Paul O’Connor is an accomplished liar who can easily maintain lies for 5 decades.
In spite of promoting catchphrases such as “Time for Truth” and “Time to Set the Truth Free”, he continues to lie.
In an “Irish Times” interview on Saturday, Nov 23, Paul lied that people were saying he could not work in Human Rights because he was in the IRA 48 years ago:
Actually, nobody said that – instead people are saying Paul O’Connor should not work in Human Rights because as recently as Friday, Nov 22, as Director of the Pat Finucane Centre, he:
- issued a false, deceitful rebuttal statement in the name of the Pat Finucane Centre
- denied membership of the IRA and ever having been “on the run”
- denied any knowledge of the death of Jim O’Hagan
- asked people to treat my claims ‘sceptically’
Bizarrely, within hours Paul O’Connor was interviewed by Seamus McKinney of “The Irish News”, a Belfast paper, where he dictated totally different answers – under McKinney’s searing interrogation – and faced with a photograph clearly showing him holding an Armalite rifle at a PIRA checkpoint at Hoggs Folly in the Bogside – he belatedly changed his tune and admitted that he joined the IRA with me in late 1970.
This admission did not come easily.
However, Paul could not bring himself to fully admit that he was in the photograph – so he lied again and claimed that he “could not remember” the picture being taken, but added bizarrely that it was entirely reasonable for folk to look at the picture and believe it was him.
Was he photographed so many times by international photojournalists while he was armed and manning PIRA checkpoints in “Free Derry” that he can’t remember this occasion?
Paul O’Connor went on to admit that he was an active PIRA volunteer for 2 years.
He claimed he “left” the IRA, implying of his own volition, toward the end of 1972.
But this was another lie because he later admitted that the IRA left him – that he was kicked out of the IRA and also out of Derry City for “disobeying orders”.
If you were “fired” Paul, you did not leave the IRA willingly!
You intended to stay on in perpetuity – it was the IRA that got rid of you.
So stop pretending that your “leaving” of the IRA was based on a kind of virtuous decision.
Paul then claimed that he was not “involved” in the shooting of IRA volunteer Jim O’Hagan a few yards from his home in a bomb factory in plush Deanfield in August of 1971 – this was a lie depending how you define “involved” – let’s see…
- Paul claimed that the only reason he was not present in the bomb factory on that evening making bombs and intending to plant them was that he was “at home with a cold” across the street – so, he WOULD have been in the bomb factory with his unit and the gun and ammunition in his charge if he had not had a cold. His comrades were fully expecting him to be there.
- Paul was therefore fully knowledgeable of the activities in his local bomb factory, of the orders given, of the duties set out, of the bomb targets chosen, of the gelignite and detonators – he just absented himself [he says] owing to a cold on the day.
- It would appear that he was still therefore very much “involved” – he knew then and still knows now who was in overall charge of the IRA Unit in Deanfield, in overall charge of the bomb factory, in overall charge of the gun and ammunition – he was holding all of those IRA secrets while he had his cold.
When Jim O’Hagan was shot by an IRA volunteer comrade of Paul – whether Paul was there or across the street in his house – 2 IRA volunteers carried wounded Jim directly to Paul O’Connor’s home – why?
Wasn’t there another house closer where aid could have been rendered?
Why did those IRA volunteers choose to bring Jim’s shot body to Paul O’Connor’s home?
Jim largely bled to death in a bedroom of Paul’s house – this was recorded in the accounts of the affair in the press.
Paul’s own mother, Tess, is reported as saying Jim uttered his last words in that bedroom.
Paul – who couldn’t remember being photographed in 1972 by a New York photojournalist, armed and posing without a mask at a PIRA checkpoint – easily remembered a detail that while Jim O’Hagan’s last words were uttered in his house, Jim’s actual declaration of death occurred on the way to or in nearby Altnagelvin Hospital – contrary to the press and other reports.
Such a detailed memory!
Paul then declares that – with nothing to fear from investigating police – he was not “involved” in Jim’s murder – but that he scarpered out of the Waterside pronto anyway, across the Craigavon Bridge into “Free Derry” and presented to the Derry Brigade of the IRA there as “on the run”. What for?
He did not stay with his dying comrade Jim O’Hagan – he would have been regarded as a hero by the IRA in Derry if he had, and if he had been arrested – instead he fled.
Why go “on the run”, away from your family and home, away from school, away from a life if you have nothing to fear?
Paul O’Connor said he had “spoken” to Jim O’Hagan’s parents – while this was not a lie, it was not the whole truth either, because Paul O’Connor never told the O’Hagan family – all of the family – or the investigating police, or the trial or inquest that he was totally involved in the IRA Unit, in the bomb factory that he had created in Deanfield, in the explosives and weapon and ammunition found there after Jim was shot.
In fact, there are family members who tell me they have not heard from Paul O’Connor since Jim was shot and killed, a matter which may be independently verified with a journalist involved in this story.
Paul O’Connor knows very well which members of his IRA unit were in the bomb factory on the evening – 2 came to his door carrying wounded Jim O’Hagan – that makes 3.
Paul knows which members of his IRA unit scarpered – he scarpered after them within minutes. How many?
Paul knows that Frank Plumb and Gerry McLaughlin – who stayed in the Waterside to be arrested by the police – were not charged with the shooting, although they pleaded guilty to all of their charges and made plea deals with the RUC who were satisfied that they had not shot Jim O’Hagan. They served fairly short sentences of imprisonment and detention.
Paul knows very well who shot and killed Jim O’Hagan if he is demanding to be believed that he did not shoot and kill Jim. It’s a very simple process of elimination.
Paul allowed the Pat Finucane Centre to issue a false rebuttal statement – referred to above – which contained a fanciful claim that the PFC expects him to fully cooperate – FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE SHOOTING, IT MUST BE NOTED – with the PSNI – wow!
If you follow the statement you issued as Director on Friday, Paul, you will fully cooperate with the PSNI and tell them – in honour of Jim O’Hagan and his family to whom you have previously LIED – what you REALLY know of the shooting and of the SHOOTER – the one you have blamed for 47 years – the one whose name was well-known to most of the Derry Brigade of the IRA.
But if this missing Volunteer appears – or is discovered as Jim’s relatives desire – who knows if he will agree with your version of events?
Paul – I would not let the O’Hagan entire family down this time, as I have told members of the family that I will do everything in my power to see that they get the Truth and Justice you and others have denied them. Tell the truth – don’t be caught out in lies this final time.
Paul O’Connor’s Disappeared Victims
Around the time that Paul O’Connor was “on the run” in Free Derry, an imported IRA volunteer from Dublin was also “operating” in “Free Derry” – Kieran Conway, by now a Dublin solicitor and author of the recent paperback bestseller about his IRA days [“Southside Provisional”].
While Kieran and I have major differences of opinion, Kieran at least was honest in his reports of his IRA activities in “Free Derry”.
He was blunt – he says he believes he has killed soldiers, but can’t be sure because he can’t tell whose bullets killed them when a number of gunmen were firing at them. Soldiers were killed while he was one of a group firing, he admitted in a BBC Hardtalk interview:
There’s a basic if brutal honesty in Kieran’s account which I accept.
Paul O’Connor – who is photographed with an entire Company of IRA gunmen – and some of the photographs from the same batch show bombers also – and with a van load of rifles, some Armalites, some Garands, some .303s – claims that while he was active in the IRA and being funded and supplied with safe ‘billets’ on and off for a year that he now wants everyone to believe that he has “absolutely NO VICTIMS”!
For the guy who can’t remember being photographed by a famous photojournalist toward the end of that year, this is a self-serving degree of certainty that even a Dublin solicitor can’t muster!
Paul lied about his ability to move outside “Free Derry” to bomb or shoot in Derry City centre – he later tells he was able to move freely across and back the Derry/Donegal border at will, but unlike his IRA comrades Martin McGuinness and his fellow car-bombers who drove into and out of the city centre on bombing missions without any difficulty – as shown on the recent BBC Spotlight film – Paul did not step over the white line demarcating “Free Derry” and go into the city centre on any bomb missions or gun missions, during an entire year.
For a man who lied for 47 years about his IRA membership and activities, this is a little difficult to believe.
Then for a man who is appealing for a sympathetic response from victims to his cover-up of his IRA background while waging a one-sided propaganda war from the Pat Finucane Centre – and hoping to return to his job – Paul bizarrely told The Irish Times that while he was not proud of his IRA activities, he was NOT ASHAMED OF THEM EITHER.
He went on to say that he was proud of the “OLD IRA” activities of his father before him, not specifying what they were.
We are to assume his father was an “Old IRA” hero but had NO VICTIMS EITHER – these O’Connors are useless in a fight – all talk and no action…
Tell victims you are NOT ASHAMED of your IRA days – that’s a great way to get them on side.
Man up, Paul – plead guilty to your IRA activities and I’m sure you’ll escape any time in prison – you’re Special – there are never to be any consequences for you.
Finally, in what circumstances were you arrested in April of 1971 and questioned by the RUC about activities of the Fianna, but later released?
Nobody seems to have been aware of your arrest until Eversheds released only partially redacted papers bearing your name into the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.
That must have been a surprise?
Do tell, or have you forgotten that one as well?
So, I need to recap:
- you are arrested for IRA-related activities in April 1971
- an IRA bomb factory, a gun and ammunition are found beside your home in August 1971
- a shot IRA volunteer dies in your home in August 1971
- numbers of your friends are charged, tried and imprisoned in October 1971
- somebody you know totally “disappears” in 1971
- you parade around “Free Derry” in IRA costume with guns being photographed in 1971/1972
- you participate in unspecified IRA activities in 1971/1972
- you return to Derry in 1980 and are never arrested, charged or even questioned?
- you lead a charmed life of deceit from 1972 until last Friday, Nov 22, 2019 when you are finally forced to admit to IRA membership and years of lies by the production of a photograph of yourself with an Armalite rifle
By this time, how can anyone fully trust anything you say?