The Siege of Clyde Valley

The controversy over the decision of Clyde Valley FB to wear a small Parachute Regiment emblem on their uniforms whilst on parade in Londonderry last Saturday has resulted in yet another battle in the ‘cultural war’ that has been fought in Ulster since at least 1996. Wagons have been circled. War cries have been shouted and the extremely deep (and dangerous) levels of division within Northern Ireland have been laid bare. Again.

The small Parachute Regiment emblem worn by Clyde Valley FB at the Relief of Derry parade on Saturday (10.8.2019)

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Yesterday’s statement by the Apprentice Boys of Derry was a welcome development. It may well take enough heat out of the situation to allow the very deep fissures in Northern Ireland society to be papered over, at least for while, although anybody with any sense can see that we are only ever hours away from the next “crisis” or controversy and now would be the perfect time to reflect on the reasons for that precarious situation.

Perhaps the more politically astute amongst our political ‘leaders’ could ask, publicly, why Irish republicanism has decided that the dead of ‘Bloody Sunday’ are to be held as the most important victims of the conflict, the apex of the pyramid of victimhood that Provisional Sinn Fein has carefully constructed over the last 20 years or so?

Why do republicans insist that any reference to the Parachute Regiment, anywhere in the city of Derry, is ‘verboten’ because it is an insult to victims of ‘Bloody Sunday’, yet these very same republicans insist that they have a right to commemorate republican murder gangs in that city, regardless of the feelings of the victims of such death squads?

INLA mural, Londonderry

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Surely, if references to (and emblems of) the Paras are “offensive” and “distasteful” in Londonderry, because of ‘Bloody Sunday’, then, by the same logic, references to (and emblems of) the INLA, Provisional IRA etc are equally offensive and distasteful given the fact that republican killer gangs were responsible for far more death and destruction than any other party or agency.

Indeed, it could be argued that the emblems and symbols of the Provos and INLA are even more liable to cause offence because they inflicted death and destruction on both communities.

Irish republican terrorist mural, Derry.

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In reality though, the “Clyde Valley controversy” has little to do with the victims of ‘Bloody Sunday’ and their families. It has everything to do with Sinn Fein’s heirarchy of victims and their marking out of territory. According to republicans, the victims of so-called “state violence” are more important, more worthy of remembrance and more deserving of sensitivity and respect than any other victims.

On the next level of this heirarchy are the victims of militant Loyalism (those killed by the UFF and UVF), followed by those republicans killed by their own bombs. Everybody else is on the lowest tier of this sickening pyramid.

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“All of the animals are equal but some are more equal than others”

Did Provisional Sinn Fein show any sensitivity to the victims of their terrorist wing when they marched recently in Strabane? Were bands in paramilitary style uniforms considered “distasteful“? Were representations of armed terrorists considered to be a “calculated insult” to the victims of republican murder gangs in West Tyrone? Why not?

The answer is very simple- in the minds of republicans some victims don’t deserve respect, whilst conversely, some victims deserve every respect and should be treated almost as if they are ‘Holy martyrs’. According to republicans, the victims of ‘Bloody Sunday’ deserve to be treated with kid gloves, insulated and protected from any reference to the Parachute Regiment, or indeed the British Army in general.

Victims like the families of Patsy Gillespie and Joanne Mathers however, deserve no such consideration or sensitivity. Those victims are not to be considered, or even brought to mind, when PIRA/Sinn Fein murals are unveiled in Derry, PIRA and INLA marches take place or commemorations are held.

Patsy Gillespie with his wife. Mr Gillespie was murdered by PIRA/Sinn Fein for cooking meals at an Army barracks in Derry.

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Make no mistake, we at ISOT believe that every community has an inalienable right to remember their dead. We have said so often, but there is a rank hypocrisy here. Surely if republicans believe that references to PIRA, INLA, IPLO and OIRA gangs are acceptable, even in towns and cities badly affected by the violence of those organisations, then surely they must be prepared to accept references to the Paras, even in the city where elements of that regiment killed 14 nationalists?

But, as I already stated, this is not about the victims of ‘Bloody Sunday’. This about the republican heirarchy of victimhood and about marking territory.

In order for PSF to further their agenda and reinforce their revisionist narrative, victims of state perpetrated violence must be kept in the spotlight. They must be seen as the ‘premier’ victims of the conflict, for whilst the spotlight is on the victims of ‘Bloody Sunday’, Ballymurphy etc then it cannot be on the victims of Claudy, ‘Bloody Friday’, La Mon, Darkley, Teebane, Enniskillen etc etc etc.

The aftermath of the Darkley massacre

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Sinn Fein must also present itself as the champions and defenders of the nationalist/republican community. If there is offence to be taken, then PSF must be the ones to take it! This is especially important in places like Londonderry where republican splinter groups and dissident factions are increasingly gaining a foothold.

Given Sinn Fein’s recent ‘difficulties’ in the New Lodge area of Belfast, Saturday’s events must have been a godsend. Indeed, there must have been some PSF members positively rubbing their hands with glee (that is not to insinuate that there wasn’t some Sinn Fein members who were genuinely outraged), there can be no doubt whatsoever that Clyde Valley FB have inadvertently handed so-called “mainstream” republicanism a much needed propaganda boost.

Gerry Kelly, for one, must have been delighted that something had quickly come along to distract people’s attention away from his ignominious (and hasty) withdrawal from the New Lodge only days earlier.

Why the long face Gerry?

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“This is OUR city”

There is another aspect to this gross overreaction too. There are many republicans, especially vocal on social media, who wish to use this incident as a stick with which to beat the ABOD and, somehow by extension, the Orange Order (such is the ignorance of republicans about the Loyal Orders and their relationship to each other).

an orange free zone”

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The reasoning seems to be that because Derry is a majority nationalist city, then all others must ‘toe the line‘ as it were, or the majority will withdraw their consent for any cultural expression other than their own. This too is deeply hypocritical. In Derry, Rasharkin and the Garvaghy Road it would seem that the majority rules ok but in Northern Ireland as a whole, majority rule is deemed “oppressive” and “undemocratic” and we must have mandatory power sharing, or else!

There is a lesson here for those who believe that a so-called ‘united Ireland’ is in any way viable, for it would appear that nationalists and republicans only believe in the sharing of power when they cannot obtain an absolute majority, or perhaps that is just cynicism. The available evidence, however, would suggest the former not the latter.

If ever Sinn Fein win an overall majority of seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly, they will no doubt campaign for an end to power sharing and a return to majority rule, all in the name of “civil rights” and “equality”, naturally!

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Keep the fire stoked!

Provisional Sinn Fein will keep this incident in the headlines for as long as possible. There are others too, on the Unionist/Loyalist side who will seek to exploit this unfortunate situation for their own ends. The inappropriate behaviour of the PSNI has, rightly, been highlighted and there needs to be an investigation into that behaviour, however, it would probably be best all round if the entire business could be forgotten.

Rent-a-mob, aka PSNI DMSU

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The two communities in Northern Ireland are more deeply and bitterly divided than ever. In the interests of peace and reconciliation it would be best if incidents like the one on Saturday could be quickly dealt with, so as not to cause even further division.

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Sinn Fein lead the chorus

Unfortunately, with Sinn Fein leading the chorus of those who equate the wearing of a small Parachute Regiment emblem with international war crimes, that will never happen. It will not be allowed to happen. PSF cannot miss an opportunity to reinforce their vile narrative and, with dissident republicans fast gaining control of former PIRA/SF heartlands, they cannot afford to miss an opportunity to present themselves as the defenders of the nationalist community.

If that means taking a hypocritical and, frankly, absurd stance on any given issue, that will be no problem for the Shinners, after all, they do not seem to be bothered that Clyde Valley Flute Band take their name from the principal ship involved in ‘Operation Lion’, the 1914 UVF gun running which saw tens of thousands of rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition landed in Ulster by Carson’s Volunteers, some of which was used by the UVF in 1920 in very heavy street fighting in the cityside of Londonderry, which left dozens dead.

In 1920 the UVF took over Londonderry City centre and the Foyle bridge. Dozens died in subsequent fighting in the city.

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But they are offended by a tiny crest of the Parachute Regiment being worn on the uniform of the band, who also go by the name “the gun runners”. Bizarre. Are Sinn Fein telling us, at least subtly, that they only care about dead nationalists who were killed within living memory? Or, perhaps, those families of dead nationalists who are still around to vote would be more accurate?

Or, perhaps I’m being cynical again, they really couldn’t give a tinker’s curse about the victims of ‘Bloody Sunday’, or their families and are instead using this situation to-

A) shore up support in certain areas, especially Derry,

B) Exploit the situation to reinforce their narrative and heirarchy of victims,

C) Use the incident to further reaffirm that Londonderry is their city and everyone else must follow their rules, or-

D) All of the above.

Sometimes in Northern Ireland it’s hard not to be cynical!

The republican anti-internment bonfire in the New Lodge area was a huge embarrassment for Provisional Sinn Fein

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On and on….

No doubt we will be hearing more about the ‘Seige of Clyde Valley‘ in the coming weeks and (probably) months. Preferred victim status must be upheld, narratives must be shored up and territory must be marked out. It’s not as if Sinn Fein (or the DUP) have anything else to do!

Meanwhile, ‘non celebrity’ victims across Northern Ireland and beyond, will just have to carry on as before- forgotten, marginalised and denied any semblance of justice. Indeed, in some cases, they have not yet even had their loved one’s remains returned to them for burial.

Best not to mention that though, not while the Shinners are having yet another little temper tantrum!

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The Curious Case of the Forgotten Republican

Today, the 25th of July, marks the 31st anniversary of the death of one Brendan ‘Ruby’ Davison, PIRA ‘commander‘ in South Belfast, who was shot dead at his home in the Markets area by a UVF active service unit, dressed as police officers.

I draw your attention to this anniversary, not to gloat in any way, nor celebrate Davison’s violent demise but to recount the circumstances surrounding his, rather sordid, life and the facts behind his death.

Davison was a native of the Markets area, a staunchly republican enclave in South Belfast. At the outset of The Troubles, the area was an Official IRA stronghold but the teenage Davidson decided to join the emerging Provisional IRA.

In 1971 Davison was convicted for his part in a botched Provo gun attack and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Within months of being released in 1980, he was arrested again, this time on the word of PIRA ‘supergrass‘ Kevin McGrady, but was released, albeit after serving more than two years on remand.

Brendan ‘Ruby’ Davison

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By the time of his assassination Davison, whose name is often misspelled as ‘Davidson’ (by, among others, the Irish Independent newspaper) had risen to the rank of PIRA ‘commander’ in South and East Belfast.

Davison was also one of the two most highly placed informers that MI5 and RUC Special Branch had within the ranks of the Provisional IRA, the other being Freddie Scappaticci, codename “Stake knife”.

In Davison’s case, blackmail was the main factor in his recruitment. A Special Branch file on him noted he was a secret homosexual who visited public toilets and had sex with men in a “massage centre“. RUC Special Branch also knew that ‘Ruby’ had raped a number of young boys in South Belfast in the 1980s and that he liked to ‘discipline’ teenage PIRA members by having them strip naked before beating them with a brush.

At least two of his victims’ families made complaints to the Provisional IRA but, unsurprisingly, were silenced with threats of murder. Republican sources say Davison was secretly filmed by undercover soldiers sexually abusing a teenage boy, rumoured to have been just 14 at the time, in the sauna of the Maysfield Leisure Centre in South Belfast and subsequently blackmailed him into becoming a paid informant.

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The funeral of Provo godfather and paedophile rapist Brendan Davison.

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Though this is common knowledge in the area of Belfast where Davidson lived, his name is still on a wall mural commemorating PIRA/Sinn Fein “martyrs” in the Markets area.

There are many residents of the Markets however who have neither respect nor admiration for ‘Ruby’. On the contrary, many people hated and feared him. He was heavily built, well over six feet tall, and had, apparently, acquired a reputation for being able to ‘handle himself’ in a fight.

According to the author Martin Dillon, locals say he took offence easily and became difficult to control when drunk, which was often. He was typical of many of the young thugs and ‘hardmen’ who filled the ranks of the Provisional IRA after January 1970.

He is described as having a “physical stature to impose his will on others and possessed a native cunning” . His “native cunning” no doubt served him well in his double life as he rose rapidly through the ranks of PIRA/Sinn Fein. Gaining rapid promotion within the republican murder gang for his talents in planning terrorist outrages and finding new recruits.

Such was Davison’s reputation, it is alleged that some people in the Markets area actually cheered upon learning of ‘Ruby’s’ violent death at the hands of Loyalist gunmen.

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UVF volunteers posed as police in order to kill Ruby Davison

To this day, many republicans still deny that Davison was a paedophile, an informer, or even that he was a promiscuous homosexual, preferring instead to cling to (yet another) tissue of lies regarding the life and death of one of their Provo ‘heroes’.

It is curious though that there have been no high-profile calls for an inquiry into the assassination of Brendan Davison.

One would have thought that, if the republican movement really believed their own narrative, and were sure that Davison wasn’t a paedophile rapist and an informer, that his case would be an ideal one to highlight.

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A PIRA/Sinn Fein mural in the Markets area. Note how the mural, in particular the portion of it depicting Davison, has been defaced by locals

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Would it not suit the Provisional Sinn Fein narrative absolutely perfectly to highlight the killing of a senior republican who was shot dead by Loyalist paramilitaries wearing stolen RUC uniforms? Wouldn’t the fact that the dead man also happened to be gay not be the “icing on the cake” for the apparently LGBT obsessed Sinn Fein?

If Davison was the person that republicans say he was, why has he not become the Provo’s first genuine gay ‘martyr’?

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The truth of the matter is that the republican movement would rather that Brendan Davison be forgotten, at least by those outside of republican ranks, not because he was a paedophile but because they know full well that he was an informer and that inconvenient fact undermines their entire collusion narrative.

You see, it simply defies belief that if, as republicans allege, Loyalist armed groups worked hand-in-hand with the Security Forces, those same Security Forces would have ‘allowed’ the Ulster Volunteer Force to kill one of their top assets within the Provisional IRA in Belfast.

Make no mistake about it- had Davison really not been a paid informant, the cries of “collusion” would be almost deafening.

Davison’s paedophilia would be airbrushed out, I have no doubt his homosexuality would be too; it is ‘progressive’ and ‘on trend’ for Provisional Sinn Fein to masquerade as the champions of the LGBT community, but it is a different matter when it comes to the Provisional IRA. For, as much as they would like to deny it, the Provisional republican movement still operates a ‘twin track’ approach, wherein SF are portrayed as progressive, tolerant socialists whilst on the other hand, PIRA is still presented, especially to impressionable young males, as being a ruthless army of hard, dedicated “guerilla Fighters”.

Thus, any reference to Ruby Davison’s sexuality would, undoubtedly, be omitted.

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Davison’s home, the ironically titled ‘Friendly Way’

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Let me refresh your memory with regard to the republican movement’s collusion narrative; it is their assertion that collusion was-

A) Widespread

B) Institutional, and that

C) Collusion only happened on the Loyalist side.

(Apparently, at least two different states arming and funding the Provisional IRA is not considered collusion by republicans)

This is in opposition to what Loyalists (and many neutrals) say about collusion- that it was neither institutional nor widespread, that it happened on both sides and that the Security Forces had no qualms about playing off one side against the other.

The republican narrative has now been taken to it’s logical conclusion; most republicans now allege that every Loyalist operation was carried out in collusion with the Security Forces, and that, essentially, Loyalist armed groups were merely unthinking, almost zombie like, proxies of the state.

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A heavily armed UVF unit, complete with RPG rocket launcher, part of the arms shipment brought into Ulster jointly by the UFF and UVF. The arms had been purchased from an arms dealer in Lebanon.

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This is not only patently ridiculous, it is frankly laughable. One wonders how such republican dullards would explain away the fact that thousands of young Loyalists ended up in prison, some of them sentenced to multiple life terms, or the fact that many Loyalist combatants were killed by the very same Security Forces they were supposedly acting in concert with.

One might also wonder why the Security Forces would permit their supposed “Loyalist proxies” to kill prison officers and, occasionally, RUC officers.

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Freddie Scappaticci, the other high ranking Provo informer at the time of Davison’s death

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Irish republicans, for the most part, do not deal well with historical complexities or the subtle nuances of a low-intensity conflict like The Troubles. Rather than face the uncomfortable truth about the “Dirty War”, republicans, especially those from the younger generation, would rather buy into a myth that asserts that their Loyalist and Unionist neighbours are completely incompetent, stupid and inferior.

They prefer a reductionist and purely binary view of Ulster’s recent past. A black and white, ‘us vs them’ scenario in which any troublesome details, or indeed, any sense of context, is simply pushed aside or buried.

The majority of Irish republicans seem to take comfort in ignorance, preferring Sinn Fein’s childish ‘cowboys and Indians’ narrative to the real, complex, uncomfortable and challenging truth about the conflict.

That is precisely why it is important for Loyalists, and indeed everyone who is concerned about the truth, to challenge the playground rhetoric of republicanism at every opportunity.

If collusion took place in the manner that republicans say it did, then why do they seem so reticent to bring the case of Ruby Davison to wider public attention? It is because they know that close scrutiny of the case would soon collapse their pathetic narrative.

The fact that Davison was an informer has been asserted by numerous people, including at least three published authors and dozens of others, including a former MI5 officer who operated out of the “Puzzle Palace” within Thiepval army barracks in Lisburn.

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If one accepts that fact, then doesn’t the fact that he was killed by Loyalist militants not critically undermine the republican narrative? Some might suggest that he had “outlived his usefulness”, but that is a ludicrous claim since Davison was, arguably the most senior informer that the Security Forces had within PIRA/Sinn Fein. Certainly he was among the top two!

Davison was not under suspicion by his republican comrades. His cover had not been blown, in fact, the Security Forces had allowed Davison to kill in order to protect himself from accusations made by one of his ‘comrades’.

There is also the matter of the angry reaction that Davidson’s killing apparently provoked from among the security services personnel based in Lisburn.

The facts of the case are rather obvious to any but the most mentally challenged republicans.

Davison was killed by the UVF because he was a senior member of the Provisional IRA. An individual that the UVF alleged had been involved in at least two murders.

The UVF ASU disguised themselves as police officers, using uniforms stolen from a dry cleaners. They knew who Davison was, what he was and where he lived. They made their way to his home and executed him.

There was no collusion of any kind. Whether or not the UVF team knew that Ruby Davison was a paedophile is immaterial, they did not know that he was an RUC Special Branch and MI5 informer. As a consequence they may have inadvertently actually helped the Provos in the long term, ridding them of a highly placed mole.

Such were the complexities and intrigues of The Troubles. The Ulster Volunteer Force carried out a highly professional and well planned operation; Loyalists, a few high ranking republicans (who detested Davison for his sexual perversions) and many of the ordinary people of the Markets area were pleased; whilst most republicans, RUC Special Branch and the other ‘Spooks‘ in the “Puzzle Palace” were left devastated.

The security services lost one of their most important sources of information and, in the long run, Davison’s death may well have been a blessing in disguise for the Provos.

Nevertheless, Brendan Davison is the “martyr” that republicans dare not speak of. A sick and perverted individual whose violent death could yet prove to be the rock upon which Irish republican myth is smashed to splinters.

The republican movement can tell as many lies as they wish but they can never change the fundamental truth. They cannot change the nature of the thugs, rapists, paedophiles and child killers that made up the ranks of the Provisional IRA, and that, in the final analysis, is the reason that they will never succeed. “A movement without morals cannot stand” and there is no movement so utterly devoid of any sense of morality as that of PIRA/Sinn Fein.

The Dead Weight of History & the Hypocrisy of Sinn Fein

How do the ‘New IRA’ justify their actions?

In the wake of the senseless murder of Lyra McKee some reevaluation of entrenched positions is necessary, and urgent. We must ask ourselves how we have arrived at the situation, where 21 years after the signing of the Belfast Agreement, young women are being murdered on the streets of our second city by Irish republican extremists.

From where do these gangs draw support? From where do they take their inspiration? Unfortunately those are extremely easy questions to answer.

The ‘New IRA’, like the Real IRA, Continuity IRA, Provisional IRA and the Official IRA before them, see themselves as the legitimate heirs of the insurrectionists of Easter, 1916.

The ‘New IRA’ on parade in Dublin. This could however be any republican grouping from the last 50 years.

Furthermore, groups like the so-called New IRA, also look to the actions of their predecessors for moral justification. The statement released by them today, apologising for the death of Ms McKee but attempting to deflect blame away from themselves, is almost a carbon copy of many such statements released over the years by the Provisional IRA, INLA, IPLO etc etc.

A significant number of the older ‘volunteers’ of the New IRA will have grown up hearing such statements. ALL of the members of that group, and it’s political wing Soaradh, will have grown up hearing dead PIRA/Sinn Fein, OIRA, IPLO and INLA/IRSP members being eulogised and lionised.

Hero Worship

Dead republican activists are held up as exemplary people. Made into larger than life figures, heroes to be worshipped and emulated by the younger generation. Such veneration of the republican dead continues to this day, indeed, it has become even more bombastic, unrealistic and quasi religious.

Bobby Sands, former burglar, now portrayed by republicans as a modern day Saint.

This Easter, Provisional Sinn Fein have been busily engaged in myth making. Remembering the so-called “patriot dead“, not as having been living, breathing, fallible human beings, but as symbols of their cause. Comic book versions of real people.

House breakers, gunmen, alcoholic thugs and child murderers are lauded as being almost saintly.

Lofty quotes are attributed to men who, in life, struggled with basic literacy. Morbid graveside orations take on the character of something akin to a church service, mixed with an NSDAP party rally.

Loyalism does not indulge in such outlandish commemoration. Partly because militant Loyalism remembers its fallen on Remembrance Sunday, a day on which any outlandish or overtly militaristic displays would be roundly condemned (rightly so), by the wider Unionist community and by society at large.

Partly because Loyalism does not have at its core a foundational myth like that of Irish republicanism, which has turned the events of Easter week, 1916, into an almost miraculous sequence of events, culminating in the “blood sacrifice” of the Easter rebels.

A Loyalist commemoration in Belfast.

Our critics will, without doubt, highlight our previous articles in remembrance of fallen Loyalist volunteers and accuse ISOT of hypocrisy. Any meaningful reading of those articles will, however, reveal that my co-author was not attempting to present the dead as paragons of virtue, nor as cartoonish, uber-heroic archetypes, but was attempting merely to humanise those who, in the opinion of both myself and my co-author, paid the supreme sacrifice in defence of their community and their country.

A re-reading of those articles will reveal no ‘call-to-arms‘ from beyond the grave. No quotes attributed posthumously in order to inspire the impressionable youth.

Rank Hypocrisy

There is, however, incredible hypocrisy in the words of PSF, who apparently see no contradiction in, on the one hand, condemning the violent actions of the New IRA, whilst on the other hand eulogising the dead of the Provisional IRA and presenting their actions, not only as justifiable, but as having been necessary in the context of the times.

“Our IRA = good, New IRA = bad” the hypocritical message of PIRA/Sinn Fein

Thus Sinn Fein glamourise and romanticise violence. Young, and not-so-young, men within the nationalist/republican community are left with the impression that in order to earn high status within their community, and to earn fame within Irish republican circles, they must engage in violence (of one sort or another).

It is not only hypocritical and disingenuous, it is also dangerous. Young Irish republicans in places like the Creggan will see Sinn Fein’s condemnation of the actions of the New IRA as being either- A) hollow words issued in order to assuage popular opinion, or B) the words of traitors who have abandoned the ‘true faith’, either for economic gain, or for the sake of their own personal safety. Weasel words spoken out of one side of their mouths, whilst PSF continually to harken back to the ‘righteous‘ violence of the Provo’s armed campaign out of the other side of their mouths.

A recent social media post by PSF in North Down. What message does this send to so-called ‘dissident’ republican gangs?

Who is to blame?

No political party or organisation can “ride two horses”. Either Provisional Sinn Fein take responsibility for the radicalisation of thousands of impressionable people within their community, and consequently tone down their martyr worship and constant justification of past violence, or they must face the fact that they will be guilty of giving further aid and succour to the so-called ‘dissident’ terror gangs.

Provisional Sinn Fein: rewriting history to suit their own agenda

Nor can the Provisional republican movement continue to openly and continually justify 30 years of sectarian violence, murder and mayhem, whilst at the same time condemning contemporary republican violence.

Every community has an inalienable right to remember their dead, a right which I would defend absolutely, however, however, for the sake of future generations, such remembrance must be solemn and dignified, absent any triumphalism and without the lionising of the dead which has done so much to indoctrinate successive generations. We must remind the youth that ALL such deaths were tragic.

Only by doing so can we move forward without glamourising violence. There is no “blood sacrifice”, no ‘martyrdom‘, there is only the personal tragedy of violent and premature deaths.

Sinn Fein have turned the republican hunger strikers into heroic archetypes

Let every community remember it’s dead, but in a way that does not jeopardise the future.

Conclusion

The dead do not speak to us from beyond the grave, as Provisional Sinn Fein would have us believe. They do not spur us on towards our perceived goals. This is the lesson that Irish republicanism MUST learn.

To dehumanise the dead by turning them into caricatures, semi-religious figures, absent of any human frailty, is to do them a grave disservice and to insult their memory in the eyes of those who knew them as living, breathing human beings with human failings and foibles.

It is also, as previously stated, a dangerous path. One which leads younger people into believing in violence for violence’s sake. Graveside orations and calls to action from beyond the grave are destructive, inciting and deeply damaging. They do nothing but add fuel to the fires, a fire already well stoked by the so-called ‘dissidents’.

Spot the difference- New IRA or Provisional IRA?

We must ALL learn that acts of remembrance are not calls to arms, nor appeals for fresh tragedy. Irish republicans need to learn this most of all. For if that lesson is not learned, our society will face more tragedy, and more senseless murder.

Who Armed the Provos? Dublin, Monaghan & the ‘Civil Rights’ Connection

Ulster- 1969

On the 16th of August, while parts of Belfast burned, Paddy Kennedy, then a protégé of Gerry Fitt, travelled to Dublin accompanied by fellow Stormont MP’s Paddy Devlin and Paddy O’Hanlon. They crossed the border looking for guns: making an impassioned appeal at a public meeting outside the GPO on O’Connell Street, and in private to officials in the Department of External Affairs. The crowd outside the GPO was sympathetic but largely unable to help. Later, the three were roundly rebuffed at Iveagh House. If these official channels proved uncooperative, however, other ‘official channels’ were more forthcoming.

It was through conversations with Paddy Kennedy that a certain John Devine first became aware of the importation and distribution of arms and ammunition to Irish nationalists and the role being played by certain Irish government minsters in facilitating this. Using information gleaned from Kennedy and others, including Paddy Devlin, Gerry Fitt and sources in the press, Devine began to piece together a remarkably detailed picture of covert operations that were ongoing across Ulster. Clearly a great deal of work went into compiling the document and checking the veracity of its claims. Devine stated:

Much of the information which follows has been checked out by me, and found to be fairly accurate. What is contained, unchecked, is passed on because it comes from what are described as “usually reliable” sources.”

The information that emerged subsequently- through the so-called “arms trials”, the investigation by the public accounts committee, Peter Berry’s diaries (published in ‘Magill’ magazine in 1980) and the numerous other exposés on the subject- have clearly demonstrated that the information contained in the memorandum were indeed remarkably accurate in every respect.

An early PIRA recruitment poster; Note how well armed the Provo gang in the above image is, just months after the formation of that organisation. How many of the Provo’s guns were gifted to them by the Irish state?

John Devine’s Investigation

Devine began by noting that since the publication of the Cameron report on the 12th of September, 1969, a great deal of media attention had been given to- “The influence of Left-Wing elements in the Civil Rights agitation in the North. While our attention has been diverted in that direction, certain other forces have been at work, and are working

He continued- “Since the recent major outbreaks of trouble an “agent” of Messrs. Haughey, Blaney and Boland, has been conducting military intelligence gathering on trips behind the barricades. Contacts are being built up and ammunition, arms and money have already been distributed…..the contacts are among the republican element in the North, who have more or less broken with the Dublin HQ of the IRA [those who would soon become known as the Provisional IRA], principally because this “agent” can deliver what the IRA cannot. The IRA is highly worried and indignant at the influence which these Fianna Fáil people are having among Northern republicans, the possibility of retaliation is likely from the Dublin end. Fianna Fáil have now established a chain of links from Belfast to Derry, including places like Dungannon, Newry, Armagh, Coalisland, Omagh and in other places where their sphere of contacts up to now has been negligible. Their aid is being accepted

The ‘Civil Rights’ Connection

Devine’s report went on to note that an office had been set up in Monaghan town, with the approval of the named ministers, from which the ‘Monaghan Civil Rights office‘ of NICRA (the so-called ‘Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association’) operated. Among those activities was the production of Irish republican propaganda, including the pamphlet ‘Terror in Northern Ireland‘ (written by the journalist and arch-republican Séamus Brady, who was close to Blaney), which Paddy Devlin had distributed in London. The ‘Monaghan Office‘ also organised public demonstrations such as the meeting outside the GPO in Dublin on the 27th of September, 1969.

Paddy Kennedy MP, Republican-Labour

At that meeting, speakers called for donations to be made to the ‘Monaghan Civil Rights Group‘, and Paddy Kennedy (‘Republican Labour’ MP for Belfast Central) had told the crowd that “I think you will know what I mean if I say that never again do we want an August 14th in my city“. Other speakers were much more explicit- one called for guns and explosives, with all donations to go to the ‘Civil Rights Group‘ in Monaghan, while another appealed for actual recruits, unequivocally stating that the “machine-guns and revolvers” bought with public donations would require able bodied men to fire them. John Devine’s report continued-

The activities directly attributable to the ‘Monaghan Office’ continue to expand. It is now clear that a large number of meetings have been organised, especially in the western counties [of Northern Ireland)], and are aimed purely at rising the spirit of republicanism”. On Friday next the first of a series of weekly propaganda newspapers [‘Voice of the North’] will be circulated and distributed in the North. The paper will be bitterly anti-Unionist. The committee of management involves some of those named on the ‘Monaghan Committee’; Blaney, Boland and Haughey’s agent, and others, also known to me. The paper will be printed in the ‘Anglo-Celt’, Cavan. Five or six vans, necessary for transporting the newspaper, have already been acquired. As well, plans are in hand for the setting up of a powerful mobile pirate radio . . . This also has cabinet backing“.

A Strange Conclusion

Having gathered and verified his information, which clearly implicated government ministers and agents of the state in the illegal importation of arms and the founding, organising and funding of a vicious terrorist grouping (the Provisional IRA) Devine was left in a terrible predicament. The Gardaí were aware of what was happening but there was no visible evidence that anything was being done to interfere, nor was it likely that anything would be done.

Knowing that the information was good but not legally publishable, Devine decided to pass the information to the one person he believed had the sophistication to deal with it in the appropriate manner: The Irish Labour Party’s Northern Ireland spokesman- Conor Cruise O’Brien. O’Brien held the appropriate portfolio, he was also sharp enough to appreciate what exactly was in the document and how to deal with it, introducing it into Dáil Éireann through supplementary questions or by other means. It would appear however that somebody had ‘gotten at’ O’Brien. A couple of weeks before he had been given the Devine’s report O’Brien’s play ‘King Herod‘ had opened at the Dublin Theatre Festival.
Later that month, O’Brien travelled to New York to meet a Broadway producer for discussions on the possibility of staging his latest theatrical effort. Before boarding his flight, he rang John Devine from a payphone in Dublin airport to tell him he was “going away“, and promptly boarded his flight and left. Devine believed that O’Brien would take action arising from his dossier when he returned, but strangely nothing ever happened.

Conor Cruise O’Brien
It is very difficult to comprehend how or why he failed to act on the intelligence provided to him, especially when it concerned his nemesis, Charles Haughey. We cannot know what, or who, stopped O’Brien from using the information given to him, neither can we be certain what would have happened had he used Devine’s information appropriately. What seems likely, however, is that, in the face of the accusations becoming public, Lynch would have been compelled to act sooner rather than later, and at the very least the “Arms Crisis” of the following year would have been averted. Perhaps some of the substantial aid given to the Provo murder gangs by the Irish government in 1970-71 would not have been given. How many deaths are directly attributable to the Irish government of that period who, in the final analysis, were responsible for organising, financing, arming and training the nascent Provisional IRA? Would the Ulster conflict have escalated to the nightmarish internecine war it became in 1972, ’73, ’74 and later?

Collusion is not an Illusion

Devine’s dossier is further evidence of the extent of collusion between the nascent Provisional IRA and the Irish government during the formative early years of the Provo’s existence. Without the money, banking facilities, arms, ammunition, safe houses and organisation provided to the PIRA murder gangs (and their immediate predecessors) by the Irish state in the years 1969-1972 (and almost certainly later), it is highly unlikely that the Provos could have sustained an effective campaign for more than 7 or 8 years. Of course, the unjustifiable slaughter of ‘Bloody Sunday’ gave the Provos not only an influx of new recruits but also an increase in support, both passive and active, within the community from which they first emerged. However, had the government of Éire not sponsored republican terrorism in Northern Ireland, ‘Bloody Sunday’ might never have happened. The outbreak of inter-ethnic violence which had erupted in the Summer of 1969 might well have petered out by the following Spring. Especially since most, if not all, of NICRA’s demands had been met by the NI government by early 1970.

Belfast, September 1969

At the time, and for many years since, a section of Loyalism and Unionism has maintained that, at least from 1968 onwards, the ‘Civil Rights’ movement had become a front for violent Irish nationalism. At one time I would have dismissed such claims, as most people did. Now however I am reasonably convinced that NICRA did indeed become a vehicle for Irish republican terrorists, acting in collusion with the Irish state. From early 1969, at the latest, NICRA, or a significant element thereof, had been thoroughly infiltrated by people who would go on to involve themselves in some of the most heinous, reprehensible, inhuman acts of violence ever committed.

Whilst researching this article I was put in touch with two gentlemen, now elderly, from the South L’derry area. Both are from a Unionist background and both had been involved in the ‘Civil Rights’movement, albeit briefly, in 1969. Their take on the events of that era was quite illuminating, as was the fact that both had turned their backs on Leftist protest politics by the beginning of 1970, so much so in fact that when I asked how they would describe themselves now, one man said- “I suppose I’d maybe call myself a TUV man now“. The other man declared unequivocally that since 1998 he would describe himself as a “Dissident Loyalist”. That is quite a turn around, even in 49 years, but it is perhaps unsurprising given the events, and the horrors, witnessed by the two men since 1969.

I will end this piece now with the words of one of those men (both of whom wish to remain anonymous) when I asked about his involvement in the ‘Civil Rights’ movement-

I saw injustice, not only among the Roman Catholic people but among Protestants too. Catholics in Derry lived in slum housing and there was gerrymandering as they called it as well. Protestants in Derry didn’t have it much better but there were things the government could have done and should have done. ‘One man one vote’ should have been brought in here [NI] when it was in England after the [Second World] War. Stormont did not listen, never did, and didn’t seem to care. Many more Protestants and Unionists would have come to support the Civil Rights Association but they [Irish republicans] couldn’t keep the gun out of it. They didn’t really want decent houses and a fair vote, they wanted to overthrow the very state and a lot of them just wanted to kill Protestants. They couldn’t keep the gun out of it. I soon saw what was happening, even though they [republicans] were wary of talking freely in ‘mixed company’, so to speak, it was blatantly obvious what was going to happen. I walked away from it. Four or five months was more than enough to see what way the wind was blowing.

Sinn Féin, Publicity and ‘Agent Temple’

https://www.elizabethbingham.net/single-post/2018/07/24/Sinn-Fein-Publicity-and-Agent-Temple-Sean-Mag-Uidhir

An eye opening piece by Elizabeth Bingham exposing some of the sordid, underhanded dealings of PIRA/Sinn Fein, the level of state infiltration of that organisation & the devious tactics employed by MI5, GCHQ, RUC-SB etc.

An interesting read to say the very least. It illustrates all too clearly the almost comical level of state infiltration within the ranks of the Provisional IRA & Sinn Fein.

Economic & Strategic Warfare; The UDA/UFF Bombing Campaign in Éire (Part 1)

“In Striking we Defend”

Although formed as a defensive organisation, shortly after its formation the leadership of the Ulster Defence Association came to the realisation that certain pro-active operations would have to be undertaken in order to preserve the existence of Northern Ireland and ensure the safety of the Loyalist and wider Unionist community.

The UDA Inner Council (the collective leadership of the organisation) recognised the fact that Irish republican extremists, primarily the breakaway PIRA, were recieving significant aid and material support from the Irish Republic. With the “Arms Crisis” of 1970 proving that the Dublin government had armed, funded and, at least partially, organised the nascent Provisional IRA, the UDA leadership made the decision to designate the Irish state, and the organs thereof, as “Enemies of Ulster“, thus making them legitimate targets.

Plans were put in place, as early as the summer of 1971, to undertake offensive operations against Éire, concentrating on certain symbolic, strategic and economic targets, although no such operations were attempted until the autumn of 1972.

The Ulster Defence Association, circa 1971

The “Autumn Offensive” 1972

On the night of the 28/29th of October, a bomb containing approximately 12 lbs of commercial explosives was discovered at Connolly Station, Dublin. The device was defused by Irish Army technical officers. Incendiary devices were also left at four Dublin hotels. These attacks were however, just the beginning of what would turn out to be an effective offensive.

On the evening of the 2nd of November, 1972, The UDA’s Londonderry & North Antrim Brigade (then known as the “Londonderry Command” or “North-West Command”) bombed the ‘Hole In The Wall’ pub, near St. Johnston, Co.Donegal. Armed volunteers from ‘A’ Company, 1st Battalion, ordered everyone out of the premises, before detonating a hand grenade and a large blast-bomb type device inside the pub, causing extensive damage.

Just over a fortnight later, on the 19th of November, the Londonderry & North Antrim brigade struck another target in Co.Donegal. On this occasion a car showroom, owned by a prominent republican, was targeted with a bomb containing 7 and a half pounds of explosive. The device exploded causing substantial damage.

Londonderry & Nth. Antrim UDA/UFF

At approximately 1:15am on Sunday, 26th of November, 1972, an “unusually large” bomb exploded outside the rear exit door of the ‘Film Centre‘ Cinema, Burgh Quay, Dublin during a late night showing of a film. The bomb went off in the laneway connecting Burgh Quay with Leinster Market injuring 40 people, around 20 of them seriously, including facial, leg and serious abdominal wounds. There were approximately 160 people (both patrons and staff) inside the cinema at the time of the blast and a Garda spokesman said that it had been “nothing short of a miracle” that there had been no fatalities. The force of the explosion had hurled customers out of their seats and onto the floor and one employee had been blown the full length of the central aisle.

A large number of shops and buildings in the immediate vicinity received extensive damage from the blast. The area was quickly sealed off by the Garda and they immediately launched a forsenic investigation 9f the scene. A ballistic officer determined that the epicentre of the explosion had been just outside an emergency door leading from the cinema to the laneway. However, due to the ferocity of the blast and the total combustion of the explosive material, no trace of the bomb or the explosives used were ever found. Garda detectives at the time suspected the bombing to be the work of republican “subversive elements”, soon after however, Gardai discounted republican involvement and intimated that they now believed the bomb attack to have been the work of Loyalists, most likely a UDA active service unit “from the Derry or Mid-Ulster areas“.

Political Gain: the 1st of December Dublin Bombings

On the 1st of December, 1972, shortly before 8pm, a large bomb, concealed inside the boot of a blue Hillman Avenger car, exploded at 29 Eden Quay, Dublin. The blast blew the Avenger apart and what remained of the vehicle was catapulted 18 feet away, coming to rest outside an optician’s office. Six cars parked in the vicinity of the Avenger were set on fire, and piled on top of each other. Every window of the nearby ‘Liberty Hall‘ and a number of other nearby buildings were shattered. Although a number of people suffered injuries – some horrific – nobody was killed.
At the same time the car-bomb detonated in Dublin, the Belfast Newsletter received a telephone call from a man warning that two bombs had been left in cental Dublin and would explode imminently, giving the locations of the bombs as Liberty Hall and Abbey Street. Staff at the newspaper immediately phoned the RUC who in turn relayed the warnings to the Garda Control Room, Dublin, at just before 8:10pm. A team of Gardai were immediately dispatched to investigate the area.

Dublin, 1972

At a quarter past eight that evening, a large explosive device, packed into the boot and rear foot-wells of a silver Ford Escort, detonated in Sackville Place, 40 feet away from the junction at Marlborough Street. Two CIÉ (Córas Iompair Éireann/Irish Transport) employees, George Bradshaw (30), a bus driver, and Thomas Duffy (23), a conductor, were killed. One witness described the aftermath as follows- “There was a large pall of smoke hanging over the area of the blast. At least six cars were on fire . . . there were people strewn all over the street. One man was lying unconscious in a pool of blood from his legs . . . everywhere there was sobbing and screaming . . . people were running in all directions.”

As well as the two bus-men who were killed over 130 people were injured in the two incidents. Around 50 of them seriously. As at Eden Quay, the Sackville Place bombing caused considerable damage to buildings and vehicles near the blast’s epicentre. Sackville Place being a narrow street off O’Connell Street, Dublin’s main thoroughfare.

The bombs however did not just cause death and destruction; they also literally blasted into law controversial new measures. Just as the bombs were exploding in the city centre, Dáil Éireann was debating the controversial bill to amend the Offences Against the State Act’, which would enact stricter measures against the Provisional IRA and other republican murder gangs. As a result of the two bomb attacks, the Dáil voted for the amendment which introduced special emergency powers. In particular this meant that a member of a terrorist group could be sentenced on the sworn evidence of a senior Garda officer in front of three judges. Before the bombings, many commentators had believed the bill – considered by some to be “draconian” – would be soundly defeated. Indeed, until it was interrupted by the sound of Loyalist bombs exploding, the debate in the Dáil had been a bitter and heated one. Neil Blaney, recently expelled from Fianna Fáil due to his part in the “Arms Crisis”, spoke out forcefully against the proposed measures, describing the Provos as “freedom fighters“. In turn, supporters of the new legislation described the Fianna Fáil government as having “blood on their hands”, whilst Edward Collins TD castigated them as “the godfathers of the Provisional IRA“. At the last minute, undoubtedly swayed by the sound of bombs just a short distance away, Fine Gael TD’s abstained, thus ensuring that the bill would pass.

Sackville Place, Dublin, 1st December, 1972

Militant Ulster Loyalists had forced the hand of the Irish government in an unprecedented manor, forcing the authorities in Éire to take active steps against Irish republican terrorists for the first time in the conflict. Although the violent deaths of two civilians is deeply regrettable, the 1st of December bomb attacks had been spectacularly successful. Timed to precision and ruthlessly carried out, the bomb blitz in the heart of Dublin had demonstrated to the Irish state, in brutal fashion, that they would have to take action against the very terrorist groups that they had helped to create just two years earlier, or face the consequences!

Although there is speculation about whether the 1st of December attacks were the work of the UDA or the Ulster Volunteer Force, such speculation is more or less meaningless. Physical force Loyalism had, once again, penetrated into the heart of the Irish capital to devastating, and deadly effect. Forcing the hand of the Irish government and denying Irish republican murder gangs free reign in that country, although Éire would continue to be both a safe haven and a base of operations for republican terror groups throughout the conflict in Ulster.

Part 2- next week

Irish Nationalism is Eating it’s Own; The “Left/Right” Split Tearing Nationalism Apart

Twenty years ago or so it was common to hear Loyalists talking about the “pan-nationalist front”. The term was coined in the early 90’s & referred to the united front of PIRA/SF, the SDLP, GAA etc. The term is not much used today but many Loyalists & Unionists would still argue that Irish nationalism presents a united front on most issues. I would argue however that there is no longer any such united front.

Provisional IRA/Sinn Féin have shifted in a very odd direction in the last few years. Always keen to present themselves as “progressive”, modern, permissive & “on trend”, Sinn Féin have moved so far (culturally & socially) to the Left that they are now creating very serious divisions within Irish nationalism.

There are many (those whom I would describe as “traditional Catholic nationalists”) who now see Provisional Sinn Féin as being actually anti-nationalist. PSF assumed that they could take Irish nationalism in whatever direction they wished, even if that direction was contrary to the sensibilities & traditional outlook of most of their constituency. Apparently they were very wrong.

For a long time, those “traditional nationalists” seemed to keep their reservations to themselves, however, the recent referendum on abortion in the Irish Republic seems to have been the final straw for many. More & more nationalists, both in Éire & in N.I., seem to be verbalising their opposition to the super-progressive “SJW” rhetoric of Provisional SF.

This schism will only deepen. Sinn Féin, under it’s new female leadership, is moving further & further (culturally & socially at least) to the extreme Left, leaving more & more traditional nationalists & religious Roman Catholics (those who are not amongst the large & growing number of Catholic Unionists) without a party that speaks for them.

The uber “progressive” face of the “new Sinn Féin”

The SDLP might undergo something of a resurgence, depending on which direction they choose to take their party, but I would think that it is highly unlikely. The SDLP has lost a lot of credibility with Irish nationalist/republican voters in the last 20-25 years, I doubt they can get that credibility back anytime soon, especially if that party continues it’s own seemingly inexorable drift towards politically correct “grievance politics”.

Besides which, the SDLP, if senior members of that party do not address certain pertinent issues, may well end up irrevocably divided. Instead of this being an opportunity for the SDLP to re-establish itself, it could well end up being the final nail in the party’s coffin.

One might very well see some new nationalist political party, or at least a political pressure group, emerge in the next 12 months or so as traditional religious nationalists become ever more dissatisfied, irritated & alienated by the nationalist/republican “mainstream”.

The bickering, sniping & back-biting between the “progressive” & the “traditional” factions will continue, we may very well see some very interesting (& public) spats between quite senior people within nationalism over the next few weeks & months.

The issue of abortion seems to have divided Irish nationalism more than any other single issue

The only logically consequence of this split is that either A) Sinn Féin, & to a lesser extent the SDLP will have to move, culturally at least, back towards the centre, or B) The split will become permanent & the divisions will become ever more entrenched. Either way the next 12-18 months should prove to be very interesting indeed.