Although the Gerry Adams‘ version of the IRA was defeated in its ‘armed struggle’ to try to force a United Ireland by wholesale murder, bombing and Human Rights’ atrocities, and although it surrendered most of its weaponry and disbanded most of its lower ranks as the price of admission to shared power in the partitionist UK parliament of Stormont, it needed various fig leaves to cover its abject surrender for nothing more than immunity from prosecution for its secretive Army Council leadership and freedom for convicted prisoners.
One fig leaf was the hiring in the UK Stormont Parliament in Northern Ireland as SPecial ADvisors [SPADs] those IRA members who had served the Army Council well whether by means of murders, bombings, long prison sentences or other activities of a more secret nature, such as close cooperation with the world’s leading Narco-terrorists, FARC in Colombia.
These good servants of the IRA were to be paid between £60,000 and £90,000 per annum of the Queen’s [previously despised] shillings for services rendered and this mechanism served to buy off some off the hardcore IRA ex-cons who might otherwise have criticised participation in Stormont as a betrayal of every single principle that guided the IRA in its murderous heyday.
Some SPADs were added to the Stormont parliament payroll while others were paid by the IRA movement’s political front, Sinn Féin, which was able by various means to claim hundreds of thousands of pounds in Stormont “expenses” which could then be channeled wherever the party required.
Shortly after the BBC Spotlight program exposé of Research Services Ireland, Sinn Féin declared the company ‘dormant’ and ‘wound up’ – it was formally dissolved in 2016.
As the IRA movement transitioned into social democratic politics following the signing of The Belfast Agreement, the IRA’s leadership wished to appoint some of its most loyal IRA volunteers to positions of responsibility in Stormont.
How did that work out for the IRA’s secretive strategists sometimes referred to collectively as Gerry Adams’ Think Tank?
In the early days one ex-prisoner rose to prominence as Sinn Féin’s ‘Head of Administration’ and ‘key aide to Gerry Adams’.
Denis Donaldson was first imprisoned in 1972 and served most of his sentence alongside another IRA prisoner, Bobby Sands, who was to become an IRA hunger strike icon almost a decade later.
Sands died on hunger strike in May 1981 by which time Donaldson had penetrated the IRA movement’s Foreign Affairs Department in a very public manner – first getting arrested for traveling on a false British passport in September.
Three months later, Donaldson was arrested again at Dublin airport, which served to increase his activist profile.
By 1983 Donaldson had already been chosen as a Sinn Féin election candidate which signalled his popularity with the IRA’s Army Council leadership, whatever about his poor poll result.
By the late 1980s, dual IRA/Sinn Féin activist and spy Donaldson had been sent to the United States to reorganise the IRA’s gunrunning and cash raising operations.
(Gabriel Megahey, the IRA’s formerly-jailed and self-confessed Commander in the US, claimed after the fact that he had smelled a rat in Donaldson’s activities, but more about killer Megahey later.)
By December 2002, IRA SuperSPAD Denis Donaldson had been arrested and embroiled in “Stormontgate” – an alleged IRA spy ring uncovered in Stormont which greatly damaged the nascent political framework developing in Northern Ireland.
It wasn’t the allegation of an IRA spy ring which ultimately became the story, but Donaldson’s unmasking three years later as a deep-cover British spy within both the IRA and Sinn Féin dating back some 25 years.
Donaldson’s startling admission in December 2005 that he was a British spy came just after the equally shocking revelation that another British spy had been working at the top of the IRA’s own Internal Security and ‘nutting’ squad – Freddie Scappaticci aka “Stakeknife”.
Dramatic revelations that British Intelligence had successfully infiltrated the IRA’s highest leadership for decades supported the view that the IRA’s cessation of its ‘armed struggle’ and entry into hated parliaments had less to do with ethics and more to do with the threat of IRA Army Council’s leaders spending the rest of their natural lives in prison for directing terrorism.
Gerry Adams helpfully informed the press that SuperSPAD and SuperSpy Donaldson was “under no threat from any Republican organisation” following his admission of treachery to IRA leader Leo Green and Sinn Féin’s partitionist “Six County” chairperson Declan Kearney.
Within a year, Denis Donaldson had been murdered at a cottage in Donegal in the Republic of Ireland.
Donaldson had clearly been assured by both Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness that his life would be spared if he ‘came clean’.
Martin McGuinness had directly participated in the IRA Army Council’s oversight of England bombings for many years even while in regular negotiation with agents of British Intelligence.
He had sent – [among others] – Martina Anderson and her lover Paul Kavanagh off to bomb various targets in England for which activities they were captured and served long prison sentences.
McGuinness liked to pay his debts to the prison fodder servants of yesteryear, all the better with money supplied by the willing Brits.
Martina Anderson was offered the lucrative opportunity to stand for the hated parliaments she had spent years opposing and which subsequently made her a relatively wealthy Revolutionary Socialist in Derry/Londonderry. [See here.]
Martina’s husband, ex-con murderer Paul Kavanagh, was hired by McGuinness as a SPAD so that he could draw earnings of £90,000 per annum with added pension benefits.
Kavanagh had made a youthful contribution to the IRA’s United Ireland strategy as a junior in 1973 when he was convicted of possession of a gun and ammunition, a year after his brother Albert was shot dead by police during an IRA bombing mission:
As a more senior bomber in London Kavanagh contributed further by means of his no-warning van bomb at Chelsea Barracks in October 1981, which murdered passers-by:
- Nora Field, 61 yrs old civilian
- John Patrick Breslin, 18 yrs old Irish Catholic civilian
Nora Field, a widow from nearby council flats, was out shopping for her 92 yrs old mother. She was chatting to a neighbour, Hazel Cole, and took the full force of the van bomb.
She was killed almost instantly by a 6 inch nail that pierced her heart.
The bomb’s 7lbs of 6 inch nails and 6lbs of nuts and bolts were propelled by 30lbs of gelignite that exploded inside a disguised laundry van.
John Patrick Breslin survived for 3 days before he died of severe head injuries.
As his name suggests, John was from an immigrant Irish Catholic family and was working as an apprentice photographic technician.
His father, Kevin Breslin from County Roscommon, stated of John’s IRA murderers:
“It’s their own people they are killing. They are Irish. I am Irish and they killed my son.”
The van bomb was detonated by a command wire from a vantage point on scaffolding that offered a clear view of the civilians near the bomb.
50 people were injured by the shrapnel, including 25 Irish Guardsmen on a bus.
Because so many Irish Guards were from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the regiment did not serve in Northern Ireland at all…
Flying glass fragments from Kavanagh’s bomb also injured two children, 5 yrs old Paul Wilson and his 2 yrs old sister, Kelly.
Natalino Vella, a co-defendant of Kavanagh, told police that Kavanagh had also bombed Harrods’ shoppers shortly before Christmas in an attack that murdered 6 victims, three civilians [one of them an American citizen] and police officers:
- Philip Geddes, 24 yrs old civilian, ‘Daily Express’ reporter
- Jasmine Cochran-Patrick, 25 yrs old civilian
- Kenneth Salvesen, 28 yrs old civilian, American citizen
American governments were normally zealous in seeking the extradition of those who murdered American citizens abroad, but not in the case of Kenneth Salvesen.
The police officers murdered while trying to get civilians out of harm’s way at Harrods were:
- Jane Arbuthnot, 22 yrs old, Constable
- Noel Lane, 28 yrs old, Sergeant
- Stephen Dodd, 34 yrs old, Inspector
[A young woman was seen parking the Harrods’ car bomb and walking away from it. If Martina Anderson did not drive and park the car bomb on the day, she must know which other female member of the IRA’s England bombing unit did in fact drive it.]
Kavanagh had murdered civilian bomb disposal officer Kenneth Howarth who died trying to defuse a bomb in an Oxford Street Wimpy Bar, while another of Kavanagh’s alleged bombs [an under car device] blew a leg off Sir Steuart Pringle.
In 2009 Martin McGuinness hired the entirely unrepentant Kavanagh – who had been released early from prison as a result of The Belfast Agreement – as a Special Advisor to the joint office of the First and Deputy First Minister at Stormont on a salary of £90,000 a year.
Kavanagh luxuriated in this IRA compensation for over four years before Jim Allister – SPAD Terminator – mostly killed off the IRA SPADs, as we shall see.
Stormont’s then Sinn Féin Culture Minister, Carol Cullen, was herself a graduate IRA bomber also.
Back in 1989, Carol had attempted to plant a booby-trap bomb under the gates of Crumlin police station in County Antrim, along with two IRA comrades, Sandy Lynch and James McGarrigle.
As the police fired on the attackers, Cullen froze screaming on the footpath and was arrested while Lynch and McGarrigle escaped in a car.
Later sentenced to 9 years for her attempted booby-trap bombing, Cullen served just over 4 years in prison with other female IRA members, one of whom she later hired as a SPAD.
Cullen changed her life-long birth name to an Irish version – Carál Ní Chuilín – some time after the year 2000 but may not have been aware that this name change might have confused visiting Americans and others who might have Googled her in advance of meeting her – her IRA bombing record might not have shown up under the AKA name.
The IRA’s newspaper was still referring to her as Carol Cullen in late 1999.
Adhering to the party line, Cullen hired fellow IRA comrade Mary McArdle as a SPAD in 2011.
21 yrs old Mary McArdle had been convicted of the heinous murder in 1984 of a 23 yrs old Catholic primary schoolteacher, Mary Travers, who was shot dead coming out of a Catholic church after Mass along with her magistrate father Tom [shot six times but survived] and mother Joan [the gun pressed against Joan’s head misfired twice].
Mary McArdle was arrested by police some distance away carrying a dog with the two murder weapons and a wig strapped to her thighs by medical bandages.
McArdle appeared entirely emotionally disconnected from the triple murder attempt of moments earlier:
Following her conviction and sentence for the murder and attempted murders, McArdle smiled and waved to relatives.
Far from using her prison time to consider her unjustified violations of the civil rights and Human Rights of her victims, McArdle was recorded in a video expressing a wish to “kill all the screws”:
When IRA bomber Cullen hired IRA murderer McArdle as a Special Advisor on a fat salary, murder victim Mary Travers’ sister, Ann, began a campaign to render it unlawful for Stormont to hire as SPADs any convict with a sentence of 5 years or more of imprisonment.
In this endeavour, Ann Travers was aided by Stormont Traditional Unionist MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) and barrister Jim Allister whose Stormont Private Member’s Bill was finally passed and given Royal Assent in 2013.
Ann Travers might have expected overwhelming support from the non-violent Social Democratic and Labour Party formerly led by John Hume, but the SDLP was deeply divided on the issue of throwing its weight solidly behind innocent victims of the IRA.
One week (May 20 2013) the SDLP was announcing its intention to block the Bill:
A week later, the SDLP performed a U-turn on the matter:
After over a week of wrangling, then SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell finally announced SDLP support of the Bill and of innocent Victims of the IRA.
The IRA movement objected to Jim Allister’s Bill, but turned its ire on the SDLP party, while branding Catholic magistrate Tom Travers [whom it had tried to murder along with his wife, and whose daughter Mary it had murdered] as a “British magistrate” and his daughter, Ann, a “high-profile unionist victim”…
In advance of the passage of Jim Allister’s Victims’ Bill, Sinn Féin had “re-deployed” murderer Mary McArdle away from her SPAD job.
IRA mass murderer Paul Kavanagh was terminated by the Bill, but not before he won compensation and pension benefits from Stormont whose precise details were never revealed.
But in reality, the IRA movement’s political front, Sinn Féin, relies on other SPecial ADvisors who are neither elected to Stormont nor even hired as Stormont SPADs and in this way they are answerable to no-one.
Many people believe these other SPecial ADvisors are in fact members of or sworn servants of the IRA’s Ruling Army Council which is in overall control of the entire Republican Movement.
Although most republicans have always been aware that a secretive and self-styled Military Council controls the republican movement and its political front, Sinn Féin, the secret was more fully revealed by Sinn Féin’s not-so-smart millionaire publisher, Martin Miller – aka Mairtin O’Muilleoir – while he was nominally the Finance Minister in Stormont.
Miller was emailing senior IRA controllers behind the scenes for permission to take mundane decisions and the proofs were revealed in his emails following an inquiry.
The primary problem for the quality of democracy under a potential Sinn Féin government lies in the fact that Sinn Féin itself is ruled by a self-styled secret Army Council that most recently directed the IRA’s terrorism that murdered 1,700 victims, exploded thousands of bombs, robbed banks and accepted petro-dollar bribes from anti-British dictators while working with the world’s leading narco-terrorists in Colombia.
Sinn Féin voters might wittingly or unwittingly give rise to a form of rule by secret Junta subject to none of the parliamentary and press scrutiny, checks and balances that apply to democratic political parties not subject to a secret overarching Military Council.
Gerry Adams recently named a number of the IRA’s Special Advisors so we shall begin by looking at Martin Miller’s uncovered secret contact, Ted Howell.
Edward ‘Ted’ Howell was an unmitigated disaster for the IRA from February 1982.
He and four others, including IRA bombmaker Dessie Ellis [who initially used a false name ‘Michael Weir’] were arrested by American Immigration and Naturalization Service agents at Buffalo, Niagara Falls, attempting to enter the United States on a mission to buy arms, ammunition and sophisticated bomb parts.
A weapons’s shopping list, thousands of dollars in cash, false documentation and “casting dies resembling those used by Irish Government to validate passports” were found on the men.
Critically for authorities in the United States, Howell was carrying a notebook containing names that authorities suspected included leading IRA members linked to gun-running.
In particular, Howell had the name of a Belfast-born New York bartender – Gabriel Megahey – who was suspected by the FBI of gunrunning to the IRA.
A short time after Howell’s arrest, the FBI placed a wiretap on Megahey’s home phone in Queens, New York, and in a later ‘sting’ operation Megahey told an FBI agent he was indeed the head of the IRA in America with access to $1M for arms’ purchases.
Within 2 years of Howell’s detention at Niagara Falls, Gabriel Megahey was sentenced in September 1984 to 7 years in a federal penitentiary for conspiracy to ship arms to the IRA.
While Megahey’s deportation from the US was later halted in the name of the ‘peace process‘, he had successfully hidden from the American authorities then as now his 1962 criminal trial and conviction in Belfast for headbutting and killing 24yrs old Kevin McLaughin of Highbury Street.
Megahey was sentenced to 2 years penal servitude, after which he moved to Southhampton, England, before entering the United States.
Having made a career out of his American IRA days, Megahey recently published a boxing gloves’ photo of himself on Facebook, evidently having erased the memory of his 1962 victim Kevin McLaughlin.
Megahey currently resides in Delaware.
Edward ‘Ted’ Howell’s blunders were far from over.
Barely four weeks after he was deported from Canada, he was observed by Special Branch detectives receiving a bag from IRA Chief of Staff, Joe Cahill, in a cafe in O’Connell Street in Dublin city centre.
When ‘Howler’ Howell left the cafe he was stopped and questioned by a detective, gave a false name and tried to run off with a plastic bag grabbed from the carrier bag.
Arrested immediately, Howell was found to be carrying $80,000 in the bag, with a further £350 in Sterling and £646 in Irish pounds.
Like Martin McGuinness and many others at the time, Howell found that IRA activism put in his hands unimaginable amounts of untraced cash and a lifestyle of travel and pretend heroism which was a far cry from a mundane 9 to 5 job back in Northern Ireland.
Howell’s arrest in America on an abortive IRA gunrunning operation gave the authorities on both sides of the Atlantic his photograph, fingerprints and modus operandi – not forgetting a wealth of information about IRA operatives in Canada and the United States – and highlighted that he had become a liability to the IRA.
Special Branch detectives were easily able to shadow him in Dublin and catch him receiving an enormous amount of cash from the IRA’s Chief of Staff.
There followed 4 years of court cases after which a sympathetic Dublin Circuit Court judge returned the cash – plus interest – to Joe Cahill.
Since Howell’s bumbling blunders ended his activist days, why did Gerry Adams keep him on in any role, even in a so-called Think Tank – (even if confining Howell to a think tank was a kind of preventive detention)?
The primary reason Howell’s services were retained was that he professed the single quality that really mattered, namely uncritical loyalty to Gerry Adams.
This is evident when considering the cases of two SPADs who committed no bumbling blunders but who gave the appearance of being momentarily disloyal to Gerry’s Project and whose names and services to the republican movement have as a result been entirely deleted from the republican canon.
You may recall that Leo Green was the IRA leader to whom Gerry Adams asked Denis Donaldson to admit his treachery.
Leo Green was as true an IRA volunteer as Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness could have wished for back in the day.
Leo Green earned himself 7 life sentences with a recommendation of a minimum of 25 years imprisonment in April 1978 for an IRA gun attack in Lurgan that murdered 38 yrs old police inspector Harry Cobb and for associated charges of attempted murders of two police reservists.
In prison, Green spent 53 days on the first (and abortive) IRA hunger strike in Long Kesh in 1980.
In retrospect, it is difficult to imagine the impact on Leo of the astonishing letter he received from Harry Cobb’s widow while on hunger strike informing him that owing to her having the ‘love of God in her heart‘ she was personally forgiving him for murdering her husband.
When the IRA movement surrendered its historical opposition to the UK Stormont parliament, Leo Green was initially appointed as a SPAD, first to Bairbre de Brún and later to Martin McGuinness in the decade before Jim Allister’s Bill.
By the time of Jim Allister’s anti-SPAD bill, Green’s lowly SPAD days were over – he was by then described variously as Sinn Féin’s Political Director or Chief Executive at Stormont, a veritable SuperSPAD.
However, Green’s inexplicable absence from the February 2014 Sinn Féin Ard Fheis (similar to ‘annual conference’) alerted journalists to a major division behind the scenes.
While Sinn Féin attempted to deny the row, Green suddenly began what The Irish News [wrongly] called an ‘unprecedented‘ legal action against Sinn Féin on grounds of “discrimination for holding a political opinion, unfair dismissal and breach of contract.”
Green apparently negotiated a deal with other Stormont parties about welfare reform but was angered when unelected IRA backroom figures vetoed his deal and fired him.
He was quickly replaced by IRA Army Council member Bobby Storey.
For all his years of service to the IRA movement, his murder of Harry Cobb, his 17 years in prison, his 53 days on hunger strike, the assassination of his brother (John Francis) and his years as a SPAD in hated Stormont, Leo Green found that not only was he NOT in control of his work as Chief Executive of Sinn Féin, but that a single deviation from the Gerry Party Line resulted in his political obliteration.
But Leo Green’s legal action against his own party, Sinn Féin, was not as The Irish News claimed, unprecedented [but its settlement did buy his silence].
Five years earlier in 2009, Sinn Féin National Executive member, “Dodie” McGuinness, Martin McGuinness’ sister-in-law, who had been Sinn Féin’s Director of Elections following the 1998 Belfast Agreement, elected member of Derry City Council, Senior Official in Sinn Féin’s Westminster Office and Special Advisor, sued her own party alleging age and gender discrimination.
While Dodie’s services to the republican movement dated back to 1972 – and she was exceedingly well known in IRA circles in Derry/Londonderry – and she had no bumbling blunders to her name – as soon as she deviated one smidgin from The Party Line, from Gerry’s Project, by refusing to accept party dictates, she obliterated in an instant her own republican political career.
Who remembers Dodie?
It’s not ability that matters in Sinn Féin but unquestioning loyalty to The Messiah, Gerry.
Where were all of Dodie’s well-known mouthy Revolutionary Socialist female comrades in Sinn Féin when she complained of gender and age discrimination?
Padraic Conor Wilson was 17 yrs old when he was caught with explosive material in his home in 1977.
The judge at his trial commended his attitude, which involved admitting to the Royal Ulster Constabulary both possession of explosives and membership of the IRA.
Cooperation by IRA volunteers with the police and judiciary was not popular, but Wilson got another bonus three days later when the judge who sentenced him inexplicably reduced his sentence by two years…
The IRA newspaper offered an abbreviated biography of Wilson in 2009:
“Sinn Féin’s west Belfast organiser” in the 1980s is an understatement.
Wilson has never rejected newspaper reports that he was the IRA’s Head of “Civil Administration” in the 1980s.
As with the RUC detectives back in 1977, Wilson apparently couldn’t stop himself from making voluntary admissions.
In the unlikely event that anyone remembers Padraic Wilson, it will be chiefly for his alleged involvement in the IRA’s “investigations” of IRA rapists and buggerers with the intention – it is claimed – of covering up these matters on behalf of the IRA [Wilson denies the latter]. See here.
As Director of the IRA’s International Affairs’ Department, Wilson’s only other memorable activity was his alleged involvement with the world’s leading cocaine traffickers, FARC in Colombia, while he was still “on licence” from prison.
There isn’t space in this article to do Justice to Wilson’s IRA activities, but Martin Miller’s uncovered subservient emails to the likes of Wilson highlighted that the Sinn Féin party is (and always was) nothing more than a thinly veiled political front for the overarching and powerful IRA Army Council.
The Belfast Brigade of the IRA more than any other unit has always equated IRA with DNA – allied with loyalty above all else, the IRA’s virus is transmitted best down family lines so that certain names more than others deserve power and prominence.
And so it is with our final IRA SPAD, whose name – and not omitting the regard which Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams have had for him – should more properly earn him the title of IRA SuperSPAD – the largely unphotographed and secretive Aidan McAteer.
No bumbling blunders, repeated arrests or voluntary admissions from Moby!
[‘Moby‘ was his Long Kesh comrades’ unkind 1970s nickname for him – ‘big fat bastard with red hair‘.]
To the rough, uncouth and often bloody Belfast IRA felons, Aidan brings a touch of his father Hugh’s more cerebral quality.
Hugh McAteer was Chief of Staff of the IRA in the 1940s and served time in prison.
Hugh’s constitutionalist brother, Eddie McAteer, was a Stormont Member of Parliament and leader of the Nationalist Party.
What makes Aidan McAteer a SuperSPAD?
Gormless Martin Miller revealed during the Renewable Heat Incentive ‘Cash for Ash’ inquiry that even after the passage of Jim Allister’s SPAD Bill, Sinn Féin broke Stormont’s own laws in order to contine to employ and pay Aidan McAteer who “oversaw and managed both Sinn Féin’s special advisers and ministers“.
So unelected, unchecked, unsupervised IRA SuperSPAD McAteer not only had oversight of all of the other SPADs, but also of all of Sinn Féin’s elected Ministers!
What body – unknown to the mere electorate of Northern Ireland – conferred upon Aidan McAteer the authority to oversee both SPADs and elected Ministers?
The only body capable of conferring such authority – the body that regards itself as the “rightful government of the Irish Republic” since 1918 – is the IRA’s Army Council.
McAteer swore his allegiance to the IRA’s Army Council back in the 1970s when he joined the IRA and went out shooting.
Ed Moloney has reported the McAteer was under a cloud in the 1970s.
If Aidan McAteer was under any form of a cloud back in the 1970s, his resurrection would have been wrought solely by the expressions of loyalty to and faith in the Provos’ one and only Messiah, Gerry Adams.
It’s not important for Aidan McAteer to be intellectually gifted, university educated, well-read, respecter of Human Rights, voice of the tortured and disappeared – no, his position of power over both SPADs and elected Sinn Féin Ministers is founded upon his uncritical and unswerving loyalty to Messiah Gerry Adams.
It was the IRA’s own newspaper which best described Sinn Féin opposition to Jim Allister’s SPAD Bill.
Nothing better signals the victory of British Intelligence over the Provisional IRA than all of its prominent leaders, public and private, on the British Government payroll and up to their eyes in the partitionist parliament of Stormont and its honeypot of expenses.
While Italian governments strive to eradicate the influence of the Mafia from politics and business in Italy, and while Latin American governments struggle to eliminate the influence of drug cartels from society, Northern Ireland has become a political experiment wherein the defeated but unrepentant IRA movement has been put at the heart of government to test whether extreme forms of the twin capitalist virtues of the love of money and lust for power can transform it into a truly democratic partner.
Having papered over at least 1,800 moral hazards, the experiment may yet not end well.