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’
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
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”.
PADDY MCGLINCHEY, THOMAS MCGLINCHEY