“I will not be attending and will not send a representative”

Gerry Adams’ refusal to attend the Derry debate follows below the foldThe invitation:

To Gerry Adams
I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to either participate or send a representative to sit on the panel for a debate which will be entitled “What is the truth behind the Hunger strike?”
This has been organised by the Republican Network for Unity and we hope to host panellists and guests from across the political spectrum.
The venue for the event will be at the gasyard in the Brandywell, Derry at 7.30 pm, Sat 23rd May 2009.
Panellists confirmed thus far include Richard O’Rawe, Willie Gallagher and Eamonn Mc Cann and we hope to have confirmation from various others.
It is imperative that we are inclusive and all encompassing so as to generate debate in this extremely emotive subject and maybe gain some form of clarity for the families of the men who died.
Though this will be an open debate we are actively encouraging former Blanket men to attend and contribute to the night’s proceedings.
I may be reached at the above telephone number and/or email address and would ask if you could please RSVP me at your earliest opportunity,
John Cassidy

Gerry Adams’ response:

From: maire.grogan
To: johncassidy; Jcassidy2005
Date: Fri, 22 May 2009 11:06:36 +0100
Subject: Reponse letter from Gerry Adams

John a chara,

Thank you for your letter to me received on Wednesday 20th May about an event in Derry on Saturday 23rd Ma y 2009.

You assert that your aim is “clarity for the families of the men who died”. It is presumptuous of you to presume that you speak for the families on this, or indeed any other matter. These families are well able to speak for themselves.

My understanding from recent conversations with family members of hunger strikers who died during the 1981 Hunger Strikes is that they are quite clear about what happened. I have never had concerns to the contrary raised with me by any family members.

Any family member I have spoken to in recent times has been angered by the politically motivated stories printed by the Sunday Times which was hostile to the Hunger Strikers from the outset and also to Sinn Féin. Other political opponents of Sinn Féin have been quick to jump on this anti-Sinn Féin bandwagon to=2 0propagate bogus claims for political objectives of their own. This is a disgraceful affront to the memories of those who gave their lives. It totally disregards the feelings of family members.

Your event, in my opinion, is part of that agenda. I will not be attending and will not send a representative.

Is mise le meas,

Gerry Adams MP, MLA

Máire Grogan
Office of Gerry Adams MP MLA
Sinn Féin Party President
MP & MLA for West Belfast
Tel: 028 90 347350
Fax: 028 90 347360
Email: maire.grogan@sinn-fein.ie
Website: www.sinnfein.ie

Earlier on Slugger:

1981 Hunger Strike Truth Commission Includes text of British document of July offer and transcript of Willie Gallagher’s speech at the Derry meeting

The Truth is a Heartbreaking Thing Initial summary of Derry meeting

Upcoming Debate: “What is the Truth Behind the Hunger Strike?” Announcement of public meeting and note of Radio Foyle debate between Raymond McCartney and Richard O’Rawe (also discussed on The Pensive Quill: A Shifting Narrative)

When in a hole… Contrasts between Danny Morrison’s position and previously published accounts of the time

What were the hunger strikers told? Questions emerge that cast doubt on what the hunger strikers knew when about what negotiations were being conducted on their behalf by the Adams subcommittee.

“Let’s have the whole truth” – Danny Morrison and Richard O’Rawe statements

Did Thatcher Kill All 10 or Only 4? – contains statements and interview excerpts

  • blanketmanH6

    Are you Carrie Twomey from the USA?

  • Rusty Nail

    Danny, you know who I am. I am the rusty nail on which your woolly lies have become unravelled.

    Sin é

  • sj1

    Well I’m not a blanket man, but I was here when it happened, and I just spoke to one particular blanket man who didn’t even know the meeting took place on Saturday night. Not everyone has access to the internet, and its a pity that not all of them know of this debate.

    After speaking with him his position is.

    1) That he is no lover of adams who has presided over defeat, but that O’Rawe needed a new angle for a hungerstrike book and this was it.

    2) That the only people to benefit from this is the British.

    3) That O’Rawe has inflated his own position, as he was no more than a report writer. (This guy ran about with O’Rawe, since St Finians’ Primary school. Good primary school sent my own son there.)

    4) That it has caused division and destroyed the memory of the hungerstrikers.

    5) That there was nothing on offer. He said to me, do you think if Bik had known of an offer it would have been dealt with out the windy between O’Rawe and McFarlane. First thing McFarlane would have done would have been to ask for access to his OC’s from the wings or at least his own men, it wouldn’t have finished with a shouted message out the window to O’Rawe.

    6) That the whole thing (the memory of the strikers) is fucked and O’Rawe fucked it when he brought that book out for money, and allowed the Sunday Times to serialise it.

    7) That after the death of Joe, whose family I know and respect dearly, they weren’t going to achieve anything, if they hadn’t achieved it with three deaths they weren’t going to achieve it with four etc, and that they didn’t die for monkey suits, or their own clothing, but for political status.

    Excuse the language, relaying it as I heard it. What ever happened to the words ‘political status’ in this debate? But all I saw was more raw emotion, more anger, more hurt and extreme sorrow that it has come to this. I saw it on Saturday night, and I saw it today. I don’t know if this is Carrie Twomey, who wasn’t here, that is correct, I don’t know if H7 is Danny, all I know is the pain and angush this is causing may not have been worth rousing this sleeping dog….

  • Liam Clarke

    It is unfair to call Brendan Duddy a liar. I believe he has spoken honestly. He does not deserve flak or insults for his behaviour thus far. The contrast between what he said at the meeting and to Barney Rowan is more apparent than real.
    He told Barney he agreed with Sile Darragh that the difference between a deal and an offer was at the heart of the dispute. This was his opinion at that point. At the meeting he gave factual information when he confirmed that a document which was released to me under FOI set out the same offer as he had received in a telephone call, written down and conveyed to an IRA volunteer who came to his house.
    He also confirmed that this message went to Gerry Adams and that Gerry Adams knew of the Mountain Climber back channel to the British.
    Duddy gave as his opinion that Thatcher was disinterested. This was what his British contacts told him. Danny Morrison has also explained that he understood the Foreign Office was more open to a deal with the prisoners than Thatcher and there was disagreement between ministries.
    This may have been a negotiating stance by the British. At any rate the documents released to me under FoI show Thatcher very much engaged and interested. She attended late night meetings and authorised communications with the IRA. This was at odds with what Duddy, and through him Morrison, was being told.
    However, Gerry Adams may have known more. In Before the Dawn (page 305) he makes the point that “Margaret Thatcher presented a public face as the Iron Lady who was ‘not for turning’ but she was no stranger to expediency.” He goes on to say that “her representatives approached us” in advance of a world leaders’ conference in Canada on July 21 1981 and “fed us” a draft of a speech she intended to make, inviting amendments. The proposal was that if a version could be agreed with republicans then she would be able to announce the end of the hunger strike.
    When I raised this with Brendan Duddy in Derry, he said that the speech had been sent by Michael Oatley, an MI6 officer. This shows a continuing pattern of engagement, the passing of at least one document and an effort on the part of Thatcher personally to bring the protest to an end by means of an agreed statement.
    Changing the subject, this whole business of anonymous people trying to out each other is a bit laughable and pointless. Slugger could, if he wanted to publish the IP addresses, probably solve most of these mysteries. But what would be achieved?

  • Winter of ’78

    Regarding the first hungerstrike, and the issuing of prison approved clothing, I’d like to ask the ex-POWs who where there if the scene in ‘The Hunger’ where clothing, which quite frankly was a crime against fashion with bright colours to make your eyes bleed actually happened?

    Posted by fin on May 28, 2009 @ 11:30 AM
    @“blanketmanH3”: You wrote:

    it happened, and like you say: a crime against fashion – too much canary yellow and lime greens.ugh!

  • joe soap

    Does anyone know if Brendan Hughes let either the Republican leadership or the other republican prisoners ( Bobby, Richard, Brendan Mc Farlane) know in 1980 that he was not prepared to let anyone die on the 1st Hunger Strike? Did the Brits know in 1980 that Brendan was not prepared to let anyone die and that they constructed their approach to end the Hunger Strike at the best time both strategically, tactically and pyschologically for themselves? Remember that the prison protest had been a constant thorn in the brits side since 1976 and they would have been mighty glad to have broken the blanket men and women by fair means or foul.

  • sj1

    Also spoke to the Scull who is the person on the tape. He is raging that thngs that he said about thngs that he only knew little about,that is Richards youphoria, which he definitely witness and which I accept, is being turned into an offer refused

    So now we know who is on the tape it’s not difficult to guess what the general discussion on it was.

    Why haven’t the tapes been published? Because of the way they were got, perhaps someone didn’t know they were being taped. Never stopped things being leaked before.

    Either the evidence is published, or forget about it.

  • Dixie

    I love the way all these ‘blanketmen’ are coming out of the woodwork, someone should tell one of them that H7 never was a protesting block…

    Then we have one of those ‘blanketmen’ showing us that he knows a hell of a lot more than he first let on…

    Of course and very typical we had the ‘we know who are’ thrown at Rusty. That coming from people hiding behind made up names. Circles or whatever appears to be someone ‘flying’ round another forum under various names using the sames snide comments that they pass as argument…As for me I’m sure anyone who was on the Blanket in H3 would know who I am from my nickname and they would also know I’m not one to be bullied and take it lying down.

    So come on folks have the balls to post under your real names…

    When Richard O’Rawe first made these claims he stood alone and took everything that PSF threw at him. On Saturday he had various former Blanketmen including someone who was on that Hunger Strike standing behind him in a hall so full people were pushing to get in the door and why? Because he is winning the argument hands down and those in agreement with him are no longer willing to be cowed down.

    As for myself I am not a member of any group nor party and I am now strongly opposed to armed struggle as I believe that something that was on the table in 1973 wasn’t worth the life of one Volunteer.

    For this argument to be resolved I feel it needs to take place in a neutral venue free from intimation tactics and hecklers and both sides need to stand up and defend their corner and it needs to be brought to a speedy end.

  • Hodgie

    very well put Dixie, old comrade – the sooner everybody with knowledge about those days brings it to an open forum for analysis, the sooner we can begin to put the past behind us

  • fed up

    circle wrote


    Rusty, if identifying blanketmanH3 as Danny Morrison as a display of your powers of deduction (or rather jumping to conclusions), I think you’ve just blown a hole in a lot of what you said.
    But well…..
    Mickhall – thanks for bringing a bit of sense to all this.
    Posted by circles on May 28, 2009 @ 01:04 PM

    I think the same could be said for blanketmanH3/H7 he is claiming to know who Rusty Nail is on the back of a claim made on ir.net by the less than truthful seabird.

    This infighting is doing nothing to uncover the truth but rather is helping the brits and their divide and conquer tatic which PSF are part and parcel off. The truth is out there and it is obvious that PSF and all their faithful are going to resort to the mudslinging and lies to deflect from the truth as they usually do. I am lleft asking myself though why the “big guns” are in hiding and are refusing to comment on Saturday night’s meeting and what came out of it. All we have is Bangers and co coming out calling anyone who seeks the truth as on an anti PSF band wagon and possible spooks. Was it not them who decided to believe a known MI5 member Sir John Blelloch? So are MI5 agents to be believed over Repubicans who spent time in gaol for the cause? Is this what we’ve come to? PSF choosing to believe sppoks over Republicans? Says alot for their politics

    I’m sure that the contributers to this blog can see IPs and know who is who on here no matter what false email and username we use, that is the beauty of internet.

  • fed up


    “Rusty Nail”? Rusty hinge more like, that keeps squeaking and squawking, and needs a good shot of the oil of modern thinking to silence it.
    Nobody believes for a second that you are motivated by anything other than a desire to undermine Sinn Fein. Would you and your sectarian cavemen friends be any less liars and scoundrels than SF if you get what you want? No? You’d probably be worse.
    Why not lay out your vision for a future Ireland and give us all a good laugh.
    Posted by underwood on May 26, 2009 @ 04:44 PM

    dear seabird.
    Why don’t you tell us all about your vision for a future Ireland? Will it include lies, falsehoods, you running more spyrings and touting on Republicans? You never know you might get to be head of the Gestapo in the Adams run dictatorship where anyone who dares go against him are taken out! You’d love that wouldn’t you seeing as you ran guns and have safe houses for Vols during the war. Ah Seaturd the length and width of your imagination knows no bounds. Must stem from the fact that you were kidnapped by Indians as a child and threw down a ravine by your peers on the reservation because of you beauty.

    Why don’t you crawl back under the wood that you came from? Your word has no weight in this conversation seeing as you know nothing about the era only what you were fed by Danny

  • circles

    Dixie – I don’t use other names and dont post anywhere else but on slugger – its bad enough on here as it is, without descending into inter-site mud-slinging. No need to apologise, anybody can make a mistake ;o)

    As for me anybody he sees my nickname and knows me will know who i am too – which as about as revealing as your own revelation.