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 it engaged in murders, sectarian murders and anti-civilian bombings. Along with their former comrades in the Provisional IRA, Official IRA members lied about their armed activities on Bloody Sunday prior to the infamous shootings by Paratroopers.]
A remnant of the IRA had survived both the loss of the Civil War in the early 1920s and the quiet years of the 1930s when its Chief of Staff Sean MacBride (who later founded Amnesty International) resigned from the movement.
The residual IRA also survived the WWII pro-Nazi leadership of Sean Russell and his bombing campaign in England beginning in 1939 and the later 1950s ‘Border Campaign’ fiasco.
The primary aim of the IRA’s existence down the decades was to destroy Northern Ireland by armed force and bombings.
The birth of the pacifist Civil Rights’ movement in the late 1960s offered opportunities for infiltration and exploitation of the decision to put massive numbers of protestors on the streets.
The IRA planned to enlist as many young people as possible – including pre-teens and very young teenagers – as armed fighters and bombers and had no interest in seeing any pacifist Civil Rights’ doctrine sway potential young volunteers away from membership of the IRA.
The Civil Rights’ movement, if successful in its aims, might in fact have strengthened peaceful, democratic participation in Northern Ireland which is exactly what the Provisional IRA did not want to happen.
Paradoxes of the IRA’s Armed Struggle
So-called ‘armed struggle’ is composed of many contradictions to which the mostly younger fighters are temporarily blinded – the scales slowly fall from their eyes eventually, however, during the long years in prison which are the primary reward of violent acts.
The first contradiction of the IRA’s armed struggle is that while many of the IRA murderers and bombers claimed an early allegiance to the Northern Ireland Civil Rights’ movement, they immediately suspended all of the civil and human rights of the thousands of victims they murdered and maimed throughout the period of their participation in the IRA’s violent campaign.
Within the IRA cult, there is a shared suspension of belief that the IRA ever committed any civil or human rights’ atrocities and all of the IRA’s Sinn Féin representatives must adhere to this Biggest Lie.
Obedience to this lie has even latterly become shared by nationalist lawyers, journalists, Catholic priests and Bishops. No-one on the nationalist side in Northern Ireland will challenge the IRA and its Sinn Féin front about the IRA’s human rights’ atrocities and denial of truth and justice to thousands of victims.
A second contradiction is that while the IRA claims a historic opposition to ‘Internment without Trial’ and alleged ‘torture’ of Internees, the IRA immediately set about abducting, interning, torturing and executing a range of civilians including men, women and boys entirely without any lawful trials, defences or appeals.
The IRA even disappeared the corpses of many unfortunate victims and lied about these disappearances. The IRA still refuses to give information that might lead to the recovery of the remains of Captain Robert Nairac whom it abducted, tortured, murdered and disappeared.
A number of the so-called ‘hooded men’ protesters about British Army arrests and interrogation techniques who have pursued ‘human rights’ legal cases for years were themselves IRA members or leaders involved in the IRA’s ‘armed struggle’ and fully agreeing with the IRA’s hooding and executions of civilians entirely without regard for the human or civil rights of the IRA’s many victims – but such hypocrisy is the trademark of the IRA. A number of them have become supporters of the dissident IRA cause even after all these years.
A third contradiction is that while the IRA movement orchestrated a campaign against an alleged ‘shoot to kill’ policy by security forces, it had already set in train thirty years of its own shoot to kill, bomb to kill and torture to kill murders. Once more, IRA cult members and supporters are compelled to deny these atrocities in perpetuity in full view of the wider public.
A fourth contradiction is that while the IRA claimed to defend its community, the so-called ‘freedom fighters’ killed more members of their own Nationalist/Catholic community than did their perceived enemies. The killings occurred variously during premature bomb blasts, careless shootings and deliberate assassinations. Many of these murders were denied for years until the IRA was forced to admit them only when incontrovertible evidence was produced. The IRA leadership at one time even discussed assassinating John Hume – his crime? Hume led a democratic party publicly critical of the IRA’s immoral terror campaign.
A fifth contradiction is that while the IRA claimed the mantle of the 1798 Protestant revolutionary Theobald Wolfe Tone and of the associated strongly Presbyterian United Irishmen, the IRA engaged in a campaign of wholly sectarian tit-for-tat murders of innocent Protestant civilians not only in the cities, but more callously in border areas where the killings amounted to localized genocide against Protestant border communities.
The IRA infamously used false cover names to avoid blame for these sectarian murders, most notably in the Kingsmill massacre of 10 innocent Protestant workers when it pretended that the ‘South Armagh Action Force’ committed the atrocity – a massacre which the IRA has failed to admit even today.
A prominent Sinn Féin MP, Barry McElduff – popular Court Jester to Tyrone republicans – was forced to resign after he was caught joking about the atrocity by publishing a ‘selfie’ of himself balancing a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head on the very 42nd anniversary of the massacre. McElduff would not admit, even in the teeth of his resignation, that he had intended the joke, much like the IRA’s failure to admit, even today, its responsibility for the Kingsmill massacre.
A sixth contradiction is that while the IRA fooled many sympathisers in America and elsewhere into donating monies “for the relief of the nationalist people of the Six Counties”, in fact the American dollars and the petro-dollars from Libyan Dictator Gadaffi and the monies robbed and intimidated from other ‘donors’ were all directed solely to the procurement of arms and explosives to murder people and to destroy buildings.
The entire IRA effort was directed not toward any unifying politics or shared language or inter-mutual culture, but to murders and bombings aimed against the Protestant Unionist community. The culturally divisive movement’s membership failed even to learn its own claimed Irish language during its 30 years of hostilities.
All of those people who got involved with the IRA foolishly stipulating that they were not going to get involved in actual violence were quickly yoked to the armed struggle and to the IRA’s murder machine. As a result, very many Catholic people prominent in business, education, law, media and politics – and even Catholic priests and monks – participated directly and indirectly in the murders of soldiers, police and Protestant neighbours.
As for the monies – the IRA spent millions of dollars and pounds on its armed struggle and built not a single clinic for the poor, not a single homeless shelter, not a single homework club for impoverished children, not a single ‘penny dinner’ centre for the hungry poor. No monument remains of the IRA’s thirty years of robbery, extortion and illegal donations except graves in cemeteries.
Those young IRA volunteers who spent some of the best years of their lives in prisons following the IRA leadership and who naively believed the fairy tales of a ‘socialist republic’ – Bobby Sands most notable among them – could not have foreseen Gerry Adams jetting off to wealthy American millionaires for private medical treatment and Martin McGuinness ringing the bell on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange on Wall Street – a veritable new Wolf of Wall Street! How far from ‘republican socialists’ are the new highly-paid IRA and Sinn Féin leaderships stuffing their pockets with Sterling and Euros way beyond the so-called ‘average industrial wage’.
A seventh contradiction is that while the IRA lately married its political abstentionism to its earlier principle of legal abstentionism – its total refusal to allow captured volunteers to recognise British courts in Northern Ireland (and at that time in ‘the Irish Free State’) for many years – as soon as the security forces began to arrest prominent leaders of the IRA, a massive U-turn was enacted allowing all captured volunteers to recognise British courts of law and to employ the new breed of nationalist lawyers who proved only too willing to bury their snouts in the legal aid trough.
The many hundreds of the first-captured IRA prisoners who had been refused permission by the IRA leadership to recognise their courts and who as a result got very long sentences were later joined in prison by hundreds of prisoners who were all granted permission to recognise British courts of law and who as a result often got much shorter sentences.
Above all, prominent leaders of the IRA were able to recognise the courts and plead for shorter sentences.
An eighth contradiction is that while the IRA mouthed public opposition to drugs and drug dealers, it could not wait to get connected to the world’s leading cocaine-terrorists, namely FARC in Colombia.
Three of the IRA’s leading lights were captured in Bogota traveling on false passports, Jim ‘Mortar’ Monaghan, Martin McCauley and Niall Connolly. Their arrests occurred three years after the signing of The Belfast Agreement and reports and witnesses claimed that they had been regularly seen in FARC areas during the previous three years.
Later sentenced to 17 years for various offences including training FARC guerrillas in mortar technology, the three had fled the country and returned to Ireland out of reach of the extant Colombia arrest warrants. The IRA Army Council has never told the truth about its financial dealings with one of the world’s biggest wholesale suppliers of cocaine nor has it even been requested to do so.
If the total amount of illegal drugs ingested by prominent IRA prisoners in the English prisons during the nearly two decades of their various sentences could be re-hashed in a large pile on Dublin’s O’Connell Street, the mound would overshadow The Spire and highlight the cocaine-white hypocrisy of the IRA in murdering small-time drug dealers many of whom were themselves addicts desperately trying to feed their own habits by dealing.
A ninth contradiction is that while the IRA Army Council has decided on a strategy of having its political front Sinn Féin temporarily led by servile women appointees – seemingly upgrading the status of women in the republican movement – in fact the IRA has degraded these willing women by effectively enslaving them to the secretive dictates of the Belfast Army Council backroom boys.
The true IRA attitude to women was not only perfectly expressed in the abduction, torture and murder of mother of ten Jean McConville, but also in its murders of all of the 120 women, girls and female infants it shot and bombed in the course of its unwanted ‘armed struggle’. While Jean McConville has rightfully been to the fore of the Gerry Adams movement’s victims, the names of the other 119 women, girls and babies murdered by the IRA should not be forgotten and are recorded here.
In spite of the fact that Adams was named and shamed by his closest IRA comrades as the man responsible for ordering Jean McConville’s murder, and in spite of his more recent arrest and interrogation about her murder, the carefully-chosen women puppet leaders of Sinn Féin have nothing but admiration for Adams and his odious past.
Which brings me to the tenth contradiction which is that while most of the younger individual IRA volunteers who were arrested, charged and convicted for IRA crimes served their sentences and acknowledged their IRA activities then and since – and many bitterly regretted their involvement in human rights’ atrocities – the IRA leadership has failed to take corporate responsibility for the IRA’s disastrous and unnecessary campaign of murder.
Adams has in most cowardly fashion refused to admit his crimes, pretending that he was never a member of the IRA or a member of the IRA’s Army Council.
He is permanently on the run from the truth of his many victims’ most cruel ends.
Martin McGuinness agreed to similarly lie about his IRA activities, pretending that the left the IRA in 1974, which everybody knows to be totally untrue.
McGuinness too refused to admit the truth of his involvement in the horrific murders of his many, many victims, nor was he even challenged to do so by the priests, bishops, archbishops and pastors who grovelled around him and managed to forget ‘human bomb’ Patsy Gillespie, Joanne Mathers, Jeffrey Agate, Frank Hegarty, Leslie Jarvis – the list goes on…
Other prominent IRA Army Council leaders are hiding behind the skirts of Sinn Féin’s female puppet leaders, meanwhile orchestrating the movement’s Trojan Horse strangulation of Northern Ireland democracy.
The eleventh and final contradiction is that while the IRA has endlessly exploited the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane – a solicitor who was reported by prominent IRA member Sean O’Callaghan to have attended senior IRA meetings – it has endeavoured to cover up its own murders of Northern Ireland judges, magistrates and lawyers – a cover-up not at all challenged by the so-called ‘Relatives for Justice’ under the bizarre leadership of Mark Thompson.
- 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 civil rights’ activist 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.
Was there ever a political Mafia in Ireland so composed of liars, deniers, hypocrites, cheats, embezzlers, robbers, torturers and mass murderers which yet garners votes from a supposedly Roman Catholic base?
Why do Roman Catholics vote for murderers?
I shall address this question later…
Some very sad historical facts which the IRA will either deny all responsibilities or claim if it’s part of their agenda. I blame in part the politicians of the UK who have supported or colluded with the terrorist for their own political gain.
Is it fair to write of “a number of the so-called ‘hooded men’ protesters” and to suggest that a number support dissidents. If this is true and I don’t doubt your sincerity, you have phrased your point in such a way to cast doubt on all the “hooded men”. You could have possibly stressed there are others who don’t support such causes. Please don’t take this as a personal attack or as a review of your post. It’s just one point.
Yes, it is fair.
A well researched review indeed of a very bleak period of Irish history. Never has so many in one community been let down by so few. This I might add by my government as well as the IRA. Seeing the likes of Adams and as was McGuinness living the life of the untouchables in total denial of all the dirty work leaving no blood on their hands. This and previous British Governments unwilling to bring these hypocrites to justice, allowing them to avoid justice due to the GFA yet the folk who were sent to protect the NI people are still being hounded on trumpet up charges. May ALL those involved in murder of civilians and the innocent wherever they are from, learn to breath through their ears as they shove shit up to their noses down under when they pop their clogs. I don’t mean Australia either.
The facts speak for themselves; but the key is finding the facts and then shining light on them, which is exactly what this review does. Politics and hypocrisy have always gone hand in hand, as is abundantly clear in Ireland. Ulster’s tragedy is that the two extremes (Old & Provisional IRA, on the one hand, and Unionism and the B Specials on the other) essentially colluded to snuff out the increasingly successful Civil Rights Movement of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Who was responsible for the rebuilding of the Bogside? NICRA; not the IRA.
Nearly two thousand years ago Pontius Pilate gave people the choice between the innocent Jesus Christ and the terrorist Barrabas. These days the Catholic people are given a similar choice and, to their eternal shame, a majority also choose Barrabas.
“Votail Sinn Fein”…………..Choose Barrabas!