It is no secret that it was always the case that Sinn Féin members were wholly part of the IRA’s “armed struggle” when that campaign of murder and bombing was underway.
During the five years of my active involvement with the IRA between 1970 and 1975, I never met a member of Sinn Féin who was not involved in IRA activities – indeed, it was the duty of Sinn Féin members to publicly support and defend the “right” of the IRA to murder and bomb.
Many young people who wanted to join the IRA but who didn’t know any IRA people in their area were able to contact the IRA through the “good offices” of publicly identifiable Sinn Féin persons.
While IRA volunteers might operate secretly, their identical twins in Sinn Féin were supposed to run the risk of going public in support of IRA activities – this is how the IRA Army Council decided to put Sinn Féin members at risk of attack or murder without providing them with any means of security or defence.
Shinners were – at that time – as disposable at the barely-trained teenagers the IRA sent out to bomb or shoot who blew themselves up or where shot dead by security forces.
Everybody was ultimately potential fodder on the IRA’s Bloody March to a United Ireland – sorry – to the partitionist parliaments of Stormont and Dáil Éireann.
Obviously, many members of Sinn Féin were also sworn members of the IRA – they were all conjoined in the IRA’s most potent weapon – never decommissioned – the Lie.
Hiding behind lies – lots of lies – was deemed the way forward so that nobody could ever actually know who was what except the local IRA commanders.
Two undisputed leaders of the IRA and later of Sinn Féin made it abundantly clear during the watershed Sinn Féin Ard Fheis of 1986 that the IRA and Sinn Féin were one.
[See Magill magazine here.]
Indeed, Danny Morrison put a target on every Sinn Féin member when he coined his “Armalite in one hand and a ballot paper in the other” strategy summary.
With all that said that the IRA and its false face, Sinn Féin, were one and the same, the only question then that remains is – was the killing of Sinn Féin and IRA member Eddie Fullerton justified under the terms of the IRA’s own idea of “warfare” in Northern Ireland?
The IRA’s ‘Green Card’ Instructions on Opening Fire in Northern Ireland, Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland and Europe
The IRA’s Rules of Engagement were that IRA Volunteers could open fire on without warning, could abduct, torture and “execute”:
British Armed Forces – on or off duty, in front of family members, even children
Royal Ulster Constabulary – on or off duty, in front of family members, even children
Royal Ulster Constabulary Reserve – on or off duty, in front of family members, even children
Ulster Defence Regiment – on or off duty, in front of family members, even children
Prison Officers – on or off duty, in front of family members, even children
Former Members of the Above – in front of family members even children
Civilian workers in army bases, police stations, prisons – on or off duty, in front of family members, even children
Judges and Resident Magistrates – on or off duty, in front of family members, even children
All of the Above coming out of Churches of Divine Worship
Wives, Daughters or Sons of any of the above
Civilians – any civilians who obstructed IRA operations
Civilians – any civilians adjudged to be criminals or informers or drug users or drug sellers [while IRA leaders consorted with FARC cocaine producers in Colombia]
Protestants – tit-for-tat murders anywhere at any time
Members of the Irish Garda police
Members of the Irish Army
Members of the Irish Senate
Citizens of the Republic of Ireland adjudged to have been informers or to have done business with any Northern Ireland security bodies
British Diplomats anywhere in Europe
Tourists in Gibraltar
IRA Volunteers who were believed to have betrayed, disobeyed orders or engaged in activities deemed capital offences.
Official IRA Volunteers – in feuds
IRA Volunteers were also authorized to use bombs, booby-traps or under-car bombs or letter-bombs on any of the above without regard to family members who were killed or injured in the course of the attacks.
IRA volunteers’ had the “right” to kill anybody else in the regular mass-casualty fire-bombings, car bombs, truck bombs, bus bombs, pub and restaurant bombings or shootings carried out by IRA volunteers such as in Claudy, in Belfast on Bloody Friday, the La Mon firebombing, the M62 Coach bombing, the Birmingham pub bombings, Enniskillen, Kingsmill, Guildford, Woolwich – too many to mention here.
Eddie Fullerton’s Targetability
Eddie Fullerton was an admitted leading member of Sinn Féin in the tiny seaside town of Buncrana, County Donegal.
Buncrana was the Derry Brigade IRA’s supply and staging post 14 miles across the border in the Republic of Ireland throughout its campaign.
Secret IRA dumps were operated from the area which held weapons, ammunition, explosives and detonators.
Secret smuggling channels were operated from Buncrana taking weapons and explosives into the entire North West area.
Many Derry Brigade IRA members regularly stayed in the tiny town and along the coastal road at Fahan where there were both cottages and caravans openly used by the IRA for many years.
There were supporters and safe houses at and around Burt also.
Local families also provided accommodation to IRA leaders.
The Fahan cottage was very important in the early and mid-1970s.
Following Operation Motorman in 1972, the cottage was the IRA H.Q. from which Belfast IRA leader Leo Martin ran the show for a time.
On one occasion in the autumn of 1972, Paul O’Connor and I went from Dublin to talk to Leo Martin about our situations – we had to meet him in the cottage.
Martina Anderson – the England bomber captured in Scotland – was based in in a flat beside the bus station in Buncrana after she was authorised by Martin McGuinness to skip bail from Armagh Prison as she was being prepped to join the England bombing units. [See here.]
Alleged IRA informers were abducted from and/or interrogated in and then executed in the Buncrana area.
Their bodies were either disappeared or else dumped at the border.
Many IRA training camps occurred in the area around Buncrana.
The Derry Brigade IRA’s Human Bomb operation at Coshquin in Derry/Londonderry that involved chaining Patsy Gillespie to a very large bomb and sending him and five young British soldiers to their deaths was carried out from the Buncrana area.
Isolated members of the Irish police force – An Garda Síochána – who were living in cottages with their wives and children – were subjected to intimidation by IRA members who lived locally which I witnessed in the early 1970s.
As a result, the IRA was often forewarned about upcoming raids by Irish police and Irish Army forces setting out from their bigger Letterkenny bases a 40-minute drive away and were able to move munitions or training camps at very short notice.
Eddie Fullerton was a republican and Sinn Féin member and leader in an area that was absolutely central to the IRA’s operations in Martin McGuinness’ Derry Brigade IRA area.
He hardly needed a warning about his safety when he had been photographed in the press holding a death threat posted in Derry/Londonderry.
The IRA Army Council had total control over who was believed worthy to stand for election under the Sinn Féin banner and the vetting process of potential candidates was designed to ensure that the successful candidate was a trustworthy puppet of the Army Council.
Eddie Fullerton passed all of the IRA’s vetting processes and was permitted to stand in elections as a Sinn Féin candidate.
Eddie was so republican that newspapers described him at one time as one of those most likely to vote against the IRA’s move to end abstention from partitionist Dáil Éireann [the much-hated 26 County “Free State” parliament].
Administering the IRA Oath of Allegiance
Leading Sinn Féin members in Donegal were leading IRA members also – such as Justin Brady in Ballybofey and Pat Doherty in Carrigart and Joe O’Neill in Bundoran.
IRA volunteers routinely regarded these guys hiding behind the ‘border’ as wan***s.
O’Neill and Brady ran pubs on the side and did well from passing republican trade and wide-eyed Yanks hankering for a whiff of cordite over whiskies and Guinness with full-bearded IRA pirates such as Brady and O’Neill.
It was widely commented that Joe O’Neill and Justin Brady were more interested in their pub profits than in IRA matters.
O’Neill once asked me to leave the IRA and to work for him as a barman…
I “operated” for IRA leaders Pat Doherty and Justin Brady in the early 1970s – I was sent out to explode a landmine on the Castlederg border on one occasion.
Pat Doherty would remember that occasion well when his supplied IRA volunteers abandoned me – and their weapons – after the landmine exploded.
I never met an IRA leader more cowardly or more careful of his own safety than Pat Doherty.
He kept well out of the front line himself.
Pat Doherty’s brother, Hugh, was one of the captured Balcombe Siege IRA bombers in London in 1975 – the unit that specialised in No Warning IRA bombs thrown into upmarket restaurants which also murdered Guinness Book of Records co-founder Ross McWhirter at his front door.
It is unthinkable in IRA terms that Eddie Fullerton – at the very least for IRA security reasons – did not have the IRA Oath of Allegiance administered to him to put him under IRA discipline to keep IRA secrets.
Administration of the IRA Oath of Allegiance was regularly done to friendly civilians at short notice who had seen things they should not have seen – they were being let know that they were under IRA discipline and potentially subject to abduction, torture and execution if they betrayed any secrets.
So, I have no doubt whatsoever that Eddie Fullerton was both a member of Sinn Féin and a sworn member of the IRA when he was shot dead.
Leading IRA and Sinn Féin members across Northern Ireland had very expensive security defences installed at their homes – but the IRA Army Council did not bother to make these available to Eddie Fullerton.
Whereas the IRA routinely murdered also the wives and/or mothers and/or children of “legitimate targets” – Cecily Gibson being one, Violet Mackin being another, Mary Travers daughter of a Catholic magistrate, Alice Purvis, young Paul Maxwell, young David Hanna, not forgetting his mother Maureen Hanna to give just a very few examples – it is remarkable that the killers of Eddie Fullerton however had mercy on his wife and children.
The question is – did the IRA believe that IRA volunteers were “legitimate targets” for opposition paramilitaries or for security force members whom the IRA was wholesale murdering?
Was it a case of the IRA saying – We Can Murder You But You Can’t Murder Back?
What do you think?
“Gerry Adams – The Movie” – see here.
As authentic as this account is I have to say that the murder of Eddie Fullerton in front of his family was an utterly callous act regardless of whatever misdeeds may be laid at Eddie’s door. No one, not the IRA, INLA, UVF, UDA etc or rogue soldiers and police officers had any right to act as judge, jury and executioner in any circumstances during the Troubles.
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