" A wealth of information..."

"1169 And Counting is a wealth of information on our Republican past and present , and demonstrates how the Irish political landscape , like that of any nation, will never be a black and white issue..."

(From the ‘e-Thursday’ section of the ‘Business Week’ supplement of the ‘Irish Independent’ , 21st August 2008.)



This blog was listed as one of the 'Finalists' in the '2016 current affairs/politics' category of the Littlewoods Ireland blog awards - but we didn't win the award. But not to worry -thanks to everyone involved for getting us to the final stage of the competition and sure we'll try again the next time!

Friday, November 18, 2005

A HISTORY OF ARMAGH JAIL .......

The women's prison in the North of Ireland is situated in the centre of the Protestant/Loyalist city of Armagh .
It was built in the 19th century , a huge granite building which today sports all the trappings of a high-security jail such as barbed wire , guards , arc-lamps , and closed circuit television cameras .
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .
NO LET UP IN REPRESSION .
Arrested on active service in April 1976 and sentenced at her 'trial' eight months later to 14 years imprisonment , Belfast Republican Mairead Farrell became one of the first women POW's to take part in the protest for political status .

" During the last seven years that I have been imprisoned in Armagh Jail , my comrades and I have endured much from the prison administration's ever-changing attitude . Now , three months after the termination of our 'no work' protest , the conditions have deteriorated , the regime is more repressive and the punishments more severe and excessive .

I hope here to give you an insight into this present-day situation in Armagh , where the new prison regime has resorted to the familiar tactic of 'divide and conquer' in every aspect of prison routine . Considering the overall prison population of the North , there are very few women prisoners - all of these are held in Armagh . Republicans form the vast majority of the total , and at present there are 28 sentenced Republicans and seven on remand , scattered throughout the jail .

Within the prison building there are three separate structures housing prisoners - 'A' , 'B' and 'C' wings - each of which is completely isolated from the others . Inside each of these wings there are two landings , one blocked off from the other with no contact possible between the two . This is geared to further isolating Republicans in the jail , with the number of prisoners on each landing not exceeding nine . This in fact is not a prison , but many prisons within a prison . The purpose of dividing Republicans into small units is one of surveillance and control , it is not primarily a security measure but more a means to determine any weaknesses in individuals which the administration hope to exploit for their own ends ....... "


(MORE LATER).



USEFUL POLITICAL INTERPRETATION OF IRISH REPUBICANISM.......

' Irish Nationalism - A History Of Its Roots And Its Ideology' by SEAN CRONIN (The Academy Press , Dublin, 1980) .
A book on Irish Nationalism by a one-time Republican is bound to attract attention . Cronin's study deals with the roots , history , growth and development of Nationalist thinking in Ireland , particularly its revolutionary form - Irish Republicanism .
From 'IRIS' magazine , November 1981 .
No by-line.

Sean Cronin , the author , stated - " The Officials blame the Catholic middle class , not British rule , for Ireland's failure to industrialise . They favour devolved government in the North (ie return to Stormont's Orange State) and they have been accused (rightly) of betraying the National question by adopting the 'two nations' theory (ie Protestant and Catholic) . Finally , they support industrialisation via the multinationals . "

Cronin does not draw out all the conclusions from his obvious disillusionment with the Sticks (SFWP) but it is a clear sign that their one time 'radical' credentials are well and truly tarnished . Cronin ends up with a brief look at Republicanism proper , quoting from Sinn Fein vice-president Gerry Adams , and concluding that - "...his political ideas reflect a natural radicalisation of an armed struggle conducted among the Catholic ghettoes of Belfast and Derry . He seems much closer to Connolly's analysis than other voices . "

One wonders what has happened to the 'Hibernian gunmen' we used to hear of ! Cronin and his ilk never understand that pure republicanism has always been radical , in the sense that it looks to the roots of our problems - in our case , British imperialism and partition .

[END of ' USEFUL POLITICAL INTERPRETATION OF IRISH REPUBICANISM ' .]
(Monday , 21st - ' THE HEROIC PRISON STRUGGLE' : from 1981.)


IN THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN .......

The aspirations of SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY towards socialist respectability are undermined by the continued military operations of the OFFICIAL IRA and that Party's own ideoligical contortions .
From ' MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .
By Vincent Browne.

March 6 , 1972 : Marcus McCausland , a former Officer in the UDR , was shot dead by the Official IRA - the coldblooded nature of this shooting as well as the fact that this was a middle-class target provoked particular outrage .

March 12 , 1972 : a woman was fatally injured in crossfire in Leeson Street , Belfast , between the Official IRA and the British Army .

March 24 , 1972 : the Official IRA announced that it would continue its campaign in spite of the prorogation of Stormont ; this statement was almost as hardline as that issued at the time by the Provisional Chief of Staff , Sean MacStiophain , which is much better remembered .

April 10 , 1972 : the Official IRA killed two soldiers in a booby trap .

May 10 , 1972 : a fifteen-year-old girl was beaten , tarred and feathered by the Official IRA in the Leeson Street area of Belfast .

May 21 , 1972 : an off-duty British soldier , Ranger Best , who was at home on leave in the Creggan in Derry was shot dead by the Official IRA . This incident led to the Official IRA ceasefire which was announced on May 29 , 1972 . Prior to the announcement of the ceasefire there was heated debate at OIRA Army Council level on the issue of the Ranger Best killing - several members of the Council condemned it and said that public support had been devastated by it , others pointed out that an explicit OIRA Army Council order had been made some months previously stating that British soldiers , in or out of uniform , were legitimate targets .......

(MORE LATER).







Thursday, November 17, 2005

A HISTORY OF ARMAGH JAIL .......

The women's prison in the North of Ireland is situated in the centre of the Protestant/Loyalist city of Armagh .
It was built in the 19th century , a huge granite building which today sports all the trappings of a high-security jail such as barbed wire , guards , arc-lamps , and closed circuit television cameras .
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

A new type of criminalisation policy was launched - this was aimed at denying the legitimacy of Sinn Fein as a political party : increasingly , Sinn Fein election workers and advice centre workers who were identified with openly political activity rather than military organisations , began to be arrested and processed into jail on the Diplock conveyor belt . Intimidation and bribery were used to 'persuade' people to testify at the mass show trials which have become the latest feature of injustice in the North of Ireland system of 'justice' .

Despite the ending of the 'no-work' protest in Armagh Jail , as Mairead Farrell explains in the following piece , there was an increase in the amount of everyday harassment , which continues to this day .

NO LET UP IN REPRESSION .
Arrested on active service in April 1976 and sentenced at her 'trial' eight months later to 14 years imprisonment , Belfast Republican Mairead Farrell became one of the first women POW's to take part in the protest for political status .

Later on she was involved in the 'no wash' escalation of the protest in Armagh Jail and , in December 1980 , was one of three women prisoners to join the first hunger strike . Here , in a smuggled communication , she writes about the strip-searches , prison work and isolation that are features of the prison regime's repression in Armagh.......

(MORE LATER).



USEFUL POLITICAL INTERPRETATION OF IRISH REPUBICANISM.......

' Irish Nationalism - A History Of Its Roots And Its Ideology' by SEAN CRONIN (The Academy Press , Dublin, 1980) .
A book on Irish Nationalism by a one-time Republican is bound to attract attention . Cronin's study deals with the roots , history , growth and development of Nationalist thinking in Ireland , particularly its revolutionary form - Irish Republicanism .
From 'IRIS' magazine , November 1981 .
No by-line.

Current debates and discussions within the Republican Movement find interesting parallels in the discussions going on in the 1930's : Father Michael O' Flanagan , President of Sinn Fein in 1934-1935 noted how " ...the immediate task that lies before us is to clarify our minds on the essential principles of pure Republicanism , to apply them with unswerving consistency in the daily activities of our organisation , to show how their general application would solve all the pressing problems of the whole people of Ireland , and work out , in detail , a plan of governmet . "

A governmental programme was in fact worked out , which said of Republicans - " Not only must they be the organised and armed vanguard but they must also supply leadership and guidance in directing the thoughts of the people along constructive revolutionary lines . "

The lessons for the 1980's are obvious - we must move beyond abstract policies and pious declarations , to provide constructive revolutionary leadership in the day-to-day struggles of the people of no property . A 'Plan of Government' should aim at taking us from the real , concrete situation of today towards the united democratic-socialist Republic we are committed to .

Sean Cronin , the author , has not become converted overnight into an ardent supporter of the Republican Movement , but the pressure of events has forced him to recognise the bankruptcy of 'Sinn Fein The Workers Party' : as Cronin has said - " In their efforts to unite Protestant and Catholic workers , they seemed to have abandoned the small farmers , North and South . The Officials have come to some surprising conclusions on the National question , given their tradition and history....... "

(MORE LATER).



IN THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN .......

The aspirations of SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY towards socialist respectability are undermined by the continued military operations of the OFFICIAL IRA and that Party's own ideoligical contortions .
From ' MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .
By Vincent Browne.

The course of the campaign began to go sour on the Official IRA from an early stage and in fact it was the Officials who were most associated in the public mind with atrocities rather than the Provisionals in early 1972 . The following is a sequence of incidents which caused considerable public outrage and pressure on the Officials to halt their campaign :

December 12 , 1971 - Senator Jack Barnhill was shot dead when he resisted attempts to burn down his house . Although it seems that there was no intention to kill him , in fact , his name had appeared on a death list of prominent individuals , compiled by the leadership of the Official IRA , to be assassinated at some future date . The list included several resident magistrates and prominent Unionist politicians .

February 22 , 1972 - Seven people , including five cleaning women , a priest and a gardener , were killed when bombs went off at the Headquarters of the British Parachute Regiment at Aldershot . The Official IRA planted the bomb in retaliation for the killing of the civilians in Derry during Bloody Sunday . The Official leadership approved the operation believing that over 20 senior Parachute Officers would be killed .

February 25 , 1972 - The Official IRA gunned down the Unionist politician , John Taylor on a pavement in Armagh . Relations now between SFWP and the Official Unionists are very close , thus this incident seems all the more bizarre in retrospect . However , Cathal Goulding seemed quite dismissive about the incident when interviewed some years later on March 8 , 1975 , by 'The Irish Times' newspaper : referring to the Taylor shooting , he said - " I suppose you could say that , well , Brian Faulkner should have been the target . He was in charge , but, like everything else , availability of the target matters , too . "

(MORE LATER).







Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A HISTORY OF ARMAGH JAIL .......

The women's prison in the North of Ireland is situated in the centre of the Protestant/Loyalist city of Armagh .
It was built in the 19th century , a huge granite building which today sports all the trappings of a high-security jail such as barbed wire , guards , arc-lamps , and closed circuit television cameras .
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

The protesting Irish POW's , men and women , came off both the dirty protest and the blanket protest to highlight the situation of the hunger strike - one by one , ten hunger strikers died . The five demands were ignored . Mass mobilisation and public support met derision and increased repression .

Before his death , Bobby Sands had been elected as a Westminster MP ; the British Government changed the law to ensure that no other prisoner could be elected . Two more Republican prisoners , Kieran Doherty and Paddy Agnew were elected to the Free State parliament . A Sinn Fein member , Owen Carron , was elected to replace the dead Bobby Sands : the British Government dug in its heels despite severe international pressure .

The strategy of using the ballot box to demonstrate the support amongst Catholics for a total British withdrawal from Ireland menaced the British Government . In the 1982 North of Ireland Assembly elections and the 1983 General Election , Sinn Fein , the largest Republican organisation in the North , got almost one half of the total Catholic vote .

A new type of criminalisation policy was launched by Westminster - this time aimed at denying the legitimacy of Sinn Fein as a political party .......

(MORE LATER).



USEFUL POLITICAL INTERPRETATION OF IRISH REPUBICANISM.

' Irish Nationalism - A History Of Its Roots And Its Ideology' by SEAN CRONIN (The Academy Press , Dublin, 1980) .
A book on Irish Nationalism by a one-time Republican is bound to attract attention . Cronin's study deals with the roots , history , growth and development of Nationalist thinking in Ireland , particularly its revolutionary form - Irish Republicanism .
From 'IRIS' magazine , November 1981 .
No by-line.

One could be forgiven for dismissing this book as the product of a renegade Republican turned academic , and , even worse , one whose books are published by the mis-named Sinn Fein The Workers' Party's company , ' Repsol Publications ' . That would be mistaken on two counts :
1) The book is a generally useful political interpretation of Irish Republicanism , superior in that sense to Bowyer Bell's history of the IRA ;
2) In spite of repeating the standard slanders on the 1970 split in the Republican Movement it provides a damning indictment of those reactionaries masquerading behind the 'SFWP' label .

The history that author Sean Cronin takes us through is a familiar one - Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen , Thomas Davis and Young Ireland , the Fenians and the Land War , and the great Easter Rising . He then traces the IRA through the Tan and Civil Wars , the difficulties of the 1930's , the war years , and the Border Campaign of the 1950's where Cronin of course played an important role himself .

His last chapter is entitled significantly ' The Final Rebellion in the 1970's ' , presumably an admission that this is the final , inevitably victorious phase of the struggle . Sean Cronin gives us one quite valid conclusion - " The lesson of Irish history is that England never yields to right , reason or justice , only to force . Consequently , armed rebellion is an essential element in any attempt to win Irish independence . " (Today , those that wrote those words , and those that so favourably quoted from them at the time , have had their minds changed by offers of a 'political career' within the British and/or Free State system and now favour a different 'solution' ) .......

(MORE LATER).



IN THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN .......

The aspirations of SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY towards socialist respectability are undermined by the continued military operations of the OFFICIAL IRA and that Party's own ideoligical contortions .
From ' MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .
By Vincent Browne.

The IRA was run down during the 1960's with the main emphasis on civil rights - the belief was that concentration on civil rights would have the effect of destabilising the 'state' in the North of Ireland ; but when violence flared on the streets of Belfast in August 1969 , the Republican Movement re-acted instinctively in the traditional Republican manner . Although its rhetoric did'nt catch up for a while and the split with the Provisionals confused the issue , the Official IRA got caught up in a military campaign against the British presence in the North as much as did the Provos .

Although SFWP now seeks to minimise the significance of the issue , the Battle of the Lower Falls was a major 'macho boost' to the Officials in July 1970 . They boasted at the time that it was "...the first major battle between the forces of the Republic and the British Army since 1921 .. " - some enthusiasts even went so far as to claim that it was the heaviest military engagement involving the British Army since the Second World War - nowadays Tomas MacGiolla refers to it merely as a confrontation between the people of the Falls Road and the British Army : " Slates were thrown from the roofs .. " , he says , minimising the degree of military engagement * that occurred .
('1169...' Comment* - ...similar to the way that the Provos now refer to "a 30-year campaign.." , in the hope of convincing their new members that the struggle was a thirty-year one for 'civil rights' , instead of what it is - a freedom struggle which has been on-going for over 830 years .)

The military campaign of the Official IRA stepped up considerably in the months after the introduction of internment in August 1971 ; local OIRA O/C's were encouraged to 'out-do' the Provos in militancy - the Derry OIRA Officer Commanding at the time recalls being berated by very senior members of the Official IRA for not shooting enough British soldiers .......

(MORE LATER).







Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A HISTORY OF ARMAGH JAIL .......

The women's prison in the North of Ireland is situated in the centre of the Protestant/Loyalist city of Armagh .
It was built in the 19th century , a huge granite building which today sports all the trappings of a high-security jail such as barbed wire , guards , arc-lamps , and closed circuit television cameras .
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

In October 1980 , protesting POW's in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh began a hunger strike for political status ; on December 1 , 1980 , they were joined by three Republican women prisoners in Armagh Jail - Mairead Farrell , Mairead Nugent and Mary Doyle .

These were the only three women weighing more than eight-and-a-half stone . The 'no wash' protest was halted as the hunger strikes began : Westminster was reeling under fear of a Christmas bombing campaign , which hunger strike deaths would undoubtedly spark off . On December 18th , 1980 , a 30-page document was released outlining proposals and assurances from the British Government that , step by step , the five demands would be met .

The hunger strike was called off and the fulfilment of promises was awaited . They were never fulfilled . The condition of Pauline McLoughlin (vomiting constantly and rapidly losing weight) had been deteriorating . In October 1980 , the 'British Socialist Feminist Conference' (which was attended by 1,200 women) supported the demand for political status and pledged its aid to campaign for the release of Pauline McLoughlin from Armagh Jail ; after a sustained campaign in Ireland and Britain , Pauline McLoughlin was released on licence on January 10th , 1981 .

As the British Government was claiming that there had never been an agreement with the 1980 hunger strikers , and the possibility of concessions became more remote , another hunger strike began .......

(MORE LATER).



ELECTION INTERVENTIONS.......

Despite the fact that SINN FEIN has been contesting local elections in the 26 counties for more than two decades , much comment has been passed and incorrectly interpreted about Republican involvement in elections - north and south of the British-imposed border - in the past several months .
Here we review Republican interventions in the electoral process for the past century and more .
From 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

There is not and never has been a Republican principle on the issue of intervening in the electoral process although the Republican Movement has split on a number of occasions on the issue of attendence in colonial , neo-colonial or imperialist institutions. The Movement has suffered to some degree through the years from the effects of the various tendencies which have been in the ascendency during different periods .

Whether constitutional , militaristic or revolutionary , their lack of complete success - inevitable in the absence of a proper social and political consciousess - in achieving conditions by which the Irish people can re-establish the Republic has tended to thwart and obstruct efforts to apply the proper mixture of all three strategies to this end .

Only now , with a protracted war in the Six Counties - and the increasing politicisation which flows from it - sixty-three years after 1918 , is there the start of the beginning of a realisation of the need to secure such a strategy .

SOURCES for the above article :
' Land and the National Question in Ireland , 1858-1882' , by Paul Bew .
'Revolutionary Underground' , by Leon O' Broin .
'The Modernisation of Irish Society 1848-1918' , by Joseph Lee .
'Ourselves Alone' , by Robert Kee .
'The Irish Republic' , by Dorothy McArdle .
'Northern Ireland-The Orange State' , by Michael Farrell .

[END of 'ELECTION INTERVENTIONS'.]
(Tomorrow - ' Useful political interpretation of Irish Republicanism' : from 1981.)


IN THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN .......

The aspirations of SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY towards socialist respectability are undermined by the continued military operations of the OFFICIAL IRA and that Party's own ideoligical contortions .
From ' MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .
By Vincent Browne.

In a recent interview on RTE's 'Day By Day' programme , Tomas MacGiolla , the President of Sinn Fein The Workers Party said - " I certainly have no knowledge of them (the Official IRA) . All I know is that I am convinced and I am aware that there is no question of any military organisation in any way associated with us at the present ." He went on to say - " I have no reason to think that (the Official IRA) still exists . Certainly it does'nt exist in any way down here . There was for some years a suggestion that it may have existed in the North and I pursued that there for quite a number of years to see any evidence of its existence and I am satisfied that it certainly does not exist in any association with us . "

In the course of the same RTE programme , Sean Garland said that in his July 1972 Carrighmore speech , Tomas MacGiolla had made it clear then that "...this party wanted nothing to do with such activities from then on . " Asked if he was still a member of the Official IRA Army Council he replied - " You're talking about today and we'll say 12 years ago , which is a long time . " The official stance of Sinn Fein The Workers Party nowadays is that as far as they are concerned the Official IRA went out of existence immediately after the July 1972 ceasefire : it is also suggested that the military campaign from 1970 until the ceasefire was 'an abberation' for which only a handful of 'hotheads' were responsible , while the SFWP leadership did what it could to stop the campaign all along !

The fact is that almost all the 100 or so members of the Official IRA are members of Sinn Fein The Workers Party . Like most organisations , SFWP remains to a large extent a prisoner of its past , although it has made remarkable efforts to disengage itself from its ideological heritage . The leftward drift of Sinn Fein during the 1960's under the direction of the Trinity intellectual Roy Johnson has been well chronicled by now . However , the significance of this development in terms of Marxism has been much exaggerated - it reflected much more the very non-marxist radicalism of the 1960's , more popularist , more issue-oriented in terms of fish-ins , housing agitation etc than a strict marxist strategy would allow . It was also very Republican , in the traditional sense of that word .

The 'National Question' remained central to its ideology and the struggle against "British imperialism" was seen as the focus of the party's main line of activity both in economic and nationalistic terms .......

(MORE LATER).







Monday, November 14, 2005

A HISTORY OF ARMAGH JAIL .......

The women's prison in the North of Ireland is situated in the centre of the Protestant/Loyalist city of Armagh .
It was built in the 19th century , a huge granite building which today sports all the trappings of a high-security jail such as barbed wire , guards , arc-lamps , and closed circuit television cameras .
First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

The details leading up to a sustained assault on the women prisoners by male and female prison officers , in February 1980 , are harrowing ; male warders had been on the prison wing for three days during which time the women were not allowed access to the toilet - they began to empty their excreta out of the spyholes and windows . When these were blocked up , they smeared it on the walls .

The women prisoners were offered a return to 'normality' if they would cease their ' no-work' protest for political status - this they refused to do . ('1169.....' Comment - we wonder how many of their sons and daughters are now members of this political party which , in 1998 , signed away that same right to political status in return for a political career ?) As their own excrement was almost the only part of their lives over which they could exercise control , they used it as another form of protesting against the political nature of their imprisonment .

In March 1980 , on the anniversary of their previous picket in 1979 , 'Women Against Imperialism' called for a mass demonstration ; feminists travelled from the rest of Ireland , from England , Scotand , Wales and elsewhere to support the prisoners' claim for political status and to assert the right of 'Women Against Imperialism' to picket their local jail on International Womens Day . Those pickets are now an annual event .

Protesting POW's in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh began a hunger strike for political status in October 1980 - they were soon to be joined in the protest by the women in Armagh Jail .......

(MORE LATER).



ELECTION INTERVENTIONS.......
Despite the fact that SINN FEIN has been contesting local elections in the 26 counties for more than two decades , much comment has been passed and incorrectly interpreted about Republican involvement in elections - north and south of the British-imposed border - in the past several months .
Here we review Republican interventions in the electoral process for the past century and more .
From 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

The Free State government called a general election for August 27th , 1923 ; Sinn Fein declared its intention to contest 87 seats on an abstentionist basis - the Free Staters moved against the Sinn Feiners . Harassment of election workers , arrests and attacks on Sinn Fein members (one man was killed) seriously disrupted Sinn Fein's election machine . Despite this , the Republicans returned 44 TD's , with the Staters winning 63 .

Later , in by-elections in November 1924 , Sinn Fein increased its vote in all five constituencies contested . The Republican underground government of the Second Dail continued to meet - in consulation now with those TD's elected in 1923 and 1924 - and although the Republican vote continued to rise in every by-election contested since the general election of 1923 , massive discriminatory laws against Republicans were forcing more and more activists - released from prison or home from a life 'on the run' - into exile . The Free State government's system of patronage and its use of the oath to the Free State constitution as a condition of employment in almost every sphere of work made it most difficult for Republicans to live in Ireland : in 1925 , more than 30,000 people emigrated to countries outside Europe .

The victory of 1918 was reduced to ashes ; nine short years after the Easter Rising - exhausted and demoralised by a bloody war against the British and by a shorter but bloodier war between Irishmen - the Irish people had nothing but partition and embitterment to show for their aspirations and struggle . Republican Ireland is still recovering from the effects of that period in our history ; partition , with its effects , has become one of the single greatest obstacles to the unity of the Irish people . Republicans have contested elections since then - with varying degrees of success - in 26 County , 6 County and Westminster elections.......

(MORE LATER).



IN THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN .......

The aspirations of SINN FEIN THE WORKERS PARTY towards socialist respectability are undermined by the continued military operations of the OFFICIAL IRA and that Party's own ideoligical contortions .
From ' MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .
By Vincent Browne.

The man in charge of the eight-man Official IRA punishment squad is from the North and was formerly a member of Clann na hEireann (the Sinn Fein Workers Party British support organisation) and was deported from England ; he carried out several robberies in that country for the organisation prior to his deportation . It was he who led the gang of eight men to The Dockers Pub that Sunday morning and it was he who assembled that gang for the operation . They had convened earlier that morning in a house near the North Strand in Dublin , a place where the Official IRA Dubin Unit still meets regularly . Information about this incident comes primarily from one of the eight men who were involved , and from one of the victims .

People who were members of the Official IRA until recently tell us that there is no way that this incident could have happened without explicit authorisation for it from a senior Officer in the Official IRA , who is also a member of Sinn Fein The Workers Party . As the two victims had been involved with the Communist Party there were protests from the latter about this incident to the leadership of SFWP , who denied any knowledge of the attack or the involvement of any of its members in the whole affair .

In the course of an interview for this article with Tomas MacGiolla , President of SFWP , and Sean Garland , General Secretary , they both recalled hearing of the incident at the time and remembered the correspondence with the Communist Party - they both denied that members of SFWP had been involved and said that as they were unaware of the existence of the Official IRA they were not in a position to make any observations about its involvement or otherwise in the incident . Such incidents are almost unique in the South of Ireland , where SFWP is keen to project a respectable image while it competes for votes as a regular conventional politial party of the left . But those incidents are commonplace in the North of Ireland .

The leadership of Sinn Fein The Workers Party now consistently deny any knowledge of the Official IRA or any involvement by the party in military activity .......

(MORE LATER).