow, once Britain’s Most Wanted Man, today Britain’s Most Forgotten Man.
Neither Kieran nor Marlene have been heard of in decades…
I’m afraid you failed the Legacy Quiz about yesteryear’s Most Wanted Couple and about a truly horrific bombing that murdered a young mother and two young children.
Over to you, Gerry and the other Army Council Chieftains, over to you The Pat Finucane Centre, to Relatives for Justice/Time for Truth Heroes – ready to do the right thing and uphold the rights of innocent civilian victims?
Not a hope in hell, millions or no millions…