The Blanket resurrects a three year old article by Anthony McIntyre, which examines the taoiseach’s belief in the IRA’s denial of participation in the Castlereagh operation, in the context of previous denials.
…remaining silent or using cover names was not the only stratagem employed. In a number of cases the IRA resorted to outright lying. For decades it told the relatives of Jean McConville that the organisation was not responsible for her fate, whatever that may have been. In May 1972 rather than accept responsibility for its involvement in the Anderson Street explosion in East Belfast which led to eight people dying including four of its own volunteers, the IRA pointed the finger at loyalists or the SAS. It lied about the Claudy bombing of August the same year in which nine people died; Sean MacStiofain, the then chief of staff saying an internal IRA inquiry had established that the organisation was not involved.
In November 1974 it denied being responsible for the Birmingham bombings. Months later it denied the attack on the Bayardo Bar in 1975 in which five people died. One of those convicted went on to lead IRA prisoners in the H-Blocks during the 1981 hunger strike. In April 1981, the organisation was again lying when it denied killing census collector Joanne Mathers in Derry. This time the finger was pointed at those who were ‘frantically attempting to discredit the election campaign of hunger striker Bobby Sands’. In today’s language, ‘securocrats’.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty