Families will treat SF ‘invitations with caution’

In today’s Derry Journal, following on from last week’s statements from the McBrearty family and other families unhappy with the policing debate, the families of George McBrearty (shot by SAS in Creggan in May 1981), Paddy Deery (killed in an explosion in Creggan October 1987), Patsy Duffy (shot by British Army in Maureen Avenue in November 1978) and Brian Coyle (killed in an explosion in July 1986 in the Bogside) are calling for an apology from Gerry Adams over his “cheap shots at fallen volunteers”. They have also said they will treat invitations to the Ard Fheis with caution, as they “do not want to be used as political window-dressing for the endorsement of the RUC/PSNI.”

Paddy and Thomas McGlinchey, no relation to the South Derry McGlincheys, in support of the McBrearty family, also take Martina Anderson to task over Sinn Fein’s being “systematically dishonest”.

A statement from the families of George McBrearty (shot by SAS in Creggan in May 1981), Paddy Deery (killed in an explosion in Creggan October 1987), Patsy Duffy (shot by British Army in Maureen Avenue in November 1978) and Brian Coyle (killed in an explosion in July 1986 in the Bogside) have hit out at comments made by Mr. Adams at a public meeting in Co. Tyrone on Saturday.
“At a Sinn Fein meeting in Galbally, Gerry McGeogh (veteran republican, former gunrunner and anti-PSNI activist] pointed out that the current direction being taken by the Sinn Fein leadership is the opposite of the republican tenets held by fallen volunteers in the conflict at the times of their deaths.
“Gerry Adams mocking reply to Gerry McGeogh – “do you have a Ouija board” – was in very bad taste.
“It marks a new low in the debate on policing. We never thought a so-called republican leader would stoop so low as to take cheap shots regarding fallen volunteers.
“To speak disrespectfully of the dead volunteers is shameful and he should apologise immediately.”
Families call for Adams apology (more)

Families of dead volunteers ‘feel deep sense of betrayal’
Dear Sir,
As families of IRA volunteers killed on active service, we would like to offer our support to the McBrearty family and agree with the sentiments contained in their letter.
We too have felt a deep sense of betrayal at the direction taken by the Sinn Fein leadership. We have been silent until now because we have seen how voices of dissent have been subjected to ridicule, intimidation and smear campaigns.
Since the McBrearty family letter, we have received invitations to the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis and another political briefing. We will treat these invitations with caution. We do not want to be used as political window-dressing for the endorsement of the RUC/PSNI.
We also agree with the political analysis contained in the McBrearty family letter: the volunteers of the IRA fought and died to resist the British occupation of the six counties, this remains the case. While we fully understand the need to adapt tactics and strategies to out-manoeuvre the enemy, we cannot see how joining the Crown forces, carrying British weaponry (in place of destroyed or surrendered Republican weapons), and administering British rule in Ireland can advance the Republican cause of our patriot dead.
The Families of Volunteers Patsy Duffy, Paddy Deery and Brian Coyle

Sinn Fein spin on policing
Dear Sir,
As long-standing friends of the McBrearty family, we welcome and endorse their comments on the policing debate.
The McBrearty family described the Sinn Fein leadership as having been “systematically dishonest” with the republican base. Martina Anderson has replied on behalf of Sinn Fein.
Firstly we note that although the letter was signed “The mother, brothers and sisters of Vol. George McBrearty”, Martina chooses to single out George’s brother, Danny, as though he is some sort of troublemaker.
She then states: “The reality is that, for such an assumption to be true (that the Sinn Fein was/is “systematically dishonest”), then he is effectively labelling the Republicans he talks about as being naive or gullible.”
This statement, we think, is probably a fairly good example of the type of dishonesty the McBreartys had in mind, that is, the use of spin to attempt to make things look like the opposite of what they really meant. However, in order to defend the Republican base from Martina’s suggestion that they might be “naive or gullible” (not the McBreartys’ words), we would add that the dishonesty or hoodwinking referred to has not only been systematic but expertly handled. Nor should Martina mistake the trust the Republican base has previously placed in the Sinn Fein leadership for naivety or gullibility.
When the phrase “systematically dishonest” was used in the McBreartys’ letter, they tried to keep their eye on the bigger U-turns such as “No Return to Stormont” (now fighting tooth and nail to get into Stormont), “Not An Ounce Not A Bullet” (not an ounce or a bullet left!), and, we would add, “Disband the RUC” (now changed to “Join the RUC/PSNI”). Then there’s the big positional U-turn from “Republican strategy is to resist British rule in the failed political entity of the Six Counties” to “Let’s administer and enforce British rule and law in the Six Counties!” An obvious pattern seems to be appearing ie one of systematic dishonesty.
Martina’s Provisional Sinn Fein spin technique and choice of words are proof of the ongoing’ smaller, subtler attempts to dishonestly manipulate the Republican base that have become all too common in recent years – either that or she herself is “naive or gullible”.

  • Rory

    Since Adams “Ouija board” remark was clearly aimed at scorning McGeough’s arrogant presumption to speak on behalf of dead volunteers it seems that the spin here is being served by McBrearty et al.

    Adams at least makes it clear that he speaks on behalf of the Sinn Fein leadership and that he is seeking to explain and debate their position before as wide an audience as possible.

    He is not the one who has taken to rattling the bones of the dead in his support. Any venom against that sort of arrogance would be more correctly spat in the direction of the McGeough camp.

  • gerry

    How dare Adams say what he did. He’s a dirty B*****d to say such a thing. He should apologise unreservedly to the families of the dead volunteers who paid the ultimate sacrifice, the sacrifice which adams and his cohorts abused and are now using for their own agenda, mainly to line their own pockets.

    A disgraceful remark, from a disgraced party.

  • kensei

    “How dare Adams say what he did. He’s a dirty B*****d to say such a thing. He should apologise unreservedly to the families of the dead volunteers who paid the ultimate sacrifice, the sacrifice which adams and his cohorts abused and are now using for their own agenda, mainly to line their own pockets.”

    I heard from a source that I believe 110%, that members of the IRA, including a member of the Army Council visited the relatives of a dead volunteer to explain the decision on policing and ask for their support. I assume this isn’t the only incident. They were broadly supportive. So this is an issue being handled with some care.

    Every time I hear about “treason”, “lining their pockets” and “holiday homes in Donegal”, I know dissidents have comprehensively lost the debate due to not having an argument in the first place.

  • belfastwhite

    I agree the moderators appear to be unable or unwilling to control these type of outbursts. It is only mud slinging and not genuine political debate which detracts from any serious argument and quite frankly lets this forum down.

  • gerry

    And adams is not guilty of slinging an insult? If he can sling them he should be able to take them. What he said invokes strong emotion due to the nature of the remark and who it was directed at.

    I have great respect for the families of the dead, does adams? or indeed those who would defend such a remark?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Much ado about nothing, Gerry A’s remarks were clearly aimed at Mc Geough and his rather crude assumption that he knew what the feelings would be now of people long since dead.

    SF could quite easily get the families of other volunteers to pose the ‘who does Mc Geough think he is… assuming to speak for our son, etc? ‘

    As part of their overall campaign it seems a part of the strategy is letter writing to the newpapers. Not very original and by the results of the SDLP, not very successful.

  • Belfastwhite


    Anyone who really knows Gerry Adams will only know too well he would never intentionally insult the memory of any volunteer or their families. I’ve have seen him at many a volunteer’s funeral indeed I remember the derision he received after attending Vol. Sean Begley’s funeral. The whole episode as described above smacks of mud slinging from opponents of Adams’ and Sinn Fein strategy.

  • gerry

    It is quite clear, from the derry journal that the families are asking for an apology, if that is the case then clearly the families are insulted. If it were not adams intention to hurt these families, then why do they have to ask for an apology? Why didn’t adams make clear, exactly what he meant, he isn’t wet behind the ears, he must have known how the remark went down in the hall, and since.

    He should apologise unreservedly and do so now. The reavy family have had to ask paisley for an apology, but from that quarter what do republicans expect, but from adams?

    these families are clearly hurt, he should apologise now.

  • J Kelly

    There is no doubt that a number of fallen volunteers families are very uneasy with the process but with this said many other fallen volunteers families are supportive of the process. For every one against there could be one for and with many of these things those opposed are usually the most vocal. I don’t think we should be judging any of this on the reacion of individual families.

    The second letter from the McGlincheys I’m sure republicans will take critism from Paddy but not from Tommy. Its well known in Derry that Tommy is very friendly and socialises with Mark Durkan, Helen Quigley and the likes in the Claredon Bar andtakes part in the John Hume Golf Classic every year. He made a substantial contribution to Mark Durkans election campaign in 2005 and spent the night of the count popping champagne with Ian Doherty, John Tierney and Damien McAteer. So no lectures on policing Tommy.

  • wiseup

    i can assure you that the dead ira martyrs have been consulted about the psni – i understand there was a meeting of ghosts in the republican plot of milltown cemetery last saturday night, after midnight, to discuss the ard-fheis motion and that this week there will be similar meeting at every graveyard in ireland with ira plots – the sinn fein leadership has actually gone to great lengths to ensure that all the ira dead will be consulted and invitations have been extended to those who died in 1798. 1916, 1919-1927, the 1940’s, the 56-62 men and so on – i understand these invitations have in the main been accepted – when gerry adams says this is the most democratic phase he has ever known in republican politics this is what he means – the news from milltown is that the ghosts overwhelmingly endorsed the sinn fein leadership position and agreed that this was the most principled leadership ever!

  • Paul

    Classy Gerry, reminds me of the time you were signing books in London while Vol Ed OBrien lay on a slab of stone.

  • The Devil

    How strange for Adams to make such a remark about how McGough would know what dead volunteers would want…
    Adams and the Sinn Fein party have been using the families of dead Hunger-strikers for over a decade now.
    Every photo in a Sinn Fein office has the mandatory Bobby Sands photo in the background.
    Sinn Fein for years have been telling us why the men of 1916 died, just last week Adams told us what Sean South believed in, and why if he were alive today he would be signing up to policing rather than blowing it up.

    So it’s obvious that Gerry Adams has a Ouija Board

  • Fear na gCluas

    I am opposed to this move on supporting British law in the Six Counties. However, I don’t think that Gerry Adams would intentionally insult the family of any dead volunteer. It was a rare slip in the normally sensitive way in which he treats these matters, and possibly happened as a result of the focus on the debate with McGeough. If the families feel insulted, or if some of them feel insulted, then he should probably apologise for any hurt his remarks caused.

    But for those of us genuinely opposed to this move on support for/endorsement of British rule of law in the Six counties… lets build a proper alternative strategy, if we can come up with one!

  • JD

    Fear na gCluas,

    A very sensible post at last, from someone opposed to this initiative by SF. You are very entitled to your view and although I disagree with you I think you point to the way forward for people like yourself. Outline your vision of the future and your strategy for getting there and let everyone take their decisions on who we would rather follow.

  • curious

    Gerry Adams record on the Republican dead is a joke. Read Rick O Rawes book and that will give you a true picture of Adams position.

  • carmenite

    I was at the meeting in Galbally when on more than one occasion Gerry Adams’ ‘gentleman’ mask slipped….not only was he very petty in his response to Gerry mcGeough about the ouija board but he also scorned the attitude of some of the young people who were there objecting to the PSNI/RUC… as they have been consistently tutored for their entire life…maybe Gerry A is too old?!

  • BeardyBoy

    I do not think the Adams really meant that – one of those unfortunate things that happen under pressure. I for one do not like the pettiness of name calling and childish sniping evident in the posts here. Can we not agree that Adams made a mistake and was big enough to apologise and let it go at that.

    I would agree with McGeough by the way so I am opposed to Adams.

    if we cannot treat each other civilly and accept apologies then we are in a mess