Irish

PIRA/Sinn Fein: A Movement Without Morals (Part 6)

1980/81: Horror Upon Horror

As the 1970s drew to a close it was obvious to the leadership of the republican ‘movement’ that any military victory was impossible. They had promised their supporters much but delivered nothing. The Westminster government had, unconstitutionally,  prorogued Ulster’s parliament but that action was influenced by the undemocratic machinations of Heath’s Tory party, not by the storm of violence ad death unleashed by PIRA/SF. The Provos had promised that 1975 would be “the year of victory”, yet in reality, it was simply another 12 months of senseless barbarity.

The leadership of PIRA/SF had promised their deluded supporters that they could gain some kind of victory in a short space of time.

The leadership of PIRA/SF had promised their deluded supporters that they could gain some kind of military victory in a short space of time.

As 1980 dawned, few in Northern Ireland dared to hope that the 1980s would be any different to the decade just gone. It would though turn out to be somewhat different. Many people forget that for a period in the mid-Eighties, it looked as if terrorism in Ulster was being defeated. The number of PIRA/SF and INLA/IRSP attacks diminished and it seemed quite possible that the nightmare was, perhaps, drawing to a close. We now know, with the benefit of hindsight, that it wasn’t. The nightmare would continue, and indeed get worse, before it was finally over. The violence picked up again in the latter years of the 80s, marked by some of the most savage acts ever chronicled in the annals of conflict. The 90s, contrary to popular (mis)belief, were much worse. Ulster was taken to the very brink of Civil War on at least a few occasions. Though tentative discussions about peace were already well under way, few in Ulster would have predicted (relative) peace before the end of 1994.

The first years of the 1980s saw PIRA/Sinn Fein carry out some truly heinous acts. The continued slaughter of innocent civilians, the indiscriminate bombing, the ethnic cleansing of Protestants in areas across Northern Ireland, the fire-bombings and the kneecappings. The continued use of weasel words and grandiose language, used by PIRA/Sinn Fein to try to defend the indefensible. Most people in Ulster, at least of those who had not used wealth to insulate themselves from the realities of war, would have described themselves as being fairly hardened to all the killing and destruction by the beginning of 1980, but few could have envisioned the horrors about to be perpetrated by Irish nationalist terror gangs. Few could have imagined the depths to which the Irish republican thugs would stoop.

By 1980, Ulster's conflict had been raging for over a decade.

By 1980, Ulster’s conflict had been raging for over a decade.

1980

The first months of the decade saw much terror and death in Northern Ireland. On the 17th of January, three civilians were murdered when PIRA/SF detonated a bomb aboard a packed Lisburn-Belfast commuter train. Those civilians, Mark Cochrane (17), Abayoni Max Olorenda (35) and Kevin Delaney (26), had no chance of escape. Yet again, the Provo murder gangs had deliberately chosen to visit mass slaughter on the civilian population. That republican apologists even attempt to deny PIRA/SF’s deliberate targeting of civilians is pushing credibility to it’s very limits. The facts speak for themselves. On the 14th of May, 1980, PIRA/Sinn Fein killed Roy Hamilton (22) in an overtly sectarian gun attack on a building site in the Ballymagroarty area of Londonderry. The construction workers on site were almost all Protestants, a fact soon learned by the local Provo death squad, who decided that they could not have such ‘Heretics’ in their midst. Two gunmen were dispatched to the site and as the Protestant workers sat down to their morning tea-break they were fired upon. Roy Hamilton, a young man who was just out to do an honest days work, was shot and killed. Three of his workmates were wounded. On the 15th of August, Ulster was stunned by a cold-blooded and senseless double murder. Two Protestant civilians, William Younger (87) and his daughter, Letitia Younger (57), were found murdered in their home in the Ligoniel area of North Belfast. They had been repeatedly stabbed before being shot. No group ever claimed responsibility for the vile double killing (unsurprisingly). There was some speculation, no doubt carefully crafted within the Irish nationalist community, that the deaths of William and Letitia Younger were not ‘Conflict related’. Quite frankly I think that is nonsense. There is evidence which points to this brutal act having been the work of PIRA/Sinn Fein. 

Provo 'Mad Bombers' often struck civilian targets.

Provo ‘Mad Bombers’ often struck civilian targets.

The day after the Youngers were brutally slain inside their home another civilian, Colette Meek (47) was murdered standing outside her own front door. Mrs Meek was standing in the driveway of her at home at Alliance Avenue in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast when a PIRA/SF gang opened fire on a nearby Police patrol. The Provo gunmen, clearly not the best of marksmen, shot and killed the mother of four “by accident”. No RUC Officers were wounded in the bungled attack which left Colette Meek’s children without a mother.

The IRA claimed responsibility. They said they were sorry and that she wasn’t their intended target. It makes me angry…I never got to know my mummy. I was deprived of her when I was growing up. She was the best in the world; she was my mummy.” – Mrs Meek’s daughter (from ‘Ardoyne – The Untold Truth’)

Abduction and Torture

On Sunday, the 31st of August, 1980, Wallace Allen (49), an RUC Reservist and farmer, was abducted by the Provisional IRA from the cab of the milk lorry he was driving, near Newtownhamilton, Co. Armagh. His mortal remains were found nearby on the 12th of September. He had been tortured before being shot in the head. What suffering the poor man must have known in those 12 days PIRA/SF kept him captive. What agonies must have been inflicted on him?. This was the Provo’s ethnic cleansing of Protestants in Border areas in brutal action. Wallace Allen was given as gruesome and as violent a death as possible, to serve as a warning to other Protestants in the area (the few who had dared remain). The Provo’s message was as simple as it was chilling- “Get out or this will happen to you or one of your family”. PIRA apologists will shriek that Wallace Allen was murdered because he was a member of the RUC Reserve, but that is not the real reason he was killed. He was killed because he was a ‘stubborn Prod’ who not leave the place he called home. He was tortured for almost a fortnight before being killed as a warning to other Protestants in South Armagh.

Not content with abducting, torturing and murdering one Protestant in the area, the Provo psychopaths decided to slake their thirst for blood by abducting, torturing and murdering another Protestant man. This time their victim was Ross Hearst (56). On evening of the 4th of September, Mr Hearst had been visiting friend across the Border in Co. Monaghan in the Irish Republic when he was kidnapped by a PIRA/SF murder gang (almost certainly acting in collusion with local members of An Garda Síochána). His body was found several hours later, at Wards Cross near Middletown in South Armagh. Like Wallace Allen, he had been tortured before being shot in the head. Thankfully the duration of his suffering was much shorter than that of Wallace Allen.

Wallace Allen. Abducted, held prisoner and finally murdered by a Provo killer gang.

Wallace Allen. Abducted, held prisoner and finally murdered by a Provo killer gang.

At the start of December, the Provos murdered another housewife. This time their victim was Heather Pollock (53), from Strabane, who was struck by gunfire in her own home after yet another botched PIRA/Sinn Fein gun attack on the RUC. A mobile patrol had been passing through the area when a Provo sniper opened up on them. Rather than hitting his intended target though, the incompetent republican thug shot and fatally wounded Heather Pollock. She died in hospital two days after Christmas. Sinn Fein made a stomach churning statement, absolving their terrorist wing of responsibility and spewing out the usual garbage about “intended targets” and how Mrs Pollock’s murder was a “mistake”.

1981

On New Year’s Day, 1981, the Provos tried their old trick of making someone ‘disappear’. Their unfortunate victim was Eugene Simons (27), from Castlewellan, Co. Down. He was never officially listed as one of ‘The Disappeared’ because, purely by chance, his body was found in a desolate bog, near Knockbridge, Co. Louth, in the Irish Republic, in May, 1984. Eugene Simons had lain in an unmarked, shallow grave for over three years. His callous killers hadn’t even the basic human decency to allow his family to give him a proper burial. Why PIRA/Sinn Fein murdered Mr Simons is not known. Perhaps he was a suspected informer. Perhaps he once had a conversation with a soldier. It is more likely though that he was killed (‘disappeared’) because he had insulted or disrespected some local Provo godfather. PIRA/SF, like the Mafia, don’t like to be shown up as the petty thugs and bully boys that they really are!

Eugene Simons, 'Disappeared' by the Provos. Thankfully his body was later found, although by accident.

Eugene Simons, ‘Disappeared’ by the Provos. Thankfully his body was later found, although by accident.

On Wednesday, the 21st of January, 1981, the Provos once again shocked the civilised world with their barbarism and cruelty. That night an armed gang of ten Irish nationalist terrorists crossed the Border, hijacked two vehicles and went to Tynan Abbey, the isolated mansion home of Sir Norman Stronge (86) and his son James Stronge (48), located near Middletown in South Armagh. The Provo gang murdered the two men. Shooting them dead in their own home. They then bombed the historic building before making their escape. Following the brutal double murder, the Provisional IRA claimed responsibility, stating that it was a reprisal for recent attacks by Loyalists on republican activists (so much for PIRA/SF not reacting to Loyalist violence!). Over the previous six weeks, four leading Irish republicans had been killed by the UFF. Just a few days earlier, embittered Irish nationalist militant Bernadette McAliskey and her husband, a senior member of PIRA, had been badly wounded. It seems that PIRA/SF felt that murdering an 86 year old man and his son would somehow ‘even the score’ with the Ulster Freedom Fighters, who were targeting and killing the republican leadership, seemingly at will.

The Murder of Joanne Mathers

Joanne Mathers (pictured with her baby son), murdered by PIRA/Sinn Fein because she was a Protestant.

Joanne Mathers (pictured with her baby son), murdered by PIRA/Sinn Fein because she was a Protestant.

Few incidents from Ulster’s dark past provokes as much disgust, as much horror, as the sickening murder of Joanne Mathers, a young wife and mother, cruelly cut down in her prime. Joanne Mathers was just 29-years-old when on the 7th of April, 1981, a cowardly PIRA gunman shot her dead on the doorstep of a Gobnascale home whilst she chatted to the man who lived there. Mrs Mathers was the mother of a toddler and was collecting census forms when she was ruthlessly killed. As Mrs Mathers casually chatted to the householder, a masked man dashed forward, snatched the clipboard she was holding with one hand, placed a gun to her neck with his other hand and fired. Mrs Mathers cried out and ran past the householder into his home. The man, to his credit, slammed a glass panelled door in the hallway shut in an attempt to stop the killer following, but the fanatical gunman kept coming, smashed through the glass door and as Joanne Mathers lay dying on the ground, took the rest of the census forms. He then made his escape whilst brandishing the murder weapon in the air as a deterrent against anyone attempting to apprehend him. Sinn Fein had issued a laughable diktat that no-one in the Irish nationalist/republican community was to complete or return their census forms, in a “demonstration of love and support for the Hunger Strikers”, but if that was the excuse for the murder of Joanne Mathers, why murder the young woman collecting the forms? Why not, as PIRA/SF had done so many times before, simply ‘make an example’ of someone in their own community who they knew disobeyed them and filled in the census forms? The answer is patently obvious. Joanne Mathers was killed because she was a Protestant. Because of the republican organised boycott of the census, anyone out collecting census forms was almost guaranteed to have been a Protestant. Going against PIRA/Sinn Fein orders by filling out one’s census forms was one thing, openly defying them by taking a job collecting census forms was quite another, therefore, those going around the doors collecting the forms were bound to be from the Protestant community. Joanne Mathers was murdered because of her perceived religious affiliation.

Former RUC Special Branch agent Raymond Gilmour lays responsibility for Mrs Mather’s death squarely at the feet of Martin McGuinness. In a revised edition of his bestselling book ‘What Price The Truth’, Gilmour states:

“Nothing, and I mean nothing, happened in Derry without the say so and nod from Martin McGuinness. He was top of the pile. There was no one higher up the ladder than him. McGuinness was the power behind the throne in Derry. Everything had to be cleared through McGuinness first. So I can say with absolute certainty that McGuinness gave the order to kill Mrs Mathers.’’

Raymond Gilmour was in a position to know. Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead, has much innocent blood on his hands, would any Loyalist be surprised to learn that he gave the order for a young wife and mother to be murdered? 

Did Martin McGuinness (circled) order the murder of Joanne Mathers?

Did Martin McGuinness (circled) order the murder of Joanne Mathers?

Desmond and Eric Guiney

On the 5th of May, 1981, PIRA gunman and firebomber, Bobby Sands, died in Long Kesh. Sands had been on hunger strike for 66 days. When news of Sands’ death broke, the Irish nationalist/republican community erupted (this is the same community who, it is claimed, never supported the Provisional IRA!). There was widespread rioting, disorder and destruction of property. Eric Guiney (45) a local milkman, and his son Desmond Guiney (14), both Protestant civilians, were driving along the New Lodge Road in North Belfast. When they got to the junction of the Antrim Road they came under sustained attack from Irish nationalist stone throwers. Eric Guiney had his window down and was struck on the head by one the missiles thrown by the baying republican mob. Their little milk lorry crashed into a lamp-post and Desmond went through the windscreen. When the ambulance and fire brigade arrived to help the injured man and his son, they too came under attack from the stone throwing thugs. Eric and Desmond were taken to the Mater Hospital, where both were sent immediately to the Intensive Care ward.

The aftermath of the vicious attack on Eric and Desmond Guiney.

The aftermath of the vicious attack on Eric and Desmond Guiney.

Desmond Guiney died of his injuries three days later. His mother was with him when he finally succumbed to his horrific injuries. His funeral was attended by thousands of people, including his traumatised school friends. Eric Guiney never regained consciousness after the crash and was not even aware of his son’s death. He died on the 13th of May. Many Irish republican sympathisers laud Bobby Sands as some sort of hero, but how many such people even know the names- Desmond and Eric Guiney? How many remember the ‘New Lodge Milkman’ and his young son, murdered by a republican mob enraged because one of their Provo poster-boys had starved himself to death in prison?

Sectarian Shootings

Throughout the rest of 1981, PIRA/Sinn Fein took many more lives. As more Hunger Strikers died the republican ‘movement’  became ever more enraged and blood thirsty. On the 21st of July, John Hazlett (43), a Protestant builder, was shot dead by a Provo murder gang as he renovated premises at Bank Square, Maghera, Co. Londonderry. On the 11th of August, another Protestant civilian, Charles Johnston (43), was shot by a PIRA/SF gunman, riding pillion on a motorcycle, in a ‘drive-by’ type killing in Belfast. On the 8th of November, 1981, Trevor Foster (17), was killed by a Provo booby-trap bomb outside his parent’s home in Co. Armagh. Two days later, Charles Neville (56), was murdered by a Provo gun gang as he left his workplace in Loughgall, Co. Armagh. The most high profile of this series of sectarian murders took place in Belfast on the 14th of November, when once again, the Provisional IRA would demonstrate their deep rooted hatred for anything and anyone Protestant, Loyalist or Unionist.

PIRA psychopaths often carried out random sectarian killings.

PIRA psychopaths often carried out random sectarian killings.

Rev Robert Bradford was a Methodist minister and UUP MP for South Belfast. He was conducting a constituency surgery in Finaghy, Belfast, when shortly before 11.30am on Saturday, November 14, 1981, three armed PIRA members carrying ladders and dressed in painters’ boilersuits arrived at the community centre at Benmore Drive, which Rev. Bradford was using to meet constituents and hear their concerns. At first their arrival did not arouse suspicion; there was ongoing work at the centre. One of the gang members, carrying a sub-machine-gun, took up position at the front door. One of his accomplices shouted “freeze” before opening fire on the caretaker, 29-year-old Kenneth Campbell, who was returning to the centre after a break at his nearby home. He died at the scene. While one of the nationalist terrorists pinned an RUC bodyguard to the ground at gunpoint, another gunman quickly turned to Reverend Bradford, the gunman coldly opened fire, shooting him in the eye, chest, neck and ear. The 40-year-old father-of-one died instantly. When Rev. Bradford and Mr Campbell were shot, children at a kids’ disco in the community centre witnessed the horrific murders. A 15-year-old DJ described how he threw a chair at one of the killers while shouting at other children to dive for cover.  “The gunmen pushed the children out of the way as they made their way out of the building,” he added. An 11-year-old told reporters afterwards: “They shot the Rev. Bradford about six times. We were quite close by. The shots were very loud.” Provo killer gangs care little for the fate of bystanders, even children.

The Rev. Bradford had become a Methodist minister when he was just 22, turning his back on a career as a professional footballer with Sheffield Wednesday FC. He joined the UUP when he served as a minister in the Loyalist enclave of Suffolk in West Belfast and was elected MP for South Belfast in 1974. He was an outspoken critic of PIRA/Sinn Fein and had demanded the reintroduction of hanging for terrorist killers. Rev. Bradford’s widow, Norah, was 33 at the time of the killing. They had one daughter, Claire. Speaking after the murder, she told reporters:

“They have tried several times at the advice centre. They came at least two times before and they were caught out watching the advice centre, but he would not give it up just for them. He knew it would be the most likely place for them to get him. He never feared he would be attacked. He felt it was a possibility. He did not fear it.”

The murder of a Methodist minister should be ample evidence of the deeply sectarian nature of PIRA/Sinn Fein. What would have happened I wonder, if at any point in ‘The Troubles’, Loyalists had killed a Roman Catholic priest? Even a priest like James Chesney, an active PIRA terrorist who had a hand in the 1972 Claudy bombing?. Or his un-named confederate, also a Catholic priest, also involved in the Claudy bombing, who fled to New York in fear of his life?. What reaction would there have been in such a hypothetical scenario? One can only imagine the furious uproar in the media, the hysterical hand wringing from certain, dubious, Unionists (so-called Unionists to be more accurate), the crocodile tears of the Irish nationalist/republican leadership. Rev. Roy Bradford was not a Roman Catholic priest though. He was ‘just an auld Prod’. Therefore, in the eyes of our controlled media, his life had little value. In the wake of his murder (and that of Kenneth Campbell), there wasn’t much handwringing from the Irish nationalist community. No calls for the killers to be cast out of their midst. One is left to speculate why?

Protestant clergyman and Unionist MP Rev. Roy Bradford, murdered by Roman Catholic extremists- PIRA/SF

Protestant clergyman and Unionist MP, Rev. Roy Bradford, murdered by Roman Catholic extremists- PIRA/SF

When Irish nationalists deny that PIRA/SF carried out overtly sectarian murders, or when they deny that “da RA” deliberately targeted civilians, they are vomiting out a carefully crafted lie. Not just a lie, but a snide, sneering, disgusting insult. An insult to hundreds of dead innocents. An insult to those who dared take a stand against the loathsome bigots of PIRA/Sinn Fein. This lie, is not repeated out of ignorance, even the most cursory glance at the historical record would be enough to acquaint anyone with the real facts of the matter, rather it is repeated because of pure, raw, visceral hatred. Sectarian hatred. When some republican bigot attempts to assert that the Provo death squads were non-sectarian, or that they did not set out to deliberately murder civilians, they are mocking you. They are insulting you. They may as well be spitting in your face, and they know it! You see, Irish nationalists don’t care how many innocent people died at the hands of PIRA/SF. In their heart of hearts they don’t give a damn. That some nationalists publicly condemn the actions of the Provos is merely a matter of expediency. Irish nationalism is incapable of reform. It is irredeemable. Just like Nazism, Stalinism or Ba’athism.

Don’t be fooled by the saccharin sweet smiles, the politically correct language or the sharp suits. PIRA/Sinn Fein have no remorse for the murder and mayhem they inflicted on this society for 30 years. In fact, far from being remorseful or showing any kind of contrition, they revel in their past misdeeds. They gloat about the number of Protestants their murder-machine cut down. They praise and adulate their ‘fallen comrades’, men like Thomas Begley, sectarian mass-murderer, sent out by Provo godfathers to kill and maim as many Shankill Road residents as possible. Sadly for them though, there are those of us on the Loyalist side who do not forget and who are not easily fooled (or bought!). We know our enemy. We remember their evil deeds. To quote the motto of a certain secret intelligence agency- “We Do Not Forgive. We Do Not Forget”

NEXT WEEK: PART 7

 

PIRA/Sinn Fein: A Movement Without Morals (Part Two)

The Forgotten Atrocity

On Tuesday, the 12th of June, 1973, the Provisional IRA detonated two bombs in Coleraine, Co.Londonderry. The first device, 150 lb of explosives packed into a stolen Ford Cortina, went off at 3.00 p.m on Railway Rd, outside an off-license, killing six and injuring 33; several people lost limbs and several more were left crippled for life. Many of the wounded were children. A second bomb exploded five minutes later at Hanover Place. The Provos had sent a warning for the second bomb but said it had “mistakenly given the wrong location“. One would have thought that when dealing with deadly explosive devices the greatest care should be taken to avoid any error, PIRA/Sinn Fein though, did not give a damn about the deaths of civilians. Indeed I would contend that multiple civilian deaths was the very objective of such bombings.

The six innocent civilians killed by the Railway Road bomb were all Protestants, all over the age of 60. The victims were- Elizabeth Craigmile (76), Robert Scott (72), Dinah Campbell (72), Francis Campbell (70), Nan Davis (60), and Elizabeth Palmer (60). Elizabeth Craigmile, the Campbells and their daughter Hilary had been on a day outing and were beside the car-bomb at the moment of detonation. Hilary Campbell, whose parents had both been killed, lost a leg in the explosion. The bomb had left a deep crater in the road and the off-license was engulfed in flames; it also caused considerable damage to vehicles and other buildings in the vicinity. Railway Road was a scene of carnage and devastation, the mangled wreckage of the Cortina resting in the middle of the street, the bodies of the dead and injured lying in pools of blood amongst the fallen masonry and roof slates, shards of glass from blown-out windows blanketing the ground. Ambulance crews and firemen who arrived at the scene spoke of “utter confusion” with many people “wandering around in a state of severe shock“. Five minutes later, the second bomb exploded on the forecourt of Stuart’s Garage in Hanover Place. Although this explosion caused no injuries, it added to the panic and confusion caused by the first bomb. It also hindered the Emergency Services in their attempts to save the lives of the many seriously injured people on Railway Road. Undoubtedly this was the PIRA murder gang’s intention. Not content with causing horrific injuries, the unscrupulous killers seemed determined to hamper any effort to aid the wounded.

Only cowards murder pensioners, but what sort of people vote for such cowardly, murdering bastards?

Only cowards murder pensioners, but what sort of people vote for such cowardly, murdering bastards?

It has been alleged that no warning at all was given for the first bomb. This has led to speculation that the bombers intention was to draw people towards the bomb in Railway Road and inflict as many civilian casualties as possible. This would not be surprising given PIRA/Sinn Fein’s complete and total disregard for human life. Indeed, it would fit their modus operandi. The death toll would have been much, much higher had the bomb gone off just a few minutes later, when girls from a nearby school would have been leaving for home and walking along the street. In January 1974, a woman was acquitted of charges linked to the bombings. Her boyfriend however received an eight-year prison sentence for his part in the attacks, and the leader of the bomb team, 18-year-old Sean McGlinchey, was convicted of planting the Railway Road bomb. He was sentenced to just 18 years imprisonment in Long Kesh/The Maze. McGlinchey, the younger brother of former INLA ‘Chief of Staff‘ Dominic ‘Mad-Dog’ McGlinchey, later became a Sinn Fein councillor and, unbelievably, was elected mayor of Limavady in 2011. What sort of people go out and vote for a man that murdered six senior citizens? Throughout the conflict, the leadership of the Irish nationalist community (at that time mainly the SDLP) repeatedly gave assurances to their Protestant neighbours that the majority of Catholics and nationalists did not support the Provo death squads. Really? So then who’s voting for men like Sean McGlinchey? Ordinary, decent people in that community need to know, need to see, that every vote for Provisional Sinn Fein is a vote for those who murdered and maimed innocent women and children (or supported, aided and gave voice to those who did).

Birmingham Pub Bombings: Evil Beyond Belief 

Mention the Birmingham Pub Bombings to most people and the first thing many will say is “oh, the Birmingham Six“, to which the correct response should be, “no, the Birmingham Twenty-One”, for the focus should be on the twenty-one innocents slaughtered by Irish republican fanatics, not on the men wrongfully convicted of the crime! The Birmingham Six suffered an awful miscarriage of justice but it should never be forgotten that 21 people were murdered in cold blood, the majority of them under the age of 25.

On the 21st of November, 1974, a Provo bomb exploded inside the ‘Mulberry Bush’ pub. The bomb, containing 6lb of Gelignite and hidden inside a duffel-bag, went off at just after 8p.m. Ten people were killed and dozens wounded, many of them seriously. Police were attempting to clear the nearby ‘Tavern in the Town’ pub, on New Street, below King Edward House, when at 20:27 a second bomb exploded there, killing another eleven people and leaving many with appalling injuries. The bodies of the dead and injured were strewn about the ruined pub like ragdolls. The explosion was so powerful that several victims were blown through a brick wall into an area just below the main front entrance to King Edward House. Their bodies were wedged between the rubble and underground electric cables; it took hours for firemen to remove them. The scene was like something straight out of a horror film. The two devastated pubs were just 50yds apart. A third bomb had been left on nearby Hagley Road, but thankfully failed to explode.

A scene of devastation, Birmingham after the Provo's deadly bomb attacks.

A scene of devastation, Birmingham after the Provo’s deadly bomb attacks.

That PIRA/SF had set out that night to massacre innocent civilians is beyond question. However, I would also suggest a secondary, albeit subconscious, motivation. The Irish nationalist community, overlapping as it does with the Roman Catholic community, has always been deeply conservative in it’s attitudes. Despite the politically correct sound-bites of the nationalist/republican politicos, attitudes towards women, particularly young women, in that community have always been rather backwards and repressive. It is my contention that the real perpetrators of the Birmingham Pub Bombings, rather than being appalled by the deaths of so many young women, many of them just teenagers, would have , at least subconsciously, felt that those young English girls deserved their fate, for being out drinking and flirting with men, rather than being at home under the watchful eye of their fathers or brothers, as young women within the Irish nationalist community ‘back home‘ were expected to be, at least in those days. Like their friends in the Taliban or Hamas, the men of the Provisional IRA expected their women to do as they were told, be ‘seen and not heard’. I would argue that, deep down, the murderous scumbags that bombed those pubs were quietly pleased so many ‘English slags’ had been killed by their bomb. Perhaps I am completely wrong, it doesn’t really make much of a difference. The fact remains that PIRA/SF set out to murder as many civilians as they could. A final word about the Birmingham Six. PIRA/SF could have undermined those men’s convictions at any time. They could have ensured their convictions were overturned. Had the real bombers stepped forward, had they been big enough to take their punishment, those six innocent men would have walked free. To the Provos though, the Birmingham Six were expendable. They cared about their fate only marginally more than they cared about the fate of those they murdered and maimed.

The Second ‘Bloody Friday’

On Tuesday, 21st of January, 1975, the Provos set out to repeat the carnage and slaughter of ‘Bloody Friday’, that infamous day in July, 1972, when they had set off 26 bombs, killing eleven people and wounding 130 more. Now just two and a half years later, PIRA/Sinn Fein set out to do something similar. As the people of Belfast went about their daily routine, the Provo godfathers planned mass murder. Earlier that day they had sent out several young, misguided men to plant nine bombs across the city in crowded civilian areas. The intention was clear; to murder and maim as many innocent people as possible. Fortunately though, the Irish nationalist lunatic’s plans went awry. Two of the bombs were discovered and made safe by Army technical officers, the rest did explode but by some miracle no-one was injured. Details are sketchy but it seems that the RUC were vigilant and spotted some of the suspect vehicles containing the bombs, evacuating the areas in question before the bombs went off. Whatever the reason, vigilance or blind good fortune, the Provos were thwarted and many, many innocent lives were spared.

The people of Ulster had another slice of good luck that day. That morning two young republican thugs, John ‘Bap’ Kelly (26) and John Stone (23), had been dispatched towards Belfast city centre in a stolen car packed with explosives. No doubt instructed by their cowardly leaders to go out and ‘kill women and kids for Ireland’. The two would-be mass murderers set off, unaware that they were both about to pay for their actions with their lives. Just two more Irish republican gangsters who would die for nothing.

As the cowardly pair drove along Victoria Street, on the way to their intended target, the bomb they were transporting exploded prematurely, killing them both instantly. As their mortal remains were being scraped off the public highway, the leaders of the Provo’s ‘D Company, 2nd Battalion‘ met to discuss the failure of their attempt at mass murder. They undoubtedly knew that people would die that day, killed at the hands of PIRA/Sinn Fein, just not their people. Their intention was to murder people out shopping, eating in restaurants and cafes, mothers pushing prams down the street. It had not been their intention to kill two of their own members. I only regret that the doomed vehicle in which Kelly and Stone died had not been a mini-bus load of Provos. Maybe the violent death of 20 of their own men would have focussed the minds of the Provisional leadership, just as the killing of entire PIRA ‘Active Service Units‘, in Loughgall at the hands of the S.A.S and in Cappagh at the hands of the Ulster Volunteer Force, had focussed the minds of the republican leadership in Mid-Ulster in the late 80s and early 90s.

Next Week: Part Three, The Murder of Ross McWhirter the ‘Dolphin Restaurant’ shootings and the Balcombe Street Gang

 

 

 

 

 

THE IRISH NATIONALIST PARADOX

Irish nationalists & republicans have a major problem. I would argue that it is an insurmountable problem. That problem is almost 1 million Unionists & Loyalists. Some within Irish nationalism argue that within a few years, there will be a Catholic, & therefore an Irish nationalist, majority in Northern Ireland & therefore the Unionist/Loyalist population will, somehow, become irrelevant. It is an argument expounded on Irish/Gaelic supremacist websites like ‘Ulsters Doomed’ (sic) & ‘Endgame In Ulster’. Leaving aside the fact that this ‘demographic argument’ is nakedly sectarian, one must look at the facts. A quick analysis of the 2011 census figures reveals that the Catholic population did not increase between 2001 & 2011. Yes, the ‘non-Catholic’ population decreased (by around 3%) but the Catholic population did not rise in mean terms (it did of course rise in percentage terms because of the decrease in the ‘non-Catholic’ population) Dealing in these sectarian terms makes me uncomfortable partly on principle, partly because it is ridiculous to reduce political views to such a base level. People are not born Irish nationalist, Unionist, Right-Wing, Left-Wing, Liberal or anything else. To blindly assume that a Catholic majority in NI automatically equates to an Irish nationalist/republican majority, is frankly laughable. Indeed, one could postulate that Irish nationalism is becoming less popular, not more, since in the most recent census, fewer people than ever identified themselves as ‘Irish’ whilst the number identifying as ‘Northern Irish’ is increasing. One can also point to the increasing number of the middle class who identify themselves as Catholic & Unionist (& the large number of people, both Catholic & Protestant, who are abandoning organised religion altogether, further divorcing religious denomination from political inclination!)

WAR WITHOUT END

But what if there was an Irish nationalist majority in 2016, or 2020? What if, say, 60% of the populace voted to amalgamate NI into an all-island Irish republic? What would the consequences be? Irish nationalists & republicans (who must be given credit for their eternal optimism if nothing else) seem to assume that all of the problems in ‘the North’ would simply evaporate, like morning mist & everything in the garden would be rosy! Would it be though? There are many Loyalists (myself included) who will never accept a unitary all-island state, under any circumstances. Will people like me simply shrug our shoulders, sigh, then quietly take the next boat out of Larne? Or is it far more likely that Loyalist militants will take up arms & began a brutal, prolonged & costly ‘armed struggle’ against this hypothetical ‘united Ireland’? The hopelessly optimistic republican will, no doubt, argue that such an insurgency would be easily & quickly quelled, but would it? Supposedly the Provisional IRA never numbered more than about 1200 active members, even at the height of ‘The Troubles’, the OIRA, INLA, IPLO etc, each numbered 200-300 active members, yet the republican death squads managed to cost the UK quite a few troops & a massive amount of money (along with the mass of civilians such groups targeted & killed) How would our hypothetical Irish state cope with, estimating conservatively, 5 or 6 thousand armed Loyalists? I would propose that the outcome would not be good, for anyone. The Irish Defence Forces & An Garda Síochána would have to be hugely enlargedGarda stations would have to be fortified (at huge cost) Not to mention the financial drain of constantly repairing bomb damage & paying out compensation to the families of victims. Short of ethnically cleansing the entire Loyalist/Unionist population, an aspiration quietly harboured by many Irish nationalists, there would be no military victory in such a scenario (for an example, see Northern Ireland, 1969- present) There would be only ‘War Without End’.

Loyalist paramilitaries: "They haven't gone away you know"

Loyalist paramilitaries: “They haven’t gone away you know”

HERE COMES THE PARADOX

So, if the so-called ‘demographic argument’ (i.e. the sectarian argument) does not hold up to scrutiny & if, even with a nationalist/republican majority, Loyalist reaction would make any unitary state unworkable, how do Irish nationalists propose to bring about this ‘united Ireland’ they wax lyrical about so often? The only realistic option is for Irish nationalists & republicans is to ‘persuade’ the U/L community that an artificial 32 county state would be advantageous, to woo the pro-Union population into accepting such a state. That is something the SDLP & others recognised years ago, it is something that Provisional Sinn Fein are also now coming to realise too. Therein lies the paradox though. For over 40 years ( or over 400 years?) Irish nationalism has been attacking the U/L community, physically, culturally, politically & economically. So how does one change that mindset & convince one’s followers that Unionists & Loyalists now must be embraced?  It seems like an impossible task. It looks even more unlikely when one considers the attitude of many senior members of PSF! A ‘united Ireland’ cannot be achieved without, at least, the tacit approval of the majority of Unionists, but Unionists will never give such approval unless Irish nationalism can convince Unionists that they would be fairly treated, influential, well represented & financially secure within such a state. Something that would be difficult for the leadership of Irish nationalism, given the dark past of many of those leaders, & is completely impossible for the rank & file, who have, for decades, been indoctrinated to think of their Unionist/Loyalist neighbours as lesser beings. Then, of course, one can add to the problem, the pressure being put on PSF, SDLP etc, by those rank & file nationalists/republicans, to stop Unionist/Loyalist parades in supposedly ‘contentious’ areas, remove outward symbols of Britishness etc. Such cultural attacks are doing nothing to convince the U/L people that they would be better off in an artificial 32 county Irish/Gaelic state. The leadership of Irish nationalism cannot reverse this cultural war though, for to do so would be to play into the hands of the Dissidents, further empowering those groups & further weakening Sinn Fein & the SDLP. Such is the Irish nationalist paradox.

CONCLUSION

Most Irish nationalists will still argue that demographics will deliver an all-island republic in the next 20-50 years, that Unionists & Loyalists will, stripped of British support, be left with no other option but to accept the new political reality, embrace their latent ‘Irishness’ & thus remove the conditions for any armed insurrection. This is fairytale politics, it is utter fantasy. Firstly, the longer NI exists as a polity, the harder it will be to persuade people to dismantle the status quo, dissolve the state & jump, feet first, into a new political construct. Secondly, I must remind everyone that Catholic does not equal Irish nationalist (nor does Protestant equal Unionist) Thirdly, even if (& it’s a big if) a large section of Unionists/Loyalists did accept some form of all-island state, a large section won’t, never will & will use ‘direct action’ to prevent it, or to destroy such a state in it’s infancy. Finally, the Irish nationalist paradox will not be resolved anytime soon. If the U/L community cannot be ‘outbred’ (a disgusting term republicans like to employ), cannot be ethnically cleansed or militarily conquered, (& I would argue they cannot) then a ‘united Ireland’ is rendered near impossible, since ‘persuading’ Loyalists & Unionists to voluntarily enter into a all-island state, could take a few centuries, not a few decades!